Fiction from Fortier, Moore, & Mosse, a Memoir from Feldman, a Soldier’s Story | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2014, Pt. 2

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Feldman, Deborah. Exodus. Blue Rider. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780399162770. $26.95. MEMOIR As she recounted in her eye-opening memoir, Unorthodox, a New York Times best seller, Feldman was raised in a strict Satmar Hasidic community in Brooklyn but eventually abandoned her roots and a loveless marriage, attending Sarah Lawrence College and becoming a writer. Here […]

Tales from the Heartland | The Reader’s Shelf, August 2013

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The Reader’s Shelf emphasizes a mix of fiction, memoir, and journalism.

American Fun, SAT Prep, & the Financial Divide | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

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Beckman, John. American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307908179. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307908186. SOCIAL HISTORY Author of the debut novel The Winter Zoo, a New York Times Notable Book, Beckman challenges our understanding of American Puritanism by showing that we’ve been an essentially prankish, fun-loving nation. Colonists reveled wildly, […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2014, Pt. 1: Four Essential Literature Titles, Including Susan Cheever on e.e. cummings

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Cheever, Susan. E.E. Cummings: A Life. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307379979. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307908674. LITERATURE Though Edmund Wilson called his poetry hideous, Malcolm Cowley proclaimed e.e. cummings unsurpassed in his field, and when he died in 1962, he was the most read poet in this country after Robert Frost. There’s still plenty of […]

Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 1: Military History & Memoir

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Alahmady, Ryadh Khalaf (“Johnny Walker”) & Jim deFelice. Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything To Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs. Morrow. Feb. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780062267559. $26.99. MEMOIR/MILITARY Committed to changing his country’s government, Iraqi Alahmady worked as a translator for the U.S. military during the war, […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: Dow, Grandin, Moore, & More

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Brewster, Joe & Michèle Stephenson. American Promise: Raising Black Boys To Succeed in School and in Life. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780812994483. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812994490. EDUCATION The black male achievement gap is a real problem even for successful parents like Harvard-trained psychiatrist Brewster and Columbia Law School graduate Stephenson, who became […]

Behind Closed Doors on Long Island | Memoir

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Dylan told us all that “everything is gonna be diff’rent when I paint my masterpiece.” The belief that things could be different, even if they weren’t going to be perfect, carried many of this month’s memoirists through very trying times. Masterpieces are not always on canvas: here we glimpse families, houses, and careers that are themselves real works of art.

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 […]

Surprise Roosters | Memoir

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According to this month’s memoirists, a surprise rooster is a formerly sweet hen that starts acting like a brute and grows feathers in suspicious places. Cock-a-doodle-doo! Oddly, the first two memoirs I read this month (Bootstrapper and Mud Season) featured a surprise rooster that both authors thought was a hen but turned out not to […]

Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2013, Pt. 2: Sports Stars, Classical Music, & Anxiety

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  Bradlee, Ben, Jr. The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams. Little, Brown. Dec. 2013. 784p. ISBN 9780316614351. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316084482; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316163712. CD: Hachette Audio. BIOGRAPHY/SPORTS On leave from 25 distinguished years as a reporter and then deputy managing editor at the Boston Globe, Bradlee gives us a biography of […]

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