A Guantánamo Diary, plus Pierce Brown, Miranda July, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brown, Pierce. Golden Son. (Red Rising Trilogy, Bk. 2). Del Rey. Jan. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9780345539816. $25; ISBN 9780345539823. SF In Brown’s debut, Red Rising, a rigidly hierarchical society on Mars keeps Reds slaving beneath the soil under the pretense that they are building for a future the dominant Golds already enjoy. But a Red […]

Karen Armstrong, Richard Ford, Ha Jin, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2014, Pt. 1

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Armstrong, Karen. Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. Knopf. Nov. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307957047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385353106. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY A best-selling author of insightful books on religion and winner of the 2008 TED Prize, which facilitated her work with TED on the Charter for Compassion, Armstrong here goes beyond […]

Drones, Counterinsurgency, and Coming Home | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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Dreazen, Yochi. The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War. Crown. Oct. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780385347839. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780385347846. MILITARY A decorated two-star officer, Maj. Gen. Mark Graham is all too familiar with the suicide epidemic among soldiers—and how it’s shoved under the rug by the military. He and his […]

Literary Gems (e.g., Nancy Huston, Brian Morton) and Some Major Debuts | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Adcock, Siobhan. The Barter. Dutton. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780525954224. $26.95. LITERARY In present-day Texas, Bridget feels a certain emptiness after giving up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter—and a certain anxiousness because she alone senses that an alien presence has entered the house. A century before, a bride from the city […]

The Nixon Tapes, Perlstein on the Rise of Reagan, & Women in the U.S. Army | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 3

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Brinkley, Douglas & Luke Nichter. The Nixon Tapes. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2014. 608p. ISBN 9780544274150. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780544277373. HISTORY Surprisingly, the last of the nearly 4,000 hours’ worth of tapes made by President Nixon was released only last August, and very little of this material has been transcribed and published. CBS News Historian Brinkley […]

Hampton Sides on Arctic Catastrophe, Paul Ryan on His Political Vision, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 3

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Dolnick, Edward. The Rush: America’s Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848–1855. Little, Brown. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780316175685. $28. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORY As the Edgar Award–winning author of The Rescue Artist and a former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, Dolnick has intriguing credentials for writing this study of the Gold Rush, which tracks […]

Summer Chillers from C.J. Box, Chelsea Cain, Kathy Reichs, & More | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 2

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Adrian, Lara. Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel. Delacorte. Aug. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345532633. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345532640. Downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. PARANORMAL ROMANCE This latest “Midnight Breed” story depicts the doubtless doomed passion between Nathan, an elite warrior trained only to kill, and Jordana, privileged member of a prominent Breed family and promised […]

Key Summer Titles | Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

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It may be snowing in New York City as I write, but the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program is already announcing its top summer picks. Pay attention, because this program is excellent at spotting worthy and big-breaking books. The titles most likely to make tracks, maybe to some best sellers lists, include […]

Summer Heart Warmers (Harbison, McCullough) & Sexy Reads (Hoover, McHugh) | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

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Bertino, Marie-Helene. 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas. Crown. Aug. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780804140232. $25. CD:Penguin Random Audio. LITERARY On the day before Christmas, spunky nine-year-old Madeline Altimari goes hunting for the famed Philly jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas, hoping to make her debut, even as Madeline’s divorced teacher hunts for love and Cat’s Pajamas […]

From Samuel Beckett to James Carroll to Jacqueline Winspear in Historical Fiction Mode | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beckett, Samuel. Echo’s Bones. Grove. Jul. 2014. 128p. ISBN 9780802120458. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802194077. LITERARY FICTION In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to issue Beckett’s first published work of fiction, a collection of ten linked stories called More Pricks Than Kicks. The editor asked Beckett to write a final piece, which was then rejected as […]

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