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  • BN Editors 6:00 pm on 2017/08/21 Permalink
    Tags: guest posts, , ,   

    My Not So Perfect Life Author Sophie Kinsella Shares Her Summer Reading List 

    Sophia Kinsella’s latest, My Not So Perfect Life, centers on the FOMO-drenched existence of office drone and unlikely heroine Katie Brenner. Her obsession with the seemingly enviable life of her hip, brilliant boss, Demeter, crashes and burns after she’s fired without warning, sending her into a tailspin. Katie picks herself up and heads to her family farm in Somerset, where she’ll help set up a new business, find her footing again, and come face to face with Demeter again, learning more about the truth behind the image and setting a course to pursue her own (not so) perfect life.

    My Not So Perfect Life is a thoroughly perfect summer read, and here’s Kinsella to share six more of her own picks for the season.

    My Not So Perfect Life is a book about women, the workplace, the pressures of social media, life in London and the draw of the countryside. The books I’ve chosen all inform or entertain in one of these areas.

    The Circle, by Dave Eggers
    This chilling view of where social media might take us is a must-read.

    Read an excerpt on B&N Readouts >

    The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
    This is a great study of the ultimate love/hate work relationship.

    Read an excerpt on B&N Readouts >

    Not Working, Lisa Owens
    I loved this tale of modern not-office life – very fresh and funny.

    Read an excerpt on B&N Readouts >

    Ctrl, Alt, Delete: How I Grew Up Online, by Emma Gannon
    I love this memoir about growing up in the age of social media.

    A Room with a View, E.M. Forster
    This has the best love scene in the countryside ever!

    Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
    An sweeping, atmospheric novel set in the English countryside, with strong passions and even stronger characters.

    The post My Not So Perfect Life Author Sophie Kinsella Shares Her Summer Reading List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 4:30 pm on 2017/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , guest posts,   

    White FurAuthor Jardine Libaire Shares Her Favorite Autobiographical Books by Rebellious Women 

    More than one of us cancelled dinner plans so we could finish reading Jardine Libaire’s White Fur, her gorgeous novel about love and obsession set in gritty 1980s New York. This ferocious and seductive—almost hypnotic—story is absolutely unforgettable. We asked Jardine to tell us what she read while she was working on White Fur, and this is what she said:

    “The female protagonist in White Fur is a woman named Elise, and I got fueled to write about her by entering the consciousnesses of other strong and original women, women who didn’t quite do what they were told. I particularly love to read about these women and their worlds in their own words. Whether they all thought of themselves as feminists is less important to me than the monumental power they demonstrate to be who we want, to write what we want, and to love who we want.”

    Here’s the author to share some of these inspiring books

    Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, by Cookie Mueller
    Right out of the gate, Mueller runs on high-test gasoline, defiantly becoming who she is in high school—teased hair and cat eyes, in love with a boy and with a girl—and never looking back. This is a furious life, full of adventures, mishaps, love, drugs, fun, hitchhiking, friends, art, and burning houses. And no apologies.

    Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
    Reading this is like stumbling through someone’s psychedelic notebook after she handed it to you and warned you not to expect answers or epiphanies. You get messy, exquisite life instead. You get the jewels of data that constitute someone’s daily thought experience.

    Dust Tracks on a Road, by Zora Neale Hurston
    I love this book for many things but largely for the joyful dissidence, the imaginative and creative rebellion. Hurston was not going to be what she was told to be, but she was also not going to be anything that had already been established as an alternative. She would be someone else, someone unprecedented.

    M Train, by Patti Smith
    How do you funnel the drive and the heart that goes into being a young wild bohemian rock star into the years that follow? This book is a pocket guide on staying fierce, on creating rituals (like graveyard sessions in other countries, or having brown bread and coffee every single morning) that help a woman maintain a blueprint of untamed living.

    The Letters of Frida Kahlo: Cartas Apasionadas, by Frida Kahlo
    Kahlo has fascinated me since I was young, and I used to be baffled by how she could be so autonomous, so proud, so strong, and also so attached to a man who gave her (what I thought was) less than she deserved. Now I deliberately respect the whole chaotic truth of her life, because it was her life, no one else’s. And it’s my honor and pleasure to read about it in her words.

    The post White FurAuthor Jardine Libaire Shares Her Favorite Autobiographical Books by Rebellious Women appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 7:30 pm on 2017/07/25 Permalink
    Tags: , guest posts, let's make some magic, , sarah skilton   

    Club Deception Author Sarah Skilton on Magic-Themed Books for Every Kind of Reader 

    My debut novel for adults, Club Deception, comes out today! A murder mystery set at an underground magic club in downtown L.A., it has been referred to as “juicy noir.” (I liken it to The Prestige meets Desperate Housewives, with a little Sons of Anarchy thrown in for good measure.)

    As the wife of a magician, I had an absolute blast writing this behind-the-velvet-curtain caper about modern magic. To celebrate Club Deception’s release, here are five terrific books about magic, for fans of different genres.




    If you like historical fiction, you’ll love…

    The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister
    Set during the turn of the 20th century, at the height of vaudeville, The Magician’s Lie is the story of Ada Taylor (stage name Amazing Arden), whose provocative “sawing a man in half” illusion comes back to haunt her when she’s accused of using it to commit murder. You’ll be captivated by this dark feminist fable, which expertly weaves together psychological thrills, a touching romance, and a dash of fantasy.

    Mrs. Houdini, by Victoria Kelly
    “Many people had known some of his secrets…But only Bess knew everything.” He was born Ehrich Weiss, but we know him as Harry Houdini, the most famous escape artist in history. She was born Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, and most people don’t know anything about her—until now. Mrs. Houdini proves there has never been a love story like that of Harry and Bess Houdini, two Coney Island entertainers who married after a one-day courtship in 1894, and went on to perform a husband-and-wife act featuring impossible escapes, mentalism, and “communions with the dead.” From the Jersey boardwalk and the Walsh Brothers traveling circus, to prisons in Scotland Yard and séance rooms in Manhattan, Kelly brings the past alive in glorious detail, all wrapped around a heart-wrenching tale of spousal devotion that continues even after Harry’s sudden, too-young death.


    If you like romance, you’ll love…

    The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
    An enchantingly evocative debut about Le Cirque des Reves (the Circus of Dreams), a magical traveling production that “arrives without warning” and opens only at night. Against this backdrop we follow the travails of Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, two rival magicians forced to play a complex game of one-upmanship by their warring supernatural guardians. Problem is, the two are in love. So layered is Morgenstern’s prose, you’ll believe you’re actually visiting Le Cirque yourself, somewhere beyond the realm of imagination.




    If you like self-help books, you’ll love…

    Spellbound, by David Kwong
    Written by a genuinely original, whip-smart magician whose act includes creating a one-of-a-kind New York Times–level crossword puzzle on the fly, Kwong uses his knowledge of magic and magic history to teach the seven principles of illusion. These principles are designed to elevate anyone’s career, regardless of field, by explaining how to command an audience, sway opinions, and sell products and ideas in more effective ways. Kwong’s unique premise makes the advice not only entertaining, but memorable as well.







    If you like nonfiction, you’ll love…

    The Last Greatest Magician in the World, by Jim Steinmeyer
    A rock star historian and inventor, highly regarded in the magic world, Steinmeyer has designed illusions for David Copperfield, Ricky Jay, and even Orson Welles. Here, Steinmeyer expertly introduces readers to Howard Thurston (1869–1936), who became a worldwide phenomenon during the golden age of vaudeville. A pickpocket and con man turned spectacular (and spectacularly vain) conjurer, Thurston was mentored by Harry Kellar and eventually took over Kellar’s act, billing himself as the headliner of “The Wonder Show of the Universe.” Hyperbole aside, in his day he was more famous than Houdini. And even though he’s no longer a household name, Thurston’s classic image, style, and grandiose spectacles—the biggest traveling magic act in the world—are the ones we continue to envision when we think of stage magicians.

    Club Deception hits shelves today.

    The post Club Deception Author Sarah Skilton on Magic-Themed Books for Every Kind of Reader appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 2:00 pm on 2017/05/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , guest posts, served cold,   

    The Child Author Fiona Barton Shares Her Favorite Cold-Case Mysteries 

    Last year Fiona Barton told a tangled tale in The Widow, centered on long-suffering housewife Jean, her recently deceased husband, and the kidnapping he was accused of years before his death. Her latest thriller, The Child, out this June, sees the revival of another cold case when a journalist finds herself bound to chase the mystery of a baby’s skeleton found in the remains of a demolished house, to its roots.

    Barton is, unsurprisingly, a fan of the cold-case mystery in her reading as well. Here she shares with us some of her favorites, perfect creepy reading for cool summer nights.

    The righting of historic wrongs has chimed with something fundamental in me since I was a young reader. I love the forensic skills, the psychological insights, and the sheer bloody-mindedness of various detectives—professional or accidental—inching toward the truth of a long-buried secret. It will be no surprise, then, that I have gone down this route in my second novel, The Child, in which the discovery of a newborn’s skeleton sets in motion an investigation by journalist Kate Waters into the identity of the nameless child. I am following tentatively in the footsteps of some of the greats in the genre, starting with Agatha Christie, the queen of the uncovered clue, and finishing with my current read, Val McDermid’s latest starring her cold case detective, DCI Karen Pirie. Some of my choices for this list are hardboiled crime, some literary, some old, some new, but all held me spellbound.

    Five Little Pigs, by Agatha Christie
    This is often described as Christie’s neglected masterpiece and pitches Hercule Poirot into a 16-year-old-murder (with hemlock), a possible miscarriage of justice, and a convoluted family feud. So far, so what? But it’s not so much the plot in this novel that enthralls, it’s the way Christie presents the riddle of the murder from five different viewpoints. Her Belgian detective asks the five key suspects to write him a letter describing what they heard and saw on the day of the murder and sets out to solve the crime without visiting the scene. Elegantly resolved and an immensely satisfying ending.

    Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson 
    This is the novel that introduced me to Jackson Brodie, Atkinson’s troubled private investigator (are there any other kind?). As the title suggests, he deals with more than one cold case—there are three family tragedies, including the disappearance of a child from a tent in a back garden thirty years earlier, an axe murder by a new mother, and the stabbing to death of a solicitor’s daughter. Now, don’t say you are not getting good value… The stories intertwine expertly and unexpectedly, leaving you desperate to read the next one.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
    This astonishing debut, published posthumously, was a fairly nuclear introduction to Scandi Noir. The story centers around the dysfunctional Vanger family and the unsolved disappearance of a young relative in 1966. The hunt for the truth is led by a journalist and the anarchic hacker Lisbeth Salander. The story is gritty, sometimes unbearably graphic, but swept me through its 463 pages to the awful, shuddering denouement.

    The Dry, by Jane Harper 
    The secrets of small towns have fascinated writers and readers since the first psychological thriller was penned. (Wikipedia tells me that was in 11th-century Japan, and who am I to argue?) Jane Harper has set her cold-case mystery in the worst drought in Australia in a century, teasing us with the irony of temperatures. Her Federal Agent Aaron Falk goes home for the first time in decades for the funeral of a boyhood friend. The friend is said to have committed suicide after murdering his wife and young son in horrifying circumstances, but all may not be as it seems, and Falk reluctantly becomes embroiled in reinvestigating the crime. Meanwhile, a much older crime that touches the investigator intimately is exposed as a rich seam of lies and collusion that underpin the community.

    The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt 
    Donna Tartt is a genius. This, her second novel, sets a 12-year-old heroine to solve the death of her brother, found beneath a tupelo tree on Mother’s Day when she was still a toddler. The 11-page prologue is a masterclass of building and sustaining unbearable tension before we are plunged into the mind of Harriet, the child determined to find nine-year-old Robin’s killer. It is complex, sublime, and has stayed with me. I am rushing to read it again.

    Out of Bounds, by Val McDermid 
    The latest outing for DCI Karen Pirie, head of Police Scotland’s Historic Case Unit, is my current book on the bedside table. The danger with having a known character who only deals with cold cases is that there may be nothing new to add to the genre, but McDermid is surprising me page by page. This time, the detective has to revisit a 20-year-old rape and murder after a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and a routine DNA test links him to an unsolved crime. Fab twists and turns and am learning new Scottish words all the time…

    The Remorseful Day, by Colin Dexter
    Having lived for many years in Oxford, for me the last Inspector Morse novel is a must. I had been part of the backdrop to the Morse series for 25 years (my daughter was actually an extra in one episode of the TV version), and I grew to love the curmudgeonly copper and his long-suffering sidekick, Lewis. The duo are normally part of live investigations, but in this book they consider a cold case, which may or may not have personal connections for Morse. It is a wonderfully intricate valedictory for a brilliant character.

    Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier 
    I refuse to apologize for including this classic thriller in every literary Top Ten I’ve put together. It was in my Top Novels with Marriages with Secrets, the list of books that have influenced me most, and Best First Lines. It is a masterpiece with an unsolved murder at its heart, a second wife, and the scariest housekeeper ever created. What’s not to like?

    Fiona Barton’s The Child hits shelves June 27, and is available for pre-order now.

    The post The Child Author Fiona Barton Shares Her Favorite Cold-Case Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 5:05 pm on 2017/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: , guest posts, in conversation, ,   

    Authors Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini Talk Public Relations 

    Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini are writers with bylines at Buzzfeed and beyond, and are the brains behind Public Relations, a dishy new novel that takes a look at the glitzy, high-stakes world of celebrity PR. Rose Reed is an up and comer in the world of public relations, who’s thrown into the deep end when she takes over as solo publicist for Archie Fox. Soon the sexy new rocker’s reputation is skyrocketing, thanks to Rose’s stroke of genius: pairing him in a for-the-tabloids-only relationship with a fellow pop star. Until Rose finds herself wondering, very inconveniently, whether she’s the one who should be on Archie’s arm…

    Here are Heaney and Rebolini to talk about the fandoms that inspired the book.

    Katie Heaney: One of our reviews called the book “old-school chick lit” and I think that’s probably the most accurate. And I know that might be considered a demeaning term, but to me that’s what we were going for.

    Arianna Rebolini: Absolutely. That is such a compliment to me.

    KH: That makes me think of Bridget Jones, and Jennifer Weiner and Meg Cabot.

    AR: And those are the books I love! I feel like we both had that in mind. Would you also call Public Relations fanfic, or not?

    KH: I feel like fan fic is such a nebulous term. It’s one of those things where it’s like “All X is fanfic but not all fanfic is X.” If the premise of fanfic is wish fulfillment between you and a famous person, then yes, because our male lead is inspired by Harry Styles, but also, it’s not him. But Fifty Shades of Grey is fanfic, right?

    AR: Yeah, but I think that started on Wattpad with Edward and Bella as the names. For me, I think fan fiction, especially right now, is such a real community with, like, its own taxonomy, and I’m not well-versed enough in it to claim that label because I only read it really casually. And there are people who are much more thorough and do it really well, like Anna Todd. But as far as wish fulfillment, this was loosely what we could imagine as a fantasy between us and a combination of our various personal pop icons.

    KH: I guess in that way it’s inspired by fanfic, that viral Zayn fanfic about him being your heart transplant donor. We made a quiz after that, and from there its attachment to fanfic got more and more diluted. I think you’re right that there are rules. It’s like with romance writers, there are components you need to qualify for certain kinds of romance novels. And ours is sexy, but I think fanfic is usually sexier, or dirtier. Ours is no Fifty Shades.

    AR: If someone is reading this and wants to imagine themselves with Harry Styles, I could see them being like, well, this isn’t Harry! Archie became very much not Harry Styles in a lot of ways. But it still makes me swoon, even though we wrote him.

    KH: Right, Harry is the muse. He looks like Archie. And I imagine Archie being similarly composed in interviews, smiley and coy and charming but also fairly reserved.

    AR: I remember working on this and watching clips of Harry doing interviews.

    KH: Didn’t we watch This Is Us around then too? In, like, ten-minute installments on YouTube?

    AR: We watched that too, yeah.

    KH: All that stuff helped get us in the zone to write this, without it being a formula we were following. What do you think it is about One Direction that inspired a wider range of people to get more involved in fanfic?

    AR: I think their down to earth vibe, from having started on a reality show, was a part of it. But also the internet let the community grow so enormously and quickly, and Wattpad was a part of that, and those are things we didn’t have when I was obsessed with *NSYNC, for example. It’s such a fun way to be proactive in your fandom. When you’re obsessed it’s, like, physically painful and not enough to just love it, you have to act on it. And fanfic lets you do that.

    KH: I think part of their fame and the fanfic is that people had unprecedented access to their lives. We had all their social media presences, and when they started they were much more active and authentic on them. They had all those videos of them huddled together on the stairs. There was an immense amount of non-performance video from them, and a lot of the Larry stuff came from that, seeing the dynamic between Harry and Louis. If all you have is music videos and performances, it’s much harder to witness or create those dynamics that form stories.

    AR: That access also let us see how kind Harry seemed to be to his fans, and so it was very easy to think ‘that could be me.’ I could see how it would be easy to imagine meeting him and then him being so nice.

    KH: The pictures of him hugging fans, they all look like that could be his girlfriend, because of how real the hugs are.

    AR: And in the Rolling Stone interview didn’t he defend his young female fans?

    KH: Yeah, I mean he has always been a vocal advocate for his young female fans. In that interview he talked about how they show up for you in a way that other demographics don’t. He makes it easy to love him.

    AR: And Archie is an homage to that.

    KH: I think Archie has a worse attitude. He’s been in the business longer and has gone through a period of having a bad attitude. Whereas Harry is just now setting out on his solo career, so we don’t really know much about what to expect as a solo performer and personality. But we’ll see! Because his album is out now.

    Public Relations is out now.

    The post Authors Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini Talk Public Relations appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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