From Don DeLillo to Service Dogs to the Baker & Taylor Cats | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 4


Belfer, Lauren. And After the Fire. Harper. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780062428516. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062428547. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION In 1796 Berlin, famed musician Sara Itzig Levy hides an anti-Semitic cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach and given to her by her teacher, one of Bach’s sons. In 1945 Germany, U.S. soldier Henry Sachs snatches a […]

Cleave, Dyer, Junger, Müller, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 3


Blumenthal, Sidney. A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1849. S. & S. May 2016. 608p. ISBN 9781476777252. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781476777276. BIOGRAPHY A veteran reporter, former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Blumenthal offers the first of a three-volume study of President Abraham […]

Award-Worthy Literary Gems | Fiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 1


Amend, Allison. Enchanted Islands. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. May 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780385539067. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539074. LITERARY Born to immigrant parents in 1882 Minnesota, Frances Frankowski ran away from home as a teenager and on the eve of World War II was working as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence, where she […]

O’Nan in Jerusalem, a Newly Discovered Tolkien, Abu-Jaber’s New Memoir, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3


Abu-Jaber, Diana. Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Norton. Apr. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780393249095. $26.95. MEMOIR Abu-Jaber, a fiction writer known for sparkling award winners like Crescent, has also given us the luscious memoir The Language of Baklava. Here she continues wrapping her discussion of love and identity in the sweet […]

British Royals, American Jihadists, Humanitarian Doctors, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3


Andersen, Christopher. Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne. Gallery: S. & S. Apr. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781476743950. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781476743974. BIOGRAPHY/ROYALTY Anderson, the author of 16 New York Times best sellers, including William and Kate and The Day Diana Died, has a way with royalty of all sorts. Here he gives […]

From Annie Dillard & Edward O. Wilson to Charlotte Brontë’s Fiery Heart | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1


Dillard, Annie. The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New. Ecco. Mar. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062432971. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062433015. ESSAYS On September 10, President Barack Obama awarded Dillard the National Humanities Medal “for her profound reflections on human life and nature,” as the White House citation said. “In poetry and prose, Ms. Dillard has invited […]

From Commissario Guido Brunetti to Intrepid Maisie Dobbs | Barbara’s Suspense Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1


Leon, Donna. Waters of Eternal Youth. Atlantic, Mar. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780802124807. $26. MYSTERY Commissario Guido Brunetti’s 25th case has a little twist; there’s no dead body and possibly no crime. Late one night, a teenager splashed into the bottle-green waters of a Venice canal, and the stumbling drunk who pulled her out—not before she […]

Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Business | Social Science Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4


Bates, Laura. Everyday Sexism. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781250067937. $25. 99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876668. SOCIAL SCIENCE/FEMINISM On April 16, 2015, Bates’s blog, The Everyday Sexism Project, enjoyed its third anniversary and scored big as the No. 1 trending topic that day on Twitter. Bates started the blog in 2012 after she […]

Denby’s Great Books in High School, Grushin’s New Dream of a Novel, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2


Blaedel, Sara. The Killing Forest. Grand Central. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781455581542. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455581535. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455591862. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER An internationally best-selling author voted Denmark’s most popular novelist for the fourth time in 2014, Blaedel has been getting good attention here for relentlessly bleak and edgy books like The Forgotten […]

From Politics (Dionne, Dyson, & Frank) to the Israeli-Palestinian Life (Kashua) to Raising a Transgender Child | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Dionne, E.J. Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism—From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond. S. & S. Feb. 2016. 560p. ISBN 9780062250568. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781476763811. POLITICAL SCIENCE A syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner for Why Americans Hate Politics, also a […]