Fiction from Kaysen & Benjamin Black, Nonfiction on Edward Snowden | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2014, Pt. 3

Black, Benjamin. The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel. Holt. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780805098143. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780805098150. CD: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY
Man Booker prize winner John Banville again changes tack to write as Benjamin Black, and Black changes tack, too, leaving behind series hero Quirke, consultant pathologist at the Dublin morgue, to revive Philip Marlowe. On a hot and draggy day in early 1950s Bay City, CA, a predictably stunning young woman comes to Marlowe’s office to ask him to locate her former lover. But Nico Peterson’s disappearance is just the first in a long chain of complicated events. Lots of ink about this Marlowe novel already, and Black is said to have made him a sharper-edged modern hero.

Greenwald, Glenn. No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Metropolitan: Holt. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781627790734. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627790741. LAW/CIVIL RIGHTS
The author of three New York Times best sellers (e.g., With Liberty and Justice for Some), winner of the 2009 I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and among 25 journalists cited as the most influential by the Atlantic, Guardian columnist Greenwald made big news again when he broke the story about the NSA surveillance scandal. Here he plunges us deep into the scandal and subsequent national concern over privacy issues, revealing collusion between private industry and the NSA as he pulls on more documentation provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Not for the faint of heart.

Kaysen, Susanna. Cambridge. Knopf. Mar. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780385350259. $25.95. LITERARY FICTION
Having captured our attention in 1993 with Girl, Interrupted, a blazing and influential memoir that has since sold more than a million copies across formats and served as the basis for a film starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, Kaysen now offers what’s billed as a fictional prequel to that tale. Heroine Susanna has loved growing up in 1950s Cambridge, MA, amid the smarties and arties swarming Harvard Square, so she’s not that keen on her family’s spending a sabbatical year abroad. She returns home to discover the meaning of love and art with orchestra conductor Vishwa, then finds herself abroad again, ever unsettled. Expect a big tour, big promotion, and a reading group guide.

Klay, Phil. Redeployment. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781594204999. $26.95. SHORT STORIES
I’ve heard nothing but raves about this taut, in-your-face collection from former marine captain and Iraq veteran Klay, a Dartmouth grad with an MFA from Hunter College. Klay lets us feel what life is like on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan with stories ranging from “Redeployment,” about a soldier edging back into civilian life after having spent time in Fallujah shooting dogs who were eating human corpses, to “Money as a Weapons System,” whose abashed hero is tasked with helping Iraqis by teaching them baseball. Important reading; pay attention.

Sunstein, Cass R. Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781476726625. $26. POLITICAL SCIENCE
The Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School and one of our most frequently cited legal scholars, Sunstein served as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012. Some of the essays he wrote in the years directly beforehand sparked a firestorm of controversy. So if you want to create a conversation, grab this collection of his choicest, edgiest essays, ranging from marriage rights to animal rights and sure to give readers of every political stripe a workout.

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.