Ancient Egypt, Chinese Aspirations, & More | History Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 3

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Ellsberg, Daniel. The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Bloomsbury. Mar. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781608196708. $30. POLITICAL SCIENCE In 1961, when Ellsberg served as a consultant to the Department of Defense and the White House, he helped draft Secretary Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war. Then he leaked the Pentagon Papers, and the […]

Hot-Button Literary Fiction | Fiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

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Atogun, Odafe. Taduno’s Song. Pantheon. Mar. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9781101871454. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101871461. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/CULTURAL HERITAGE When Nigerian musician Taduno returns home from exile, he finds himself unrecognized in an unrecognizable land and learns that his girlfriend has been abducted by government agents. He faces a tough choice: to battle the powers […]

Elif Batuman, Mohsin Hamid, Chris Hayes, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

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Batuman, Elif. The Idiot. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781594205613. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101622513. lrg. prnt. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION As evidenced by her National Book Critics Circle finalist, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, Batuman is a refreshingly different breed of critic, offering intriguingly personal and […]

Building Better Bodies, Protecting Data, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4

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Buting, Jerome F. Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System. Harper. Feb. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780062569318. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062569332. TRUE CRIME The criminal defense lawyer for Steven Avery in the Teresa Halbach murder trial, chronicled in the headlines-making Netflix original documentary series, Making a Murderer, Buting uses that case and […]

Laird Hunt, Yiyun Lee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3

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Dennett, Daniel C. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton. Feb. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780393242072. $28.95. PHILOSOPHY/MIND & BODY Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and winner of the Erasmus Prize, Dennett knows how to talk to lay readers; he’s published numerous books, not just with academic presses […]

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

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Alexander, Brian. Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781250085801. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250085818. ECONOMICS In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, OH, the quintessential all-American town. Seventy years later, it’s fighting for its life, with its main industry—Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world’s […]

Last-Minute Call | Three Big Books This Fall

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It’s not just Bernie Sanders dropping into the fall schedule last minute with Our Revolution. In December, best-selling author Michael Lewis returns with The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Norton. 320p. ISBN 9780393254594. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393254600), an account of the groundbreaking (and ultimately Nobel Prize–winning) studies by Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman […]

Essential Literary Fiction | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

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Appelfeld, Aharon. The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping. Schocken. Jan. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9780805243192. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780805243208. LITERARY In this new work from celebrated Israeli author Appelfeld (winner of two National Jewish Book Awards), a young Holocaust survivor barely recalls his journey from Europe to Palestine, where he now works on a kibbutz. But […]

Sugar, Fat, & Flavor | Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2016, Pt. 2

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Lohman, Sarah. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. S. & S. Dec. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781476753959. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476753980. COOKING As a historical gastronomist, Lohman has worked her way through cookbooks, manuscripts, and various economic, scientific, political, and religious tracts dating from the 1700s to understand what’s cooking in America. And despite […]

Last of the Christmas Novels 2016 | Fiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 2

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Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition. Norton. Nov. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9780393608649. $21.95. FICTION/CLASSICS Each holiday season, Manhattan’s famed Morgan Library & Museum displays one of its most important documents: the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with corrections, deletions, and insertions all in Dickens’s own hand. Since I can […]