Marshmallow Tests and Swimming Puppies | More Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Aptowicz, Cristin O’Keefe. Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. Gotham. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781592408702. $27.50. BIOGRAPHY/MEDICINE Whether you know it or not, you are deeply indebted to Thomas Dent Mütter, a plastic surgeon in mid-19th-century Philadelphia who pioneered the use of anesthesia and the sterilization […]

From Lev Grossman to Susan Vreeland | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 2

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Grossman, Lev. The Magician’s Land. Viking. Aug. 2014. ISBN 9780670015672. $27.95. CD: Penguin Random. Audio. FANTASY When he’s not reviewing books for Time, Grossman writes engrossing fantasy that has won him the 2011 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer from the World Science Fiction Society. Here’s the conclusion to a trilogy that […]

Key Summer Titles | Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

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It may be snowing in New York City as I write, but the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program is already announcing its top summer picks. Pay attention, because this program is excellent at spotting worthy and big-breaking books. The titles most likely to make tracks, maybe to some best sellers lists, include […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

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Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a […]

History, Science, & Politics | Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Baime, A.J. The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Ford Motor Company, and Their Epic Quest To Arm an America at War. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780547719283. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780547834443. HISTORY As Detroit faces bankruptcy, you’ll want to read this instructive title about its crucial role during World War II, when Edsel Ford defied […]

Mystery from Crombie, History from Dunmore, & a Steinbeck Anniversary Edition | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

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Crombie, Deborah. To Dwell in Darkness. Morrow. Apr. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062271600. $25.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY In the latest Duncan Kincaid–Gemma James outing, Duncan is investigating a lethal bombing in famed St. Pancras Station after having just been transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Gemma’s assistant saw it all, but […]

Carla Buckley, Sophie Hannah, Mai Jia, B.J. Novak, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

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Adrian, Lara. Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel. Delacorte. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345532633. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345532640. Downloadable: Random Audio. PARANORMAL ROMANCE Edge of Dawn, latest in a hugely popular series that broke into hardcover last year, pushed up Adrian’s Midnight Breed story by 20 years. Continuing in that time frame, this volume […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: Elisabeth de Waal, Alan Lightman, Gary Shteyngart, & More

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  de Waal, Elisabeth. The Exiles Return. Picador. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781250045782. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250045799. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Like Irène Némirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling The Hare with Amber Eyes, their Jewish banking family’s possessions were appropriated […]

Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup; from Terry McMillan to Debut Novelists Allen, Crawford, Daly, & More

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Allen, Lisa Van. The Wishing Thread. Ballantine. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780345538550. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345537829. WOMEN’S FICTION Owners of the Stitchery Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, NY, the Van Ripper women can reputedly grant wishes by stitching them into their knitted goods. But the Stitchery’s matriarch has just died, leaving a will that could […]

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