Doyle, Figes, McCracken, Simpson, Vaill, Wilson | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. The Plover. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250034779. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034786. LITERARY FICTION Editor of Portland Magazine, Doyle has written 13 books of fiction, poetry, and essays but came to my attention only with the original and wittily lyrical 2010 novel Mink River—which actually caught the attention of plenty […]

Top Literary Fiction from Tomorrow’s Household Names | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Bacharach, Jacob. The Bend of the World. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780871406828. $25.95. LITERARY No quite 30 and drifting amiably along in Pittsburgh, Peter Morrison suddenly finds himself drawn to the somewhat ominous couple Mark and Helen while also tolerating addicted friend Johnny’s obsession with conspiracy theories—except that people really are spotting UFOs. […]

Chris Pavone, Helen Oyeyemi, & NYU Professor Conley’s Take on Parenting | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2014, Pt. 4

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Conley, Dalton. Parentology: Everything You Wanted To Know About the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted To Ask. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476712659. $25. PARENTING Conley stars in two disciplines, sociology and biology, and has three appointments at NYU: in the sociology department and at the School of Medicine and […]

Teju Cole, David Grossman, Dinaw Mengestu, Muslim Youth | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2014, Pt. 1

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Aidi, Hisham. Rebel Music : Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture. Pantheon. Mar. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780375424908. $27.95. SOCIAL SCIENCE/ISLAMIC STUDIES Since 9/11, young Muslims worldwide have worked to forge a distinctively racial, radicalized identity in the face of the West’s War Against Terror, resisting American efforts in particular to subsume Muslims within the […]

Lippman, McCall Smith, Minot, Teicholz, Werth | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2014, Pt. 3

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Lippman, Laura. After I’m Gone. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780062083395. $26.99. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. THRILLER Investigating cold cases for some extra cash, retired Baltimore detective Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez looks into the murder 26 years earlier of Julie, once mistress to rich but shady businessman Felix Brewer, who disappeared ten years before Julie’s death. […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: Elisabeth de Waal, Alan Lightman, Gary Shteyngart, & More

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  de Waal, Elisabeth. The Exiles Return. Picador. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781250045782. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250045799. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Like Irène Némirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling The Hare with Amber Eyes, their Jewish banking family’s possessions were appropriated […]

Fiction Previews, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: 12 Crucial Titles, from Hot International Fiction (Drndic, Yu Hua) to Works by American Prize Winners (Greenway, Martin) to Upscale Thrillers (Billingham, Dolan)

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  Billingham, Mark. From the Dead. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780802122131. $25. THRILLER A top-selling UK crime writer (and, surprisingly, a former stand-up comic who proved how funny he can still be at Grove Atlantic’s ALA dinner), Billingham is making a name for himself here—with the help of his publisher, which has signed […]

Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2013, Pt. 2: Data Mining, Gold, Suspense, Fiction in Translation, & a Big Debut Novel

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Aiden, Erez & Jean-Baptiste Michel. Uncharted: Big Data and an Emerging Science of Human History. Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Dec. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781594487453. $27.95. SCIENCE/HISTORY Harvard Society Fellow Aiden and Harvard University scientist Michel, a 2012 TED Fellow recently named one of Forbes’s “30 under 30,” here address a hot (indeed, controversial) topic: mining […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 5: Wrapping Up a Huge Month with Malcolm Gladwell, Malala Yousafzai, & More

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Chen Guangcheng. Untitled Memoir. Times: Holt. Oct. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780805098051. $28. MEMOIR Chen has been named a 2012 Brave Thinker, 2012 Rebel of the Year, and 2012 Global Thinker by the Atlantic, GQ, and Foreign Policy, respectively. And no wonder. Blinded by illness in infancy and illiterate until his teens, Chen taught himself law […]

Fiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 5: Five Hot Debut Titles

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Bonert, Kenneth. The Lion Seeker. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2013. 576p. ISBN 9780547898049. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780547898414. LITERARY The grandson of Lithuanian immigrants, South African Bonert was inspired to write this work by the photo of an uncle with Nadine Gordimer. This portrait of South Africa’s small Jewish community doubles as the portrait of a mother-son […]

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