Chess at Auschwitz, Balkans War, & Friendship Via Wikipedia | Eleven Big Fiction Debuts, May 2015, Pt.

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Acampora, Lauren. The Wonder Garden. Grove. May 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780802123558. $24. SHORT STORIES A real estate agent contemplates yet another tackily enlarged house. A group of suburban women gather to reveal themselves briefly to one another and condescend to the rest of the world. A father-to-be abandons a successful career at the urging of […]

Taya Kyle, Tavis Smiley, & Four Big Musicians| Memoir Previews, May 2015, Pt. 2

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General Bello, Maria. Love Is Love. Dey Street. May 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780062351838. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062351852. MEMOIR Having sparked a major conversation when “Coming Out as a Modern Family” appeared in the much-read “Modern Love” column in the New York Times, Bello here expands on her story of falling in love with a woman […]

Brian Doyle, Bruce Holsinger, Ann Packer, & Three Essential World War II Titles | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. Martin Marten. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250045201. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466843691. LITERARY Published by an academic press, the luminously written Mink River was a dead giveaway that Doyle had a big literary future ahead of him, and he proved himself nicely with last year’s The Plover. His new novel […]

ISIS: The State of Terror, plus T.C. Boyle, Abigail Thomas, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 3

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Stern, Jessica & J.M. Berger. Isis: The State of Terror. Ecco. Jan. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9780062395542. $25.99. CURRENT EVENTS Our head-on engagement with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) requires some fast and furious background reading, and here it is: Ecco has just announced that on January 27, 2015, it will release a […]

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. […]

History/Biography from Thomas Cromwell to the Great Society to the Death of Tin Pan Alley | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 3

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Borman, Tracy. Thomas Cromwell. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2015. 336p.ISBN 9780802123176. $30. BIOGRAPHY Here’s a nonfiction account of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s invaluable adviser, to go with the fictional account that Hilary Mantel has provided in the Man Booker Award winners Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies. Borman has special insight (and an audience-pleasing touch) […]

Memoirs from Jessie Close, Gail Godwin, Jay Williams, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 1

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Close, Jessie with Peter Earley. Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness. Grand Central. Jan. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9781455548828. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455548811. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455579495. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR Sister of the celebrated actress Glenn Close, who offers running commentary and an epilog, Close suffers from severe bipolar disorder—an illness running […]

Top-Selling Authors Connelly, Cornwell, Scottoline, & More | Fiction Previews, Nov. 2014, Pt. 1

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Baldacci, David. The Escape. Grand Central. Nov. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9781455521197. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455521272. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455579402. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Following Zero Day and The Forgotten, here’s the third novel featuring Army Special Agent John Puller, who takes on the nation’s most problematic cases. No plot details yet, but lots of promo […]

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 […]

Biography from Joan of Arc & George Marshall to Stalin & Goebbels | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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Auricchio, Laura. The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780307267559. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353243. BIOGRAPHY Americans know the Marquis de Lafayette as the French hero of the American Revolution who at age 19 volunteered to fight under George Washington and subsequently negotiated increased French support that went a long way toward winning the […]

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