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 […]

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

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

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 […]

Shame, Stuffication, and Doing Good | Social Science Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

Brown, Brené. Mapping Brave. Spiegel & Grau. Mar. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780812995824. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812995831. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SELF-HELP A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brown studies issues of vulnerability and shame—which leads her directly to this book’s subject, bravery, both what it is and how we […]

Charles Baxter, Sara Blaedel, Nick Hornby, Reif Larsen, Peter Swanson, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

Baxter, Charles. There’s Something I Want You To Do. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9781101870013. $24; ebk. ISBN ISBN 9781101870020. SHORT STORIES A National Book Award nominee for The Feast of Love, Baxter returns with his first story collection in 15 years. Piercingly elegant, as always, the stories are divided into two sections, one embodying […]

Great Book Club Books from Kate Alcott, Tom McCarthy, Tatjana Soli, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

Alcott, Kate. A Touch of Stardust. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385539043. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385539050. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICAL How fun is this? Alcott, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dressmaker, has written a big, sprawling novel about the filming of Gone with the Wind, with a side trip to the boiling-over […]

Six Essential Debuts, from Quan Barry to M.O. Walsh | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1

Barry, Quan. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780307911773. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307911780. LITERARY Barry writes quietly fervent poetry that’s been honored with an AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize, which bodes well for her first foray into fiction. Heroine Rabbit is born along the Song Ma River as the Vietnam […]

Award-Winning Novelists from Rachel Cusk to Yu Hua | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 3

Crummey, Michael. Sweetland. Liveright: Norton. Jan. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780871407900. $24.95. LITERARY Winner of the Commonwealth Prize for Canada for his most recent work, Galore, Crummey sets his new work on an isolated Canadian island—so isolated, in fact, that the government has offered to resettle folks from the island’s one town, the ever-diminishing Sweetland, provided […]