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 […]

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Taya Kyle, Tavis Smiley, & Four Big Musicians| Memoir Previews, May 2015, Pt. 2

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General Bello, Maria. Love Is Love. Dey Street. May 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780062351838. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062351852. MEMOIR Having sparked a major conversation when “Coming Out as a Modern Family” appeared in the much-read “Modern Love” column in the New York Times, Bello here expands on her story of falling in love with a woman […]

From Barney Frank to William Wellman | Biography/Memoir Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 3

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Frank, Barney. Frank. Farrar. Mar. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780374280307. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374711429. CD: Macmillan Audio. BIOGRAPHY Frank has some pretty impressive credentials—as a Democrat, he represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts for nearly five decades and chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2013—and one impressive first: he was the first […]