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 […]

Atkinson, Dubow, Palahniuk, & Shepard | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 1

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Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins. Little, Brown. May 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780316176538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316341554. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316341530. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. LITERARY Even without its Costa Award and numerous Best Book nods, Atkinson’s remarkably shape-shifting Life After Life would have legions of fans, and they’ll be excited to learn that her next […]

Upmarket Fiction from Amit Chaudhuri, Emily Schultz, Adam Thirlwell, & More | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 3

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Begley, Louis. Killer, Come Hither. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. 256p. ISBN 9780385539142. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539159. LITERARY/THRILLER In a departure from his smooth-as-melted-butter stories of New York’s stratospheric milieu (e.g., About Schmidt), Begley tries out a literary thriller starring Jack Dana, a Yalie turned marine officer turned successful novelist. Close to his uncle Harry, a […]

Ishiguro, Kanon, Larson, Lehane, O’Hagan, Putnam | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Buried Giant. Knopf. Mar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307271037. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353229. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION Discussing a novel in the works during a 2008 interview for the Paris Review, Booker Prize winner Ishiguro explained that while his writing has typically examined how individuals deal with painful memories, “I’d […]

Great Book Club Books from Kate Alcott, Tom McCarthy, Tatjana Soli, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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Alcott, Kate. A Touch of Stardust. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385539043. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385539050. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICAL How fun is this? Alcott, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dressmaker, has written a big, sprawling novel about the filming of Gone with the Wind, with a side trip to the boiling-over […]