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  • agarcia 1:12 pm on 2020/05/04 Permalink
    Tags: , emma straub,   

    The B&N Podcast: Emma Straub on All Adults Here 

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    Our guest today is Emma Straub, author of our May Barnes & Noble Book Club selection All Adults Here.

    All Adults Here is a sharp, yet sincere look at how we define our lives and the profound effects we have on those we love most. This deeply fulfilling story of sibling relationships, aging parents, hard truths and second chances is chockfull of heady topics ripe for discussion, so it should come as no surprise it’s been selected as our BN Book Club pick for May. Reading an Emma Straub novel is essentially like hanging out with your smartest, most insightful friend – it’s life-affirming, wisdom-giving, and something you’ll look back on fondly – so we know you’re going to love it! As you get ready for what’s sure to be a lively conversation around a great book, due yourself the favor of checking out her other bestselling novels, The Vacationers and Modern Lovers , and listen to Emma here as she brilliantly talks about her love of bookstores, personal ambitions, and the atmospheric small-town vibe of her new novel – secretly inspired by Gilmore Girls!

    Join the conversation on social media using #BNBookClub. Then on Tuesday, 6/2 at 7 PM ET, join the author for a virtual #BNBookClub event on our Instagram!

    The post The B&N Podcast: Emma Straub on <i>All Adults Here</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Monique Alice 8:00 pm on 2016/05/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , emma straub, modern lovers, , rock and roll   

    Modern Lovers: Emma Straub’s Hide and Seek of the Heart 

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    The newest novel from the author who brought us The Vacationers is a story about growing up and coming into our own—and then doing it again in mid-life. Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers features a set of college friends now in their forties: Elizabeth and Andrew, who are married, and Zoe, who is married to her longtime partner, Jane. Way back in the ‘90s when they were students at Oberlin, Zoe, Elizabeth, Andrew, and their friend Lydia made up alternative band named Kitty’s Mustache. They were angsty, full of rage at the status quo, and nearly all sleeping together—you know, college kids. Fast forward a couple of decades later, and Elizabeth, Andrew, and Zoe have put down roots within shouting distance of one another in post-hipster Brooklyn. As for Lydia, she became alternative royalty and then tragically passed away at a young age. When some Hollywood producers come around wanting the remaining band members to sign off on a biopic about Lydia, old tensions begin to resurface.

    Elizabeth and Andrew have been together ever since their halcyon days at Oberlin, and now have a son. Harry is a sensitive 17-year-old who is wise beyond his years. Zoe and wife Jane have a child of their own—a spirited girl named Ruby, who is a year ahead of Harry at the artsy private school that both attend. Ruby is brooding, spontaneous, and dating someone else—a combination Harry cannot seem to resist. As Ruby and Harry’s childhood friendship edges toward something more, their parents’ long-hidden worries and resentments slowly emerge. Soon, it becomes clear that there is a great deal between the lifelong friends that remains unresolved. While Elizabeth and Andrew’s marriage seems idyllic at first look, the two often come face to face with the fact that neither knows the other as well as they once thought. Jane and Zoe are no less complicated—their intense bond is punctuated by periods of deep uncertainty. Zoe and Elizabeth have been best friends for years, but they suddenly find themselves struggling to find common ground, and the tension that has always existed between Andrew and Zoe threatens to ignite a firestorm. All the while, Ruby and Harry are fighting to make their own mark on the world—testing out rebellion, individuality, musical taste, and questionable fashion choices, just as their parents once did.

    Straub does an expert job of showing us the parents through the eyes of their children and vice versa. The juxtaposition of the two points-of-view is an artful device, and one laced with paradox. The parents seem to be constantly lamenting the foolhardiness of youth—saying, in effect, “Please don’t make decisions you won’t be able to reverse, because you don’t even know who you are yet.” The irony being that the parents themselves often struggle to know who they are—and often reach back in time for the identities they each crafted during young adulthood.

    If the first question of Modern Lovers is, “Who am I,” the second is surely, “Who are you?” The friends (and lovers) have as difficult a time figuring one another out as they do themselves. Each person constantly questions whether the other is the same person they married or befriended years ago. The thing is—it’s not clear whether or not it would be a good thing if they were. This theme is repeated throughout the parent-child relationships  as well, with each parent wondering what happened to the sweet, loving toddler that used to inhabit the space now reserved for a surly teenager. The teens, too, wonder where their uncomplicated, nurturing parents have gone, and why they have been replaced with needy malcontents in the throes of mid-life crises.

    While these characters are compelling, it is important not to confuse “compelling” with “likable.” These characters are often downright irritating—they are self-absorbed beyond measure, considerably privileged, and decidedly unaware of either fact. Yet, somehow, they are intensely relatable. Each persona is so well-crafted, so believable and vulnerable in her or his imperfections, that the reader can’t help but identify with them all. In sum, Modern Lovers offers a unique window into a particular cultural time and place—with characters that promise to remain memorable well into the future.

    Modern Lovers is on shelves now.

  • Melissa Albert 3:30 pm on 2014/07/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , emma straub, , , , , , , romantic comedies, ,   

    4 New Books We Want to See on the Big Screen 

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    Jojo Moyes' One Plus One

    We all know the book is better than the movie, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love spending two escapist hours in the dark with characters we first fell for on the page. Here are four new releases we’ve read, loved, and are now dying to pair with popcorn and a big screen on a hot summer day:

    Landline, by Rainbow Rowell
    Rowell’s main characters tend to be verbose, expressive, funny, and sharp, and all I want is for her to find time in her busy noveling schedule to write us some romantic comedies that we all know would be Ephron-like in their warmhearted, articulate humor. She should start here (right after completing the screenplay for Eleanor & Park), with this post–wedding day romance with a sci-fi twist. Georgie McCool has watched her TV-writing career eat away at her family life with soft-spoken husband Neil and their two daughters, culminating in her choice of work over joining them at Neil’s family Christmas. Enter a magic rotary telephone with the power to connect present-day Georgie with the college-aged Neil she fell in love with. Delicately, call by supernatural call, she tries to pull her marriage back from the brink. If you think there isn’t a desperate “running to the airport” sequence involved, then you better think again.

    The Vacationers, by Emma Straub
    Sun-drenched locale + big, multigenerational cast + secrets and rifts and damaged people who are barely holding it together = a movie I want to see hit theaters in summer 2015. Straub exploits the close quarters of her setup—a Mallorca vacation house, filled to the brim with variously screwed up people—for every drop of comic tension (and tension tension) it can provide. I want to fantasy cast every character (the 60something husband, just fired from his high-powered magazine job for an idiotic act of sexual indiscretion; the college-bound daughter, checking boxes on her growing-up-too-fast bucket list), and I definitely want to spend two vicarious hours on the Mallorcan coast.

    One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes
    Moyes’ smash-hit novel Me Before You would cause death by weeping were it to hit the big screen (that’s not to say that it shouldn’t!), but her follow-up is a romance that even the tenderest of hearts can survive. Jess is a house cleaner and struggling single mom to two beloved odd ducks, her angsty teenaged stepson and math prodigy daughter. When her daughter is offered an academic opportunity with the power to change her life, Jess is desperate to make it happen. Enter her most difficult client, a disgraced computer genius with whom she shared hate at first sight. Eager to run from the pressures of his own crumbling life, he agrees to drive Jess and her kids to a faraway math tournament, where her daughter can compete to win the money she needs for school. Any romantic comedy fan worth their salt knows what’ll happen next, but we moviegoers want to see it for ourselves.

    All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner
    So many actresses we want to cast, only one Allison Weiss, the overachieving protagonist of Weiner’s latest diabolically readable novel. Weiss is one of those women who appears to, in magazine-speak, “have it all,” but the cracks are showing: her perfect husband feels far away, her lovely daughter is a brat, her parents’ declining health is leading to an inevitable reversal of their roles. Allison’s big fall comes when her spiraling addiction to pain pills lands her in rehab, where she has to learn humility before she can start to heal. Though darker than many of Weiner’s earlier books, All Fall Down retains the light hand and sense of humor that’ll launch it to the big screen with ease.

    What book do you want to see adapted into a movie?

  • Joel Cunningham 5:00 pm on 2014/06/05 Permalink
    Tags: , cassandra clare, city of heavenly fire, dangerous creatures, , , emma straub, , kami garcia, , maggie steifvater, margaret stohl, , , the fifth assassin, , the target, , , , , , wicked lovely   

    What to Read Next if You Liked We Were Liars, The Vacationers, City of Heavenly Fire, Dangerous Creatures, or The Target 

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    photo[5]The Target, by David Baldacci, is another breathless installment in his ongoing series of novels starring a steely government assassin. This time, he is taking his orders from the president himself, and carrying them out could have political implications that will change the world. If you’re looking for another author whose work will get your pulse pounding, try Brad Meltzer. His latest, The Fifth Assassin, focuses on an investigation into a serial killer recreating the crimes of history’s most famous killers–men who succeeded at ending the lives of presidents.

    City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare, is the last book in the epic Mortal Instruments series, which revealed a hidden world of demon-fighting chosen ones living among us. If your aching for another dose of supernatural romance and suspense (and you’ve already read Clare’s spin-off series, naturally), try Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr. A girl who has always been able to see faeries discovers that the Faerie King wants her to be his Summer Queen—at the cost of everything she holds dear. All five books in the series are out, so you won’t need to torture yourself waiting for the next volume.

    Dangerous Creatures, by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, is a spin-off of the mega-popular Beautiful Creatures quartet, but if you’ve already devoured it and are looking for another enthralling supernatural YA romance, you can’t miss with The Raven Boys, by Maggie Steifvater. The first of another four-book series, the story blends Welsh myth and mystery with an achingly tender teen romance.

    I can’t say too much about We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart, lest I spoil the deliciously twisted surprises it offers, but here’s a taste: the members of a wealthy family gather each summer on a private island. Until the summer everything goes wrong. Discovering what happened involves unraveling a twisted web of lies and deceit, which is not unlike the task facing readers of The Basic Eight, by Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler—the only thing you can count on about this wickedly lurid, first-person account of the misdeeds of an elite group of the members of an exclusive high school clique is that you can’t trust a word the narrator is saying.

    There’s nothing like a family get-together to re-ignite long-simmering tensions or bring dark secrets to light, as the titular family in The Vacationers, by Emma Straub, discovers during a two-week jaunt to an idyllic island getaway that turns into a disaster. If you’re looking for a hilarious take on close-quarters family tension, This is Where I leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, pulls together the four scattered siblings of the dysfunctional Foxman family, who come together to sit Shiva for their deceased father. It’s funnier than it sounds.

    What’s next on your to-read list?

  • Melissa Albert 3:30 pm on 2014/06/03 Permalink
    Tags: , crime fiction, emma straub, , , , ruth reichl, , , , ,   

    4 New Books that are Begging to Be Read By the Pool 

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    The VacationersFew things go better with a sweating glass of lemonade than a hot-weather thriller to wash it down with. Or a featherweight romance. Or a summer-set family drama unfolding in a vacation town a million miles away from your lawn chair. These new releases are just asking to be paired with a big ol’ bowl of watermelon and your next day off:

    The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

    Don’t be too jealous of the Post family’s two-week vacation on the hyper-colored island of Mallorca, celebrating the 35th anniversary of parents Franny and Jim. Joined by their kids and a handful of friends, the Posts head to paradise in spite of the potentially marriage-ending events of the weeks leading up to their departure. Consider this character-driven dysfunctional family story the perfect fictional companion to your own, hopefully-mostly-functional family’s summer vacation.

    Summer House With Swimming Pool, by Herman Koch

    You’ll want a nice dip in a cold pool after spending a few hours with Koch’s sleazy characters, including Marc, a sociopathic celebrity doctor who practices medicine despite his crippling distaste for the human body, and Ralph, the predatorial actor who invites Marc’s family for a stay in his summer home. At the book’s start, Ralph is dead by Marc’s hand in an apparent case of medical malpractice. But as Koch traces the vile events of the summer, darker possibilities emerge. Take heed: Koch’s blunt, visceral prose, first introduced to an English-speaking audience in The Dinner, is not for the faint of heart.

     Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King

    Where King goes, readers follow, even if he’s taking us to a frostbitten midwestern job fair (a far cry from the sun-drenched fairgrounds of last summer’s Joyland). In the hours before sunup, the unemployed hopefuls gathered in a frozen parking lot are terrorized by a driver in a stolen Mercedes, who uses the car to kill eight people before escaping unidentified. But this is no whodunit: King enters the mind of the broken, psychopathic killer, and that of his adversary, a depressed cop who comes out of retirement to stop Mr. Mercedes before he strikes again.

    Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl

    Like Reichl herself, the protagonist of Delicious! is a food magazine employee (a lowly editorial assistant to Reichl’s Gourmet editor-in-chief) who finds herself at loose ends when her magazine closes shop unexpectedly. In her first work of fiction, beloved memoirist Reichl starts with a cake and ends with a cake (and an accompanying recipe, bless her heart), and in between comes romance, a secret cache of letters, a dip into World War II–era history, and pages and pages of lush, mouthwatering descriptions of food. We suggest you do things backward: bake the gingerbread cake on the last page first, then flip to page one.

    June 21 is the first day of summer! What’ll be your first read of the season?

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