A Celebrity Friendship, a Musician as Healer, & More | Biography/Memoir Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Achon, Julius & Brant, John. The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon. Ballantine. Aug. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780553392159. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392166. Downloadable: Random Audio.  BIOGRAPHY Born into poverty in Uganda, Achon was forced into the horrific Lord’s Resistance Army at age 12 but escaped to become a gifted local runner. He was […]

Delia Ephron, Laura McHugh, Cynthia Ozick, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3

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Bennett, Claire-Louise. Pond. Riverhead. Jul. 2016. 208p. ISBN 9780399575891. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399575914. SHORT STORIES Originally published by the Dublin press Stinging Fly, which has given us the likes of Kevin Barry and Colin Barrett, Bennett’s story collection attracted enough attention to get a book deal in Britain, where the Guardian called it “stunning.” This […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]

Prize-Worthy Aboulela, Screen-Worthy Cornwell & Endo, Thatcher’s Continuing Biography, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4

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Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies. Grove. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802124487. $26. LITERARY FICTION Sudanese-born, Scotland-based, and relentlessly prize-worthy, Aboulela grabbed the Caine Prize for African Writing with a story from the collection Coloured Lights and the Scottish Book Award for her most recent novel, Lyrics Alley; that novel and her two others, The […]

From the Armenian Genocide to the Holocaust to the Dadaab Refugee Camp | History Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3

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Loridan-Ivens, Marceline. But You Did Not Come Back. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2016. 112p. ISBN 978080212450. $22. HISTORY When she was only 15, Loridan-Ivens was sent by the Vichy militia to the Drancy transit camp with her father, who told her that he would not survive the ordeal they were about to face. In fact, he  […]

Bagshawe Gets Reckless, Donaldson Does Novellas, Sandford Goes SF, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

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Bagshawe, Tilly. Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless: A Tracy Whitney Novel. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062304056. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062304070. THRILLER New York Times best-selling author Bagshawe has done a half-dozen Sidney Sheldon novels, including Sidney Sheldon’s Chasing Tomorrow, which picked up powerhouse heroine Tracy Whitney from 1985’s If Tomorrow Comes. Here, Tracy is back, having […]

Final Summer Sweep: Louis de Bernières, Ernest Cline, & More

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This newsletter opens coverage of September titles, before you even have a chance to shimmy into your bathing suit and head to the pool, and it’s the last chance to cite a few big summer titles that have come to my attention late. Note, for instance, Louis de Bernières’s The Dust That Falls from Dreams […]

Patrick deWitt, Lori Ostlund, Edward St. Aubyn, & More Award-Winning Writers | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1

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deWitt, Patrick. Undermajordomo Minor. Ecco. Sept. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062281203. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062281234. LITERARY FICTION If you liked DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, an edgily funny remake of the classic Western that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, you’ll probably like his new work, too. Weak and hapless Lucien (Lucy) Minor feels like a […]

Race, Education, & the Prison System | Social Science Reviews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1

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Faderman, Lillian. The Gay Revolution:The Story of the Struggle. S. & S. Sept. 2015. 512p. ISBN 9781451694116. $35. SOCIAL HISTORY Winner of six Lambda Literary Awards, two Stonewall Book Awards from the American Library Association, and Yale’s James Robert Brudner Memorial Prize and Lecture for Exemplary Scholarship in Lesbian/Gay Studies, among other honors, Faderman is […]

Peter Carey, Anita Diamant, Haruki Murakami, & More | Last-Minute Fall/Winter Fiction

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Carey, Peter. Amnesia. Knopf. Jan. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780385352772. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352789. LITERARY Just in time for all those revelations about America spying on its allies, Carey, the winner of multiple Booker, Commonwealth, and Miles Franklin awards, examines key points of contention between this country and Australia with an edgy cyber story as context. […]