Barbara’s Picks, September 2012, Pt. 2: Diaz, Brzezinski/Scarborough, Gorant

Díaz, Junot. This Is How You Lose Her. Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Sept. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9781594487361. $25.95. SHORT STORIES
Readers who adored The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle Award, have been waiting five long years for Díaz’s next work. Here it is‚ a collection of short stories that focus on how love twists and turns us around, whether we’re burning with bright, new passion, recalling an old flame from the shadows, or ignoring the consequences of our carelessness toward children or onetime partners. Wao fans know that these pieces will be spiky, intense, and surprising. You might have caught some of them in The New Yorker; catch them all now.

Brzezinski, Mika & Joe Scarborough. Mika and Joe: Our American Stories. Random. Sept. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780812992915. $27; eISBN 9780679644187. CD: Random Audio. MEMOIR/JOURNALISM
He’s a former U.S. Representative from Florida with deep middle-class roots. She’s the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, scion of the Polish nobility, who was President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. He’s also host and she’s cohost of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and here they blend their stories to produce a memoir of growing up American that’s meant to bridge the Left‚ Right, Red‚ Blue divide. A great idea if it works (note that she’s already written a New York Times best-selling memoir, All Things at Once); obviously lots of media-savvy promotion.

Gorant, Jim. Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed a Breed‚ One Flying Disc at a Time. Gotham: Penguin Books (USA). Sept. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781592407316. $26. PETS
Having detailed the fate of Michael Vick’s dogs in the heartrending and immaculately researched New York Times best-selling The Lost Dogs, Sports Illustrated senior editor Gorant describes the life story of another pit bull‚ Wallace, a rescue dog who went on to win or place impressively in dozens of local, national, and international doggie disc-catching competitions. The aim wasn’t to win trophies, though, but to clear up misunderstandings about the breed while letting Wallace have some fun. Now he’s world famous, and his story should pluck a lot of heartstrings. Go, Wallace!

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. Karl Helicher says:

    Go Wallace! And go Michael Vick–to some other team! Live from King of Prussia, which is too far away from Pittsburgh to root for the Steelers.