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 […]

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 […]

Bill Clegg, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Erica Jong | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1

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Clegg, Bill. Did You Ever Have a Family. Scout: Gallery. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781476798172. $26. LITERARY FICTION Clegg is a leading literary agent and the author of two well-regarded memoirs, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days, which detail how he fell into crack addiction and stays sober now. So […]

Patrick deWitt, Lori Ostlund, Edward St. Aubyn, & More Award-Winning Writers | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1

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deWitt, Patrick. Undermajordomo Minor. Ecco. Sept. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062281203. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062281234. LITERARY FICTION If you liked DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, an edgily funny remake of the classic Western that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, you’ll probably like his new work, too. Weak and hapless Lucien (Lucy) Minor feels like a […]

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 […]

Haruki Murakami, Ian Rankin, Two New York Times Reporters as Debut Novelists, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 2

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Buck, Rinker. The Oregon Trail: An American Journey. S. & S. Aug. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9781451659160. $28. HISTORY In the years 1845–1860, 400,000 pioneers traveled west along the Oregon Trail, moving 2,000 miles from Missouri to the Pacific in what has come to be regarded as the largest land migration in history. Buck, an award-winning […]

Literary Reads from Ivan Doig, Alice LaPlante, Andreï Makine, & More | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 2

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Doig, Ivan. Last Bus to Wisdom. Riverhead. Aug. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9781594633638. $27.95. LITERARY Raised in the mid-1950s by his beloved grandmother in Montana’s Two Medicine Country, known to anyone who has read Doig’s big-sky novels, orphaned Donal Kyle feels as if he’s been tossed into cold water when Gram, recovering from surgery, sends him […]

A Political Murder, a World War II Affair, & The Girl Who Slept with God | Debut Fiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 1

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Bartsch, Jeff. Two Across. Grand Central. Aug. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781455554621. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455554607. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455590070. COMING OF AGE Brilliant but socially maladroit teenagers Stanley and Vera meet when they tie for first place in the National Spelling Bee, then try to escape their too-controlling parents by entering into an in-name-only marriage. […]

Fredrik Backman, C.J. Box, Shirley Jackson, & The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

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Backman, Fredrik. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Atria. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781501115066. $25. LITERARY FICTION An international best seller published in more than 25 languages worldwide, Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, got lovely reviews here that almost always used the word charming. That word (though perhaps with more […]

Roger Hobbs, Kevin P. Keating, Jeff Lindsay, James Neff, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, & Jane Urquhart | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3

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Hobbs, Roger. Vanishing Games. Knopf. Jul. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385352642. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352659. CD: Random Audio. SUSPENSE The darling of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hobbs’s Ghostman was a stand-out debut, with rights sold to 25 countries, a film option snatched by Warner Bros., and 70,000 copies sold across formats in the United States. It […]