Bloom, Ellis, Shipler, & the Freakonomics Duo | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 1


Bloom, Harold. The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime. Spiegel & Grau. May 2015. 528p. ISBN 9780812997828. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780812997835. LITERATURE A Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard, and MacArthur Fellow, Bloom at 84 remains one of our best-known and most influential critics. Though he’s […]

Brian Doyle, Bruce Holsinger, Ann Packer, & Three Essential World War II Titles | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2


Doyle, Brian. Martin Marten. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250045201. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466843691. LITERARY Published by an academic press, the luminously written Mink River was a dead giveaway that Doyle had a big literary future ahead of him, and he proved himself nicely with last year’s The Plover. His new novel […]

Essential Chillers from Iles, Indridason, Locke, Scottoline, & More | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2


Brennan, Allison. Compulsion. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250035028. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250035035. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER Probing a retired couple’s disappearance the previous summer, investigative report Maxine (“Max”) Revere is convinced that serial killer Adam Bachman—whose trial she’s currently covering—is somehow connected and that in fact he has an accomplice. She’s even […]

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


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


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 […]

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


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 […]

Our Vietnam, Legal Advice for Women, Langston Hughes, Andrew Cuomo, Fashion Giants | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3


Appy, Christian G. American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. Viking. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780670025398. $28.95. HISTORY A professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Appy is noted for two big books on the Vietnam War, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides, an oral history, and Working-Class War: […]

Neil Gaiman, Rachel Joyce, Anne Tyler, Irvine Welsh | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1


Gaiman, Neil. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Discoveries. Morrow. Feb. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062330260. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062330291. CD: HarperAudio. SHORT STORIES I don’t have to introduce Gaiman as the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Award– and Newbery Medal–winning author of Coraline and other spectacular examples of speculative fiction, do I? He’s back with […]

Memoirs from Musicians (Charlie Wilson), Journalists (Robert Chirstgau, Kevin Sessums), a Genius Gamer (Garriott de Cayeux ), & More | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1


Christgau. Robert. Going into the City: Portrait of a Critic As a Young Man. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Feb. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062238795. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062238818. MEMOIR Chief music critic at the Village Voice for more than three decades and still going strong as a columnist and visiting arts professor at New York University, […]

Cornwell, Greenberg, Harrison, Leovy, Simsion | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4


Cornwell, Bernard. The Empty Throne. Harper. Jan. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780062250711. $27.99. HISTORICAL FICTION It’s hard going for Uhtred in this eighth entry in the popular “Saxon Tales” series by New York Times best-selling author Cornwell. First, to heal from wounds he has received in battle, he must find the sword that did the damage. […]