Award-Winning Short Fiction, Hamlet Worldwide, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

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Arimah, Lesley Nneka. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories. Riverhead. Apr. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780735211025. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735211049. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SHORT STORIES Arimah won the 2015 African Commonwealth Prize for the Granta-published “Light,” was a finalist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for the title story, […]

Dangerous Reading, Dangerous Writing

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Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan’s half-dozen literary honors range from the Wiener Award to the Bernstein Prize, given to her latest novel, All the Rivers (Random. Mar. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780375508295. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781588361868. Downloadable: Random Audio). It was highly praised when it was first published in Israel, but when a group of teachers asked […]

Drabble, Nguyen, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 1

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Drabble, Margaret. The Dark Flood Rises. Farrar. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780374134952. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374715762. LITERARY FICTION A durable author of contemporary English-language literature named a Dame of the British Empire in 2008, Drabble has plenty of life experience to bring to her portrait of graying if relentlessly busy Francesca Stubbs. Even as she […]

From Aciman to Coretta Scott King | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

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Aciman, André. Enigma Variations. Farrar. Jan. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780374148430. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374714772. LITERARY FICTION Aciman made his name with the memoir Out of Egypt and came forth as a novelist with 2007’s Let Me Call Your Name, a New York Times Notable Book that won numerous other honors; 2013’s Harvard Square got raves. […]

Block Collects Stories Inspired by Hopper Paintings & More | Fiction Previews, Dec. 2016, Pt. 2

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Block, Lawrence, ed. In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper. Pegasus. Dec. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781681772455. $25.95. SHORT STORIES Thrillmeister Block here collects 17 newly commissioned stories written in response to Edward Hopper’s moody, sometimes desolate paintings. The authors include Michael Connelly, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Lee Child, […]

Günter Grass’s Last Work, the Nabokov-Wilson Feud, & More | Barbara’s Picks, December 2016, Pt. 1

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Beam, Alex. The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship. Pantheon. Dec. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781101870228. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870235. LITERATURE/biogr In 1940, leading man of American letters Edmund Wilson helped asylum-seeker Vladimir Nabokov get settled in this country, introducing him to editors and assigning him book reviews for the […]

Ninth-Century England, Belle Epoque Paris, Ireland in Rebellion, & More | Historical Fiction, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1

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Benedict, Marie. The Other Einstein. Sourcebooks Landmark. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781492637257. $25.99. HISTORICAL A brilliant student and the only woman in her class at Zurich Polytechnic in the late 1800s, Mileva Marić fell in love with fellow classmate Albert Einstein and eventually bore him three children, one out of wedlock. She is now suspected […]

Irish Stars, New York Landscapes, & Colorado Chills | Debut Fiction Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Leo, Forrest. The Gentleman. Penguin Pr. Aug. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780399562631. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399562648. LITERARY Victorian poet Lionel Savage marries lovely Vivien Lancaster for her money and, in a fit of despondency over his sudden inability to write, accidentally conjures up the Devil, with whom he politely discusses literature. Later, when he realizes that […]

Literary Fiction To Grab, from Tahmima Anam, Thomas Christopher Greene, & More | Fiction Previews, Jun. 2016, Pt. 1

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Alam, Rumaan. Rich and Pretty. Ecco. Jun. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062429933. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062429957. LITERARY Upper-crust Sarah works at a charity while plotting the perfect wedding. Wayward self-starter Lauren works in publishing (well, she would) and avoids all questions of marriage—and the future in general. Best friends for 20 years, they’ve been distanced by […]

From Politics (Dionne, Dyson, & Frank) to the Israeli-Palestinian Life (Kashua) to Raising a Transgender Child | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Dionne, E.J. Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism—From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond. S. & S. Feb. 2016. 560p. ISBN 9781476763798. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781476763811. POLITICAL SCIENCE A syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner for Why Americans Hate Politics, also a […]