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  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2019/11/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , find me, , josh malerman, malorie, , , , , , , , to be continued   

    6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For 

    The only thing better than loving a book is knowing the story isn’t over—that’s what sequels and companion novels are for! This year and next, we’re being gifted with a number of returning characters and continuing stories. Here’s a sampling of these second helpings, which range from the aftermath of a young, tragic love story to the fall of a dystopian regime.

    Find Me (Sequel to Call Me By Your Name), by André Aciman
    Some romances—and some novels—change us forever. Broken hearts around the world rejoiced at the news that Call Me By Your Name was getting a sequel (perhaps in part due to the success of the movie?) that would reveal what happened to Elio and Oliver in the years after their love affair. In sensual, heartrending prose, Aciman reveals that Elio has become a classical pianist who lives in Paris, and Oliver a college professor tempted to seek Elio out after all this time apart. Readers will be left breathless by the story’s end.

    Olive, Again (Sequel to Olive Kitteridge), by Elizabeth Strout
    The follow-up to the Pulitzer prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge once again returns to the town of Crosby, Maine, and follows Olive (and her family, neighbors, and friends) as they navigate the ups and downs of everyday life. Readers fell for Olive’s cantankerous, imperfect personality as she strived to understand her distant but loving husband, connect with her son, and eventually, move on from a major loss. This time around, Olive has found happiness in the aftermath of that grief, but life always finds a way of messing with a sure thing. With unforgettable characters who return for an encore as well as new faces who help Olive find her way, this sequel may restore your faith in humanity.

    Royal Holiday (Wedding Date #4), by Jasmine Guillory
    Romcom lovers, rejoice in another Jasmine Guillory story just in time for the holidays. This one stars Maddie’s mom (from The Wedding Party) Vivian as she embarks on a no-strings-attached fling while accompanying Maddie on a work trip to England. The catch? The work trip is with royalty, and the fling is the Queen’s trusted aide. What begins as a low-stakes romance evolves into a serious choice Vivian must make about whether she’s ready to make a holiday treat into a real-life love affair.

    The Testaments (Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), by Margaret Atwood
    On the heels of the incredible third season of the hit Hulu show, Atwood released a sequel to her original dystopian tale meant to answer the most popular questions she received in the three decades since: What happened to Gilead? How did it rise, and who orchestrated its eventual fall? Following the perspectives of three women, two inside the regime, and one in Canada, The Testaments answers those questions with unfolding tension and characters in contradiction, ultimately giving readers a satisfying conclusion (or second chapter?) to a gripping saga.

    Starsight (Skyward #2), by Brandon Sanderson (11/26/19)
    In Skyward, a YA sci-fi fantasy novel by renowned adult novelist Brandon Sanderson, we met Spensa, one of the last survivors of an alien war, who wants to be a pilot. When she comes into contact with a ship that seems sentient, she decides to pursue this dream at all costs—and by the end, those costs have come crashing down on her, and she learns some terrible truths that will impact her fate. This novel builds on Spensa’s journey towards carving her own destiny in the stars despite a great betrayal unearthed from the past.

    Malorie (Sequel to Bird Box), by Josh Malerman (7/21/20)
    The much-anticipated sequel to the sci-fi thriller Bird Box arrives soon! Details on the plot of Malorie are being kept under blindfolds, so all we know is that she is the star. It picks up in the aftermath of the previous story (which was also adapted into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock) where Malorie, Boy, and Girl have reached the colony of people secluded from the mysterious creature attacks that have taken down modern society. Will we learn the origins of the creatures? Will Malorie remain with Boy and Girl? We’ll find out next May!

    What new sequels are you excited for?

    The post 6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2019/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: avon gale, by the book, , elizabeth reyes, gabriel's inferno, hot for teacher, julia sonneborn, last will and testament, laura argiri, noah, off the ice, piper vaughn, reforming a rake, , , sylvain reynard, the god in flight   

    Amorous Academia: 7 Romances Featuring Teachers 

    When it comes to romantic scenarios, a popular favorite is also one fraught with tension and taboos: being Hot for Teacher. Power imbalances, rules of propriety, knowledge gaps, and desks built for a wide variety of different uses abound in romance novels where one character is tasked with teaching another. I hope you enjoy this different take on ‘Back to School’ with these eight romances—read them all, and you’ll get an ‘A’ in my class.

    Last Will and Testament, (Radleigh University #1) by Dahlia Adler
    Consider this my ode to Connor Lawson, hottest TA in existence. But therein lies the problem: Connor is Lizzie’s TA, which makes their chemistry very ill-advised, especially considering that after a tragic accident Lizzie needs her scholarship to Radleigh University more than ever. Not only because her parents perish, leaving her alone in the world…but because she becomes the guardian to her younger brothers. But the sparks between Connor and Lizzie aren’t going anywhere—in fact, they threaten to set her tenuously balanced life up in flames. This is your tutoring fantasy come to life, full to the brim with romantic tension, heartwarming family scenes, and a heroine figuring things out and making mistakes along the way.

    Off the Ice, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
    Tristan Holt needs a backup plan: no one can play professional hockey forever. That’s where business school comes in. But the off-season for his sport turns out to be the on-season for falling for his totally off-limits sociology professor. Being an openly-gay athlete comes with a lot of risk—including losing his place in the sport altogether, and Tristan isn’t certain he’s ready to abandon both the closet and the rink. But love is love is love, and sometimes teachers are there to teach us more than what we can read in books…could Sebastian be the one to teach him what it means to truly love himself?

    The God in Flight, by Laura Argiri
    One of the most beautiful and heartbreaking reads of my lifetime absolutely belongs on this list. But definitely prepare to cry as much as you swoon when you read about Simon, a sixteen-year-old who has survived abuse in his home to attend Yale in 1878. While there, he meets the strapping, romantic poetry professor (and foreigner from Greece) Doriskos, and despite the age difference between them, the two begin a relationship of mutual admiration, passion, and eventually, love. But the late 19th Century was not kind to immigrants, to gay people, or to people like Simon, who has been plagued by illness his entire life. The refuge they find in one another soon turns dangerous, and this genre-bending novel takes flight into unforgettable territory.

    Gabriel’s Inferno, by Sylvain Reynard
    Here’s a trope-checklist: Tortured hero? Check. Naïve heroine? Check. Forbidden romance? Check. This romance series-starter has all three in spades. Gabriel Emerson teaches a class on Dante’s Inferno, which has special meaning to him personally, thanks to the tragic and mysterious past he believes he is beyond redemption from. But when he meets a graduate student, Julia, he knows he’s only bound for more trouble: because despite her innocence, and his attraction to her, she has a connection to the past he desperately wants to escape from. Fans of Sylvia Day will lust for Gabriel as much as Julia does, as their affair reaches a dangerous point of no return.

    Reforming a Rake, by Suzanne Enoch
    Flipping the teacher script on this one with a governess romance! The most crucial thing for a woman—but especially a governess, in charge of children—during Regency Era England is that her reputation must never be besmirched. She also probably shouldn’t fall in love with her boss. Those power dynamics I mentioned in the introduction? Well, despite Alexandra being the teacher, the man and employer is the one with all the power in this relationship: power to make her swoon, and power to make her suffer, should he so choose.

    Noah, (5th Street #1) by Elizabeth Reyes
    As a gym rat myself, I am angry I didn’t know about this romance until recently. It takes place in a boxing gym, where Veronica Cruz goes to try and put her life back on track after a trying time. Noah is an aspiring professional boxer—and she’s his first real client. The stakes for both of them are high, but what makes them even higher is that as the attraction between them grows, and despite Noah being her teacher, Veronica can’t help but worry about one thing: he’s eight years younger. Slow burn romance fans will love (and hate) watching Veronica and Noah try to make a platonic friendship work as the tension between them becomes taut as a clenched fist.

    By the Book, by Julia Sonneborn
    A modern retelling of Persuasion, a second-chance romance, AND a teacher romance to close out the list. Anne Corey is ready for tenure, but nothing throws her off balance like the reappearance of her first love and former fiancé, Adam Martinez, when he becomes president of the college. This feel-good romance about what happens when the past isn’t quite done with you is one you won’t feel squeamish about bringing to book clubs, too!

    The post Amorous Academia: 7 Romances Featuring Teachers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2019/10/18 Permalink
    Tags: amal el-mohtar, , , , , , joanne ramos, , , , , , , , , , , this is how you lose the time war, , vengeful,   

    9 Books to Read if You Loved The Testaments 

    In 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale  was published as a terrifyingly possible prophecy about the dangers of the small, seemingly insignificant choices that can lead even the most advanced, modern societies into a world that barely resembles the one they knew. Margaret Atwood is famous for saying that everything which occurs in the dystopian novel is pulled from real, recorded historical events—meaning that the fictional society known as Gilead could happen anywhere, even at home where we feel most safe.

    Legions of readers followed Offred’s story as a Handmaid in Gilead, one of many women forced to bear and relinquish children into the care of their captors. Offred’s first child, born in a free America, is stolen from her before the novel begins, and when the novel ends her fate is unknown, faded into darkness as the van she steps in may be taking her to freedom, or to her doom.

    In the thirty-five years since its publication, The Handmaid’s Tale has become an international bestseller and received the television treatment as a Hulu show starring Elizabeth Moss. But the fascination with the story has only led to more questions: what happened next? Did Offred survive? Did she have another child? How was Gilead created, and even more urgently: how did it fall?

    The Testaments (which was B&N’s September Book Club pick!) is Atwood’s answer to those questions: a new novel, taking place fifteen years after the conclusion of one that started it all. From the perspective of three different women (two within Gilead, one beyond its borders), the story follows both the early origins of Gilead and its essential founders as well as a dangerous plot to destroy the country from within.

    Without spoiling the revelations learned in the story, I can say The Testaments is a truly satisfying novel for both fans of the original book and the show (and fans of just the show can read it and will not be lost for a second) and answers most, if not all, of the questions offered above. The characters are complex and flawed, and their arcs—both redemptive and tragic—are wholly satisfying. For example, the architect of Gilead’s downfall will be a delightful surprise to fans of the show, and provides a future potentially award-winning turn for at least one actress who currently appears on it, should the show decide to pursue The Testaments as a continuation. But I will say this: If The Handmaid’s Tale was a prophet of doom for women’s rights, The Testaments is a beacon of hope. It is a manifesto on female courage and resilience, one that I think many readers will find welcome in 2019.

    When you finish it, check out our readalike picks below!

    Vox, by Christina Dalcher
    In The Testaments, the world is defined by keeping women subjugated, mainly in the name of reproduction. But in Vox, female subjugation has another, insidious element: women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words a day, or a device embedded into their skin will shock them. Jean McClellan, a former cognitive linguist (who lost her job as a result of these new laws) watches as her young daughter already knows to silence herself, expecting rewards for how little she speaks, and her teenage son sinks into dangerously abusive territory where he sympathizes with the government more than his own mother. But when an opportunity arises for Jean to regain her voice and fight the oppression from within, she knows this is her one and only shot to make a better life for her daughter and protect her only son from himself. She must engage in lies and deceit with the people she loves most in order to save them—that is, if she’s not caught first.

    Red Clocks, by Leni Zumas
    In an America eerily similar to that of Gilead’s beginnings, abortion is no longer legal. That of course doesn’t mean that people aren’t obtaining abortions, it means they are going outside the system, to women such as Gin, an herbalist who lives on the outskirts of a small Oregon town…who suddenly becomes a national spectacle when she is accused of and tried for providing such a service. Her story interweaves with that of three others: a single woman desperately trying to get pregnant before the law only allows married couples to have children; a mother of two in a dangerous marriage; and a teenage girl who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. The characters are what make this novel memorable, as they all go to great lengths to get what they want in a world that forbids them to want anything.

    Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
    How is a YA historical novel that takes place during Medieval France a readalike for The Testaments? Well, let me tell you: because in 14th Century Brittany, life for women was kind of like a dystopia. The main character of Robin LaFevers’ brilliant Grave Mercy is about to be married off to a terrible man and she has no say in the matter. In fact, women during this time often turned to convents and took sacred vows in order to gain more autonomy and freedom than they would have had as married mothers. That is what Ismae does—to escape bondage, she swears to serve the God of Death and in his service, kill other terrible men who deserve it. The elite sisterhood of assassins she joins makes her feel powerful for the first time in her life…until she falls in love with a man she doesn’t entirely trust. Romance, swordplay, and feminism all in one series—of which there are five books to binge!

    Vengeful (Vicious #2), by V.E. Schwab
    No one writes villains the way V.E. Schwab does. The first book in this duology, Vicious, focused on male villainy, when two friends at college discover the secret to developing ExtraOrdinary superpowers and as a result, become enemies each bent on destroying the other. The second book, though (which should technically be read after Vicious for continuity’s sake) is all about female anger, villainy…and justice? This is where it connects to the world of The Testaments for me; it’s a novel in which we see female characters do terrible things in order to attain justice. In Vengeful, women take center stage and are determined to use their ExtraOrdinary abilities not only for self-preservation, but for ultimate power, no matter the cost.

    This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
    Readers of The Testaments who love watching the ultimate takedown of Gilead from within will love this unique sci-fi novella about two agents on opposite sides of a war throughout time. Red and Blue are supposed to be enemies, but when they start exchanging letters , that begins to change. With literally out-of-this-world prose that sets the pages on fire, the love story that unfolds against the backdrop of tyrannical rule is an unforgettable reminder that even in the darkest of times, love wins.

    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
    Gilead’s beginnings are not just rooted in patriarchy, but in a global health crisis: plummeting fertility rates force people into extreme panic, during which a fringe group seizes control. Station Eleven also begins with a health crisis, but a different one: an flu pandemic that ravages most of modern society, forcing the world into a version of the Dark Ages where people search for pockets of the civilization they once knew. This literary page-turner follows a group of actors as they perform Shakespeare twenty years after the collapse of modernity. When a dangerous prophet threatens the peaceful existence they’ve managed to carve out for themselves, the survivors have a choice to make that could determine their survival.

    The Farm, by Joanne Ramos
    Possibly the most direct readalike on the list, this novel is about women who have children for other women in a place known as the Farm. The deal is this: a huge payday in exchange for nine months of your time growing a baby that, once birthed, will go to the person who paid for it. Jane agrees to be a ‘Host’, but soon realizes there’s another, hidden cost to this agreement: she can’t leave as long as she’s pregnant, or she forfeits the fee she so desperately needs to help her actual family, the one she loves beyond the walls of the Farm. An eerie, modern approach to similar questions addressed by Atwood’s novels.

    What did you think of The Testaments?

    The post 9 Books to Read if You Loved <i>The Testaments</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 2:00 pm on 2019/10/16 Permalink
    Tags: adrienne brodeur, after the flood kassandra montag, , , imaginary friend, , middlegame, , , , soren sveistrup, spooky books, stephen chbosky, , the chestnut man, , , , wild game   

    8 Suspenseful Stories to Tide You Over Until Halloween 

    Scary-story season is finally upon us! Some books are magical, others are simply mind-boggling. Either way, if you’re a lover of all books dark and deceptive, look no further than this list of reads with twists and turns you won’t see coming.

    Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo
    In her first adult novel, Bardugo casts a vicious spell about the dangers of secret societies and trauma, unrestrained. Her (anti)heroine, Alex, arrives at Yale brimming with the possibility of a second chance after a horrific upbringing and adolescence, the pain of survivorship—including a recent homicide, still unsolved—all over her. There is, of course, a catch: the mysterious financiers of her new education expect Alex to spy on the multiple secret societies across campus. What will happen when Alex finds herself being drawn in past the point of no return—and when she discovers that those secret societies do more than just dabble in magic that can raise the dead? Full of shocking revelations and jaw-dropping descriptions, this is the perfect scary read for an adventurous reader.

    Toil and Trouble (A Memoir), Augusten Burroughs
    You may recall the memoir Running with Scissors, about Augusten Burroughs’ chaotic upbringing, in which he was abandoned by his mother to be raised by her psychiatrist. But Augusten had more twists up his sleeve to share, including the fact that he is a witch, descended from a long line of people with uncanny abilities. Written in his typical hilarious but poignant style, this story won’t give you nightmares (other than the kind you might discuss in a therapist’s office) but it will shock and surprise you with each passing page.

    Middlegame, by Seanan Maguire
    A thrilling, sharply-written sci-fi thriller about two people, Roger and Dodger, who meet as children—except, they don’t actually ‘meet’. They communicate through one another’s minds, part of some invisible inexplicable connection the two of them share that no one else can see. But that connection is not invisible, nor inexplicable—it’s scientific, deliberate, and quite diabolical. They aren’t really ‘children’ at all, but pawns in an experiment devised by an alchemist who believes that the secret to true power—and the key to a lost city—relies on Roger and Dodger being kept apart. As Roger and Dodger grow, become determined to meet, and then determine that being close could endanger the entire world, each page brings a new revelation written in perfect, almost alchemical prose.

    The Water Dancer, by Ta Nehisi-Coates
    Another paranormal story about powers beyond a character’s control. In this stunning fiction debut from celebrated nonfiction writer Coates, readers will meet Hiram, who is blessed—and cursed—with a power that has saved his life after almost drowning. He has no memory of his mother, who was sold and separated from him. All he knows is that he is going to escape his bondage, and that this power will help him. A sweeping saga that spans the US, describing its original sin of slavery as witnessed through Hiram’s eyes, The Water Dancer is full of shock and suspense, perhaps the most important of which is that we continue to be shocked by the atrocities of slavery, despite hearing them over and over again—making this novel even more essential reading.

    Imaginary Friend, by Stephen Chbosky
    Might I interest you in a bit of horror for your Halloween? When a single mom and her seven year-old son settle in a small town, the hope is that they can just blend in. Forget about the past: the abusive husband she escaped, and how long they’ve spent on the run. But when the child goes missing, his mother fears the worst. More than merely a shocking plot, Chbosky’s emotional prose threatens to reveal the worst truths about ourselves…but the plot itself is shocking, too, especially when the child returns unharmed—save the imaginary friend inside his head.

    Wild Game, by Adrienne Brodeur
    Some stories are so shocking, they have to be fictional, right? Not this memoir, about a girl who becomes her mother’s accomplice in keeping secret an affair with her father’s closet friend. The relationships daughters and mothers share can be magical and mysterious, as Adrienne learns through her experiences worshiping and fearing her own mother, Malabar, especially as the affair in which she is a participant reaches a calamitous, shocking crescendo.

    After the Flood, by Kassandra Montag
    The world is flooding. That’s not just what the science says, that’s what has already happened in this speculative debut thriller in which a woman is reeling from the abduction of her daughter by her own father while their home flooded in Nebraska. It’s seven years later and Myra is still searching for Row, the daughter she lost, all while trying to care for Pearl, the daughter she has left…in a world of water, where society has crumbled beneath the waves. Desperate for hope, Myra will do anything to reunite her family, but will it be worth the violence and betrayal? Seriously, this story has shocker after shocker, and just when you think you know how it will end, the tide turns.

    The Chestnut Man, by Soren Sveistrup
    Scandinavian thriller fans, meet: the Chestnut Man. In Copenhagen, he is killing seemingly at whim, leaving behind tokens of his villainy in the form of dolls made of matchsticks and chestnuts. When fingerprints are found on one of the dolls, a team of detectives with an axe to grind must team up and find the killer. What you think is a straight procedural murder mystery is full of layers and depth—with a female detective at the helm, and an ending that will almost shock the life out of you.

    The post 8 Suspenseful Stories to Tide You Over Until Halloween appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 2:00 pm on 2019/10/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , family sagas, , , from screen to page, , , , , , queens of innis lear, rich people problems, ross poldark, , the dinner, the divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, , , , the next, , the stationary shop   

    21 Books to Read for Fans of HBO’s Succession 

    The second season of HBO’s Succession is in full swing, and I’m absolutely obsessed. The Roy family saga is one of constant undermining, financial deceit, cozying up to power, and lots and lots of secrets. But who would expect anything less from a story about a media mogul’s duplicitous attempts to secure his family dynasty and the ill-advised actions of his three children? If you love the show, here are twenty-one books full of family drama across all genres you might want to check out.

    Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane
    Which moment was it, that defined the Gleeson and Stanhope families? Was it when they moved to the same neighborhood? When their children, Kate and Peter, became friends? Was it when Anne, Peter’s mother, started to suffer from mental illness, or when his father struggled with alcoholism? Or was it what came after, when a devastating incident of violence forces the two families apart and only the next generation can start to heal the wounds that came before? A triumphant novel about how individual people often are lost in the claustrophobia of family, and how the mistakes of the past can either condemn or liberate the next generation.

    The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
    When they were children, the Golds visited a psychic who claimed she could pinpoint the day they would die. It is the end of the 60’s and their entire lives are in front of them. After hearing the prophecies of their eventual demises, each of the children responds in differing extremes: Simon comes out as gay and finds love in San Francisco; Klara finds solace in magic and a family; Daniel joins the military; and Varya becomes a scientist determined to outsmart time itself. The novel follows each child on their journey, wrestling with whether the fate they were given is one they deserve, one that was destined, or one they should have attempted to escape.

    Flowers in the Attic, by VC Andrews
    After a terrible tragedy, four children are locked in an attic, presumably for their own protection—and that of their inheritance. Alone in their grandmother’s house with infrequent visits from their mother, the children must turn to one another in order to survive—even if the consequences are a forbidden love. Money, secrets, scandal and romance combine in this classic start to the Dollanganger series. If you didn’t read this family drama as a teenager when your parents thought you were asleep, then you should definitely try to emulate that experience when the 40th anniversary edition publishes this fall!

    Ross Poldark, by Winston Graham
    Ok, fans of another TV show should be familiar with this one, but there are so many similar elements to Succession in Poldark that I had to include it! Sure, it takes place after the Revolutionary War in Cornwall, Britain and not modern-day America, but— there’s a family feud that ends in bloodshed, new money vs. old money, forbidden love, and one man holding onto hope that he can make a better life for his family in an era that seems poised to make him falter. Money is largely the enemy, because it is what enables the Warleggans, the primary villains, to enact their spite and hatred on the Poldark family.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    A multi-generational epic about the Buendía family, beginning with their founder, José Arcadio Buendía, who founded the fictional town of Macondo in Colombia. Lush descriptions infused with magical realism makes this one an intimidating selection for high schoolers (which is when I read it the first time), but it deserves returning to again and again. The story begins, and is punctuated throughout, with violence: a man and his wife flee their home after a murder, and everything that happens after seems rooted in the haunting lack of justice for that original sin. History repeats itself over and over throughout seven generations, and the ghosts of Buendías past watch as their descendants perpetuate their own mistakes.

    Fleishman is In Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
    Toby Fleishman is getting a divorce. He thinks. It’s not super clear right now, because his wife may have gone completely off the grid, leaving him to raise their two kids alone. This sharp examination of marriage, masculinity, and motherhood written from the perspective of one of Toby’s friends from high school as she watches him try to juggle single parenthood and her own marriage teeters on the edge of imploding. It is less of a sweeping an epic and more of an intimate drama, where every single line of dialogue and observation serves a purpose, leading to a fitting ending.

    Commonwealth, by Anne Patchett
    When Bert shows up at Franny Keating’s christening and unexpectedly kisses her mother, the ramifications spiral throughout two marriages and the generation that follows. The story eventually jumps forward in time to Franny’s twenties, when she makes a decision that, like that kiss, will also have unforeseen consequences: she tells a famous writer the story of her blended family, and he decides to profit from it. I love how this story directly confronts not only how a single action can reverberate through the ages, but how a story itself can do the same.

    The Leavers, by Lisa Ko
    Another inter-generational story where a single action has a lifetime of consequences, this time about a Chinese American boy and his mother, Polly, who suddenly vanishes without a trace. Deming is only eleven when this happens, and he spends the rest of his childhood and early adulthood in a state of looming and receding turmoil. Even though he is adopted by two white middle-class academics and has what most would describe as a “good life”, the scars of his mother’s abandonment never fade. As the novel traces his journey, it follows Polly’s as well, crossing the ocean to China, where her story began.

    The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
    Succession is about the legacy of a domineering, abusive father on his two sons and daughter—but mothers leave an indelible imprint on their children as well, a dynamic explored in this by-now classic story of friendship, family, and how the fractures in those relationships can alter the future. When Siddalee and her mother, Vivi, get into a fight over the differences in their perception of events from when Sidda was young, Vivi’s friends (aka, the Ya-Yas) intervene to reunite them.

    The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    Perhaps the most similar to the show that inspired this list (they even share a scandal in common), this novel features a wealthy family fighting over an inheritance. Leo Plumb was just released from rehab after a devastating tragedy when, under the influence, he caused an accident with an innocent passenger. His actions means that he, and his siblings Melody, Beatrice, and Jack might not receive their  trust fund after years of waiting for it. It’s money that everyone needs with varying levels of desperation, believing that it can rewrite the past and protect the future. Sweeney’s characters are inherently flawed and entirely relatable, with prose that is both effervescent with humor and laden with dread.

    The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
    Four women—four sisters—struggle to come into their own in the looming shadow of their parents’ seemingly epic romance. Set in Chicago and its suburbs, this uniquely American saga spans almost fifty years and culminates when a long-buried secret shows up to unsettle their already trembling definition of family.

    A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin
    How could I not include the ultimate family succession drama on this list? Even if you take away the dragons and the blood magic (though why would you want to?) Game of Thrones is about feuding families, plain and simple. Combine torrid love affairs, secret alliances, hidden heirs and surprise deaths, and the saga of Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens could look like something ripped from the headlines. (Also, since the last season wasn’t everyone’s favorite, now is the perfect time to re-read the books in case Martin finishes the next one!)

    Queens of Innis Lear, by Tessa Gratton
    A fantasy inspired by King Lear puts his daughters center stage: the ruthless and strong Gaela, seductress and political manipulator Regan, and the sweet priestess Elia. Each of them believes they have a part to play in the future of their father’s kingdom, even if it means rebelling against one another and turning towards dangerous magic in order to achieve their aims. Lear’s daughters were always the most fascinating part of Shakespeare’s play to me, and this inventive, impeccably-written novel explores each of them with depth, making even their most horrific choices relatable.

    Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan
    [Spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books!]
    In the third book in Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians series, an elderly relative on her deathbed inspires family to descend upon her in the hopes of claiming some of her riches for their own. Nick and Rachel are happily married in New York City when their lives are uprooted with the news of his grandmother, Su Yi’s illness. When he married Rachel, he forfeited his inheritance but now his mother believes that if he returns home to make amends, he might be able to get it back. But Nick isn’t the only one with a financial scheme against Su Yi. Different in tone to many of the other books on this list, this romcom features flawed characters with hearts of gold, and is as gilded in humor as it is in fun.

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
    The trailer for the new movie has me in a mood to re-read this classic about four sisters and their mother living in Concord during the Civil War. With Mr. March away, Marmee must make do with what little they have to support the girls—unless, of course, they can be married off into better circumstances and gain some financial footing. It always comes down to money and marriage in the end—but each girl has their own beliefs about what kind of life that would mean for them. Most opinionated on the matter is Jo, who wants to pursue a career as a writer (unheard of at the time), and while she falls for two men over the course of the novel (and does marry one of them), she does it on her own terms. Alcott’s novel remains so loved today because the themes and characters ring true no matter the century or decade, as all young people (and women) wrestle with coming of age, family obligation, and love.

    The Stationery Shop, by Marjan Kamali
    Roya lives in Tehran, Iran in 1953, where she falls in love with Bahman, a budding revolutionary. They are engaged to be married when disaster strikes and instead of the life she had planned, Roya and her sister emigrate to America. She marries someone else, and has a family. But sixty years later, Bahman shows up with a stunning story to share about why they couldn’t be together, and the family secret that kept them apart. Told in alternating chapters between past and present, this beautiful novel about lost love is about the sacrifices we make for the people we love, that often wind up hurting them just the same.

    Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
    This coming-of-age novel infused with magical realism follows “Milkman” Dead III, the first African-American child to be born in his Michigan town. As he learns about his origins and grows into his destiny, he learns the jagged edges of family and the dark underbelly of love. How can a boy become a man and learn to love who he is, when he is born into a legacy of violence and anger?

    Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
    A teenage girl falling in love is a simple story. A girl in 1900’s Japan falling for a married man, and then getting pregnant…isn’t simple at all. The saga in Pachinko is tragic and hopeful; Sunja decides to marry a traveling minister, turning away from what her family believes is honorable and the powerful influence of her son’s father. Her choice has an impact on generations to come, turning a not-so-simple story into a beloved, award-winning epic.

    The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
    Two sisters engage with the trauma of World War II in different ways: Vianne works to save Jewish children in occupied France, even adopting a little boy she isn’t sure she will be able to save, and suffering severe consequences for her bravery; while her younger sister Isabelle joins the French Resistance and becomes a soldier for the cause. While war tears them apart, a secret unites them both that can only be revealed by the narrator, whose identity remains unknown until the end. If you’re tired of stories about sibling rivalry and betrayal, this is the antidote to Succession: a story of war where people fight for one another, in addition to against their enemies.

    King Lear, by William Shakespeare
    How could I not include this classic play about a larger-than-life King who destroys his family by using his kingdom as a bargaining chip? Lear is a play about family, greed, and what love looks like without any ornaments or jewels to make it shine. It’s also about how power can pollute the mind, and as his daughters watch Lear’s sanity unravel, they each have differing reactions including rejecting him, manipulating him, and trying at any cost to save him.

    The Dinner, by Herman Koch
    In this suspenseful thriller, two families meet for dinner to discuss the terrible thing that involved both of their fifteen-year-old sons, and the police. The catch? The two fathers are also brothers. Double catch? One of the brothers is running for prime minister, and has a lot to lose politically if the wrong decision is made over dinner. I love this story for doing what Succession does so well: examining how the actions of parents impact children, which then cause them to act in ways that impact parents—and on and on the cycle of family goes, until someone is brave enough (or angry enough) to stop it.

    What books would you recommend to fans of Succession?

    The post 21 Books to Read for Fans of HBO’s <i>Succession</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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