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  • Miwa Messer 2:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , michael faber, , ,   

    The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories 

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? Chloe Benjamin’s dazzling novel, The Immortalists, asks big questions about life and death and love and family. If you loved Erika Swyler’s fantastic novel The Book of Speculation as much as we did, you’ll love this incredible story of destiny vs. choice as much as the booksellers who handpick books for our Discover Great New Writers program do.

    And because we love the way Chloe—and her characters—see the world we asked her to riff on the flip-side of Valentine’s Day. So here are her recommendations for ever-so-slightly-cracked-love-stories:

    I’m always game for a good love story—even better if it’s slightly cracked. After all, love stories don’t feel entirely human if they don’t have a sliver of something else: pain, awkwardness, humor, surprise. These reads are proof that forging a bond with another person isn’t for the faint of heart.

    The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
    When Faber’s novel opens, pastor Peter Leigh is about to leave his wife, Bea, for the mission of a lifetime: he has been chosen to minister to an alien population on a planet called Oasis, which has been newly colonized by humans via a mysterious company called USIC. What follows is a deliciously imaginative and ultimately heartbreaking exploration of morality and faith—as well as the story of the longest long-distance relationship in human history. The Book of Strange New Things has everything I love in a novel: an epic sweep; an atmospheric setting; creative, clever worldbuilding; and characters you remember long after you turn the last page.

    Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro
    Quatro’s second book and first novel burns as brightly as its title promises. The story of an affair that begins in the mind and ends in the body, Fire Sermon is an exquisite, raw and often shocking exploration of female desire and embodiment. Quatro fearlessly explores the dynamics that lead Maggie, a Christian and academic, out of her marriage. Fire Sermon is committed to rigorous inquiry: of God, of our partners, but especially of ourselves.

    Euphoria, by Lily King
    Inspired by the extraordinary life and contributions of Margaret Mead, Euphoria follows a trio of anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea. Don’t be fooled: this somewhat academic premise, which becomes gripping in its own right, belies the novel’s steam and electricity. Soon, a love triangle develops between American Nell; her charismatic but combustible husband, Fen; and successful, fragile Andrew Bankson, who comes unexpectedly into their orbit. King brilliantly illuminates the ethical questions that intensify as the trio becomes embedded with the Tam, a fictitious local tribe—and with each other.

    A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
    The rise of Galentine’s Day has shown us that romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that deserve celebrating this month. A Study in Charlotte, the first novel in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series, charts the complicated friendship between the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and the great-great-great-grandson of John Watson as they solve crimes at boarding school. It’s delicious crossover YA, perfect for teenage girls who are sick of reading about boy geniuses—as well as those navigating the kind of friendships that challenge our definition of the term.

    A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
    You might have read this one, as it was one of the breakout books of 2015—but if you haven’t, consider it bookmarked. A Little Life might not seem like the kind of book you read in honor of Valentine’s Day; it is, in part, a brutal and horrific look at the legacy of abuse. But it is also an emphatic celebration of the love that sustains Yanagihara’s four central male characters. InA Little Life, friendship is profound and sustaining, sometimes equal to—but ultimately deeper than—any romantic attachment.

    The post The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Miwa Messer 2:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , michael faber, , ,   

    The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories 

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? Chloe Benjamin’s dazzling novel, The Immortalists, asks big questions about life and death and love and family. If you loved Erika Swyler’s fantastic novel The Book of Speculation as much as we did, you’ll love this incredible story of destiny vs. choice as much as the booksellers who handpick books for our Discover Great New Writers program do.

    And because we love the way Chloe—and her characters—see the world we asked her to riff on the flip-side of Valentine’s Day. So here are her recommendations for ever-so-slightly-cracked-love-stories:

    I’m always game for a good love story—even better if it’s slightly cracked. After all, love stories don’t feel entirely human if they don’t have a sliver of something else: pain, awkwardness, humor, surprise. These reads are proof that forging a bond with another person isn’t for the faint of heart.

    The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
    When Faber’s novel opens, pastor Peter Leigh is about to leave his wife, Bea, for the mission of a lifetime: he has been chosen to minister to an alien population on a planet called Oasis, which has been newly colonized by humans via a mysterious company called USIC. What follows is a deliciously imaginative and ultimately heartbreaking exploration of morality and faith—as well as the story of the longest long-distance relationship in human history. The Book of Strange New Things has everything I love in a novel: an epic sweep; an atmospheric setting; creative, clever worldbuilding; and characters you remember long after you turn the last page.

    Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro
    Quatro’s second book and first novel burns as brightly as its title promises. The story of an affair that begins in the mind and ends in the body, Fire Sermon is an exquisite, raw and often shocking exploration of female desire and embodiment. Quatro fearlessly explores the dynamics that lead Maggie, a Christian and academic, out of her marriage. Fire Sermon is committed to rigorous inquiry: of God, of our partners, but especially of ourselves.

    Euphoria, by Lily King
    Inspired by the extraordinary life and contributions of Margaret Mead, Euphoria follows a trio of anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea. Don’t be fooled: this somewhat academic premise, which becomes gripping in its own right, belies the novel’s steam and electricity. Soon, a love triangle develops between American Nell; her charismatic but combustible husband, Fen; and successful, fragile Andrew Bankson, who comes unexpectedly into their orbit. King brilliantly illuminates the ethical questions that intensify as the trio becomes embedded with the Tam, a fictitious local tribe—and with each other.

    A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
    The rise of Galentine’s Day has shown us that romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that deserve celebrating this month. A Study in Charlotte, the first novel in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series, charts the complicated friendship between the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and the great-great-great-grandson of John Watson as they solve crimes at boarding school. It’s delicious crossover YA, perfect for teenage girls who are sick of reading about boy geniuses—as well as those navigating the kind of friendships that challenge our definition of the term.

    A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
    You might have read this one, as it was one of the breakout books of 2015—but if you haven’t, consider it bookmarked. A Little Life might not seem like the kind of book you read in honor of Valentine’s Day; it is, in part, a brutal and horrific look at the legacy of abuse. But it is also an emphatic celebration of the love that sustains Yanagihara’s four central male characters. InA Little Life, friendship is profound and sustaining, sometimes equal to—but ultimately deeper than—any romantic attachment.

    The post The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:30 pm on 2016/12/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , michael faber, not to be continued, the crimson petal and the white, the magus   

    6 Famous Novels That Don’t Have an Ending 

    If you tried to write a novel last month, you know how difficult it can be. Just finishing a book—no matter how long it takes you—is quite an achievement, let alone in one month. In fact, chances are pretty good that by the end of National Novel Writing Month, many of you fell short, and you closed out the month without a finished manuscript on your hands. But ask yourself—does that matter? Some of the most celebrated novels in history are similarly minus an ending. It’s true—here are six examples of novels that have been published and praised despite the fact that they’re clearly unfinished.

    The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
    Pynchon unfolds The Crying of Lot 49 like a detective novel. Along the way, Oedipa Maas goes from determined to worrying about her sanity, from intensely interested in the mystery to being almost exhausted by it. Just as she seems about to give up, a final clue draws her to the titular auction, and readers might be forgiven for assuming at least some resolution to the mystery would be on offer, but instead, the book ends just as the auction begins. To paraphrase Willy Wonka, we get nothing. Now, Pynchon’s probably the genius here, but wouldn’t it be fun to imagine that he also tried to write a novel in one month, and just typed out “The End” when the deadline hit?

    Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce
    Finnegans Wake, Joyce’s final work, is possibly the most famous novel that basically no one has actually read. Incorporating poetic language, coined words, and seemingly nonsense phrases, the book is either the work of a genius beyond most people’s ability to appreciate, or the ultimate joke from a literary prankster. Either way, one thing is certain: in as much as Finnegans Wake has a plot at all (and critical opinions differ on this point) it certainly has no ending; the final line is actually the beginning of the first line, making the whole thing an endless loop that you can simply continue reading, onward, forever.

    Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
    Wallace was a writer who eschewed and disdained neat plots and simple resolutions. While Infinite Jest has the superficial look of a normal novel with a beginning, middle, and end, once you think about the final pages, you realize that a great many very important aspects of the plot are simply not resolved at all. You have to consider the prologue, in fact, to even have the slightest glimpse of how everything turns out, and even that keeps thing pretty ambiguous. Wallace’s skill is such that the lack of an ending isn’t apparent at first, but creeps up on you as the story lingers in your head, like a sore tooth you can’t help but poke at.

    The Magus, by John Fowles
    Fowles is a writer you expect tricks from, and The Magus , his first novel (though third published) is more or less all about tricks—and a trick itself. Nicholas, a recent Oxford graduate who takes a teaching position on a remote Greek island and meets the manipulative, psychologically tricky Maurice Conchis. Conchis plays what he calls the Godgame, composed of psychological games. At first Nicholas believes this to be all illusion, but slowly realizes he is being subsumed into the Godgame as a puppet and performer. As his grip on reality crumbles, the reader can be forgiven for being unsure of events—and then the book just ends with a quote in Latin, outcome vague. Fowles continued the trick by giving different answers to questions about the ending every time he was asked.

    The Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay
    If you’ve never heard of The Picnic at Hanging Rock, you’ve missed a novel that created a sensation upon publication, both in Australia and internationally; the film adaptation was Peter Weir’s fourth directorial effort. The story about students from an elite women’s college who disappear mysteriously during a day trip to Hanging Rock near Victoria was elevated to pop culture immortality when the publisher suggested Lindsay remove the final chapter, which explained away the mystery. As a result, the novel has no actual ending, and no way for readers to guess what happened. This is partially because Lindsay’s intended ending is quite, quite bonkers. You can read it in the posthumously published The Secret of Hanging Rock if you want, but this is one book that’s improved by a lack of ending.

    The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber
    Faber’s tale of a self-interested Victorian man, his mad, beautiful wife, and the prostitute he incorporates into his household is mesmerizing in its complexity, exploring these lives in fascinating detail. As William’s utter lack of interest in the women who are tied so closely to him leads to tragedy, there is wide latitude on how to interpret the events that occur—especially because the fate of the characters is not clearly stated, leading to endless discussion about the path of each character’s fate. Any novel that ends with the feeling that there’s a chapter or two missing should be a failure, but Faber’s genius is that he makes it work.

     

    The post 6 Famous Novels That Don’t Have an Ending appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Joel Cunningham 8:39 pm on 2014/10/02 Permalink
    Tags: alex kotlowitz, , , , , , michael faber, , , one last thing before i go, , terms of endearment, , , , , there are no children here, , ,   

    What to Read Next If You Liked This is Where I Leave You, Station Eleven, The Drop, The Best of Me, or The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace 

    IMG_8688It’s no surprise that Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You was made into a movie. Already, the book reads like just the kind of light, funny, heartfelt film you’d love to take your parents to over Thanksgiving, with a plot that involves a broken family finally coming together and mending old scars in the wake of their patriarch’s death. Tropper’s cinematic style is consistent throughout his work, so if you’re looking for a similarly satisfying story, try his latest, One Last Thing Before I Go, about a man who discovers he needs life-saving surgery, and decides to make sure beforehand that his life is worth saving.

    In the bleak, haunting, postapocalyptic landscape of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, humanity keeps a tenuous hold on the last threads of civilization through performances of Shakespeare. In the forthcoming The Book of Strange New Things, by Michael Farber, set on another ravaged version of Earth (this one under assault by its own climate), we send our culture to the stars: missionary Peter Leigh brings a message of hope not to his fellow man, but to the inhabitants of a new world, and the Christian Bible becomes their “Book of Strange New Things.”

    The Drop is the latest novel by master thriller Dennis Lehane to be adapted into a film. The story of a man who finds his life spinning out of control after he rescues the wrong stray dog, the book offers up a crackerjack plot involving the Chechen mafia, a pair of hapless robbers, a damaged woman, and one angry dog owner—and transfers perfectly to the screen. This isn’t the first time one of the author’s books has birthed a great movie. Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Mystic River picked up a host of Oscar nominations in 2003.

    By now, you know what you’re going to get from a Nicholas Sparks novel: a clever setup, endearing characters, and a finale that will have you reaching for a box of tissues. In The Best of Me, coming to theaters October 17, he’s firing on all cylinders, with a plot involving a man who returns to his hometown after 20 years to fulfill his surrogate father’s dying wishes, only to be thrown together with a woman from his past—who may wind up being his future. Larry McMutry’s classic novel Terms of Endearment also includes an unexpected love story that takes decades to flower, and is, in any case, the kind of book Sparks fans will eat up with a spoon. (Come to think of it, it made for a great movie, too.)

    The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs, is a heartbreaking true-life story of a gifted boy who triumphed over a troubled upbringing and graduated from the Ivy League, but never quite escaped the circumstances of his birth. His fairytale story had a bitter ending: in 2011, Robert Peace was killed in a drug deal gone wrong. Though there are no easy explanations for what happened, There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz, a nonfiction examination of the lives of kids growing up too quickly in a dangerous Chicago ghetto, is an eye-opening portrait of the way a childhood filled with the clamor of violence will echo across a lifetime.

    What’s the last great book someone recommended to you?

     
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