Sunday , February 25 2024
Selections from Blogcritics Books mailbag: A new weekly feature.

Blogcritics’ Book Shelf: New Releases

Each week, Blogcritics’ real and virtual mailbags receives numerous books: new releases and forthcoming offerings. And although not will be reviewed in the coming weeks, we want to share with you some of the latest releases from publishers, whether “Big Five” or “Indie.” This will be a weekly feature on Blogcritics, appearing each Friday in our books section. Hope you like it!

New Releases


Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel by Herman Koch (from Hogarth, Division of Crown June 3, 2014). Author of New York Times notable book The Dinner, Dutch novelist Koch tells the tale of Dr. Marc Schlosser, whose practice and “aimiable personality” have made him a doctor to the stars. But when he and his family vacation with a famous actor and his family, a tragedy ensues that propels the good doctor onto a dark path, and a “truth hiding in the shadows that will shock all involved.”

O, Africa!: A Novel by Andrew Lewis Conn (from Hogarth, division of Crown June 10, 2014). “A sweeping historical adventure,” says the publisher. “Brotherhood and forbidden love playing out against the backdrop of the birth of the movies.” The new novel from the author of the critically acclaimed P: A Novel explores the cultures of Jews, gays, and African-Americans in the early part of the 20th Century. Compared to the works of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo, O Africa has been called hilarious, tragic, strange, moving.

The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (from Anchor June 3, 2014). Discworld mastermind Pratchett creates with science writers Stewart and Cohen a mashup of the fictional Discworld and the science behind it with a new Discworld story is interwoven with intervening science chapters, posing the question, “Can unseen University’s eccentric wizards and orangutan Librarian possibly shed any useful light on hard, rational Earthly science?”


Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel by Wilton Barnhardt (from Picador, June 24, 2014). “a headlong, hilarious story” revolving around a family disintegrating on the borderlands between the old South and the new, while an “unforgettable” woman tries to hold it all together.


The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death  by Colson Whitehead (Zone One) (from Doubleday, on sale now). Amateur cardshark Whitehead takes readers into the world of high-stakes poker as he dares to compete in the World Series of Poker on assignment from Grantland Magazine. His only problem? He’s never played in a casino tournament before! First line: “I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.”

The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Termsby Lauren Maillian Bias (from Ben Bella, on sale now). Named by Essence Magazine as part of its 2013 class of African-American Shot Callers, serial entrepreneur Lauren Bias shares her story, and the tactics that helped her get to the top of her game. “Success is not one size fits all,” she says as she helps readers define for themselves the meaning of success and help them get there. First lines: “As I write this book, I am 28 years old. I am a successful entrepreneur, and a single mother with two young children.”

My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles by Peter Biskind (from Picador June 24, 2014). Rumors of lost recordings containing private conversations between Orson Welles and director Henry Jaglom, have proven to be true,and are revealed for the first time in this new book.

Now in Paperback:


A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik (from Vintage June 3, 2014): “A woman’s journey from the horrors of Charles Taylor’s Liberia to abject poverty and self-exile on a Greek island, where she must grapple with a haunted past and find a way back into human society.”


Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson (from Anchor Books June 3, 2014). Bestselling narrative of “one of the most epic and consequential periods in the 20th Century–the Arab Revolt, and the secret game to control the Middle East.”

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (Vintage) by Max Hastings author of Inferno (from Vintage, on sale now). In honor of the 100th anniversary of the “Great War,” Hastings offers a huge and detailed history of the opening months of the war.

Do you like our new feature? Let us know in the comments below!

About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

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