Yann Martel, Iain Pears, & Jacobson’s Shakespeare Retelling | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4


Gallagher, Matt. Youngblood. Atria. Feb. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9781501105746. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501105760. LITERARY Never have more veterans expressed the full depth of their war experience by turning to writing, as evidenced by recent stellar fiction from authors like Elliot Ackerman, Michael Pitre, and the National Book Award–winning Phil Klay, who calls this current example […]

On China, Criticism, & Constance Fenimore Woolson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3


Huang, Eddie. Back to the Mothership: In Search of Love, Happiness, and China. Spiegel & Grau. Feb. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780812995466. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995473. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. Proprietor of the popular New York City restaurant Baohaus, then author of the best-selling memoir Fresh Off the Boat (FOB), then executive producer and off-camera narrator of […]

Best-Selling Bohjalian, First Novelists Betancourt & Yapa, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 1


Bales, Kevin. Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780812995763. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995770. SOCIAL SCIENCE Cofounder and past president of Free the Slaves whose crusading has led to his speaking before organizations from the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to the […]

Sports, the Middle East, & the U.S. Presidential Campaign | Social Science Previews, Dec. 2015, Pt. 1


Coppins, McKay. The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House. Little, Brown. Dec. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780316327411. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316327466. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316383714. POLITICAL SCIENCE With all the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency, wouldn’t it be nice to have […]

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


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,


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


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


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


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


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 […]