Love, History, Language, Tragedy | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

buckley

Buckley, Gail Lumet. The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family. Atlantic Monthly. Feb. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9780802124548. $26. BIOGRAPHY/CULTURAL HERITAGE The daughter of actress Lena Horne, Buckley traces her roots back to great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave given that rare chance to obtain an education who […]

On China, Criticism, & Constance Fenimore Woolson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

huangyunte

Huang, Eddie. Back to the Mothership: In Search of Love, Happiness, and China. Spiegel & Grau. Feb. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780812995466. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995473. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. Proprietor of the popular New York City restaurant Baohaus, then author of the best-selling memoir Fresh Off the Boat (FOB), then executive producer and off-camera narrator of […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

scally

Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]

Key Poets To Discover and Rediscover, Including Juan Felipe Herrera | Poetry Previews, Fall 2015

equi

Equi, Elaine. Sentences and Rain. Coffee House. Oct. 2015. 100p. ISBN 9781566894210. pap. $16.95. POETRY Sharp-eyed, witty, and ever able to nail the mood or idea in distilled language—“A slight implies/ if not an insult/ (real or imagined)/ at least something/ unpleasant—/a slight cold,/ a slight headache”—Equi here ranges across the contemporary landscape, from clones […]

Eight Essential Memoirs from Barrymore, Cisneros, Fraser, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

fraser

Barrymore, Drew. Wildflower. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781101983799. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101983805. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR While 1990’s Little Girl Lost details Barrymore’s drug and alcohol abuse as a very young actress, this book covers the durable actress’s life since age 14, when she found herself living on her own. How it’s all come […]

Geraldine Brooks, J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, & the Return of Lisbeth Salander | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

scally

Brooks, Geraldine. The Secret Chord. Viking. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780670025770. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for March) and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), has always triumphed with historical subjects, and she’s back at it with this novel about King […]

Linda Fairstein, Sophie Hannah, Michael Koryta, & More | Essential Thriller Titles, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4

fairstein

Burdett, John. The Asset. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307272683. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353205. POLICE PROCEDURAL Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a Buddhist detective with the Royal Thai Police Force, returns after Vulture Peak for some seriously techy trouble. With female inspector Krom, as capable socially and technologically as he’s not, Sonchai peers through a raging typhoon at […]

Fredrik Backman, C.J. Box, Shirley Jackson, & The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

jacksonshirley

Backman, Fredrik. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Atria. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781501115066. $25. LITERARY FICTION An international best seller published in more than 25 languages worldwide, Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, got lovely reviews here that almost always used the word charming. That word (though perhaps with more […]

Gaiman, Klaussmann, Kumin, Scottoline/Serritella, Wascom, & Karjel’s Hot New Swedish Thriller | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

swede

Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Edition. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062371058. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780061793059. FANTASY You know Neverwhere, Gaiman’s first book, the career launcher that told the story of perfectly pleasant London businessman Richard Mayhew’s sudden drop through a crack in reality to the Neverwhere, a shadowy place under siege by some […]

Butler, Danielewski, Enright, Hemon, Pearl, & Perkins-Valdez | Barbara’s All-Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 2

butler

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 […]