Beth Reynolds has been a bookseller for 20-plus years, 12 of them at the Norwich Bookstore. She spends her weeks in the children's section of the Norwich Public Library, but on Saturdays you can find her here, helping a child find the perfect birthday present or recommending books to adults looking to get lost in a good read.
In the words of Alice Sebold, 'these stories come alive, put on zoot suits and wrestle you to the ground.' Audrey Niffenegger, Michael Chabon, Lev Grossman and Neil Gaiman admire her immensely, and with good reason. She takes a familiar element like potential adoptive parents, a young woman choosing a boyfriend, or another woman writing a Dear John letter and spins it on its head. It reminds me of those Spin Art kits for kids. We could all plop in the same drops of paint, turn it on and wait to see what happens, but Kelly's will surely turn out to be a unique masterpiece. I urge you to pick up one of her stories and try a few paragraphs, then see if you don't agree that shes one of the most original and talented writers around.
Emma Hooper has given me everything I love in a novel: letters, lyrical prose, and parallel storylines--both present day and past. I saw her author photo, read her bio and thought “We could be friends.” I love the story that Hooper conjured up surrounding Etta; her journey on foot, fueled by her longing to see the ocean. And all the while, Otto is home baking and working on paper mache creatures. I wanted to be able to sit and chat with him, eat some cinnamon rolls and marvel over his accidental masterpieces. But the story isn't all sweetness and charm. The backstory of the war grounds their tales in a harsh reality, bringing to light everyone's resilience, including dear Russell. And James is a quirky addition to the story, demonstrating Etta's compassion and her need to be with and care for others. Fully imagined and realized, Hooper's debut novel is the beginning of a long and amazing career, filled with characters I can't wait to meet.
An historical whodunit that intertwines the magician's story and her arrest for a murder in 1805. Reading this tale of love and betrayal I couldn't help but conjure up memories of watching “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige.” Speaking as someone who adores anything to do with magic, I kept reading to see if Macallister could actually pull off this daring feat of prestidigitation. She is a playwright, a poet and a suspenseful storyteller -- all her talents are on display here.
Bergman's research is beyond compare and her excitement in reimagining scenes for these woman compels you to keep reading. Each story is a gem, sparkling with humor and clear insight into the essence of what made these women shine in their everyday lives, even if they were soon to be forgotten. Bergman breathes life into these women and makes us want to be more observant of those kick-ass women we see everyday. Finishing this collection gives you an appreciation for the way they dealt with their less than stellar circumstances -- with moxie, gumption and joie de vivre.
Niven combines the strong characterization of Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars with the raw reality of 13 Reason Why. Her writing is achingly exquisite, capturing the essence of two teens in need of support and acceptance, In looking through my marked up copy I came across passage after passage that made me shiver when I read them through again. I found unforgettable sentences on pages 97, 103, 135, 168, 190, 201, 215, 222, 228, 255, 265. For teens and adults alike, for anyone who loves reading about characters so real they could walk off the page or writers who look for beautiful passages and hold them close. But don't take my word for it: All The Bright Places was a number one Indie pick; booksellers all over the country have fallen in love with Violet and Finch.
Farizan brings the all the emotion, insecurities and unsuredness of high school to her latest novel. Leila does her best to navigate through the world of friendships, homework and crushes as she continues to feel like an outsider. She announces her true feelings to the reader, but not to her friends, and we become co-conspirators in her daily life. So much feels intimately familiar. Who hasn't felt the pain of waking early to get ready for school, the lie of trying to remain friends and nothing more or walking around in a crush-filled haze? It's these details and the universality of Leila's experiences that transcends the story and connects with readers no matter their gender or partner preference.
Still Writing follows in a long, proud lineage of how-to books from some trusted and revered authors: Stephen King, Anne Lamott, and Annie Dillard. So, too, does her collection of essays feel like having a conversation with a friend, and that writing something of your own is actually possible. Organized in three sections—Beginnings, Middles and Ends—Shapiro presents a copious amount of information in a small amount of space. Her advice is instructive, insightful and pulled from her own hard-won experiences. She has dedicated the book to her mentor Grace Paley. Reading about their time together made me miss Grace all over again, which is it's own source of inspiration. I’m on my third time through Still Writing and each time I find a little nugget of truth to hold onto, something to fuel the fires and keep writing when putting down the pen seems the easier option.
Dr Thomas Eapen isn’t performing surgery at the hospital anymore, instead he’s at home trying to talk to his dead son. Called back to New Mexico to help with the latest family crisis, Amina leaves her life as a photographer behind to try and discover what’s going on with her father. While dealing with her own devastating loss, she meets up with the boy she used to love-- complicating everything. Life in America isn’t quite what anyone had expected it would be, but the ways in which the Eapens deal with heartbreak and happiness makes this tale of familial love truly stand out. Jacob’s debut of immigrant life shimmers as it shows all the ways in which we hang on to the past. This debut novel takes us through decades and across continents. Lyrical passages, tempered with the reality of the sandwich generation, illustrates this truth: You can’t outrun the past—or your parents.
I love this little librarian, her recommendations and her adorable storytimes. I wish I could be more like her when I grow up and that I had a few owls for assistants. This is a book I would happily read upon request no matter how often the little person wanted to hear it: at bedtime or naptime or just because it’s Thursday.
A high-contrast, but simple palette provides the perfect backdrop for this endearing story. It turns out libraries--and bookstores--offer more than just books. (But of course, you probably already knew that.)
Kids' faces are sure to light up as they make their own discoveries in this artfully rendered picture book. Harkening back to a simpler time, the striking color palette makes the book truly stand out and promises to be incredibly engaging and interactive. Thoughtfully created and beautifully crafted, this is the way a picture book experience was meant to be. Give this as a gift and you'll be the coolest grown-up around. Sit with a child as they turn the pages and they'll want you to stay forever.
If I could have any fictional friend come over for an afternoon it would have to be Will (aka Wildcat) Silver. It would take me a "handful of ands"' to describe all of the trouble we would get into. With her tomboyish ways and her engaging manner, Wilhelmina Silver is going to be quite the spritely mover this season. No sooner will she be in your store, then she'll be on her way home ready to make a believer out of anyone who pokes their nose into these pages. Here's the opportunity for all of your spirited readers to cartwheel, flip and dance for joy at the chance to read an unconventional and utterly delightful story.
From the very first sentence you suddenly find yourself sucked in--you need to know who did it and exactly how did it happen. But then you keep reading and you realize that Theresa is a really likeable character, someone you might be friends with. And after a bit you glance up at the clock and wonder where exactly the time has gone? But then decision-making time arrives--do you choose to keep going or do you close the book and save it for another day? If you say A well then congratulations you've won the race to the finish, but if you said B then you'll be well-rested enough to try and figure out the end of the book before you get there. Either way, a nap when you've finished will be well-earned. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing if Theresa was able to save her brother from spending the rest of his life locked up for Kim's murder.
If you had the chance to go back and revisit a time in your life, back to a crucial fork in the road, would you make the same choices or different one? It’s a quirky rabbit hole we've fallen down as Georgie and Seth try to make their TV show a hit. We head back to college with them, back to the beginning of it all, when Georgie first finds love. It turns out that everybody has a backstory, and it’s a crazy cast of characters: Georgie’s mom, her very young step-father, the pugs, and Georgie’s sister ordering too many pizzas. The question remains, if Georgie messes up the past, will it screw up her future? Funny and sweet, I hesitate to say Eleanor and Park for the older crowd (because that would be setting the bar skyscraper high,) but Rowell creates a couple you'll root for both in the past and present.
It's amazing how having the simplest of tools can change one's life amidst tragedy and destruction. In Pinkney's lyrical novel-in-verse, Amira's desire for school, books and a world beyond her own lifts her arduous journey off of the page. Our hopes ignite as we cheer her on, applauding the courage and
perseverance that eventually bring her to a new future -- one filled with possibility and promise. Reluctant readers who look for a book with white space throughout will find themselves caring for a Sudanese girl and a little red pencil.
Westerfeld's new novel is all about connections: Lizzie and Yama, this world and the flipside, Darcy and the other debut novelists, author and reader, reader and story. It takes a talented writer to pull off two
compelling stories: one written as a teen author and one that subtly pokes fun at the whole YA publishing world. Before you know it, the intertwining tales draw you in and suddenly you are third strand that completes the literary braid. It's the type of book that will have you making excuses to friends so you can stay home and read until the wee hours of the morning.
Paige takes a beloved literary/cinematic icon and turns the whole story on its head. Literally. In this new version of Oz, everything as we know is upside down and right side up. Dorothy has become a little too obsessed with her new found power and must be stopped. Everyone thinks our new little heroine, Amy, is just right for the job. But who should she trust; is everyone she thought to be evil really on her side? This is one of those books that must have originated from a curious author asking, "But what if?" It's fun, sassy and even though it's written for teens you won't want to let this good time pass you by. If you've always had a soft spot for those flying monkeys, this book's for you.
Hard to imagine how its even possible to create such beautiful writing from such a devastating tragedy. McKeon's debut novel glitters and sparkles like something elusive and wild; you can't help but chase after it in the hopes of catching it and keeping it for your very own. His writing makes me want to take back everything I've said about other novels. If I were a gambler, I'd put all my money on this one. If I could I'd rent one of those billboards at a football game to proclaim how amazing this story is. I want you to look past the obvious sadness and sorrow, and trust me when I say its worth it. This is the novel you really must read. It gets under your skin and somehow transforms you quietly from the inside out.
Some books are the gateway to another world: a few pages in and you lose yourself entirely. Shipstead has worked her magic here in her sophomore novel. Somehow she managed to unlock the backstage door and is quickly ushering us inside. From the behind-the-scenes vantage point, we witness the dancers in their entirety: their lives in front of the stage lights and under the street lights. Their persona for the audience and the stripping away of the costumes and make-up, to the person hidden underneath. Come spend some time--as they say in "A Chorus Line"-- At. The. Ballet.
Dear Reader, Not everyone likes to read novels told in a letter format, but I am drawn to them. It must be the voyeur in me. I promise though, once you start reading Dellaira’s debut, you’ll get hooked. As Laurel’s story evolves, we learn about many famous people whose lives all ended as abruptly as her sister May’s did. In the end, it is the healing power of writing that allows her to accept her loss and move on. Though it may sound tragic, I found it to be: funny, moving, honest, and intimate--almost as if the author were writing this book to me. Sincerely, An Adult Who Can’t Stop Reading YA
Having read Marciano’s other books I eagerly looked forward to immersing myself in this one. She has this gift for transporting you to places like Italy and Africa. This new collection of stories doesn’t disappoint. I originally thought I might feel cheated, that a novel was what I needed. And yet each new set of characters and each fresh setting was a chance to visit another culture and experience another part of these countries. I found them deceptively simple and when I was finished I wanted to give her a standing ovation, because this woman can write rings around other authors. Trust me, this is what you need right now – a little vacation to a warmer, exotic location.
In this heartfelt debut, Gloria discovers that being disconnected from the rest of the world can give you the space to find new friends and form bonds that will last past high school. You can tell that Coombs drew from her own personal camp experience, and writing this novel is really a gift to her readers. She has this great way of describing her characters--it’s not hard to imagine them standing in front of you, breathing, with all their hopes, wishes, wants and desires. I have so many dog-earred pages of lines I want to copy down in my journal, you'd think I was using the book to study from for a test. I guess a better question might be-- what pages didn't I mark?
Each month we highlight what we feel are the books we want you to read; partly in the hopes that we can talk about them with you and perhaps so that you will love them as much as we do. Every once in awhile a book comes along that makes me want to thrust it into everyone's hands, to say "You must drop everything and read it now. Your life will be incomplete until you do." I felt that way about "The Bookthief", and Marra's debut novel is my latest obsession. If you loved "City of Thieves" or "No One is Here Except for All of Us" you will want to read this tragic but uplifting story of a young girl and the village that raises her. Carin and I both agree: It's truly exceptional.
Has the snow, prolonged low temperatures and lack of green got you down? The best cure I know is to take a trip, even a virtual one can help you escape winter's evil clutches. As she did in "Loving Frank" Nancy Horan illuminates a period of history through the eyes of a woman. Here she brings to light the relationship between Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny: his wife, inspiration and muse. Sometimes accompanied by one or more of her children, they take fantastic journeys around the world. While reading about their days spent sailing on a boat, farming in the South Seas or staying on the family estate in Scotland, the inspiration for RLS's famed novels emerges.
I adore books that follow a person through several decades, I love to see their transformation slowly unfold. Here we see scenes of Stella's life from the 60's to present day. As a young girl, she thinks herself clever until the weight of the years changes her. In the words of Tolstoy, 'True life is lived when tiny changes occur.' In this series of connected stories we watch Stella change and grow, we see the effect the world has on her and her family. The writing is lyrical, and certain scenes leave their indelible mark on you. This is truly a shining achievement in Hadley's writing career. Fans who have been waiting for a new offering from Ellen Gilchrist will find much to savor and delight in here.
Having read her first, I was curious about duBois's second novel. I find it interesting that both stories involve relationships between young women, which should be seemingly straightforward... But somehow you're never sure which character to trust, who's side to be on. It's not off-putting, nor does it make you uncomfortable; instead the intrigue draws you further into the story. Truly, duBois is a talented, masterful writer whose splendid choice of words-- and her glorious descriptions of characters and their motivations--make her books a joy to read and recommend.
Most authors of Young Adult books conveniently take their protagonist's parents and hide them away. In Anderson's latest, she has Haley's dad take center stage. He's suffering from PTSD and as he deals with those demons, Haley has to figure out how to be parent enough for both of them. All the while there's a boy who's caught her attention. (Finn's such a great character he had my attention too.) Original, compassionate, engaging and thoroughly compelling, The Impossible Knife raises the bar in teen literature.
When Donna Tartt releases a new book, it's an event. Her stories take about 10 years to write and they are meant to be savoured when read. This year the Goldfinch won my gold medal. I told someone that it was the reason I became a bookseller. There were a few passages that shone when I read them, as if she had written them just for me. The characters, the descriptions the fast paced story-- there were so many things that pulled me in, that made me feel connected. These are the books that should be read, shared, talked about, passed on and remembered.
I couldn't put this one down. Guzeman's first novel contains a quest,a road trip, and deathbed confessions; while focusing on family relationships and art history-- which sounds like an overstuffed sandwich. But imagine a meal in one of your favorite restaurants where the chef has lovingly prepared the meal and you want it to last and last. Such is Guzeman's story. She cares for her characters and in turn we feel as if they are sitting next to us enjoying meals of their own. (I can only imagine what each of them would order.) The ending isn't neat and tidy but satisfying and earned. I would happily readanything she writes next.
Perhaps the best novels are those that introduce you to a new place, one you hadn't known existed. It takes a talented author to accomplish that goal realistically without resorting to writing fantasy. I was totally absorbed and fascinated by Georgia's life. I felt her pain as she struggled with being a mother and a wife, while trying to care for this hermit who lived in the middle of the ocean. That Daniel chose to revisit the setting of her first novel, “Stiltsville” was interesting; to have written a second with such grace and fortitude is an achievement.
Wright gets it right. She has a feel for the minutiae and intricacies of small town life, revealing both the advantages and claustrophobic atmosphere. She astutely mines the intimate, day-to-day moments; weaving together past and present events to construct a complete portrait of a family. Funny to think that lives and marriages could be undone by something as “harmless” as a book. As the characters discover "The Sex Cure" it gives them a glimpse into their own history, while Wright's novel is the lens through which we see lives and loves shatter before coming together again.
Sittenfeld’s latest—featuring twins gifted with sight—is a domestic story, that’s deceptively simple. Imagine that you can foresee the future and yet life always gets in the way, no matter how you try to run from it. Stay with an author long enough and you can watch their evolution, the ebb and flow, how their life affects what they write. This novel may not be as strong as her others, but it firmly held my attention. I wanted to know about Vi and Kate so I kept reading and was surprised at the turn of events. It took my breath away as I realized how our passionate actions can have such startling consequences.
So many novels now proudly proclaim they are "The Next Hunger Games!" How to know if they are worthy of your time--merely a knock off or a solid entry into the now crowded field of dystopias? If you're a fan of the genre you'll find much to enjoy here. Charbonneau has created an interesting premise with believable characters that appeal to both teens and adults alike. She hasn't done anything original or ground-breaking, but this opera singer turned writer definitely has a promising future ahead of her. I've started a countdown to book two, won't you join me? (Jan 2014)
As we move further ahead into the digital age, I find that some books are gifts. They feel just right; their weight in your hands bringing forth a muscle memory of years past. The paper is smooth to the touch, and pleasing when you turn the page, even as you are utterly engrossed in the story. Soffer has given us such tenderhearted characters-- tormented youth meets tortured older person-- and they connect in ways that they hadn't anticipated. And in the end we are left with the thought that food heals, and that finding the right recipe can be a lifelong search. A gift for yourself and all the foodies that you know
Such fun, like Gollywhopper Games and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all rolled up into one. If your fantasy involves being locked in a library overnight (and really who hasn't wished for that) this entertaining action-packed, treasure hunt-filled book is for you. I kept reading parts aloud to my family, who felt that by the end “reading it” had become a team effort. If I were headed off to camp, this would be the book I would take with me, it's definitely good enough to read at least twice in a row. For book-lovers and gamers alike.
I think cookbooks should be obvious-- filled with the kind of recipes that you would want to make. Yet the author must also be knowledgeable enough to teach you a little something, or surprise you in the best way possible. ( I don’t think that’s asking too much—familiar but adventuresome, that’s the optimum!) Here, Madison groups the vegetables and plants you already know in surprising ways in order to show you new ways of cooking. A must for anyone who loves to read cookbooks in bed. (I can’t be the only one?!)
As I stand next to Beth as she is exploring this book, she says to me, “Katie, I can’t even tell you how much I LOVE this book. Just looking at the pictures, I want to take this one, and THIS one, and THIS ONE! And that’s even before raving about the recipes.” Although she’s not traveling to Paris this summer...every moment she’s perusing this book she is on a journey of delicious sites and flavors.
Unreliable narrators, how do you trust one? If the author and the main character share a name, who do you trust? What is true? Is there a truth to be found here? Words that come to mind to describe his writing: creepy, sinister, sweet, tender, compelling and mind-blowing. This novel reads like a turn at an amusement park-- reading it is the equivalent of riding a roller coaster, the fun house and taking turns on the paddle boats in the park. Here you'll find puzzles, games, inception-like labyrinths that take you, the reader from Paris to New York. I imagine you picking this book up, paging through, and taking it with you on a vacation somewhere. The plane ride will surely be spent turning these pages as fast as you possibly can.
I confess, I LOVED the Jane Austen Book Club. I have read it a multitude of times; sometimes picking out parts at random, waiting to see where the words lead. The passages written in second person plural never cease to fascinate me. Fowler’s ability to convey a group’s intentions and thoughts leaves me smiling. In her latest novel, she focuses on the group dynamic of a family. How past informs the present and how some types of love—though unconventional—you never really get over. Remember: There are as many ways to break something apart as there are to put it all back together again. A perfect conversation starter for your next book group meeting, a discussion that promises to be thought-provoking and memorable.
Summertime. Dreamtime. The perfect time to find a book that offers a new world to be explored, a departure from your own life. What is it about those coming-of-age narrators that we find some appealing, so intriguing, so hard to look away from the inevitable outcome-- even those on the scale of a personal train wreck? Could it be the strong voice that grips you and won’t let you look away? You may want to reach in the pages and redirect the character’s choices, to help them see things more clearly; but if you did it would change the author’s heartbreaking lines that cut you so deeply. For fans of Prep, Secret History and Schooling. Oh reader, “Ours is not to question why. Rather we are meant to take it all in and sigh.” (And then pass it on.)
I know that not everyone is a fan of short stories. For me it can be like eating several starters for a meal-- you don’t think you can fill up on something so small, but when you’re done you feel satisfied and full. Ausubel is such a master that reading one story a few pages long can feel like experiencing a person’s whole life. Their flaws and strengths are constructed out of sparse words and phrases that conjure up sparkling imagery. Think of these stories like shining little specks of gold in a hand filled with sand. They are a treasure to behold.
I love Ursula this little bear. I fell in love with her life and her family. When she is torn from us we ache. And when she is born again there is cause for rejoicing. You think after several times of this “being born and dying” it would get repetitive and boring, making you want to throw the book across the room. In fact you’ll want to hold on tight so that no one steals your copy while you immerse yourself in this world. That also means your hands aren’t free for dishes or driving or all of those other pesky chores and errands. I think they can wait, you’ve got more important things to do, like finishing this book so you can come in and we can talk about it. What are you waiting for, go ahead and get started, Ursula and all the others are on these pages ready to be discovered and adored.
In a nutshell I think Jansma’s first novel is a bit like Gone Girl meets Truth in Advertising. As I rule I try to stay away from books with too much hype, that are too pretentious and too gimmicky. And those unreliable narrators, hasn’t it been done before and how can we ever trust them? In fact there’s a whole rant against lies in the middle of this book, exploring the idea of truth telling and media; which is then wrapped up in these other layers. It’s complicated and yet the writing is simple and clean-- like shot to the heart after the panther attacks… Wait leopard, I meant leopard. Did you know that some panthers have black spots on black fur making them the hardest to see? Just something I picked up while reading the first time. I know I’ll be rereading it again soon, I can just tell. Would I lie to you?
My life as a bookseller: pick up a book, read, ponder, hope for a connection. When you find one, it's a powerful force--one you want to share with everybody within shouting radius. Reading Graver's latest novel I began to think about relationships between person and place and the effect each has on the other. As I followed this family through the generations, I experienced their highs and lows, the lives they lived on the surface and the hidden parts unseen by others. But the author’s words bring them all to light, like a treasure brought up from the sea-- held up and examined, then kept close. This book is such a treasure.
Reading Rowell's Young Adult novel was like a trip down memory lane: the music, the books, the walkmans and the bus rides. It was, in a sense, an 80's flashback. But what makes this story so powerful is the universality and the timelessness of her subject-- first love has no specific era or age. In class, Park states that we read books like Romeo & Juliet to experience a love such as that one over and over again in our lives. This is one of the greatest truths. Meet Eleanor and Park, experience their friendship, the ways in which they comfort and help each other and delight in their discovery of first love. A story you'll be happy to read and then reread for the sheer pleasure of connecting with these teens again.
I was first introduced to Schroder through my One Story subscription. It arrived in my mailbox with a striking red cover and a block printed font with the words “The Soul Keeps the Body Up.” I read it hurriedly in one fast gulp; wishing for more, but satisfied. Discovering this book was like moving a secret passageway and finding the hidden volumes of a library, or accidentally stumbling on a sequel to a favorite book. Follow Kennedy and his daughter on this journey as he writes to his wife telling her why and how he came to take Meadow. Such a gift that Gaige gives us: an interesting premise, a story well-told, with beautiful moments that will make you want to pause and savor them before reaching the inevitable ending.
As with their previous collaboration, Bryant and Sweet bring to life an artist previously unknown to children. As with most biographies meant for the younger generation, there is time spent on the individual's struggle with adversity. Yet it is the collaboration between the carefully chosen words and the charming yet unsentimental artwork that gives this book a timeless, almost ageless appeal. I want to give to everyone I know who may be in need of a little inspiration. What better time than in February to find a splash of red out there in the world and make it your own.
This book, which takes you from war torn Europe to Montreal, was a complete and total surprise. Richler gives us unexpected points of view, and fully fleshed characters; showing us that we all make choices, and that we sometimes make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn and move on. However, those choices often affect others, others who may live their lives with a hole around a loss. In this case there is a mom-shaped space in which Eva wonders about her life both in the past and present. Yet confronting the past is not always easy, for time is continuous and as forward moving as a river. This is a book about connections, one to get lost in. May it leave you thoughtful, wondering about the lives of those around you.
I want to tell you how much I Iove this book. I want to gush and thrust it into your hands, but yet I know if I am heavy handed you won't trust me. Perhaps I should show you my own copy. The underlined passages on most every page, the marginalia that contains arrows, stars and – yes, I confess -- even exclamation marks. Somehow Ausubel's words keep circling my mind, phrases that are now written on my heart. Truly she is a talented author to watch, this book is a wonder.
Do you ever go to the bookshelf and stare at it hard enough, hoping for a certain book to appear? Ever since I read The School of Essential Ingredients I have longed to go back to Lillian's Kitchen. Finding this sequel made me feel as if I wished it into existence. Bauermeister's luscious descriptions of food and cooking are like melted butter, and yet they are only one part of the recipe. There are the characters we care about, as well as their interesting histories and intriguing connections to each other. Maybe it's true that reading about cooking is like dancing about architecture, but I'd happily curl up with a Bauermeister novel and a cup of tea on any afternoon that I could.
Austen’s books are the ones you own many copies of. There are the dog-eared ones that go to the beach or sit in the car ready to keep you company when you are forced to wait (kids, spouse, appointments, etc.) Then there are the nice-ish copies you lend to friends. Finally there are gorgeous books like these. Paging through them is a joy akin to love. The perfect gift to give or receive for any special (real or imagined) occasion.
From the beautiful endpapers, to the amazing amount of information included—this is a book to sit with and pore over. A real family book for a variety of ages. Whether you’ve ever been to New York City or only watched the ball drop on television, following this city block through the decades makes for entertaining and informative reading.
True Confessions: I loved Forman's book, If I Stay. I was equally entranced by the sequel, Where She Went. In her latest, I found myself in Paris discovering the hidden secret sections of the city along with Allyson. I took the heartbreak pretty hard, I think I had some sympathy pains. (There were indeed, tears.) I started to smile a bit more when Allyson met her friend Dee-- he just about jumps off the pages. Consider yourself warned: you'll want to read Willem's story as soon as you finish this one. I just wish we didn't have to wait until October to find out what happened. I need to know now, people. Now. Maybe if enough of us read it we can start a petition to get the release date changed. Read it, and let me know if you're with me.
Orner's short stories have never been far from my thoughts since I read them years ago. The NYT said of this book: 'it takes up residence in your brain and stays there.' How true. Whenever I am reading any
book, I now get this image of Kat reading, fingers in front of her mouth as she eats her candy bar. I see it vividly. But then again, any writer who says, "Books are weight, the weight of our lives. They are
supposed to ache your heart-- and your back." is so invested in their writing that they will conjure up living, breathing characters to sit beside us as we go out on our literary journeys. Thumb through and see Orner's fabulous sketches for yourself.
How does he do it? In this seemingly unassuming teen book, David Levithan has managed to pack more thought-provoking prose than any reader could imagine. He's like the authors in those cookbooks that suggest ways to hide vegetables in brownies-- but with words. First he comes up with this interesting premise, then he creates this love story in an impossible situation. By the third chapter you're so hooked you can't put the book down. The next thing you know you're giving serious thought to illegal immigration and teen depression. You'll have to keep reading to see how it ends, (Can A and Rhiannon find true love? then pass it to a friend or maybe host a book group. A guaranteed discussion starter for teens and adults alike.
Written with such brutal and unflinching honesty, yet with prose that shines like windowed ice crystals. Auster’s latest memoir somehow examines life with a clinical eye and at the same time preserves the beauty and joy of the past. Whether he's writing about his father's death, or his first true love in an apartment in Paris, there's something here that will appeal to your fundamental basic nature. If only we could all examine our own bodies as carefully and with such grace.
Young fans of Austen or Smith’s beloved I Capture the Castle will feel right at home here. Look past the crooked architecture and rickety chairs; not to mention the facsimiles of the tapestries and the portraits or the stepsisters with a tightfisted grip on their inheritance. True love manages to shine through all of the adversities to make “A Happily Ever After” worth waiting for.
After devouring Wild, I wanted something more from Strayed. I found it; and in a word, WOW! As an advice columnist for the Rumpus, Dear Sugar has a knack for finding the very essence of her readers. No matter the situation-- may it be drugs, affairs, depression, writer's block or infidelity-- she shows how it would be possible to change. Somehow after reading these strangers’ letters you get a better picture of Strayed's life and a chance to reexamine your own. The part about “change being a gesture” on Page 181 really resonated with me. Give yourself the gift of discovering some of the words meant for you.
Funny how a book about a giant is small and lovely to hold in your hands. The size was what drew me to the book originally, only to discover that is was written by one of my favorite authors. Such a pleasant surprise sitting there on the shelf just waiting for me. Den Hartog again weaves her fairytale magic into a "could be true" story. This time we see the effects of a larger than life girl trying to fit in with her normal sized family, trying to make friends, and fit in with the world around her. Such universal themes for all of us. Maybe a small book with bigger than the page characters is an apt read for such a bittersweet time of year. Perfectly fitting for teens and adults alike.
Brunt's debut novel is the story of Junie who's doing her tender age-of-fourteen-best to get over the loss of Finn, her favorite uncle and best friend. When Finn's boyfriend Toby secretly contacts her, June is torn between what she should do and what she wants to do. This visit to the somewhat "simpler" time of the 1980s, is a coming-of-age tale that is sweet without being cloying. As June enjoys pretending to be somewhere else (the medieval era is her passion) so too are we given this once in a lifetime chance to lose ourselves and forget about the world around us. I say you should take it--a world of teapots, letters and beautiful secret rooms awaits.
Beautiful and inspiring, these three talented collaborators each feel a deep connection to film cameras. Polaroid, a seemingly outdated medium that is experiencing a resurgence, provides an immediacy and intimacy that digital cannot. With chapters covering the basics, composition and projects, it's enough to make you run right out and get your own camera. Page through and see these stunning visuals for yourself.
Quiet and thought provoking, reading Thompson's debut novel is like stepping out into a bright sunny day. It's when you realize that the sun isn't going set that (ironically) things start to turn a bit dark and sinister. Imagine what the world would be like if days were never-ending and you were in sixth grade wondering if that boy was ever going to talk to you....and that's only just the beginning. The fabulously pin-holed cover, and the fact that it's signed, make this a fantastic summer read--and the perfect teen crossover book.
Vermont author Bergman brings us a series of stories-- some featuring birds, and most focusing on animals. Her characters are young and are facing decisions, life changes, conflict, and crisis in a variety of settings. After only a few pages in, I felt like I knew them, that if we met on the street there would be an instant recognition. We might grab a coffee or bring them home to meet my pets. Bergman is a talented author to watch. Even if you're not a fan of short stories, these may just make you convert.