Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 5: Wrapping Up a Huge Month with Malcolm Gladwell, Malala Yousafzai, & More

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Chen Guangcheng. Untitled Memoir. Times: Holt. Oct. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780805098051. $28. MEMOIR Chen has been named a 2012 Brave Thinker, 2012 Rebel of the Year, and 2012 Global Thinker by the Atlantic, GQ, and Foreign Policy, respectively. And no wonder. Blinded by illness in infancy and illiterate until his teens, Chen taught himself law […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 3: Basbanes, Boyle, Cahill, Drabble, Goleman, Holmes, Lepore, MacGregor, Venter, & Winterson

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Basbanes, Nicholas A. On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History. Knopf. Oct. 2013. 448p. ISBN 9780307266422. $35. HISTORY Having given us a much-loved trilogy of books about books—A Gentle Madness, Patience and Fortitude, and A Splendor of Letters—Basbanes has written a thoroughgoing chronicle about the stuff books are traditionally made of: paper. He starts […]

Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 2: Kennedy & Lincoln

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Kennedy, Caroline. Rose Kennedy’s Family Album: From the Fitzgerald Kennedy Private Collection, 1878–1946. Grand Central. Oct. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781455544806. $40. PHOTO ESSAY Dating from 1878 through 1946, the 400-plus photographs in this volume are never-before-seen images drawn from the private collection of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, showing her growing family in its most intimate moments […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 1: David Finkel, Elizabeth Gilbert, Adam Mansbach, Donna Tartt, Scott Turow, Simon Winchester

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Finkel, David. Thank You for Your Service. Sarah Crichton Bks: Farrar. Oct. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780374180669. $27. POLITICAL SCIENCE/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Head of the Washington Post’s national reporting team and both a Pulitzer Prize winner and a MacArthur Fellow, Finkel did an extraordinary job of explaining the Iraq War to us in The Good Soldiers, a […]

Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup: From Mary Beard to Eileen Rockefeller

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Beard, Mary. Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations. Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780871407160. $28.95. HISTORY Described by the New York Times as “the closest thing, if it exists, to a celebrity classics professor” in a story about her having stood up to some naysayers who abused her on the Internet, Cambridge scholar […]

Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup; from Terry McMillan to Debut Novelists Allen, Crawford, Daly, & More

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Allen, Lisa Van. The Wishing Thread. Ballantine. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780345538550. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345537829. WOMEN’S FICTION Owners of the Stitchery Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, NY, the Van Ripper women can reputedly grant wishes by stitching them into their knitted goods. But the Stitchery’s matriarch has just died, leaving a will that could […]

Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2013, Pt. 3: Barnes, Carroll, Coetzee, Ford, George, Harding, Hastings, Kennedy, Lahiri

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Barnes, Julian. Levels of Life. Knopf. Sept. 2013. 144p. ISBN 9780385350778. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350785. MEMOIR Not a conventional memoir—did you really expect something so mundane from the multi-award-winning author of Flaubert’s Parrot and The Sense of an Ending?—this book aims to “put together two things that have not been put together before, and the […]

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2013, Pt. 4: Susan Choi, Matt Haig, Karin Slaughter, & More

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Adler, Elizabeth. Please Don’t Tell. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781250019899. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250019905. WOMEN’S FICTION One stormy night on the California coast, elegant 58-year-old Fenny Dexter opens her door to a blood-soaked man claiming to have been in an accident. He departs after a cozy night (they feel a spark), and […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2013, Pt. 2: al-Shaykh, Charleson, Ferguson, Griswold, Shriver, Solnit

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al-Shaykh, Hanan. One Thousand and One Nights: A Sparkling Retelling of the Beloved Classic. Pantheon. Jun. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780307958860. $26; eISBN 9780307958877. LITERATURE A crucial and sometimes controversial figure in Middle Eastern literature, Lebanese author al-Shaykh here translates 19 of the stories young queen Shahrazad told her husband each night so that he would […]

Fiction Previews, May 2013, Pt. 1: 17 Thrillers, from Adler-Olsen to Trussoni

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Adler-Olsen, Jussi. A Conspiracy of Faith: A Department Q Novel. Dutton. May 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780525954002. $26.95. CD/Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Denmark’s top crime writer and the author of several New York Times best sellers, Adler-Olsen gives the message-in-a-bottle plot a new twist. This message, written in blood by two young brothers imprisoned in a […]

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