Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]

Books for Our Times | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 1


Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9781501146923. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501146947. RELIGION As conservative New York Times columnist Douthat clarifies, Pope Francis’s stewardship as 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not without controversy. His raising issues like communion for […]

Baldacci, Child, Cornwell, Maitland, & More | Chiller Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 3


Baldacci, David. No Man’s Land. Grand Central. Nov. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9781455586516. $29; ebk. ISBN 9781455586493. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455586523. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER In his fourth outing (after The Escape), military investigator John Puller must revisit his mother’s disappearance 30 years ago for the worst of reasons. Someone has alleged that his father, now […]

From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3


Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]

Twelve Essential Mysteries | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2


Alexander, Tasha. A Terrible Beauty: A Lady Emily Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781250058270. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250106407.  MYSTERY How pleasant for Lady Emily to visit her villa on the glorious island of Santorini. And how shocking when the housekeeper tells her that the master of the house, Emily’s late husband, has […]

Spring 2016 Poetry: Top Picks


From Frank Bidart’s contained drama and Rita Dove’s blazingly heartfelt exploration of self and history, to the engaging openness of Campbell McGrath and Maureen McLane, to the shape-shifting formal verve of Tyehimba Jess and Brenda Shaughnessy, to the sheer burning wit of Kim Addonizio and Bob Hicok, poetry today is so rich and varied that, […]

Brian Panowich | Debut Spotlight, December 1, 2015


LJ caught up with Brian Panowich, author of the debut novel, Bull ­Mountain, a sweeping tale of a long-standing feud between brothers in the Appalachians of northern Georgia.

Last of the February 2016 Pop Fiction | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4


Bjørk, Samuel. I’m Traveling Alone. Viking. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525428961. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698193802. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Already a well-known novelist, playwright, and singer/songwriter in his native Norway (under the name Frode Sander Øien), Bjørk leaps into the Scandinavian crime fiction game with this story of a special homicide unit in Oslo investigating […]

A Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal Romance Mix | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3


Armstrong, Kelley. Otherworld Secrets: An Anthology. Plume. Jan. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780452298354. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698173521. FANTASY Last year, Armstrong published the first of three anthologies featuring the witches, werewolves, necromancers, vampires, and half-demons from her “Otherworld” series. Otherworld Nights featured only one original piece out of six short stories and two novellas, which […]

Key Poets To Discover and Rediscover, Including Juan Felipe Herrera | Poetry Previews, Fall 2015


Equi, Elaine. Sentences and Rain. Coffee House. Oct. 2015. 100p. ISBN 9781566894210. pap. $16.95. POETRY Sharp-eyed, witty, and ever able to nail the mood or idea in distilled language—“A slight implies/ if not an insult/ (real or imagined)/ at least something/ unpleasant—/a slight cold,/ a slight headache”—Equi here ranges across the contemporary landscape, from clones […]