It’s a Mystery | Fiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 2

Atherton, Nancy. Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse. Viking. May 2017. 240p. ISBN 9781101981320. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781101981337. MYSTERY/COZY Enjoying a break from her husband and sons, who are off camping, Lori Shepherd heads to a quilting bee. There, widowed Annabelle Craven reveals a secret about her first husband’s death that leads Lori to investigate […]

Making History | Nonfiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 2

Allison, Graham. Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides’s Trap. Houghton Harcourt. May 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780544935273. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780544935334. POLITICAL SCIENCE/HISTORY Founding dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who has served in both the Reagan and the Clinton administrations and twice won the Pentagon’s highest civilian award, Allison coined the term the […]

Award-Winning Short Fiction, Hamlet Worldwide, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

Arimah, Lesley Nneka. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories. Riverhead. Apr. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780735211025. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735211049. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SHORT STORIES Arimah won the 2015 African Commonwealth Prize for the Granta-published “Light,” was a finalist for the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for the title story, […]

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 […]