Tagged: #BNDiscover Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • BN Editors 4:00 am on 2020/05/07 Permalink
    Tags: #BNDiscover,   

    Miracles, Moonshine, and the Powers of Sisterhood: 5 Questions for Amy Jo Burns, author of Shiner – Our May Discover Pick of the Month 

    Shiner is a story of secrets and lies, family and faith that will have you holding your breath. There are characters you’ll fall madly in love with, and others that will just drive you mad. It’s a portrait of a community, a powerful story of friendship and coming-of-age that you won’t want to end. We choose this evocative debut as our Discover Pick of the Month and jumped at the chance to ask Amy Jo 5 questions, from the inspiration behind her novel and her characters to what’s she’s reading now.

    Appalachia, moonshine, snake handling…secrets and lies, family and faith. How did Shiner start for you?

    Shiner began a long time ago when a friend of my mother’s died from pneumonia. Her family believed God would heal her and chose not to take her to the hospital for treatment. I remember the moment my mother said we all shared the blame for her death, because it was the first time, I’d heard her speak out against our church. This taught me that there’s always a story behind the story, and there’s usually a woman behind a man’s tale of great faith or great failure. In writing Shiner, I wanted to give women like this their own Appalachian legends and grant a different future for their daughters.

    Your characters are fantastic; did you find them, or did they find you? Who appeared first as you were writing? (It feels like it might have been Ruby?)

    I actually think that we found each other! You’re right—Ruby, who is very loosely based on my beloved grandmother, appeared first in my imagination—but she didn’t come alone. She brought her daughter Wren with her, and the steadfast bond between them gave this story its first heartbeat.

    Did anything surprise you when you were writing Shiner?

    I never saw moonshine coming, and I absolutely fell in love with it. While I was researching mountain life, I came across all these stories of moonshiners who make whiskey in the woods with nothing more than corn, water, and a copper pot over a fire. Making moonshine is so much more than a way to earn money—it’s a fine art, a family heirloom, and a cultural footprint. Once I learned about it, I knew I had to honor it in the novel.

    Your first book, Cinderland, is a memoir set in the Rust Belt; is there anything you learned while writing that book that you relied on for Shiner?

    Cinderland taught me that there’s true magic in writing about home—what it feels like to remain there, return to it, or leave it behind. I learned how powerful it is to write about things I once loved and lost, and how writing can give those things back to you. Every character in Shiner is on their own journey to discover what it means to have a home—and when they must choose to protect it, defy it, or prepare to lay down their lives for it.

    We always have to ask: Who are you reading and recommending now?

    I’ve read so many great books lately! My recent favorites are Kept Animals by Kate Milliken, Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar, and What We Become in Flight by Ellen O’Connell Whittet.

    The post Miracles, Moonshine, and the Powers of Sisterhood: 5 Questions for Amy Jo Burns, author of <i>Shiner</i> – Our May Discover Pick of the Month appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2020/03/03 Permalink
    Tags: #BNDiscover, bnstorefront-DiscoverHomepage, ,   

    Old Gods and the Spirits of Home: Sharks in the Time of Saviors– Our March Discover Pick of the Month 

    After reading Sharks in the Time of Saviors, I kept coming back to a central theme that cuts to the heart of the story—home is magical and it’s not until you leave that you realize it was there all along.

    We chose this electrifying debut as our Discover Pick of the Month and aren’t the only readers who were drawn to its lore:

    Sharks in the Time of Saviors is the novel you never knew you were waiting for. Old Myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic so much they meld into something new. All told with daredevil lyricism to burn. A ferocious debut.”

    Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

    Sharks in the Time of Saviors bursts with life.  It is bright and beautifully noisy.  It’s so good it hurts and hurts to where it heals. It is revelatory and unputdownable. Washburn is an extraordinarily brilliant new talent. This family saga is shark tooth sharp. Its pages shoot off crackles and sparks, and you come out of it changed. It is sublime.”

    Tommy Orange, author of There There

    Told from multiple points of view, we follow three siblings as they grapple with their present lives—and their family’s future. Their mother encourages her children to follow their dreams, even if it means doing so will take them far from home. One by one, the siblings return to the island where they must reckon with family secrets, grief, and what it means to survive.

    Sharks in the Time of Saviors is an audacious debut, and I can’t wait to see what Kawai Strong Washburn will write next!

    The post Old Gods and the Spirits of Home: <i>Sharks in the Time of Saviors</i>– Our March Discover Pick of the Month appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 5:00 pm on 2020/02/13 Permalink
    Tags: #BNDiscover, , , ,   

    Guest Post: Karma Brown Shares the Classic Cake that Inspired Recipe for a Perfect Wife 

    I have a beloved, vintage family cookbook (Purity Cookbook, 1945 edition), which is tattered and food splattered but contains the recipe that inspired Recipe for a Perfect Wife: the “Busy Day Cake.” It’s a basic, white cake that can be decked out with fancy adornments—like the sugared flowers my 1950s character, Nellie, uses—or kept simple with a shake of sprinkles. As a writer who works from home (and often bakes for procrastination) I love that something like the Busy Day Cake exists—because who isn’t busy these days? Writing this novel raised a lot of questions for me about gender roles and expectations, questions I am not sure there are full answers for, but it also made me appreciate my daily life in a new way.I have choices and freedoms about how I spend my time (cake baking in the morning, writing in the afternoon), unlike many of the women of past generations. 

    Busy Day Cake, Purity Cookbook (1945 edition)  

    ½ cup butter 

     teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract 

    1 ¾ cups granulated sugar 

    2 ½ cups sifted Purity Flour 

    ¼ teaspoon salt 

    2 teaspoons baking powder 

    1 cup sweet milk 

    4 egg whites, unbeaten 

    Cream butter until it is soft and creamy, add flavoring while creaming. Add sugar. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and add to butter mixture, followed immediately by the milk and unbeaten egg whites. Stir mixture quickly and gently until it is well blended. Spread carefully into well-greased 7 x 12-inch cake pan and bake in moderate oven (350°F) for 60 to 65 minutes. Allow baked cake to set for 20 to 25 minutes before removing from pan. Cool and spread with any desired icing.  

    The post Guest Post: Karma Brown Shares the Classic Cake that Inspired <i>Recipe for a Perfect Wife</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc