Last of the February 2016 Pop Fiction | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4


Bjørk, Samuel. I’m Traveling Alone. Viking. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525428961. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698193802. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Already a well-known novelist, playwright, and singer/songwriter in his native Norway (under the name Frode Sander Øien), Bjørk leaps into the Scandinavian crime fiction game with this story of a special homicide unit in Oslo investigating […]

Six Award-Winning Novelists, from Peter Behrens to John Wray| Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Behrens, Peter. Carry Me. Pantheon. Feb. 2016. 464p. ISBN 9781101870495. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870518. LITERARY/HISTORICAL The author of The Law of Dreams, which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2006, and 2012’s The O’Briens, ravishingly reviewed here, returns with another significant historical saga. Set in Europe between the world wars, it is […]

Top Mystery from Alexander McCall Smith, Ashley Weaver, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 2


Alexander, Tasha. The Adventuress: A Lady Emily Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781250058263. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876071. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY In this latest in the New York Times best-selling series, following The Counterfeit Heiress, Lady Emily Hargreaves heads to the French Riviera (and who wouldn’t?) to attend the nuptials of her […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Essential Memoirs from Margo Jefferson, Wendell Pierce, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2


Jefferson, Margo. Negroland. Pantheon. Sept. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780307378453. $25. MEMOIR Former New York Times theater critic Jefferson defines Negroland as “a small region of Negro America where residents are sheltered by privilege and plenty,” and in 1947 she was born into it. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the […]

Final Summer Sweep: Louis de Bernières, Ernest Cline, & More


This newsletter opens coverage of September titles, before you even have a chance to shimmy into your bathing suit and head to the pool, and it’s the last chance to cite a few big summer titles that have come to my attention late. Note, for instance, Louis de Bernières’s The Dust That Falls from Dreams […]

Roger Hobbs, Kevin P. Keating, Jeff Lindsay, James Neff, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, & Jane Urquhart | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3


Hobbs, Roger. Vanishing Games. Knopf. Jul. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385352642. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352659. CD: Random Audio. SUSPENSE The darling of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hobbs’s Ghostman was a stand-out debut, with rights sold to 25 countries, a film option snatched by Warner Bros., and 70,000 copies sold across formats in the United States. It […]

Kate Braestrup, Sen. Claire McCaskill, New Yorker Staffers Finnegan & Marx, & More | Memoir Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3


Braestrup, Kate. Anchor and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service. Little, Brown. Jul. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780316373784. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316259330. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316373760. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR Braestrup came crashingly to our attention with Here If You Need Me, a heart shaker about her pursuing a career as chaplain to the […]

Thrilling Stuff from Jefferson Bass to Dick Wolf | Fiction Previews, Jun. 2015, Pt. 3


Bass, Jefferson. The Breaking Point: A Body Farm Novel. Morrow. Jun. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062262332. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062262356. THRILLER Ten years after Dr. Bill Brockton created the Body Farm for conducting posthumous research, things are looking bad. He’s accused of misidentifying a body, threatened by a serial killer who has already attempted to kill […]

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


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 […]