Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling  preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]

Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeffrey Kluger, Nicholas Kristof/Sheryl WuDunn, Geoffrey Ward/Ken Burns | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 2

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Gillibrand, Kirsten. Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World. Ballantine. Sept. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780804179072. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804179089. CD/downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. MEMOIR/WOMEN’S STUDIES Appointed in 2009 to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat when Clinton became secretary of state, Gillibrand was elected to her first six-year Senate term in 2012 with […]

The ALA Midwinter Galley Chase | The Final Analysis

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In galley or book form, hundreds of titles were there for the taking on the floor of the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference, and tracking what went fastest says a lot about what people are interested in reading today. The escapist pleasures of a good thriller still attract, and the hottest hotcakes of the genre […]

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Upcoming Authors from Robin Black to Tiphanie Yanique

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Black, Robin. Life Drawing. Random. Jul. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781400068562. $25. LITERARY/PSYCHOLOGICAL Having grabbed out attention with the story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, Black returns with a debut novel about a couple living the good, creative life in the country—she’s a painter, he’s a writer—when an alluring British woman […]

Rock On: Four Big Music Titles | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Bailey, Philip with Keith Zimmerman & Kent Zimmerman. Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire. Viking. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780670785889. $28.95. MUSIC Ninety million records sold. Eight Grammy awards. Lot of platinum and gold records. And lead singer Bailey’s leaping multi-octave range. The numbers speak for themselves, but Bailey has more […]

Emma Donoghue, Michelle Huneven, Ward Just, Peter Matthiessen, Lawrence Osborne | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 1

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Donoghue, Emma. Frog Music. Little, Brown. Apr. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780316324687. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316324663. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORICAL/CRIME Donoghue caught everyone’s attention with Room, a visceral stunner that has sold more than 1.5 million copies and was a 2010 Man Booker Prize finalist. Her follow-up short story collection, Astray, a personal favorite, demonstrated her […]

American Fun, SAT Prep, & the Financial Divide | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

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Beckman, John. American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307908179. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307908186. SOCIAL HISTORY Author of the debut novel The Winter Zoo, a New York Times Notable Book, Beckman challenges our understanding of American Puritanism by showing that we’ve been an essentially prankish, fun-loving nation. Colonists reveled wildly, […]

Fiction Previews, September 2012, Pt. 4: From 5 Under 35 Boianjiu to Veteran Brown

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Fiction Previews, September 2012, Pt. 4: From 5 Under 35 Boianjiu to Veteran Brown

Nonfiction Previews, September 2012, Pt. 4: Brunson, Danza, and Leman Have Something To Teach

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Nonfiction Previews, September 2012, Pt. 4: Brunson, Danza, and Leman Have Something To Teach

Barbara’s Picks, September 2012, Pt. 2: Diaz, Brzezinski/Scarborough, Gorant

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Barbara’s Picks, September 2012, Pt. 2: Diaz, Brzezinski/Scarborough, Gorant

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