Books for Our Times | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 1


Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9781501146923. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501146947. RELIGION As conservative New York Times columnist Douthat clarifies, Pope Francis’s stewardship as 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not without controversy. His raising issues like communion for […]

Q&A: Kathleen Donohoe | Debut Spotlight, September 15, 2016


Kathleen Donohoe’s debut novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather, offers a bold look at six generations of captivating women in an Irish American family of firefighters living in Brooklyn. Here, she answers questions on everything from her favorite characters to the facts behind her ­fiction.

Laird Hunt, Yiyun Lee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3


Dennett, Daniel C. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton. Feb. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780393242072. $28.95. PHILOSOPHY/MIND & BODY Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and winner of the Erasmus Prize, Dennett knows how to talk to lay readers; he’s published numerous books, not just with academic presses […]

Jio, Kinsella, Lipman, & More | Pop Fiction, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3


Hepworth, Sally. The Mother’s Promise. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781250077752. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466889927. CD: Macmillan Audio. WOMEN’S Australian author Hepworth splashed down big with her debut, The Secrets of Midwives, and followed up quickly with The Things We Keep. Now she’s back breaking hearts with the story of single mother Alice, her […]

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 […]

Thomas Friedman, Robert Littell, Amos Oz | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4


Friedman, Thomas L. Thank You for Being Late: Finding a Job, Running a Country, and Keeping Your Head in an Age of Accelerations. Farrar. Nov. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780374273538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374715144. CD: Macmillan Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE Our world is accelerating in exciting and dangerous ways, with technology allowing for self-driving cars and Wifi-enhanced […]

Queen Victoria, Pixar, Space Travel, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4


Alvarez, Walter. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton. Nov. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780393292695. $26.95. SCIENCE/COSMOLOGY If you’re familiar with the “Impact Theory,” which blames dinosaur extinction on a crash-landed asteroid, then you’re familiar with Berkeley geologist Alvarez; he originated the idea. Here he argues that Big History, which […]

Anguished Daughters & YouTube Stars | Memoir Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4


Anderson, Sulome. The Hostage’s Daughter. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Oct. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780062385499. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062385512. MEMOIR The daughter of Terry Anderson, the AP Middle East bureau chief kidnapped in Beirut and held for more than six years by Shiite Muslims, Anderson recalls life with the father she finally met at age seven, after […]

Twelve Essential Mysteries | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2


Alexander, Tasha. A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781250058270. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250106407.  MYSTERY How pleasant for Lady Emily to visit her villa on the glorious island of Santorini. And how shocking when the housekeeper tells her that the master of the house, Emily’s late husband, has […]

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


  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 […]