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

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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 […]

Top Mystery from Alexander McCall Smith, Ashley Weaver, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 2

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Alexander, Tasha. The Adventuress: A Lady Emily Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781250058263. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876071. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY In this latest in the New York Times best-selling series, following The Counterfeit Heiress, Lady Emily Hargreaves heads to the French Riviera (and who wouldn’t?) to attend the nuptials of her […]

Gregory Maguire, Anthony Marra, David Mitchell, Jane Smiley | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Maguire, Gregory. After Alice. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780770436445. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062410825. CD: HarperAudio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Known for his revisionist take on children’s classics, particularly his Wicked-ly good series drawing on The Wizard of Oz, the first of which inspired the hit Broadway musical, Maguire turns his attention to Lewis Carroll’s immortal Alice’s Adventures […]

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

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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 […]

Last of the September Pop Fiction, from Paula Daly to Kim Harrison & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

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Block, Sandra. The Girl Without a Name. Grand Central. Sept. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781455583775. pap. $15. THRILLER Block scored a hit with her debut, Little Black Lies, featuring energized psychiatrist Zoe Goldman. Now the good doctor is back, dealing with an African American girl whose identity is unknown. She’s suffering from amnesia, and evidently wants […]

Geraldine Brooks, J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, & the Return of Lisbeth Salander | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

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Brooks, Geraldine. The Secret Chord. Viking. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780670025770. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for March) and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), has always triumphed with historical subjects, and she’s back at it with this novel about King […]

Biography (e.g., J.M. Coetzee, Mary McGrory) & History (e.g., World War II) | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

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Attwell, David. J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time. Viking. Sept. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780525429616. $27.95. LITERARY CRITICISM/BIOGRAPHY Currently a professor at the University of York, Attwell completed an MA in African literary theory and criticism at the University of Cape Town, where his supervisor was Nobel Prize–winning novelist J.M. […]

Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Lauren Groff, Anthony Horowitz | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2

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Atwood, Margaret. The Heart Goes Last. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Sept. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780385540353. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385540360. lrg prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN Sounds like classic Atwood. In her first stand-alone novel since the Man Booker Prize–winning The Blind Assassin, published in 2000, the Canadian author draws on the same almost-here dystopia as […]

Alaa Al Aswany, Adi Alsaid, Belinda Bauer, Jack Canfield, Susan Casey, Amitav Ghosh, Eli Gottlieb, Mary Kubica | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4

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Al Aswany, Alaa. The Automobile Club of Egypt. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780373211548. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460379370. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Published here in 2004, Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building was a best seller in the Arab world for five years and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006; the Times (London) recently […]

Linda Fairstein, Sophie Hannah, Michael Koryta, & More | Essential Thriller Titles, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4

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Burdett, John. The Asset. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307272683. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353205. POLICE PROCEDURAL Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a Buddhist detective with the Royal Thai Police Force, returns after Vulture Peak for some seriously techy trouble. With female inspector Krom, as capable socially and technologically as he’s not, Sonchai peers through a raging typhoon at […]

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