Banville, Mamet, Zadie Smith, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2018

Banville, John. Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir. Knopf. Feb. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781524732837. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732844. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/TRAVEL Not just a memoir, this new work by Man Booker Prize winner Banville recounts his relationship with Dublin, a significant force in his life if not in his fiction until the Quirke mystery series […]

Winter with Knausgaard & Ali Smith, Cornwell Revisits Shakespeare, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2018

Benjamin, Melanie. The Girls in the Picture. Delacorte. Jan. 2018. 448p. ISBN 9781101886809. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101886816. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Mary Pickford was full of the firsts: the first to have her name above the marquee, to win Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie, and to place her hand- and footprints […]

Eco, Erdrich, Khizr Khan, Kevin Young, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2017

Eco, Umberto. Chronicles of a Liquid Society. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2017. tr. from Italian by Richard Dixon. 272p. ISBN 9780544974487. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780544974579. PHILOSOPHY/ESSAYS Novelist, essayist, literary critic, philosopher, and semiotician nonpareil (see his star turn in Laurent Binet’s sensational The Seventh Function of Language, which supposes that Roland Barthes was murdered), Eco began […]

From David Abrams to Jenny Zhang | Literary Fiction Previews, Aug. 2017

Abrams, David. Brave Deeds. Black Cat: Grove/Atlantic. Aug. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780802126863. pap. $16. LITERARY A New York Times Notable Book, Barnes & Noble pick, and finalist for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Abrams’s Fobbit was among the first—and most sharply satiric—in a long line of fiction by soldier writers of the Middle […]

Science, Knausgaard, & America from Abroad | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jul./Aug. 2017

Davis, Angela J., ed. Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment. Pantheon. Jul. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781101871270. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101871287. AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES The recent deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and more bring into ever sharper focus the long, tragic history of the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of African American men. This […]

Making History | Nonfiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 2

Allison, Graham. Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides’s Trap. Houghton Harcourt. May 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780544935273. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780544935334. POLITICAL SCIENCE/HISTORY Founding dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who has served in both the Reagan and the Clinton administrations and twice won the Pentagon’s highest civilian award, Allison coined the term the […]

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 […]

Elif Batuman, Mohsin Hamid, Chris Hayes, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

Batuman, Elif. The Idiot. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781594205613. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101622513. lrg. prnt. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION As evidenced by her National Book Critics Circle finalist, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, Batuman is a refreshingly different breed of critic, offering intriguingly personal and […]

Hot-Button Issues | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781594206641. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698402638. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA The newest addiction? It’s not to a substance but to a behavior, argues New York University professor Alter, author of the New York Times […]

From Aciman to Coretta Scott King | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

Aciman, André. Enigma Variations. Farrar. Jan. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780374148430. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374714772. LITERARY FICTION Aciman made his name with the memoir Out of Egypt and came forth as a novelist with 2007’s Let Me Call Your Name, a New York Times Notable Book that won numerous other honors; 2013’s Harvard Square got raves. […]