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. […]

Essential Literary Fiction | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3


Appelfeld, Aharon. The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping. Schocken. Jan. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9780805243192. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780805243208. LITERARY In this new work from celebrated Israeli author Appelfeld (winner of two National Jewish Book Awards), a young Holocaust survivor barely recalls his journey from Europe to Palestine, where he now works on a kibbutz. But […]

Michael Chabon, Alice Hoffman, Zadie Smith, John Edgar Wideman | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1


Chabon, Michael. Moonglow. Harper. Nov. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780062225559. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062225573. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION Framed as a man’s deathbed confession to his grandson, capturing the seesawing intensity of the American century, ranging from South Philadelphia’s Jewish slums and the invasion of Germany to New York’s Wallkill Prison and a Florida […]

T.C. Boyle, Ha Jin, & the Conclusion of a Big Biography on Eleanor Roosevelt | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 1


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, […]

From J.M.W. Turner to Al Capone | Biography Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 1


Ackroyd, Peter. Alfred Hitchcock. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Oct. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780385537414. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385537421. Downloadable: Random Audio BIOGRAPHY An award winner in both fiction and nonfiction (e.g., he claims the Whitbread Book Award for Biography), Ackroyd here explains how a fearful, chubby little boy became the masterly and iconic director Alfred Hitchcock. […]

Shirley Jackson, 9/11 Hero Welles Crowther, John le Carré, Riad Sattouf, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4


Bergner, Daniel. Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family. Lee Boudreaux: Little, Brown. Sept. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780316300674. $28. BIOGRAPHY Growing up in low-income housing in Virginia, Ryan Speedo Green was placed in a special classroom for unmanageable children and by age 12 was in juvenile detention after threatening to kill […]

Irish Stars, New York Landscapes, & Colorado Chills | Debut Fiction Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1


Leo, Forrest. The Gentleman. Penguin Pr. Aug. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780399562631. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399562648. LITERARY Victorian poet Lionel Savage marries lovely Vivien Lancaster for her money and, in a fit of despondency over his sudden inability to write, accidentally conjures up the Devil, with whom he politely discusses literature. Later, when he realizes that […]