Hot-Button Issues | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

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Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781594206641. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698402638. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA The newest addiction? It’s not to a substance but to a behavior, argues New York University professor Alter, author of the New York Times […]

Nobel Prize Winner Coetzee & Civil War as Concept | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4

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Armitage, David. Civil Wars: A History in Ideas. Knopf. Feb. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780307271136. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353090. PHILOSOPHY/HISTORY The Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, Armitage considers civil war not as an aggregation of battles but as an idea dating back to republican Rome. That idea really matters, for whether or […]

Eliot Ackerman, Han Kang, Mark Kurlansky, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 1

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Ackerman, Elliot. Dark at the Crossing. Knopf. Jan. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781101947371. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947388. LITERARY A Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ackerman is among the soldier-writers who have returned home to give us a considered view of the fighting. He’s […]

Rising Stars | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 1

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Barkan, Josh. Mexico: Stories. Hogarth: Crown. Jan. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781101906293. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781101906309. SHORT STORIES What do you do when a drug lord walks into your restaurant? Or when a parent walks into your classroom and threatens to kill you if his son falls for the wrong girl? These are some of the […]

On Elvis Presley & George Lucas | Nonfiction Previews, December 2016, Pt. 1

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Connolly, Ray. Being Elvis. Liveright: Norton. Dec. 2016. 369p. ISBN 9781631492808. $27.95. BIOGRAPHY Longtime British rock journalist Connolly, also a novelist and award-winning screenwriter, interviewed numerous Sixties and Seventies stars while working for the London Evening Standard. Elvis Presley was among them. Now, on the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death, Connolly has crafted a biography […]

Pop Fiction from Kelley Armstrong to Stuart Woods | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Armstrong, Kelley. Otherworld Chills. Plume. Oct. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780062410337. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698173569.  FANTASY Armstrong drums up the last of three anthologies featuring short stories and novellas about characters from her mega-best-selling “Otherworld” series. While the first anthology featured romance and the second mystery, this all-new collection puts Nick, Hope, Karl, and the […]

From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]

Shirley Jackson, 9/11 Hero Welles Crowther, John le Carré, Riad Sattouf, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4

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Bergner, Daniel. Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family. Lee Boudreaux: Little, Brown. Sept. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780316300674. $28. BIOGRAPHY Growing up in low-income housing in Virginia, Ryan Speedo Green was placed in a special classroom for unmanageable children and by age 12 was in juvenile detention after threatening to kill […]

Sophie Hannah, Eimear McBride, Ron Rash & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2016. , Pt. 3

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Hannah, Sophie/Agatha Christie. Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Novel. Morrow. Sept. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062458827. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062458841. CD: HarperAudio. MYSTERY With The Monogram Murders, Hannah gutsily took on the task of bringing back Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, and though some fans sniped, it was a New York Times best seller that got […]

A Celebrity Friendship, a Musician as Healer, & More | Biography/Memoir Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Achon, Julius & John Brant. The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon. Ballantine. Aug. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780553392159. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392166. Downloadable: Random Audio.  BIOGRAPHY Born into poverty in Uganda, Achon was forced into the horrific Lord’s Resistance Army at age 12 but escaped to become a gifted local runner. He was […]