Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]

Cooks, Rebel Mothers, & Media Stars | Memoir Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


Andreas, Peter. Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781501124396. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501124457. MEMOIR In the Sixties, conventional housewife Carol Andreas morphed into a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary, running through numerous husbands and lovers as she sought for and fought for important causes. She took her […]

Of Historical Interest | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2


Carroll, Andrew. My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War. Penguin Pr. Apr. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9781594206481. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780698192669. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORY Creator of the Legacy Project, which collects wartime correspondence, Carroll drew on the project’s archives to assemble two New York Times best-selling anthologies, […]

Key Literary Fiction | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 1


Bausch, Richard. Living in the Weather of the World: Stories. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780451494825. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451494832. SHORT STORIES Recipient of a PEN/Malamud Award, among other honors, Bausch has been called a master of the short story by the New York Times Book Review, and here he gets to strut his stuff. […]

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


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 […]

Award-Worthy Fiction | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 1


Danielewski, Mark Z. The Familiar. Vol. 4: Hades. Pantheon. Feb. 2017. 880p. ISBN 9780375715006. pap. $26.95. LITERARY/FANTASY One Rainy Day in May, the first volume of National Book Award finalist Danielewski’s magnum opus, The Familiar, was published in 2015 and quickly hit the New York Times best sellers list, rising to No. 5. The entire […]

Obama, Russian Bears, & Banking | Current Events Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 1


D’Antonio, Michael. A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781250081391. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466893276. POLITICAL SCIENCE Part of a Newsday team that won a Pulitzer Prize, D’Antonio is the author of numerous books, most recently Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success (which the […]

Günter Grass’s Last Work, the Nabokov-Wilson Feud, & More | Barbara’s Picks, December 2016, Pt. 1


Beam, Alex. The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship. Pantheon. Dec. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781101870228. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870235. LITERATURE/biogr In 1940, leading man of American letters Edmund Wilson helped asylum-seeker Vladimir Nabokov get settled in this country, introducing him to editors and assigning him book reviews for the […]

Twelve Essential Mysteries | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2


Alexander, Tasha. A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781250058270. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250106407.  MYSTERY How pleasant for Lady Emily to visit her villa on the glorious island of Santorini. And how shocking when the housekeeper tells her that the master of the house, Emily’s late husband, has […]

T.C. Boyle, Ha Jin, & the Conclusion of a Big Biography on Eleanor Roosevelt | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 1


Boyle, T.C. The Terranauts. Ecco. Oct. 2016. 528p. ISBN 9780062349408. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062349460. LITERARY FICTION Winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for his entire oeuvre at last year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Boyle returns quickly after the New York Times best-selling The Harder They Come. In this eco-relevant work, set in 1994, […]