Eight Essential Memoirs from Barrymore, Cisneros, Fraser, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

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Barrymore, Drew. Wildflower. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781101983799. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101983805. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR While 1990’s Little Girl Lost details Barrymore’s drug and alcohol abuse as a very young actress, this book covers the durable actress’s life since age 14, when she found herself living on her own. How it’s all come […]

From Sisters in Law O’Connor & Ginsburg to Expanding Children’s Brains | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4,

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Ananthaswamy, Anil. The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self. Dutton. Aug.  2015. 320p. ISBN 9780525954194. $26.95. MEDICAL If you like Oliver Sacks, you’ll love this new work by Ananthaswamy, an award-winning science journalist and former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. His smart approach to […]

Midwinter Reminders & Last-Minute Spring Finds from Blume, Gruen, & More

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In just a few weeks, many of us will be blowing into cold Chicago for another action-packed ALA Midwinter. If you’re going, don’t miss two fun events: 2015’s Best in Debut Authors, sponsored by LibraryReads and the Association of American Publishers and taking place Saturday, January 31, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at McCormick Place […]

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 […]

Bloom, Ellis, Shipler, & the Freakonomics Duo | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 1

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Bloom, Harold. The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime. Spiegel & Grau. May 2015. 528p. ISBN 9780812997828. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780812997835. LITERATURE A Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard, and MacArthur Fellow, Bloom at 84 remains one of our best-known and most influential critics. Though he’s […]

Shame, Stuffication, and Doing Good | Social Science Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brown, Brené. Mapping Brave. Spiegel & Grau. Mar. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780812995824. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812995831. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SELF-HELP A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brown studies issues of vulnerability and shame—which leads her directly to this book’s subject, bravery, both what it is and how we […]

Cornwell, Greenberg, Harrison, Leovy, Simsion | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4

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Cornwell, Bernard. The Empty Throne. Harper. Jan. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780062250711. $27.99. HISTORICAL FICTION It’s hard going for Uhtred in this eighth entry in the popular “Saxon Tales” series by New York Times best-selling author Cornwell. First, to heal from wounds he has received in battle, he must find the sword that did the damage. […]

The ALA Midwinter Galley Chase | The Final Analysis

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In galley or book form, hundreds of titles were there for the taking on the floor of the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference, and tracking what went fastest says a lot about what people are interested in reading today. The escapist pleasures of a good thriller still attract, and the hottest hotcakes of the genre […]

Barbree on Neil Armstrong, Memoirs from Travis Barker & Lee Grant, Germaine Greer on Trees | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2013. Pt. 2

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Barbree, Jay. Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250040718. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466836341. BIOGRAPHY During 55 years at NBC News, Barbree covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings—the only reporter to have done so—and he got an Emmy for his efforts. So he seems like […]

Max Brooks on the Harlem Hellfighters, Boston Marathon Victim Jeff Bauman on Hope, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 3

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Bauman, Jeff with Bret Witter. Stronger: Fighting Back After the Boston Marathon Bombing. Grand Central. Apr. 2014. 250p. ISBN 9781455584376. $26. MEMOIR Bauman’s life changed dramatically when a bomb exploded at last spring’s Boston Marathon, severing both of his legs. A photograph of his initial agony came to embody the tragedy of the event, and […]