Fiction Previews, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: 12 Crucial Titles, from Hot International Fiction (Drndic, Yu Hua) to Works by American Prize Winners (Greenway, Martin) to Upscale Thrillers (Billingham, Dolan)

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  Billingham, Mark. From the Dead. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780802122131. $25. THRILLER A top-selling UK crime writer (and, surprisingly, a former stand-up comic who proved how funny he can still be at Grove Atlantic’s ALA dinner), Billingham is making a name for himself here—with the help of his publisher, which has signed […]

Fiction Previews, Nov. 2013, Pt. 2: Top Commercial Fiction, Including Cornwell, Cussler, & McCall Smith

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Bruen, Ken. Purgatory. Mysterious Pr: Grove/Atlantic. Nov. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780802126078. $24. CD: Highbridge Audio. MYSTERY Nine previous titles, a Shamus Award, multiple award nominations, two feature films, and now this: even as he struggles to maintain his hard-won stability, former cop Jack Taylor must face a vigilante killer wiping out the bad guys of […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 3: Basbanes, Boyle, Cahill, Drabble, Goleman, Holmes, Lepore, MacGregor, Venter, & Winterson

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Basbanes, Nicholas A. On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History. Knopf. Oct. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9780307266422. $35. HISTORY Having given us a much-loved trilogy of books about books—A Gentle Madness, Patience and Fortitude, and A Splendor of Letters—Basbanes has written a thoroughgoing chronicle about the stuff books are traditionally made of: paper. He starts […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 2: Nonfiction from Robert Dallek, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Lieberman, & John W. Pilley

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Dallek, Robert. Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House. Harper: HarperCollins. Oct. 2013. 576p. ISBN 9780062065841. $32.50. lrg. prnt. HISTORY Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, and aides Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger: these were the courtiers of Camelot, the smart and […]

Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2013, Pt. 3: Barnes, Carroll, Coetzee, Ford, George, Harding, Hastings, Kennedy, Lahiri

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Barnes, Julian. Levels of Life. Knopf. Sept. 2013. 144p. ISBN 9780385350778. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350785. MEMOIR Not a conventional memoir—did you really expect something so mundane from the multi-award-winning author of Flaubert’s Parrot and The Sense of an Ending?—this book aims to “put together two things that have not been put together before, and the […]

Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, Pt. 5: Essential Reading Beyond the Commercial Blockbusters: Baker, Horn, Perrotta, & More

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Baker, Nicholson. Traveling Sprinkler. Blue Rider: Penguin Group (USA). Sept. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780399160967. $26.95. LITERARY Baker’s The Anthologist, in which Paul Chowder tries valiantly to get started on a collection of formal verse, won best-book nods from a half-dozen venues. This new novel again features the hapless Chowder, here eager to jump-start his life […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2013, Pt. 2: al-Shaykh, Charleson, Ferguson, Griswold, Shriver, Solnit

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al-Shaykh, Hanan. One Thousand and One Nights: A Sparkling Retelling of the Beloved Classic. Pantheon. Jun. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780307958860. $26; eISBN 9780307958877. LITERATURE A crucial and sometimes controversial figure in Middle Eastern literature, Lebanese author al-Shaykh here translates 19 of the stories young queen Shahrazad told her husband each night so that he would […]

Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2013, Pt. 3: Of Hamlet, English Spelling, Italy by Rail, and More

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Chopra, Aneesh. Big Small Smart: How American Government Can Accomplish More with Less Through Open Innovation, Collaboration, and Participation. Atlantic Monthly. Jun. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780802121332. $25. POLITICAL SCIENCE As the federal government’s first chief technology officer, Chopra worked hard to help Americans through online means, bringing in everything from electronic records for veterans to […]

Fiction Previews, Jun. 2013, Pt. 1: Great Beach Reads from Andrews, Hilderbranch, Weisberger, and More

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Andrews, Mary Kay. Ladies’ Night. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781250019677. $25.99. CD: Macmillan. POP FICTION When hot new media star Grace Stanton wreaks revenge on her cheating husband by gear-shifting his nifty little sports car into the swimming pool, she loses everything—McMansion, bank account, and even access to her lifestyle blog. But she […]

Final April 2013 Previews: Rees on Hitler, Meyer on the Borgias, and Best Poetry of 25 Years

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Barnett, Kristine. The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius. Random. Apr. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780812993370. $27; eISBN 9780679645245. CD/Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR At age 12, Jacob Barnett became a paid researcher in quantum physics, and his IQ is higher than Einstein’s was. But as a distracted toddler, he was diagnosed with autism, and Jacob’s […]

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