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 […]

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 […]