Jo Baker, Haigh, Montefiore, Mukherjee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 2


Baker, Jo. A Country Road, a Tree. Knopf. May 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101947180. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947197. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Having taken us downstairs with the Bennet family servants in Longbourn, both a LibraryReads and a Discover Great New Writers pick and a New York Times Notable Book, Baker reimagines the […]

DiSclafani, Erdrich, Haddon, Joe Hill, & Fargo’s Hawley | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1


DiSclafani, Anton. The After Party. Riverhead. May 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781594633164. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780698161238. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY DiSclafani’s daring debut, the much proclaimed and New York Times best-selling The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, was a coming-of-age story set in the 1930s South. Her new work, set in oil-rich 1950s Texas, features a […]

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 […]

Mary Gaitskill, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, & Chris Ewan | Audio in Advance December 2015 | Stephanie’s Picks


Berlin, Lucia. A Manual for Cleaning Women. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504676519. Reader TBA. This volume compiles the best work of short-story writer Berlin, who crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling […]

Stories and Essays from Stephen King, Michael Cunningham, & Roger Angell | Audio in Advance November 2015 | Stephanie’s Picks


Angell, Roger. This Old Man: All in Pieces. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780399565366. Reader TBA. The only writer elected to membership in both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Angell won the 2015 American Society of Magazine Editors’ Best Essay award for “This Old Man,” which forms a […]

Jo Nesbø Above the Arctic Circle, Irvine Welsh in Edinburgh, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3


Kang, Han. The Vegetarian. Hogarth: Crown. Feb. 2016. 192p. ISBN 9780553448184. $21; ebk. ISBN 9780553448191. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY Highly regarded internationally, an award winner in her native South Korea, and a former student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kang is breaking out with this tale of surprising subversion. Haunted by images from a terrible […]

Galley Guide Discoveries | Ten Novels I Wish I Had Been Able To Feature Here


One of the fun (if slightly frustrating) things about writing the ALA galley guide is spotting books that I wish I had been able to feature in Prepub Alert. Often they’ve dropped into the schedule too late, other times they’ve simply passed me by, and some have since arrived on my desk. From Matt Bell’s […]

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


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 […]

Nobel Prize Winner Pamuk, Game of Thrones Martin, Shocking Houellebecq, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 3


Campbell, Bonnie Jo. Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories. Norton. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780393248456. $25.95. SHORT STORIES Campbell smashed into our consciousness with her terrific 2009 academic-press story collection, American Salvage, a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her subsequent novel, Once Upon a River, got big praise, too, but it’s […]

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


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 […]