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  • Jenny Shank 7:00 pm on 2017/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    10 Can’t-Miss Fiction Reads for Fall 

    Beach reads are fun, but when the air turns crisp, many of us look forward to the rush of literary fiction hitting bookstores. Here are ten books to savor as the days grow shorter.

    My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (August 29)
    This literary debut by a young writer who grew up on the Mendocino coast is an intense psychodrama about a sturdy, isolated 14-year-old girl named Turtle with an abusive father. The survival and shooting skills her father taught her, however, come in handy when she takes to the wilderness to try to escape him. Tallent leavens difficult-to-read scenes of abuse with lush descriptions of nature and comic interludes with Turtle’s newfound teenage friends.

    Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, by Venita Blackburn (September 1)
    If you’re the kind of reader who wants to pick up something completely different, take this indie short story collection for a spin. Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, is Venita Blackburn’s promising debut. Blackburn’s prose dazzles in these tales that include stories of everyday people who find themselves with superhuman abilities.

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (September 5)
    Those blown away by Ward’s unforgettable, National Book Award–winning novel of Hurricane Katrina, Salvage the Bones, are eagerly anticipating Sing, Unburied, Sing. It tells the story of the members of a Mississippi family with an incarcerated father, who are haunted by ghosts of the past.

    Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (September 12)
    Believe the advance hype about this engrossing novel by Ng, whose debut, Everything I Never Told You, became a bestseller in 2014. When a free-spirited artist moves to Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland where the lawns and children are perfect, she threatens to disrupt the town’s carefully ordered existence. Ng’s storytelling voice will win you over immediately and keep you hooked through the fiery end.

    The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott (September 19)
    McDermott fans will love this story set in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, where the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor call the shots. As the book opens, a young, newly pregnant woman’s husband kills himself. Sister St. Saviour swoops in to save the day, offering the woman a job working in the convent’s laundry. As her daughter grows up among the bleaches and detergents, McDermott explores the nature of sin, redemption, and good works with her tender, funny, and honest approach.

    Five-Carat Soul, by James McBride (September 26)
    National Book Award winner McBride is back with a riveting, timely collection of stories. Expect the unexpected from this contemporary master of voice as he shows off his range by incorporating characters including Abraham Lincoln, teen funk band members, and a boxer who resembles Muhammad Ali fighting the devil to spare five souls from damnation.

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (October 3)
    Early reviews of Jennifer Egan’s follow up to her NBCC and Pulitzer Prize winner A Visit From the Goon Squad suggest prize judges might have a new Egan novel to laud. Drawing on years of research into the lives of women who worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Egan has crafted a compelling mystery saga about a character named Anna Kerrigan, who becomes the first female civilian diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.

    Fresh Complaint, by Jeffrey Eugenides (October 3)
    Fresh Complaint is Eugenides’ first collection of short stories, which just might win over new fans to the genre. Fans of his novels will want to check out the collection for the stories “Air Mail,” which features a character from The Marriage Plot, and “The Oracular Vulva,” which delves into material related to Middlesex.

    Her Body and Other Parties, by Carmen Maria Machado (October 3)
    For a season this packed with new books by prize-winners and bestsellers, this debut story collection is getting an incredible amount of buzz. Across eight innovative tales, Machado muses on the female body, stretching the boundaries of imagination as she does so.

    Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich (November 14)
    Erdrich often ventures into the past for fictional material, but this time she journeys two months into America’s future, when evolution is beginning to reverse, resulting in six-foot dragonflies. The borders with Mexico and Canada are sealed, and all pregnant women must report to birthing centers, including Erdrich’s young Ojibwe protagonist, Cedar Hawk Songmaker.

    The post 10 Can’t-Miss Fiction Reads for Fall appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Shank 3:00 pm on 2017/08/08 Permalink
    Tags: 000 places to see the total solar eclipse august 21 2017, american eclipse: a nation's epic race to catch the shadows of the moon and win the glory of the world, craig shields, david baron, duncan steel, eclipse: the celestial phenomenon that changed the course of history, fred espenak, into darkness, kate russo, ken wilcox, mark littman, over 1, , total addiction: the life of an eclipse chaser, totality: eclipses of the sun   

    5 Books to Prep You for the Great American Eclipse 

    Astronomy buffs started making plans years ago to see the total solar eclipse that will arc through America on August 21. But if you’re just getting curious about all the hype and want to know more, it’s time to hit the bookstore. It’s not too late for eclipse procrastinators to participate in this awe-inspiring event. Here are five books that detail the history of eclipses, give tips for viewing them, and even delve into what to do if you become an eclipse-chasing addict.

    Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon that Changed the Course of Historyby Duncan Steel
    Although we now know the scientific reason for eclipses, it’s hard to resist thinking that the total solar eclipse is somehow…portentous. In his in-depth book, released in a new edition in time for the great American eclipse, Duncan Steel details historical eclipses and the portents that were ascribed to them. “Solar eclipses have been interpreted as evil omens by many civilizations because the life-giving sunlight is obscured for a few minutes, producing a profound effect upon all under the celestial shadow,” he writes. Based on Biblical references to a dark and blood-red moon following the crucifixion of Jesus, Steel hypothesizes that a lunar eclipse followed it. Stonehenge may have been built to help predict eclipses. Christopher Columbus knew an eclipse would be visible in 1504, and used this to manipulate the Native Americans he encountered. Steel’s book is a fascinating tour through the history of eclipses.

    American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the Worldby David Baron 
    On July 28, 1878, a solar eclipse plunged a swath of America from Montana to Louisiana momentarily into darkness. America was just thirteen years past its Civil War, and looking to the heavens for signs of what it might become. Baron writes that his book describes “how an unfledged young nation came to embrace something much larger than itself—the enduring human quest for knowledge and truth.” At the time, American science was considered inferior to European endeavors, and the eclipse provided American scientists a chance to prove their mettle. The eclipse brought many East Coast visitors to the West, where they discovered that it was not the wild, untrammeled place they had imagined, but a land where civilization flourished in such burgeoning towns as Denver.

    Over 1,000 Places to see the Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017: City, State & National Parks, Campgrounds & Attractions, Road Trip Planningby Craig Shields
    If you haven’t yet made hotel or campground reservations or plans for the eclipse, this guide could help you figure out where to see it. It will take some forethought—experts are predicting it could be the biggest tourism event ever for Nebraska alone, possibly bringing half a million people to the Cornhusker state. Since many of the best places to view the eclipse are off the beaten path, this book includes GPS coordinates and a QR code that you can scan with your smart phone to launch a map to the described location.

    Totality: Eclipses of the Sun, by Mark Littman, Fred Espenak, and Ken Wilcox
    This comprehensive guide to solar eclipses explains why they happen, why people are so enthusiastic about seeing them, remarkable historical occurrences connected to them, and the best way to witness, photograph, and videotape them. Totality includes many tips for the best ways to enjoy your time in the midday dark.

    Total Addiction: The Life of an Eclipse Chaser, by Kate Russo
    Some people consider the August 21 total solar eclipse to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but others might become so moved by the experience that they begin to orient their lives around seeing another and another one. Russo describes the feeling of awe inspired by the eclipse that leads some to develop an addiction to chasing them, and profiles some inveterate eclipse chasers.

    Are you traveling to see the upcoming eclipse?

    The post 5 Books to Prep You for the Great American Eclipse appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Shank 4:00 pm on 2017/05/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Mother's Day 2017, thanks mom   

    5 Book and Activity Pairings Perfect for Mother’s Day 

    Mother’s Day is a chance to thank the moms in your life for all that they do for you. If the mom in your life loves to read with her kids, we’ve got a great gift idea for you: here are five book and activity pairings mom will love.

    Book: Hats off to You! by Karen Beaumont and LeUyen Pham
    Tea Party
    In this appealing rhyming book, four friends—Emily, Ashley, Kaitlyn and Claire—are playing dress-up in the attic while their mothers are downstairs. They decide they need fabulous hats to match their outfits, and head off to a hat shop. At first, it seems like the girls are enjoying fashion for fashion’s sake, but at the end they concoct a surprise—a tea party in appreciation of their mothers called a “Mother-Daughter La-Tea-Da.” Read the book, then discuss it over tea!

    Book: Brobarians, by Lindsay Ward
    A visit to a parkour gym
    In her author’s note, Lindsay Ward confesses that she wrote this hilarious book after staying up late one night watching Conan the Barbarian. The result is the story of a pair of warrior brothers who get into a fight over who is responsible for a broken cookie jar. Iggy the Brobarian and Otto the Brobarian duke it out in the backyard in heroic fashion, clashing like two titans, mounted on their steeds—a saber tooth tiger and a unicorn—until the formidable Mamabarian intervenes. It’s clear that any mom raising her own pair of brobarians needs gladiator training, so treat her to a session at a Ninja Warrior or parkour gym.

    Book: Hotel Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins
    A night at a luxury hotel
    In Mother Bruce, Bruce, a grumpy, egg-loving bear was about to eat four goose eggs when they hatched and the goslings bonded to him. Bruce became their unlikely mother. In this sequel, like any attentive mother, Bruce migrates south with his geese for the winter, joining them in the party atmosphere of Miami even though he really feels like hibernating. One spring, Bruce returns home from migration, tired and grumpy, “to find that mice had moved in and turned his house into a busy woodland hotel.” The mice invite a moose, a rabbit, turtles, and even elephants to stay at the inn, trashing the place, until Bruce is finally fed up. Moms will identify with this grouchy bear, who feels like his obligations never end. After she reads this book, treat Mom to a night off at a luxury hotel—alone! Tell her she can order all the room service she wants.

    Book: The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown
    Activity: A trip to a botanic garden
    In The Curious Garden, a boy named Liam finds a few plants struggling up through the tracks of an abandoned elevated railway in his dilapidated neighborhood and decides to care for them. Through trial and error, he develops a green thumb. The garden becomes so healthy Liam notices it “growing restless. It wanted to explore.” Eventually the garden spreads throughout the town, reinvigorating the formerly woebegone place and inspiring new gardeners throughout the city. Mother’s Day offers a chance to celebrate all that spring has to offer, including blooming, fragrant flowers. Read this book with Mom and then head to a local botanic garden for inspiration.

    Book: Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros and Brianne Farley
    A visit to the planetarium or science museum
    Charlotte is a rabbit who abides by the scientific method and has all the right equipment to begin her experiments—including protective goggles, a lab coat, and a magnifying glass—but her many brothers and sisters leave her too squished for experimentation. She decides to apply the scientific method and come up with a solution. This is a great book for moms who love science—and you can treat them to a day out at the science museum or planetarium to go with it.

    How are you celebrating your book-loving mom this year?

  • Jenny Shank 6:15 pm on 2017/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , one-way journeys   

    5 Great Novels About Refugees and Migrants 

    Is there a more compelling story than that of a person forced to flee their home due to war or famine and take their chances on survival as a refugee? The theme appears in literature again and again, from the Bible to The Grapes of Wrath. Here are five terrific books of contemporary fiction that will humanize the stories of refugees in the news.

    Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
    It’s hard to predict what books will endure, but this understated, elemental novel, blending stark realism with a dash of magic, has the feel of an instant classic. Hamid tells the story of Saeed and Nadia, a young man and woman who meet each other in a classroom “in a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war.” Nadia wears a full black robe, not because she’s religious—she isn’t—but because she wants to move independently through this unnamed Muslim city, where she has made the unusual choice for an unmarried woman of moving into an apartment by herself. Saeed is enchanted. By the time violence starts to demolish their city, they are in love. They make the risky choice to migrate when they hear of magicals door that will transport them to other places. As they join a mob of international refugees moving through these doors into various stable countries in the West and trying to eke out a new existence, can their love survive?

    Suite Française, by Irène Némirovsky
    In the opening section of this masterwork by a French novelist of Russian Jewish heritage who was killed in the Holocaust, Némirovsky captures a panoramic view of the 1940 evacuation of Paris in advance of the arrival of the Nazis, who had recently defeated the French army. Némirovsky creates vivid characters from a variety of walks of life—including a wealthy, haughty author, a young priest in charge of orphan hooligans, and a married couple ordered by the bank they work at to relocate—and follows them as they take the road out of Paris. Some travel by car as long as the gasoline lasts, others by foot. All of them are changed irrevocably by this forced migration that separates parents from children, workers from their livelihoods, and many from their dignity.

    The Refugees, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    Viet Thanh Nguyen followed his 2016 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer with this collection of stories about Vietnamese refugees of all different ages, genders, and occupations. The stories are set in the U.S. and Vietnam, as refugees displaced by the Vietnam War try to settle into foreign surroundings, or return to the country they left behind, all of them haunted, some literally, by ghosts. Through these poignant stories, Nguyen reminds us that a refugee never stops being a refugee, a person forcibly separated from their homeland, even long after they’ve settled into a new life.

    What Is the What, by Dave Eggers
    Dave Eggers based this wonderful 2006 novel on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, forced out of his home by violence in Sudan as a young boy. He became one of the region’s “lost boys,” leaving his family behind and migrating on foot to the nearest refugee camp, in Kenya, and eventually immigrating to the U.S. Although the subject matter is bleak, Eggers injects a buoyancy and wit into its telling that matches the charisma and unremitting hope of its subject.

    Across A Hundred Mountains, by Reyna Grande
    Reyna Grande’s heartrending novel tells the story of nine-year-old Reyna, whose baby sister dies in a flood in a Mexican village. When her family can’t pay the debt for the funeral, her father Miguel migrates to the U.S. to find a better paying job. Several years later, after further family tragedy, Juana heads north in a desperate attempt to find her father. She’s smuggled by coyotes on a perilous journey across the desert.

    The post 5 Great Novels About Refugees and Migrants appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Shank 3:30 pm on 2017/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , daisy johnson, , , jenny zhang, lesley nneka arimah, , otessa moshfegh, , , tessa hadley, Tim Gautreaux   

    7 Spectacular Story Collections to Read in 2017 

    Short story fans are in for a treat in 2017, with so many collections by long-established masters and intriguing debut authors that it will be hard to choose where to start reading. Here are seven can’t-miss collections to watch out for this year.

    Signals: New and Selected Stories by Tim Gautreaux (January 17)
    Tim Gautreaux is a contemporary short story virtuoso, and this collection of new and selected tales offers a great chance for readers unfamiliar with him to catch up, and for fans to reminisce. Gautreaux’s home territory is the South, especially Louisiana, and his stories draws on and refreshes classic tropes of Southern literature. From a priest with a taste for brandy who must comfort a dying man who has sinned creatively all his life (“Good for the Soul”), to a grandpa who attempts his chores while babysitting a passel of grandchildren (“Welding with Children”), to a piano turner hired to visit an instrument at the decaying mansion of an eccentric widow (“The Piano Tuner”), Gautreaux captures messy lives with humor, heart, and grace.

    Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh (January 17)
    Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut novel Eileen, a dark literary thriller about a woman who escapes from a New England town, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize last year, and a movie is reportedly in the works. She has followed it up with her first collection of short stories, many of which were previously published in The Paris Review and The New Yorker. Moshfegh’s stories shock and surprise as she draws you into the quirky worlds of her characters, from an unconventional teacher at a Catholic high school (“Bettering Myself”) to an old man who becomes obsessed with the young woman who buys the house next door (“An Honest Woman”).

    What it Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (April 4)
    Minneapolis-based writer Lesley Nneka Arimah’s debut collection of short stories promises to surprise and entertain with her unique style of mythic realism. In “Who Will Greet You At Home,” a Nigerian woman must choose a material out of which to create her child. The title story, which won the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing, is set in a future world where mathematicians eat other people’s grief.

    Fen by Daisy Johnson (May 2)
    Daisy Johnson sets her stories in East Anglia, an area in the east of England that’s full of marshlands, hence the title. Johnson mixes magic and folklore in freely as her characters have uncanny encounters, often with the animal world: a dead boy has been reincarnated as a fox in “There Was a Fox in the Bedroom,” and an albatross storms into a pregnant woman’s kitchen in “The Superstition of an Albatross.”

    Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami (May 9)
    International literary powerhouse Haruki Murakami will publish a new story collection in May. The seven tales feature men who have ended up alone, and are laced with many of the standard elements of Murakami’s fiction, including mysterious women and Beatles references.

    Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley (May 16)
    New Yorker regular Tessa Hadley is a prolific British writer whose stories capture all phases of the lives of women with rare sensitivity. In “Deeds Not Words,” the personal and political struggles of two female British schoolteachers are set against the outbreak of World War I. In the title story, Hadley enters a child’s thoughts, fears, and skin as she wakes in the middle of the night while her family sleeps on around her, and creates a mess that her mother, upon waking, thinks her husband has caused.

    Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (August 1)
    Girls creator Lena Dunham has a new publishing imprint, and her first choice as an editor is this collection of stories by Jenny Zhang. Zhang’s stories explore the lives of Chinese American girls and young women growing up in New York City, as in “Hold On, Sour Grape,” in which the narrator reveals the degredations of living in Bushwick with little money, and her parents keep a list of “things we need to buy immediately or else we’ve just lost all human dignity whatsoever.”

    The post 7 Spectacular Story Collections to Read in 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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