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

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

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

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

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

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 […]

Ginsberg, Macdonald, Seidel, Young | Barbara’s Poetry Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

Ginsberg, Allen. Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems. Grove. Feb. 2016. 464p. ed. by Bill Morgan. ISBN 9780802124531. $22. POETRY “Rainy night on Union Square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I’m dead.” So proclaimed Allen Ginsberg at 3:30 in the morning on August 8, 1990. And now, nearly 20 years after his death, in […]

Prize-Worthy Aboulela, Screen-Worthy Cornwell & Endo, Thatcher’s Continuing Biography, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4

Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies. Grove. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802124487. $26. LITERARY FICTION Sudanese-born, Scotland-based, and relentlessly prize-worthy, Aboulela grabbed the Caine Prize for African Writing with a story from the collection Coloured Lights and the Scottish Book Award for her most recent novel, Lyrics Alley; that novel and her two others, The […]

National Book Award Winner McCann, Nobel Prize Winner Oe, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

McCann, Colum. Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories. Random. Oct. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780812996722. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812996739. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SHORT STORIES This is the first story collection in 12 years from McCann, whose multiple awards include the National Book Award (for Let the Great World Spin) and the International Dublin […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Last of the September Pop Fiction, from Paula Daly to Kim Harrison & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

Block, Sandra. The Girl Without a Name. Grand Central. Sept. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781455583775. pap. $15. THRILLER Block scored a hit with her debut, Little Black Lies, featuring energized psychiatrist Zoe Goldman. Now the good doctor is back, dealing with an African American girl whose identity is unknown. She’s suffering from amnesia, and evidently wants […]