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 […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Susanna Kearsley, Meg Wolitzer, & Kate Atkinson | May 2015 Audio in Advance | Fiction


Achebe, Chinua. Arrow of God. (The African Trilogy, Bk. 3). Recorded Bks. ISBN 9781490655864. Read by Peter Jay Fernandez. In this new recording of Achebe’s 1964 classic that is set in the Ibo heartland of eastern Nigeria, the conflict between old and new plays out in the personal struggle between father and son. Atkinson, Kate. A God […]

Patrick deWitt, Lori Ostlund, Edward St. Aubyn, & More Award-Winning Writers | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1


deWitt, Patrick. Undermajordomo Minor. Ecco. Sept. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062281203. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062281234. LITERARY FICTION If you liked DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, an edgily funny remake of the classic Western that was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, you’ll probably like his new work, too. Weak and hapless Lucien (Lucy) Minor feels like a […]