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 […]

Alameddine, Picoult, & Ali Smith Helping Public Libraries | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Alameddine, Rabih. The Angel of History. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802125767. $26. LITERARY FICTION Named a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and PEN Open Book Award finalist and a best book by over half a dozen venues, Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman features an older Beiruti woman whose life is refracted […]

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 […]

In Wartime | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2

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Cozzens, Peter. The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West. Knopf. Oct. 2016. 576p. ISBN 9780307958044. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780307958051. HISTORY In the 16 books he has authored or edited, Cozzens has written about both the Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West. Here he […]

From Peter Ho Davies to Rose Tremain | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4

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Davies, Peter Ho. Tell It Slant. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780544263703. $27. LITERARY The son of a Welsh father and a Chinese mother, Davies won multiple awards for his first story collection and was proclaimed among the Best Young British Novelists by Granta. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, was a Los Angeles […]

The Idiot Brain, Fashion Photography, the Microbiome, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3

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Burnett, Dean. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To. Norton. Jul. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780393253788. $26.95. COGNITIVE SCIENCE Ever popular, books about the brain typically extol its wonders, but Burnett lets us in on all the weird things it does, ranging from blackouts to insomnia, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying […]

Spring 2016 Poetry: Top Picks

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From Frank Bidart’s contained drama and Rita Dove’s blazingly heartfelt exploration of self and history, to the engaging openness of Campbell McGrath and Maureen McLane, to the shape-shifting formal verve of Tyehimba Jess and Brenda Shaughnessy, to the sheer burning wit of Kim Addonizio and Bob Hicok, poetry today is so rich and varied that, […]

Sean Carroll, Janine di Giovanni, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Nathaniel Philbrick | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Carroll, Sean. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780525954828. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698409767. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SCIENCE A theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, Carroll won the Royal Society Winton Prize for The Particle at the End of the Universe, his […]

O’Nan in Jerusalem, a Newly Discovered Tolkien, Abu-Jaber’s New Memoir, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abu-Jaber, Diana. Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Norton. Apr. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780393249095. $26.95. MEMOIR Abu-Jaber, a fiction writer known for sparkling award winners like Crescent, has also given us the luscious memoir The Language of Baklava. Here she continues wrapping her discussion of love and identity in the sweet […]