A Nina Simone Biography, Actors’ Memoirs, and Viertel on the American Musical Theater | Performing Arts Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2


Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist. Blue Rider. Feb. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399173592. $24.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking, here’s another memoir from the erstwhile Princess Leia, just in time for the release of the latest Star Wars sequel. Not a full-length narrative arc but interconnected autobiographical essays; note […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]

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 […]

A Cain Kickback, Patterson in Paris, & the Art of the Thriller | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 4


Abbott, Jeff. The First Order. Grand Central. Jan. 2016. 480p. ISBN 9780316268424. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455558407. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455591855. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Three-time Edgar Award nominee Abbott returns with the fifth in his high-octane, newly formatted Sam Capra series. No word on plot yet, but this book is being positioned as a breakout; […]

From Tama Janowitz to Amy Winehouse’s Mom | Memoir Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4,


Hazzard, Kevin. A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back. Scribner. Jan. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781501110832. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781501110870. MEMOIR Looking for a way to test himself, Hazzard became a paramedic in 2004 and held the job for nearly a decade, working in some of the toughest parts of Atlanta. […]

From Night Vale to Elizabeth George, a Debut Worth $2 Million, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 2


Fink, Joseph & Jeffrey Cranor. Welcome to Night Vale. HarperPerennial. Oct. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780062351425. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062351449. CD: HarperAudio. POP FICTION Surely you’ve heard of Night Vale, that funky little town in the eponymous (and bubbling-over popular) podcast and touring show created by Fink and cowritten by him and Cranor. The library figures […]

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Diana Nyad, Patti Smith, Simon Winchester | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1


Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Kevin M. Burke. And Still I Rise: From Black Power to the White House. Ecco. Oct. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780062427007. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780062427014. HISTORY Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, outstanding scholar Gates offers […]

Literary Glitter from Clare Clark, Homer Hickam, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1


Cantor, Jillian. The Hours Count. Riverhead. Oct. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781594633188. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698162334. LITERARY Following her LibraryReads pick, Margot, which imagined that Anne Frank’s sister survived the Holocaust, Cantor again vivifies history as she considers the life of the woman who lived next door to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1950. A friend […]

Niall Ferguson, Joan Lunden, David Maraniss, Anne-Marie Slaughter, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Ferguson, Niall. Kissinger: Vol. I: The Idealist, 1923–1968. Penguin Pr. Sept. 2015. 560p. ISBN 9781594206535. $36. BIOGRAPHY Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and a senior research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Ferguson is the author of New York Times best sellers like Civilization and The Ascent of Money. With those credentials and […]

From Sisters in Law O’Connor & Ginsburg to Expanding Children’s Brains | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4,


Ananthaswamy, Anil. The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self. Dutton. Aug.  2015. 320p. ISBN 9780525954194. $26.95. MEDICAL If you like Oliver Sacks, you’ll love this new work by Ananthaswamy, an award-winning science journalist and former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. His smart approach to […]