Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

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Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a […]

Keep Those First Novels Coming: The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

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“We write about our shared past to understand our shared present,” declared Margaret Wrinkle when she was awarded the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize by the Center for Fiction on December 11 at New York’s Union League Club. Wrinkle’s award winner, Wash, darkly illuminates the treatment of slaves in America; as a white woman born in […]

Damien Echols, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, Lisa See, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Allen, Danielle. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780871406903. $27.95. HISTORY A political philosopher who looms large in the scholarly community (she is a professor of social science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton and on the board of the […]

Fiction To Watch from David Guterson, Cristina Henríquez, Lisa O’Donnell, & More | Fiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Conn, Andrew Lewis. O, Africa! Hogarth: Crown. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780804138284. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804138291. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Conn, whose devilishly over-the-top debut novel, P., got mostly strong reviews, would seem to be delivering on that sly promise. Micah and Izzy Grand, twin brothers from a Jewish immigrant family, are successfully producing slapstick comedies in 1920s […]

Joseph Boyden, Rivka Galchen, Tom Rachman, Phyllis Rose, Colson Whitehead | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 5

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Boyden, Joseph. The Orenda. Knopf. May 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780385350730. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350747. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Canadian Boyden has a shelf full of awards for his first two novels, and from what I’ve seen of this arrestingly written new work, soon he’ll have more. When his guides flee the rampaging Iroquois, Jesuit missionary Christophe finds […]

Kai Bird, Courtney Collins, Stacey D’Erasmo, Timothy Geithner, Ruth Reichl | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 4

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Bird, Kai. The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. Crown. May 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307889751. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307889775. CD: Random Penguin Audio. BIOGRAPHY Given continuing tensions in the Middle East—and how much they have escalated in the last decades—we should pay attention to Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Bird’s account of CIA agent […]

Debuts with Buzz, from British Playwright Paull, 5 Under 35 Honoree Johnston, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 4

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Gay, Roxane. An Untamed State. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. May 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780802122513. pap. $16. LITERARY A multiple Pushcart nominee with work in Best American Short Stories 2012, Gay has a built-in readership anticipating this work. Mireille Duval Johnson, youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest men, lives contentedly with her husband and son […]

Cunningham, Doerr, Hemmings, Kendal, Levitt/Dubner, McCullough Jr. | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 2

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Cunningham, Michael. The Snow Queen. Farrar. May 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780374266325. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374710347. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Lovelorn yet again, Barrett Meeks looks to the sky as he wanders through New York’s Central Park and is transfixed by a luminous white light that beams down on him angelically, inducing a religious conversion […]

Galloway, Heller, Jonasson, Prose; Doll, Dyer, Petit, Todd | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 1

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FICTION Galloway, Steven. The Confabulist. Riverhead. May 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781594631962. $27.95. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Galloway’s poignant, sharp-eyed The Cellist of Sarajevo was both a commercial and a critical success, having sold over 100,000 copies, won multiple awards (e.g., the Evergreen Award), been nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize, been featured by […]

Maeve Binchy, Lydia Davis, Julia Glass, Mo Hayder, Laura Kasischke | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 3

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Binchy, Maeve. Chestnut Street. Knopf. Apr. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780385351850. $26.95. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. POP FICTION Following Binchy’s untimely death in July 2012, this set of previously unpublished linked short stories will warm the hearts of fans everywhere. Binchy wrote these pieces intermittently while producing her big novels and Irish Times columns, hoping someday to […]

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