Jussi Adler-Olsen, Daniel Handler, Jonathan Lethem, Laura Lippman, Thomas Keneally | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Adler-Olsen, Jussi. The Alphabet House. Dutton. Feb. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9780525954897. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. SUSPENSE The author of the Department Q series (e.g., The Purity of Vengeance), Denmark’s top crime writer offers a surprising departure with this stand-alone. Shot down on a special photo-reconnaissance mission over World War II Germany, British pilots James Teasdale […]

Jill Lepore, Azar Nafisi, Simon Schama, Edward O. Wilson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780385354042. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354059. HISTORY A Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer who’s a Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist, Lepore offers some surprising history here. She tells the story of the creation of Wonder Woman, […]

Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling  preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]

Ann Hood, Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman, Hilary Mantel, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 3

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Hood, Ann. An Italian Wife. Norton. Sept. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780393241662. $25.95. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Winner of the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction and the Best American Spiritual Writing Award, among other honors, Hood seems primed to write a multigenerational saga with a quest at its heart. At the turn of the 20th century, Josephine Rimaldi […]

Amy Bloom, Robert Galbraith, Mary Gordon, John Scalzi, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 3

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Bloom, Amy. Lucky Us. Random. Aug. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781400067244. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812996005. CD: Penguin Random Audio. LITERARY Bloom, a New York Times best-selling author as well as a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, here offers a tale of two half-sisters. It’s the 1940s, and Iris is dreaming of […]

New Fiction from Award Winners Appelfeld, Mosley, Norman, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 5

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Appelfeld, Aharon. Suddenly, Love. Schocken. May 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780805242959. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780805243154. LITERARY Gruff and moody Ernst, a 70-year-old Red Army veteran born in the Ukraine, has lived in Israel since World War II; he lost his first wife and child to the German invaders and his second wife to divorce. He’s tended […]

Award-Worthy Fiction from Aaron Gwyn, Sadie Jones, Simon Sebag Montefiore, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 1,

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Davenport, Randi. The End of Always. Twelve. May 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781455573073. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455573066. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455552108. Downloadable: Hachette. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association Prize for Creative Non-fiction, Davenport drew on her family history to write this first novel about a young woman’s desire to escape a legacy of […]

Leon & Shipstead in Fiction, Caldwell & Ehrenreich in Nonfiction | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

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Caldwell, Gail. New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir. Random. Apr. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9781400069545. $22; ebk. ISBN 9780679604426. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR Highly regarded when she served as chief book critic for the Boston Globe—she won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism—Caldwell has since made her mark with the thoughtful and beautifully wrought memoirs Let’s Take […]

Mystery from Crombie, History from Dunmore, & a Steinbeck Anniversary Edition | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

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Crombie, Deborah. To Dwell in Darkness. Morrow. Apr. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062271600. $25.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY In the latest Duncan Kincaid–Gemma James outing, Duncan is investigating a lethal bombing in famed St. Pancras Station after having just been transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Gemma’s assistant saw it all, but […]

Emma Donoghue, Michelle Huneven, Ward Just, Peter Matthiessen, Lawrence Osborne | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 1

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Donoghue, Emma. Frog Music. Little, Brown. Apr. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316324687. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316324663. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORICAL/CRIME Donoghue caught everyone’s attention with Room, a visceral stunner that has sold more than 1.5 million copies and was a 2010 Man Booker Prize finalist. Her follow-up short story collection, Astray, a personal favorite, demonstrated her […]

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