Books for Our Times | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 1

Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9781501146923. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501146947. RELIGION As conservative New York Times columnist Douthat clarifies, Pope Francis’s stewardship as 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church is not without controversy. His raising issues like communion for […]

Ancient Egypt, Chinese Aspirations, & More | History Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 3

Ellsberg, Daniel. The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Bloomsbury. Mar. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781608196708. $30. POLITICAL SCIENCE In 1961, when Ellsberg served as a consultant to the Department of Defense and the White House, he helped draft Secretary Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war. Then he leaked the Pentagon Papers, and the […]

Plague and Mutation | Medical Books Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 2

Hatch, Steven, M.D. Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250085139. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250085146. MEMOIR/MEDICAL An assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, specializing in infectious disease and immunology, Hatch traveled to Liberia in 2013 to work at a hospital there. Six months later, several of […]

Hot-Button Issues | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781594206641. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698402638. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA The newest addiction? It’s not to a substance but to a behavior, argues New York University professor Alter, author of the New York Times […]

Laird Hunt, Yiyun Lee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3

Dennett, Daniel C. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton. Feb. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780393242072. $28.95. PHILOSOPHY/MIND & BODY Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and winner of the Erasmus Prize, Dennett knows how to talk to lay readers; he’s published numerous books, not just with academic presses […]

Jio, Kinsella, Lipman, & More | Pop Fiction, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3

Hepworth, Sally. The Mother’s Promise. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781250077752. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466889927. CD: Macmillan Audio. WOMEN’S Australian author Hepworth splashed down big with her debut, The Secrets of Midwives, and followed up quickly with The Things We Keep. Now she’s back breaking hearts with the story of single mother Alice, her […]

American Intervention, Siberian Exile, & More | History Previews, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

Baier, Bret. Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission. Morrow. Jan. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780062569035. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062569066. CD: HarperAudio. HISTORY Fox News Channel’s chief political anchor, a co-moderator for three of this year’s Republican presidential debates, and the host of Special Report with Bret Baier, the top cable news show in its […]

Missy Franklin, Siri Hustvedt, Dava Sobel | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2106, Pt. 3

Franklin, Missy & others. Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion. Dutton. Dec. 2016.320p. ISBN 9781101984925. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101984932. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR Having won five medals—including four golds—at the London Olympics, Franklin will be one of the highest-profile members of the U.S. Olympics team in Rio this summer. Meanwhile, she’s just gone […]

Sugar, Fat, & Flavor | Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2016, Pt. 2

Lohman, Sarah. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. S. & S. Dec. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781476753959. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476753980. COOKING As a historical gastronomist, Lohman has worked her way through cookbooks, manuscripts, and various economic, scientific, political, and religious tracts dating from the 1700s to understand what’s cooking in America. And despite […]

Queen Victoria, Pixar, Space Travel, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

Alvarez, Walter. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton. Nov. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780393292695. $26.95. SCIENCE/COSMOLOGY If you’re familiar with the “Impact Theory,” which blames dinosaur extinction on a crash-landed asteroid, then you’re familiar with Berkeley geologist Alvarez; he originated the idea. Here he argues that Big History, which […]