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  • Heidi Fiedler 4:30 pm on 2019/09/19 Permalink
    Tags: 12 rules for life, , , brene brown, eight dates, elizabeth gilbert, essentialism, greg mckeown, , john gottman, jordan peterson, julie schartz gottman, , , my friend fear, ryan holiday, , , stillness is the key, the gifts of imperfection,   

    9 Books to Help You Become the Person You Want to Be 


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    The right book at the right time can help us feel a little less alone. That’s especially true with nonfiction written by someone who once struggled with the same issues you’re struggling with today. The books below are on some of the most powerful desks in the world, and they’re frequent bedtime reading as well. Whether you’re looking for a pep talk or a detailed action plan, these books will help you envision a new future and grow into the person you want to be.

    Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
    This is the kind of book you’ll want to schedule a personal retreat to read each year. Its principles have guided the work of CEOs, teachers, creatives, and others who want to use the limited time we have to do work that matters. With sections on play, rest, and making choices, the book goes beyond traditional definitions of work to address the learning and work we can spend our whole lives doing.

    The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
    Researcher Dr. Brene Brown’s work includes talking with thousands of people about shame, worthiness, and fear. Then she analyzes those conversations and transforms them into simple lessons we can all use to live more wholeheartedly. She’s worked with executives, military leaders, parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, and more, giving people the language and tools to feel worthy, overcome fear, and live their best lives. This book is a great introduction to her work.

    My Friend Fear, by Meera Lee Patel
    This gentle invitation to see fear in a new way is filled with wisdom and gorgeously illustrated in Patel’s self-taught watercolor style. Throughout the book, she shares her own struggles with insecurity and self-doubt. Quirky diagrams, personal stories, and luminous quotes all work together to prompt readers to see fear as a sign they’re doing something new, not something wrong. Keep this one on your bedside table and read it anytime you need a little reassurance or confidence.

    Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
    With her frank, commonsense voice, Rubin attracts readers who are eager for a no-nonsense approach to making all areas of life a little better than before. Whether you’re struggling with weight loss, exercise, work-life balance, decluttering, personal relationships, or one of the other areas that make us humans feel a little too human, Rubin offers sensible, tested advice. She’s an expert on habits and encourages readers to find what works for them, while offering loads of practical advice. Grab this book whenever you’re ready to tackle a new project or personal bugaboo.

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    We’re taught that the relationship between work and success is linear. Try harder, do better, be happier. But life proves time and again that idea is actually just a recipe for feeling crazy and crabby. Manson offers real talk about what’s actually in our control and how we can focus on what matters. It’s a refreshing approach to happiness and finding meaning, and after reading Manson’s work, you’ll find yourself drawn to contentment and feeling grounded rather than in hot and heavy pursuit of joy. This is a book you’ll give a f*ck about.

    Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
    This is the sort of book that’s loaned, gifted, whispered about, and exclaimed over with friends. It’s one to turn to when you’re feeling stuck, longing to shrink down, and to maybe never think the words “I have an idea” again. In this modern classic, Gilbert tackles the fear that every artist faces during the creative process with wisdom, sharing the personal practices and mindset shifts that helped her write several bestselling books. And if you’re thinking you’re not an artist, she’ll help you see yourself in a new way too!

    Stillness Is the Key, by Ryan Holiday
    Holiday has positioned himself as a modern Stoic teacher, and his lessons are popular with leaders, thinkers, and warriors of all types. His latest book offers a counterintuitive premise: slowing down is the key to succeeding. With rewards like taming your temper and developing self discipline and creativity, Holiday makes a strong argument for getting quiet and turning inward, even when the world around us is spinning.

    Eight Dates, by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman
    If you’re eager to deepen your relationship with your significant other, Eight Dates helps couples prioritize time together and know what to do with that time once they’re on an actual honest-to-goodness date, so they’ll grow closer and fall more in love, rather than come home fighting. From the team that predicts divorce rates with a 94% accuracy rate, the book is packed with scientific research and personal stories. There’s actionable advice and suggested dialogue to make it as easy as possible to transfer the best practices for successful relationships to your own life.

    12 Rules for Life, by Jordan Peterson
    This wide-ranging book touches on science, nature, philosophy, mythology, and more, all while feeling personal and thoughtful. Written by a psychologist who has spent his life thinking about how to make the world a better place and help people find meaning, the 12 rules are meant to lead readers toward a more moral existence. Does the book accomplish its goal? Reviewers and thought leaders from all walks of life have both celebrated and rejected Peterson’s work. Read it for yourself to join the conversation.

    What books would you recommend to readers hoping to become the person they want to be?

    The post 9 Books to Help You Become the Person You Want to Be appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jen Harper 3:00 pm on 2019/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , elizabeth gilbert, emily giffin commonwealth, , , , little fires everythwere, , , , , , the female persuasion, , ,   

    9 Books to Read If You Loved Mrs. Everything, June’s B&N Book Club Selection 


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    The Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for June, Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything, opens in 1950s Detroit with the Kaufman family living in a house that could have been pulled from the pages of sisters Jo and Bethie’s Dick and Jane books. But life for rebellious tomboy Jo and traditional good girl Bethie turns out to be far from storybook perfect as they endure loss, trauma, and tragedy.

    In an engrossing story that unfurls against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and women’s liberation, Weiner beautifully explores the complicated relationship between these two sisters, who are on very different paths, and how they ultimately find common ground. But what is a reader to do after finishing Mrs. Everything and discussing it at your local B&N Book Club meeting on July 16 at 7 p.m.? Well, we’ve rounded up your next nine reads to keep you busy until next month. Check out our readalike picks for Mrs. Everything.

    The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
    Like Weiner’s Mrs. Everything, Lombardo’s stunning debut novel spans the decades, following one family through the many seasons of their complicated lives and loves. David and Marilyn fell in love in the 1970s and had what their daughters—Violet, Wendy, Liza, and Grace—saw as a perfect partnership filled with passion and affection. But in 2016, the four Sorrenson offspring are all struggling to replicate the relationship their parents had as they find their lives filled with tumultuous complications—addiction, an unwanted pregnancy, lies, self-doubt, and more. As the sisters uncover secrets about each other, they also begin to learn that perhaps their parents’ union wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. In the same spirit of Mrs. Everything, The Most Fun We Ever Had navigates the complexity of family dynamics in a rich page-turner that Weiner’s fans won’t be able to put down.

    Summer of ’69, by Elin Hilderbrand
    For readers who loved taking a step back in time with the Kaufman sisters in Weiner’s latest, Hilderbrand delivers a perfect warm-weather read with her new novel set against the backdrop of an iconic American summer in 1969 Nantucket. The four Levin siblings have always looked forward to spending summers at their grandmother’s house, but like everything else going on around them in America, the only constant for the family seems to be change. Blair, the oldest sister, is pregnant with twins and stuck in Boston; civil rights activist Kirby has taken a summer job elsewhere; the family’s only son, Tiger, has been drafted and sent to Vietnam; and 13-year-old Jessie is the only one at the Nantucket home with her disconnected grandmother and worried mother, who’s taken to drinking. Like Weiner, Hilderbrand weaves an intriguing tale of finding strength in siblinghood.

    City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
    “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” muses Gilbert’s City of Girls protagonist Vivian Morris. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” The same sentiment could well have come from either of Weiner’s strong female leads in Mrs. Everything, and readers will be similarly drawn into Vivian’s tale, which begins in 1940 when she’s just 19 years old and follows her all the way to 89 years old, now reflecting on her life. When Vivian is expelled from Vassar in 1940, her parents send her to live in New York with her Aunt Peg, who owns a rundown theater. It’s against this backdrop that free-spirited Vivian begins to explore her own independence and sexuality, eventually becoming embroiled in a professional scandal that will impact her for years to come in Gilbert’s striking new work.

    The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
    Writing about female power and the exploration of women’s role in society is nothing new for Wolitzer, but her latest read is especially timely and incredibly compelling. Like Mrs. Everything, The Female Persuasion deftly takes on some difficult topics like sexual assault and how these horrific events shape her heroine. Greer Kadetsky is a college freshman when she is groped at a party by a repeat offender, and in the aftermath, a friend takes Greer to see a speech by famed feminist magazine editor Faith Frank, who alters the course of Greer’s life in unimaginable ways. Wolitzer’s book about ambition, power, and what it means to be a woman in an ever-changing world is filled with complex female characters that will have readers quickly turning the pages, yet not wanting the book to end.

    First Comes Love, by Emily Giffin
    Giffin is a master when it comes to crafting tales of romance, family, and friendship, and the case is no different with First Comes Love. Much like Weiner’s Kaufman sisters, Josie and Meredith Garland had a loving relationship growing up, but following a family tragedy, their bond fractures. Now 15 years later, the anniversary of their shared loss looms, and the two women, now both in their 30s, are on very different paths. Single Josie feels like she’s done with dating but desperately wants a child. Meredith has a picture-perfect life on the outside—successful career, husband, and a 4-year-old daughter—but inside she feels restless and dissatisfied. As secrets begin to surface and the women are forced to confront the issues that pulled them apart, they also find the courage to listen to their own hearts about what’s really important.

    Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
    Drawing on her own life story, Patchett has crafted a memorable tale of the aftermath of a drunken kiss that ultimately destroys two marriages. After Bert Cousins and Beverly Keating leave their spouses to be with each other, the six Cousins and Keatings children form a lasting bond over their shared disillusionment with their parents while spending summers together in Virginia. In her 20s, one of the siblings, Franny, shares the family’s story with a prominent author, and suddenly, the Cousins’ and Keatings’ story—including a tragic shared loss—is no longer their own. Patchet’s nonlinear timeline and rotating cast of characters show how the differing points of view affect how events both major and everyday are remembered, lending even more depth to a story sure to be loved by fans of Mrs. Everything.

    Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
    Smith expertly weaves together moments of the present day and of memories from the past in her extraordinary book about two girls who dream of being dancers—but only one has the skills to make it. Tracey, who has a white mother and a black father, is an incredible tap dancer, while her good friend—the unnamed narrator—is hampered by her flat feet. The two have a close but complicated childhood friendship, which comes to a sudden end in their early 20s, the effects of which continue to reverberate for many years to come. Readers who were enthralled with the complex relationship between the sisters in Weiner’s Mrs. Everything will love Smith’s Swing Time.

    Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
    Those who couldn’t put Mrs. Everything down will likely find themselves staying up into the wee hours to finish Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. In the compelling drama, free-spirited artist Mia moves with her teenage daughter, Pearl, to a home owned by the Richardson family in Shaker Heights, an affluent Cleveland suburb where everyone is expected to follow the town’s social status quo. Mia quickly befriends Elena Richardson and her family, who are all drawn to the enigmatic single mom. So when Mia opposes the Richardson’s family friends’ controversial custody battle for a Chinese-American baby, Elena Richardson turns against her, determined to uncover Mia’s closely held secrets at all costs.

    The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    Lots of families have dysfunction, but the Plumb family in The Nest really kicks it up a notch. The author expertly infuses dark humor into the tale of the now-middle-aged Plumb siblings—Leo, Beatrice, Jack, and Melody—who are awaiting the division of their trust fund, or “the nest” as the foursome call it, that their father left them following his untimely death when the kids were adolescents. The nest has been growing ever since, to be divvied up when the youngest turns 40. All of the siblings are desperate to get their hands on their share of the money, only to learn that it’s now in jeopardy thanks to the medical bills of a young woman who was badly injured when a drunk and high Leo crashed his car with her as the passenger. Beatrice, Jack, and Melody all prepare to confront their brother, fresh out of rehab, in this intoxicating story of how family has the power to both let you down and pull you back up, which will surely appeal to those who have just finished Weiner’s latest read.

    What books would you recommend for readers who loved Mrs. Everything?

    The post 9 Books to Read If You Loved <i>Mrs. Everything</i>, June’s B&N Book Club Selection appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2019/05/30 Permalink
    Tags: big sky, , , , , elizabeth gilbert, , , , , , mary alice monroe, , , the friends we keep, , the summer guests,   

    June’s Best New Fiction 


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    This month is packed with new releases from fan favorites Jennifer Weiner, Elin Hilderbrand, Elizabeth Gilbert, Kate Atkinson and more. Let the decades fall away as you immerse yourself in historical fiction set in Manhattan in the 1940s, Detroit in the 1950s, a beachside town in the summer of 1969, and a suburb in the 1970s. If you’re headed to a college or high school reunion this year, you’ll want to pack The Friends We Keep for the trip, all about a trio of former besties who attended University together and must now sift through the wreckage of the intervening years.

    Summer of ’69, by Elin Hilderbrand
    You’ll be forgiven if you didn’t know this was Hilderbrand’s first historical; in her expert hands, the titular summer comes to life in vivid colors. The story centers on 13-year-old Jessie, who spends her summer vacation at grandma’s house in Nantucket. With her three older siblings forging their own paths, unwilling or unable to join Jessie at the annual getaway, the teen feels out of sorts, and that feeling only increases as the country around her undergoes massive change, all set against the backdrop of Civil Rights protests, space travel, and political scandals.

    Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner
    Older sister Josette (Jo) and younger sister Elisabeth (Bethie) Kaufman grew up in Detroit in the 1950s, but that’s only the beginning this story, which spans the totality of their lives, interspersed with the growth of feminism during the past 60 years. Through adolescence, college, travel, marriage and motherhood (or not), through a great many changes and upheavals happening all around them, the siblings strive to find their place in a world that often doesn’t know what to do with women—especially women who question their roles in society. Though Jo and Bethie are specific in their experiences and viewpoints, they are also stand-ins for all women—their struggles are eminently relatable, and Weiner’s writing is exquisite.

    City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
    After her warmhearted artist-advice book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Gilbert returns to the loving arms of fiction with a look at the New York theatre world of the 1940s. Our octogenarian narrator, Vivian Morris, recounts the era that meant the most to her with gusto, good humor, and occasional regret. Having been kicked out of Vassar at 19, young Vivian moves in with her Aunt Peg in Manhattan and joins the eccentric family of misfits that make up the Lily Playhouse in midtown. Full of showgirls, first experiences, wartime heartache, true love, and hard-won acceptance, Girls looks to be a triumphant and moving story about finding one’s true self.

    Lost and Found, by Danielle Steel
    A single mom whose three children are now grown, photographer Maddie Allen finds her world thrown out of alignment when she suffers an accident that causes her to look back on her life and wonder: what if she’d made different choices, particularly regarding the men who came and went in her life? Determined to revisit the past with an eye toward her future, Maddie sets off on a cross-country road trip. From the east coast to the midwest and beyond, she reconnects with lost loves and attempts to figure out whether her decisions brought her and her family to the right place.

    Big Sky, by Kate Atkinson
    It’s been nine years since the previous Jackson Brodie mystery, but at long last the former military policeman turned P.I. is back with a new case that tests his personal and professional relationships like never before. What starts off as a routine “cheating spouse” case spreads like a disease into a broader murder-and-human trafficking case in the small coastal town where Brodie and his teenage son Nathan have been spending time together. The grim subject matter is balanced by Atkinson’s trademark wit and sympathetic, life-affirming characters.

    The Summer Guests, by Mary Alice Monroe
    Summer wouldn’t be summer without a new Monroe book to take to the beach. This year, however, her characters won’t be spending much time relaxing in the sand; it’s hurricane season along the South Carolina and Florida coasts, and a group of strangers find themselves seeking shelter at Grace and Charles Phillips’ horse farm in the mountains of North Carolina. The only thing the evacuees have in common is their relationship with their hosts. Whether bonding over their difficult circumstances or clashing over the personal issues they’ve all brought with them, working together to survive the storm will prove to be life-changing for each guest.

    The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo
    A remarkably rich debut set in the Chicago suburbs from the 1970s to present-day, Fun chronicles the lives of the four adult Sorenson sisters (widowed Wendy, “perfect” Violet, neurotic Liza, and secretive Grace) and their parents, David and Marilyn, whose seemingly perfect marriage is perceived by their daughters as impossible to live up to (and they may be right). By the time you finish this unputdownable family saga, you’ll believe you’re a member of the Sorenson’s Illinois clan.

    The Friends We Keep, by Jane Green            
    A reunion among three college friends forms the heart of this novel about the plans we make when we’re young versus the life we’re living a few decades on. When supermodel Evvie, actor Topher, and “perfect wife” and PR guru Maggie were roommates in the mid-1980s at West Country University in England, the world was their collective oyster. Thirty years later, career destruction, relationship burnout, and marital heartache have broken them. Having lost touch with each other (as well as their previous hopes for the future), the trio re-connect, only to realize that secrets from their past are about to resurface as well.

    The post June’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 8:32 pm on 2015/09/15 Permalink
    Tags: , elizabeth gilbert, , , ,   

    How to Be Creative: Big Ideas from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic 


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    If you’re someone who wants to be creative—to write a book or learn to dance or become a chef—but has struggled with the hurdles in your way, you’d probably love to speak to someone who has been there and, most importantly, done that.

    In her new book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert essentially gives readers the opportunity to sit down with the author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things and chat about creativity. This is a conversational, intimate glimpse into Gilbert’s process and philosophy, as personable as a confab over coffee. Here are a few of the big ideas within.

    Write like no one is reading
    The book’s subtitle is Creative Living Beyond Fear, and one of the remarkable things about it is the way Gilbert unflinchingly allows us into her headspace. There is no pretension here, no leave-me-alone-I’m-famous attitude. Gilbert is frank about her own fears and down-to-earth about her writing career. Discussing the creation of Eat, Pray, Love, she talks about asking her husband’s permission to include him and their relationship in the book. When he asks “What’s at stake?” she replies “Nothing. Trust me—nobody reads my books.”

    Find the magic
    This book’s purpose is to inspire people who want to be creative but have found it difficult. Instead of a dry book about discipline and process, Gilbert focuses on the more magical side of creativity, and offers advice on giving yourself permission to be creative. One step in gran that your creativity doesn’t have to change the world or even be successful in an economic sense in order to be valuable.

    Ideas are everywhere
    Gilbert isn’t above name-dropping a bit, which is understandable considering the literary circles she moves in these days, but she tells her stories with a clear-eyed warmth and purpose that elevates them above mere bragging. One story about meeting and forming a friendship with Ann Patchett involves an incredible creative coincidence—it turns out that Gilbert spent years researching and writing her own “Amazon novel” before giving up on it in frustration, only discovering later that her good friend was working on the same basic idea. The anecdote supports Gilbert’s belief that good ideas are floating around out there, just waiting to be seized.

    Live the struggle and be selfish
    What makes Big Magic essential reading for anyone who wants to live a larger life, filled with more ideas, more projects, and more fulfillment, is Gilbert’s frankness. Gilbert talks about how she paid the bills with a succession of dull jobs, how lucky she was that Eat, Pray, Love turned into a monster smash, and how her own messy personal life has informed her creativity. She makes it clear that being selfish is vital to creativity—she admits that she wrote Big Magic for herself, because she enjoys thinking and writing about creativity. As with Eat, Pray, Love, she wrote this book for her own pleasure; if it helps others, then that’s icing on the cake—but only icing.

    Give yourself permission
    The best idea in this book is the simplest: give yourself a “permission slip” to be creative. Gilbert points out that humans are inherently creative beings, and it’s your birthright to be as creative as you like. You don’t need someone to pat you on the head and say “Go for it!” You just go for it. And that idea, like this book, is powerful stuff.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 4:00 pm on 2015/09/14 Permalink
    Tags: barnes & noble, , , , , elizabeth gilbert, good to great, , , rising strong, ,   

    The 15 Best Spots in Barnes & Noble, Ranked 


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    Everyone has their go-to spots when they wander into the bookstore. But depending on your mood, and the needs of your inner bookworm, there’s more than one way to enjoy yourself in Barnes & Noble. This is where you’ll find me.

    15. Business
    If you read a book in this section, you can expense everything you buy that day, right? Just head straight over to Business and find out what the next Good to Great is so you can count this as a productive venture.

    14. Self Improvement
    Doesn’t that have a nicer ring to it than “Self Help?” Whatever it’s called, there are some major gems to be found here. Brené Brown’s new Rising Strong and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic are at the top of my list.

    13. Graphic Novels
    Yes, there are color tablets, but graphic novels are so fun to look at in the store. See the latest art styles. Travel to weird worlds. And take home something you can gobble up in a single sitting.

    12. Staff Recommendations
    I love getting to know my local B&N staff. These are my people. And the shelf with their handwritten recommendations are where the quirky but so-worth-it books hang out. This is where I discover the books I never knew I needed.

    11. The Doorway
    Pulling the door open; your feet bounce inside. You’re at Barnes & Noble. Where else would you rather be? Smelling the books, taking long glances at the magazine racks, knowing you have time to browse in a section you barely ever check out…there’s nothing better in the world.

    10. The Windowsill
    If you’re an introvert and want to avoid the energy that is required to be gazed upon while you read in a big comfy chair, you might want to try sitting on the wide windowsills. It’s easier to go undercover there and enjoy your finds.

    9. A Big Chair
    If you’re not as shy, grab one of the best seats in the house and get comfy. I usually have a big stack of books to look through and a tea to keep me hydrated. This is where I imagine “What would it be like to read this book?” and also forget about things like emails, to-do lists, and making dinner.

    8. The Children’s Section
    Sure there’s the nostalgia factor, but that won’t last long when you’re blown away by the gorgeous art that shines out from the books on these shelves. This is where the magic is. If you don’t catch yourself saying “Why didn’t they have this book when I was a kid?” you might be dead inside.

    7. Science Fiction
    This is the section my husband heads to as soon as we get to the store, and it always warms my heart to see his head cocked, looking for his favorites and debating which new sci-fi might be as good as the classic titles he read growing up.

    6. The Bathroom
    If you’re a serious bookworm, you need to pace yourself. Take breaks. Get a snack. Drink some tea. Visit the bathroom. It’s the only way to get in a full afternoon of shopping.

    5. In Line
    I know this one isn’t an obvious place to feel warm and fuzzy, but think about it. You’re on your way home with some books that could change your life. And you can scope out what everyone else is reading. It’s like the pleasure we all get looking in someone else’s cart at the market and judging whether they have too many carbs and not enough veggies. Book snobs, unite!

    4. YA
    Do kids really talk in emojis now? Are they as brutal as Hunger Games contestants? If you don’t live with a teenager, the only way to know the state of our youth is to eavesdrop in the YA section. You’re guaranteed to hear something juicy.

    3. Cookbooks
    These books are so lush, they’ll inspire you to stop drooling and go home and make yourself a proper meal. This is a good section to browse on your way out of the store. Brining home a juicy (or virtuous) cookbook can ease the transition from bookstore to home.

    2. Magazines
    Gretchen Rubin of Better Than Before encourages people to read magazines that have nothing to do with the rest of their lives. So if you’re a chef, check out a magazine about horses. If you just had a baby, read about international politics or photography. Exploring something new can inspire great ideas. And if you need ideas about how to get back to your pre-baby weight, they’ve definitely got that covered too.

    1. The New Tables
    Here’s where all the latest and greatest books land when they are unpacked. When I was a bookseller, I loved making displays on these tables; arranging the books in formations and themes that would attract attention. Now I love seeing what’s new and adding 1,791 more books to my To Be Read list.

    What’s your favorite spot in B&N?

     
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