Christopher Buckley, James Lee Burke, Paolo Giordano, & Ruth Rendell | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2015, Pt. 1

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Buckley, Christopher. The Relic Master. S. & S. Dec. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9781501125751. $26.95. HISTORICAL Buckley, who’s been called “the funniest writer in the English language” by Tom Wolfe and has a Thurber Prize for American Humor to prove it, offers a boisterous tale of 16th-century relic hunting that should have broad appeal. It’s 1517, […]

Bagshawe Gets Reckless, Donaldson Does Novellas, Sandford Goes SF, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

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Bagshawe, Tilly. Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless: A Tracy Whitney Novel. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062304056. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062304070. THRILLER New York Times best-selling author Bagshawe has done a half-dozen Sidney Sheldon novels, including Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow, which picked up powerhouse heroine Tracy Whitney from 1985’s If Tomorrow Comes. Here, Tracy is back, having […]

Nobel Prize Winner Pamuk, Game of Thrones Martin, Shocking Houellebecq, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 3

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Campbell, Bonnie Jo. Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories. Norton. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780393248456. $25.95. SHORT STORIES Campbell smashed into our consciousness with her terrific 2009 academic-press story collection, American Salvage, a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her subsequent novel, Once Upon a River, got big praise, too, but it’s […]

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 […]

Ringing in Christmas (Yes, Christmas) with Jennifer Chiaverini, Debbie Macomber, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Chiaverini, Jennifer. Christmas Bells. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780525955245. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698407091. WOMEN’S/HISTORICAL Though she sets her new work partly in present-day Boston, Chiaverini stays in keeping with her recent historical work (e.g., Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule) by referencing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s rousing “Christmas Bells.” Written as Longfellow mourned the death of […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

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Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

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 […]

Hot Book Club Reads for Summer | Fiction Previews, May 2015, Pt. 3

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de Rosnay, Tatiana. A Paris Affair. St. Martin’s May 2015. 144p. tr. from French by Sam Taylor. ISBN 9781250068804. $22.99. SHORT STORIES Want a bit of sizzle? This new story collection from the author of the New York Times best-selling Sarah’s Key and, most recently, The Other Story, is reputedly hot, hot, hot. After all, […]

Butler, Danielewski, Enright, Hemon, Pearl, & Perkins-Valdez | Barbara’s All-Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 2

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Butler, Nickolas. Beneath the Bonfire: Stories. St. Martin’s. May 2015. 272p. ISBN 9781250039835. $23.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466875531. CD: Macmillan Audio. SHORT STORIES After receiving some powerful reviews when it appeared last spring (the New York Times called it “an impressively original debut”), Butler’s Wisconsin-set, warmly small-town, big-friendship Shotgun Lovesongs went on to become a national […]

Chess at Auschwitz, Balkans War, & Friendship Via Wikipedia | Eleven Big Fiction Debuts, May 2015, Pt.

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Acampora, Lauren. The Wonder Garden. Grove. May 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780802123558. $24. SHORT STORIES A real estate agent contemplates yet another tackily enlarged house. A group of suburban women gather to reveal themselves briefly to one another and condescend to the rest of the world. A father-to-be abandons a successful career at the urging of […]