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

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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

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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

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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, […]

Alan Bradley, Robert Olen Butler, Emma Donoghue, James Gleick, Robert Gottlieb | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 2

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Bradley, Alan. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780345539960. $26. CD: Random Audio. MYSTERY Wickedly smart young Flavia de Luce launched her investigative career with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which proved its worth by winning the Agatha, Macavity, Barry, Dilys, Arthur […]

Cleave, Dyer, Junger, Müller, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 3

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Blumenthal, Sidney. A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1849. S. & S. May 2016. 608p. ISBN 9781476777252. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781476777276. BIOGRAPHY A veteran reporter, former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Blumenthal offers the first of a three-volume study of President Abraham […]

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]