H.W. Brands, Fannie Flagg, Jonathan Lethem, Francine Prose | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2

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Brands, H.W. The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War. Doubleday. Oct. 2016. 448p. 9780385540575. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385540582. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY Twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin, Brands illuminates the relationship […]

Five Big Debuts | Fiction Previews, Oct. 1, 2016, Pt. 1

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  Bennett, Brit. The Mothers. Riverhead. Oct. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780399184512. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399184536. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY/WOMEN’S FICTION In a contemporary black community in Southern California, 17-year-old Nadia Turner and 21-year-old Luke Sheppard launch a soulful affair. She’s lost her mother to suicide, he’s lost a football career to injury, and the decisions […]

Literary Glitter from Kleeman, Livesey, Towles, & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 3

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Altrad, Mohed. Badawi. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. Sept. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780802125798. pap. $16. LITERARY Drawing on his own life to craft this first novel, Syrian-born French billionaire Altrad relates the story of Maïouf, a Bedouin boy who resists familial pressure to become a shepherd after his mother dies, abandoned and repudiated. Instead, he sneaks […]

The Idiot Brain, Fashion Photography, the Microbiome, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3

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Burnett, Dean. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To. Norton. Jul. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780393253788. $26.95. COGNITIVE SCIENCE Ever popular, books about the brain typically extol its wonders, but Burnett lets us in on all the weird things it does, ranging from blackouts to insomnia, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying […]

Righting Past Wrongs: Alafair Burke’s The Ex

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In Burke’s 11th novel, Olivia Randall’s once great love, Jack Harris—whose heart she broke when they were young but old enough for her to carry the guilt all these years later—returns in the most unexpected way.

Stephen King, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Lionel Shriver, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2016, Pt. 2

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King, Stephen. End of Watch. Scribner. Jun. 2016. 496p. ISBN 9781501129742. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781501134159. CD: S. & S. Audio. THRILLER Brady Hartsfield, responsible for the deaths of eight people and the injury of many others in the infamous Mercedes Massacre, was clobbered over the head by Holly Gibney and now vegetates in Room 217 […]

Erika Johansen, Annie Proulx, A.B. Yehoshua, & Rising Star Alexis M. Smith | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2016, Pt. 1

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Johansen, Erika. The Fate of the Tearling. Harper. Jun. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9780062290427. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062290434. LITERARY FICTION/FANTASY In The Queen of the Tearling, Princess Kelsea returned to the land of her birth to reclaim her throne. In The Invasion of the Tearling, Queen Kelsea faced serious trouble after refusing to send prisoners to […]

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 Don DeLillo to Service Dogs to the Baker & Taylor Cats | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 4

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Belfer, Lauren. And After the Fire. Harper. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780062428516. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062428547. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION In 1796 Berlin, famed musician Sara Itzig Levy hides an anti-Semitic cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach and given to her by her teacher, one of Bach’s sons. In 1945 Germany, U.S. soldier Henry Sachs snatches a […]

DiSclafani, Erdrich, Haddon, Joe Hill, & Fargo’s Hawley | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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DiSclafani, Anton. The After Party. Riverhead. May 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781594633164. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780698161238. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY DiSclafani’s daring debut, the much proclaimed and New York Times best-selling The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, was a coming-of-age story set in the 1930s South. Her new work, set in oil-rich 1950s Texas, features a […]