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 […]

Final April 2013 Previews: Rees on Hitler, Meyer on the Borgias, and Best Poetry of 25 Years

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Barnett, Kristine. The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius. Random. Apr. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780812993370. $27; eISBN 9780679645245. CD/Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR At age 12, Jacob Barnett became a paid researcher in quantum physics, and his IQ is higher than Einstein’s was. But as a distracted toddler, he was diagnosed with autism, and Jacob’s […]

Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2013, Pt. 2: Thirteen Key Memoirs, from “Astor Orphan” Aldrich to Poet Wiman

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Aldrich, Alexandra. The Astor Orphan: A Memoir. Ecco: HarperCollins. Apr. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780062207937. $24.99; eISBN 9780062207968. lrg prnt. MEMOIR The name Astor conjures up the glorious Gilded Age, but by the time Aldrich came along, the Astors were a pretty tarnished bunch. Aldrich lived with her family in the servants’ quarters of Rokeby, the […]

Fiction Previews, Apr. 2013, Pt. 2: Six More Best-Selling Authors, from Kenyon to Keyes

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Abé, Shana. The Sweetest Dark. Bantam. Apr. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780345531704. $16; eISBN 9780345531711. PARANORMAL A New York Times best-selling author and multiple Romantic Times award winner famed for her Drákon series—which features humans who can turn themselves into dragons and living smoke—Abé here crosses into YA territory with the story of Lora Jones. Placed […]

Fiction Previews, Mar. 2013, Pt. 3: Crossing Borders with Nancy Kricorian, Amit Majmudar, Elif Shafak, and More

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Epstein, Jennifer Cody. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. Norton. Mar. 2013. ISBN 9780393071573. 384p. $26.95. HISTORICAL After the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo rips apart 15-year-old Yoshi’s old life, she builds a new one with the help of three Americans: downed bomber pilot Cam; Billy, an Occupation soldier guarding a secret; and Anton, an architect who […]

Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2013: Pt. 3: Peter Higgins, Michael Moss, Ruth Ozeki, and M.G. Vassanji

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Higgins, Peter. Wolfhound Century. Orbit: Hachette. Mar. 2013. 380p. ISBN 9780316219679. $25.99. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. FANTASY Inspector Vissarion Lom has been ordered to Mirgorod, his country’s corrupt capital, to ensnare a terrorist. He’s chosen not simply because he’s an outsider amid the city’s secret police, cabaret girls, and rabid party loyalists—not to mention golems and […]

Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2013, Pt. 1: Simon Armitage, Billy Crystal, Beverly Donofrio, Linda Greenlaw

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Armitage, Simon. Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey. Liveright: Norton. Mar. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780871404169. $24.95. MEMOIR A multi-award-winning British poet (he’s even a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was named Millennium Poet, writing a 1000-line poem), Armitage is a superb storyteller in all forms. He’s written novels, an opera libretto, and […]

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