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New York Times Review
SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, by Adam Hochschild. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $15.99.) Hochschild, the author of "King Leopold's Ghost," structures this account of the conflict as a collective biography of Americans who fought for the Republican side. He investigates the romantic appeal of the cause and the reasons for its failure. HYSTOPIA, by David Means. (Picador, $18.) In this novel within a novel - framed as a manuscript by a fictional Vietnam veteran, Eugene Allen, written shortly before he committed suicide - John F. Kennedy is entering his third term as president and has founded a program, the Psych Corps, to treat traumatized soldiers. Allen's story centers on two corps agents who have fallen in love and set off to recover a young woman who has been abducted. LOUISA: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams, by Louisa Thomas. (Penguin, $18.) Born in London, the woman who married John Quincy Adams lived across Europe with her family, then her diplomat husband, before coming to the United States. These experiences helped set her apart, as did the trove of writing she left behind. Thomas draws on Louisa's memoirs, travelogues and extensive correspondence to offer a rich interior portrait. FOR A LITTLE WHILE: New and Selected Stories, by Rick Bass. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $18.99.) In this collection of tales, humans act on their animal natures, and the natural world is suffused with the holy; in one story, an ice storm and powerful arctic front leads a dog trainer and her client to an encounter with the sublime. As our reviewer, Smith Henderson, put it, Bass, "a master of the short form," writes not only "to save our wild places, but to save what's wild and humane and best within us." YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice, by Tom Vanderbilt. (Vintage, $16.95.) Vanderbilt, a journalist, has written a guide to the invisible forces shaping personal preferences - and the companies trying desperately to understand, and profit from, taste. Taste is both contextual and categorical, he argues, leading to a baffling capriciousness in what people like and why. ELIGIBLE, by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Random House, $17.) A retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" unfolds in the Cincinnati suburbs: Liz, a magazine writer in New York, comes home to find her family in disarray, and meets Darcy, now in the guise of a neurosurgeon from San Francisco who is profoundly underwhelmed by the Midwest. Sittenfeld's version seamlessly transplants Jane Austen's story to a modern American setting.
Library Journal Review
Sittenfeld's (Sisterland) latest is a delightful present-day adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As in the original, the author demonstrates how doing what is "proper" often culminates in hurt feelings, misunderstandings, miscues, and general hilarity. Sittenfeld is relatively faithful to Austen's plot, characterization, and themes, updating them to 21st-century problems, social issues, and possibilities. Liz Bennet is a New York writer who comes home to Cincinnati to help out when her father is ill, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is a local neurosurgeon. Cincinnati and the family home are integral characters here, younger sisters Lydia and Kitty are obsessed with their CrossFit workouts, and Chip Bingley is moderately famous for his stint on the reality dating program Eligible. Consummate narrator Cassandra Campbell is especially gifted in performing the biting dialog between Liz and Darcy, though she enlivens all of the varied voices. -VERDICT A great listen! Will be loved by Austen fans as well as those who gravitate to charming, funny contemporary fiction. ["Austen fans will adore this new offering, a wonderful addition to the genre": LJ 2/15/16 review of the Random hc.]-Sandra C. Clariday, formerly with Tennessee Wesleyan Coll. Lib., Athens © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In Sittenfeld's amusing modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennet writes for a women's magazine, Jane Bennet teaches yoga, Lydia and Kitty Bennet are CrossFit enthusiasts on paleo diets, heartthrob Chip Bingley is a reality-TV star, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is a neurosurgeon. Austen fans will recognize Liz and Darcy's instant dislike for each other, their serial misunderstandings and sexual tension, and Jane's quiet goodness, Bingley's sister's snobbishness, and Darcy's sister's vulnerability. Sittenfeld adeptly updates and channels Austen's narrative voice-the book is full of smart observations on gender and money. Reader Campbell handles the large cast of characters with ease, deftly portraying different personalities with different voices, most memorably the catty Caroline Bingley, the dryly sardonic Darcy, and the flustered, melodramatic Mrs. Bennet. This audiobook is a fun addition to the growing canon of P&P-inspired fiction, perfect for summer beach listening. A Random House hardcover. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
With her latest, Sittenfeld has crafted an entertaining modern update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though one that at times strains credulity. Like their Regency counterparts, the 21st-century Bennets are approaching crisis-potential financial ruin as a result of Mr. Bennet's heart attack-but are blissfully oblivious. To put things right, Liz, a successful magazine writer, and Jane, a yoga teacher contemplating artificial insemination, return from New York City to the family home in Ohio. When Chip Bingley, the former star of a Bachelor-esque show and still single, enters the scene with his arrogant sister Caroline and the seemingly pompous Fitzwilliam Darcy in tow, it's clear that romance is on the horizon. While the story is compulsively readable, the pop culture references make it unwieldy at times. As always, Sittenfeld soars when it comes to portraying relationships, and teens will particularly enjoy the witty barbs that fly between Caroline and Liz. Often, however, the author's attempts to hew closely to Austen's plot result in some odd choices. Where in the original, Mrs. Bennet's desire to marry Lizzy off to the unctuous Mr. Collins stemmed from understandable motives, here, her insistence that Liz become involved with her cousin, a socially inept dotcom millionaire, is downright bizarre. Nevertheless, this is an overall breezy read that will have savvy teens laughing. VERDICT Although this work doesn't hold up under close scrutiny, it's an utterly engrossing, hilariously over-the-top send-up that will appeal to Sittenfeld fans, Janeites, and lovers of chick lit.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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