Jay McInerney, Eowyn Ivey, Jesmyn Ward, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Donohoe, Kathleen. Ashes of Fiery Weather. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9780544464056. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544526693. LITERARY FICTION Ranging across six generations, from famine-stalked Ireland to post–9/11 New York, Donohoe’s ambitious debut offers portraits of women in the Keegan/O’Reilly clan, bound together by fire and ash. For a family of firefighters, life is fraught […]

Spring 2016 Poetry: Top Picks

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From Frank Bidart’s contained drama and Rita Dove’s blazingly heartfelt exploration of self and history, to the engaging openness of Campbell McGrath and Maureen McLane, to the shape-shifting formal verve of Tyehimba Jess and Brenda Shaughnessy, to the sheer burning wit of Kim Addonizio and Bob Hicok, poetry today is so rich and varied that, […]

Binelli, Buckhanon, McCrumb, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 4

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Andrews, Mary Kay. The Weekenders. St. Martin’s. May 2016. 400p. ISBN 9781250065940. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466872929. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. WOMEN’S Dousing us again in salt spray, the New York Times best-selling author of Beach Town takes us to Belle Isle, NC, where Riley Griggs awaits her husband’s arrival on the Friday afternoon ferry. But he […]

Banks on Travel, Guy on Elizabeth I, Dickey on Pit Bulls, & More | Nonfiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 4

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Banks, Russell. Voyager: Travel Writings. Ecco. May 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780061857676. $25.99. ESSAYS/TRAVELOG A Pulitzer Prize and Carnegie Medal finalist, novelist Banks is also an inveterate traveler. Here he offers a collection of essays arching over decades and continents as he interviews Fidel Castro in Cuba, elopes to Edinburgh with his fourth wife, travels along […]

The Middle East | Nonfiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 2

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Hamid, Shadi. Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the Middle East. St. Martin’s. May 2016. 256p. ISBN 9781250061010. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466866720. POLITICAL SCIENCE The caliphate has always been Islam’s dominant form of governance, and since the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished in 1924, there has been a continuing struggle for some kind […]

Jo Baker, Haigh, Montefiore, Mukherjee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 2

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Baker, Jo. A Country Road, a Tree. Knopf. May 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101947180. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947197. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Having taken us downstairs with the Bennet family servants in Longbourn, both a LibraryReads and a Discover Great New Writers pick and a New York Times Notable Book, Baker reimagines the […]

Award-Worthy Literary Gems | Fiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Amend, Allison. Enchanted Islands. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. May 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780385539067. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539074. LITERARY Born to immigrant parents in 1882 Minnesota, Frances Frankowski ran away from home as a teenager and on the eve of World War II was working as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence, where she […]

O’Nan in Jerusalem, a Newly Discovered Tolkien, Abu-Jaber’s New Memoir, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abu-Jaber, Diana. Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Norton. Apr. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780393249095. $26.95. MEMOIR Abu-Jaber, a fiction writer known for sparkling award winners like Crescent, has also given us the luscious memoir The Language of Baklava. Here she continues wrapping her discussion of love and identity in the sweet […]

British Royals, American Jihadists, Humanitarian Doctors, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Andersen, Christopher. Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne. Gallery: S. & S. Apr. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781476743950. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781476743974. BIOGRAPHY/ROYALTY Anderson, the author of 16 New York Times best sellers, including William and Kate and The Day Diana Died, has a way with royalty of all sorts. Here he gives […]

Garth Risk Hallberg | LibraryReads Author, October 15, 2015

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An utterly absorbing speed-read notwithstanding its gorgeous 900-page heft, Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire lets readers live and breathe 1970s New York.