Five Key Literary/Historical Debut Novels | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 1

browntaylor

Brown, Taylor. Fallen Land. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781250077974. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466893078. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Montana Prize winner Brown has published short fiction in venues like the Baltimore Review and  storySouth but makes the leap to full-blown novelist with a work set in Georgia in the final years of the Civil War. Callum, a […]

Five Essential Historical Titles | Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2015, Pt. 2

millerlee

Crowley, Roger. Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Random. Dec. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780812994001. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780812994018. HISTORY Crowley spent some of his childhood in Malta, hung around Greece the summer after finishing school, and taught in Istanbul after reading English at Cambridge, and his enduring interest in the history of the […]

National Book Award Winner McCann, Nobel Prize Winner Oe, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

markandvoid

McCann, Colum. Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories. Random. Oct. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780812996722. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812996739. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SHORT STORIES This is the first story collection in 12 years from McCann, whose multiple awards include the National Book Award (for Let the Great World Spin) and the International Dublin […]

Four Essential Sci/Med Titles from Tim Flannery, Lisa Randall, & More | Nonfiction Previews, October 2015, Pt. 2

randall

Flannery, Tim. Atmosphere of Hope: The Search for Solutions to the Climate Crisis. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780802124067. $27; ebk. ISBN9780802190925. NATURE Ten years ago, Flannery helped jump-start the conversation on climate change with The Weather Makers, a No. 1 international best seller that was named an ALA Notable Book and has over […]

Gregory Maguire, Anthony Marra, David Mitchell, Jane Smiley | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

marra

Maguire, Gregory. After Alice. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780770436445. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062410825. CD: HarperAudio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Known for his revisionist take on children’s classics, particularly his Wicked-ly good series drawing on The Wizard of Oz, the first of which inspired the hit Broadway musical, Maguire turns his attention to Lewis Carroll’s immortal Alice’s Adventures […]

Niall Ferguson, Joan Lunden, David Maraniss, Anne-Marie Slaughter, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

ferguson

Ferguson, Niall. Kissinger: Vol. I: The Idealist, 1923–1968. Penguin Pr. Sept. 2015. 560p. ISBN 9781594206535. $36. BIOGRAPHY Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and a senior research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Ferguson is the author of New York Times best sellers like Civilization and The Ascent of Money. With those credentials and […]

Geraldine Brooks, J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, & the Return of Lisbeth Salander | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

scally

Brooks, Geraldine. The Secret Chord. Viking. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780670025770. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for March) and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), has always triumphed with historical subjects, and she’s back at it with this novel about King […]

Julianna Baggott, Alice Hoffman, Adam Johnson, John Scalzi, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 1

hoffman

Baggott, Julianna. Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders. Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780316375108. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316375092. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316337694. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION Author of the “Pure” trilogy, a bleak and gorgeously rendered dystopian tale, Baggott here does something arrestingly different. Reclusive author Harriet Wolf is long dead, but rumors […]

Fredrik Backman, C.J. Box, Shirley Jackson, & The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

jacksonshirley

Backman, Fredrik. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Atria. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781501115066. $25. LITERARY FICTION An international best seller published in more than 25 languages worldwide, Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, got lovely reviews here that almost always used the word charming. That word (though perhaps with more […]

From Spain’s Golden Age to the Billion-Dollar Spy | History Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 1

duval

Dickey, Christopher. Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South. Crown. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780307887276. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780307887290. HISTORY As the Civil War commenced, the Confederacy desperately wanted recognition from Great Britain. But that country opposed the slave trade, which the Southern states needed reopened to maintain their economy. […]