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  • Jenny Shank 7:00 pm on 2017/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , new releases   

    10 Can’t-Miss Fiction Reads for Fall 

    Beach reads are fun, but when the air turns crisp, many of us look forward to the rush of literary fiction hitting bookstores. Here are ten books to savor as the days grow shorter.

    My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (August 29)
    This literary debut by a young writer who grew up on the Mendocino coast is an intense psychodrama about a sturdy, isolated 14-year-old girl named Turtle with an abusive father. The survival and shooting skills her father taught her, however, come in handy when she takes to the wilderness to try to escape him. Tallent leavens difficult-to-read scenes of abuse with lush descriptions of nature and comic interludes with Turtle’s newfound teenage friends.

    Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, by Venita Blackburn (September 1)
    If you’re the kind of reader who wants to pick up something completely different, take this indie short story collection for a spin. Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, is Venita Blackburn’s promising debut. Blackburn’s prose dazzles in these tales that include stories of everyday people who find themselves with superhuman abilities.

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward (September 5)
    Those blown away by Ward’s unforgettable, National Book Award–winning novel of Hurricane Katrina, Salvage the Bones, are eagerly anticipating Sing, Unburied, Sing. It tells the story of the members of a Mississippi family with an incarcerated father, who are haunted by ghosts of the past.

    Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (September 12)
    Believe the advance hype about this engrossing novel by Ng, whose debut, Everything I Never Told You, became a bestseller in 2014. When a free-spirited artist moves to Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland where the lawns and children are perfect, she threatens to disrupt the town’s carefully ordered existence. Ng’s storytelling voice will win you over immediately and keep you hooked through the fiery end.

    The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott (September 19)
    McDermott fans will love this story set in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, where the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor call the shots. As the book opens, a young, newly pregnant woman’s husband kills himself. Sister St. Saviour swoops in to save the day, offering the woman a job working in the convent’s laundry. As her daughter grows up among the bleaches and detergents, McDermott explores the nature of sin, redemption, and good works with her tender, funny, and honest approach.

    Five-Carat Soul, by James McBride (September 26)
    National Book Award winner McBride is back with a riveting, timely collection of stories. Expect the unexpected from this contemporary master of voice as he shows off his range by incorporating characters including Abraham Lincoln, teen funk band members, and a boxer who resembles Muhammad Ali fighting the devil to spare five souls from damnation.

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (October 3)
    Early reviews of Jennifer Egan’s follow up to her NBCC and Pulitzer Prize winner A Visit From the Goon Squad suggest prize judges might have a new Egan novel to laud. Drawing on years of research into the lives of women who worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Egan has crafted a compelling mystery saga about a character named Anna Kerrigan, who becomes the first female civilian diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.

    Fresh Complaint, by Jeffrey Eugenides (October 3)
    Fresh Complaint is Eugenides’ first collection of short stories, which just might win over new fans to the genre. Fans of his novels will want to check out the collection for the stories “Air Mail,” which features a character from The Marriage Plot, and “The Oracular Vulva,” which delves into material related to Middlesex.

    Her Body and Other Parties, by Carmen Maria Machado (October 3)
    For a season this packed with new books by prize-winners and bestsellers, this debut story collection is getting an incredible amount of buzz. Across eight innovative tales, Machado muses on the female body, stretching the boundaries of imagination as she does so.

    Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich (November 14)
    Erdrich often ventures into the past for fictional material, but this time she journeys two months into America’s future, when evolution is beginning to reverse, resulting in six-foot dragonflies. The borders with Mexico and Canada are sealed, and all pregnant women must report to birthing centers, including Erdrich’s young Ojibwe protagonist, Cedar Hawk Songmaker.

    The post 10 Can’t-Miss Fiction Reads for Fall appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dave K. 7:00 pm on 2017/09/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , new releases   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September 

    September is turning into one of our best months for vinyl yet! We’ve got one of the best Jimi Hendrix retrospectives coming in this month, along with new Foo Fighters and Van Morrison albums, plus records from Jack Johnson, the National, Steve Martin, Beyoncé, and Gregg Allman’s final album, plus the soundtrack to box office smash Wonder Woman. Be sure to check them out, and keep your eye on Barnes and Noble’s Vinyl Store for more great records every month.

    All the Light Above It Too, by Jack Johnson
    Jack Johnson’s newest album pairs his mellow, soft rock style with sharp, often political lyrics inspired by surfing, camping, and the documentary Smog of the Sea. The album’s lead single, “My Mind Is For Sale,” was specifically inspired by (and is overtly critical of) Donald Trump’s public statements concerning pollution and global warming, and “Fragments” is about ocean pollution and environmental responsibility. Johnson promotes stewardship of the environment in both his creative and personal lives, but this album never gets preachy, and Johnson never drops his laid-back vocal style. In fact, he sounds downright relaxed on “Sunsets For Somebody Else.”

    Concrete and Gold, by Foo Fighters
    Foo Fighters are officially nine studio albums deep with the release of Concrete and Gold, the band’s first album since their hiatus following Dave Grohl’s 2015 leg injury. Originally planning to take a year off from music to heal his leg, Grohl started writing songs for this album after six months of physical therapy, eventually collaborating with pop producer Greg Kurstin. Because of this, and their decision to record at EastWest Studios, this album has a lot of pop music cameos; Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, Inara George, the Kills’ Alison Mosshart, and Paul McCartney (who drums on one track) all appear on this fantastic return to form by the Foo Fighters.

    Wonder Woman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Wonder Woman wasn’t just a commercial and critical success, it shattered records for films directed by women and renewed fans’ enthusiasm for the DC cinematic universe. Obviously, a film this impressive needs a soundtrack to match, and Wonder Woman has got the goods. Composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams—who also worked on several projects for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions—the soundtrack keeps to the moody, melodic, and broad gestures of other recent DC films (especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), but doesn’t rest on those laurels. The proud, majestic “No Man’s Land” and “Hell Hath No Fury” are already fan favorites, as is Sia and Labyrinth’s “To Be Human.”

    Roll with the Punches, by Van Morrison
    Van Morrison’s newest album, which features retired professional wrestler Billy Two Rivers on the cover, is largely a collection of the singer-songwriter’s favorite soul and blues classics. Morrison curated the tracklist down to songs he enjoys performing live, and the effort shows: there’s an undeniable passion in particular in his version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me” and Bo Diddley’s “I Can Tell” and “Ride on Josephine.” He does a great job with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Automobile Blues,” too, showing particular skill with that era of blues. In addition to these standards, the album features five new original compositions.

    Sleep Well Beast, by the National
    This album is the National’s seventh studio effort, and they’re slowly introducing electronic elements to their rootsy, Americana-tinged indie pop sound. If you’re worried those changes might make their music colder and more obtuse, don’t be; there’s still plenty of emotion and clever songwriting on this album. “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” chosen as the album’s lead single, is a tense, piano-driven song with a surprisingly gnarly guitar solo, while “Carin at the Liquor Store” is influenced by Leonard Cohen in the best possible way. The same can be said for “Guilty Party,” which will very likely be the post-breakup anthem of 2017.

    The Long-Awaited Album, by Steve Martin
    Legendary comedian/actor/playwright Steve Martin has many interests, and playing the banjo is one of them. Martin has released a few bluegrass music albums over the years, but he’s never sounded better than on this record, where he’s backed by the Steep Canyon Rangers. As one would expect, Martin is a clever, tongue-in-cheek lyricist—“Caroline” is all the proof you need of that—but he’s a very talented banjo picker as well, and the Rangers provide vocal harmonies and lush instrumentation that complement, rather than crowd, his abilities. The curiously titled “Office Supplies” is another standout track that shows off how well Martin and the Rangers work together.

    Southern Blood, by Gregg Allman
    Sadly, Gregg Allman’s eighth studio album was his last one, as the legendary country rocker passed away from liver cancer in May 2017. The album became a very personal one for Allman, and is a collection of songs written by his friends, who includes Bob Dylan’s “Going Going Gone” and the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River,” as well as blues standards like Willie Dixon’s “I Love the Life I Live” and Jackson Browne’s “Song for Adam,” which features a cameo by Browne himself. Allman’s trademark honey-sweet guitar tone and homespun vocals lend an unexpected optimism to this album. Rather than sing about death, Allman is, in his own way, explaining his life as it reaches the end.

    Lemonade, by Beyoncé
    Lemonade took the pop world, and specifically the internet, by storm when it was released in April 2016. It has the rare distinction of being both a concept album and a visual album, given that it was accompanied by an hour-long film on HBO. Unsurprisingly, it’s up for Album of the Year, based on both the strength of singles like “Freedom,” “All Night,” and the Grammy-nominated “Formation,” and because of its obvious ambition. With Lemonade, Beyoncé showed the world she’s more than just a mega-successful pop culture star who makes radio-friendly R&B music. She’s also making deeper, more genuine art.

    Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
    There are a lot of Jimi Hendrix compilations out there, which is to be expected for one of the most influential guitarists of all time. What makes Experience Hendrix unique is that it looks beyond 1968, including unfinished tracks that reveal the R&B/soul-oriented direction Hendrix was going in before his death. But don’t worry, it also has more popular, and still timeless, songs like “Foxy Lady,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Hey Joe,” and his unkempt rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Really though, the Cry of Love-era tracks are the standouts here, and not just because they’re more obscure; they prove Hendrix was A talented and creatively limber musician who was just getting started.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This September appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sarah Skilton 8:37 pm on 2017/08/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    September’s Best New Fiction 

    Historical fiction lovers will be in Heaven this month, guided by some of the genre’s biggest names. Ken Follett takes us to 1550s England, Jim Fergus tackles the American West of the 1870s, and Jamie Ford depicts Seattle in 1909. Still not enough? How about a visit to 1940s Brooklyn with Alice McDermott or 1990s Cleveland with Celeste Ng? There’s even a new Salman Rushdie novel set during the Obama Presidency. Whether you prefer to travel back centuries or merely to last year, you’ll be in expert hands. Enjoy the ride! 

    Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
    Fans of Anne Tyler’s Digging to America and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies will devour bestselling Ng’s compelling new drama. When free-spirited artist and single mother Mia gives up her wanderlust and puts down roots in the affluent, tight-knit Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, she quickly befriends her landlord Elena’s family. Mia’s dismissal of the town’s social norms causes friction, however, and when she opposes another family’s well-meaning but controversial custody battle for a Chinese American baby, Elena turns against her, determined to dig up Mia’s closely guarded secrets. 

    A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett
    The third installment in his beloved Kingsbridge series (The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End) revolves around star-crossed lovers Ned Willard and Margery Fitzgerald, whose travails take place two hundred years after the previous book. Ned and Margery’s Protestant and Catholic upbringings, respectively, pit them against each other in 1558 England. Ned’s decision to join Princess Elizabeth’s secret service and Margery’s decision to proselytize on behalf of her Protestant faith puts both their lives in danger. 

    To Be Where You Are, by Jan Karon
    Readers who wish they lived in the small town of Mitford, North Carolina, with the Kavanagh family will be delighted by this 14th outing in the series. Though Karon briefly ended her popular inspirational saga in 2005, she resurrected it in 2014 and shows no signs of stopping. In this newest offering, Episcopal Priest Father Tim (who is perpetually attempting to retire) finds a new calling, and over at nearby Meadowgate farm, his former ward Dooley faces a marital crisis. Expect a heartwarming comedy of errors, plenty of love, and maybe even a miracle or two.

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes, by Jamie Ford
    Set in Seattle during the 1909 World’s Fair as well as the fair’s “sequel,” the Century 21 Exposition of 1962, this historical novel by the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet promises to be an immersive experience. When half-Chinese, half-white orphan Ernest Young is raffled off to a brothel owner, his work as a “houseboy” brings him into contact with two young women—one from his past—who capture his heart. A lifetime later, his own daughters are determined to learn about their father’s mysterious upbringing. He is equally determined to prevent them from doing so.

    The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott
    Tended to by an elderly nun after her husband commits suicide, a young widowed mother and her newborn baby are brought into the fold of the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor. Brooklyn in the 1940s and ’50s wasn’t forgiving toward families overcoming scandal, and the young mother discovers that the worst moment of her life is best not mentioned. The consequences of her husband’s act will affect many generations to come, but so will the loving friendships she makes with the nuns’ help. McDermott is a National Book Award and American Book Award recipient (for Charming Billy), and a multiple Pulitzer Prize finalist. 

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
    Magical realism and poetic lyricism combine in this paean to road trip novels by a talented author whose creativity brings emotionally devastating truths to the surface. Ward’s previous novel, Salvage the Bones, won the National Book Award in 2011 for its vital depiction of Hurricane Katrina. Here, drug-addicted and poverty-stricken matriarch Leonie, a black woman living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, is desperate to be a better mom but struggles with what that means and how to achieve it. She drags her two children (13-year-old Jojo and toddler Kayla) across Mississippi to the State Penitentiary, where their white father is set to be released. Jojo prefers the company of his grandparents over his parents, and is deeply reluctant to make the trip. His feelings on the subject are compounded when he’s visited by a spirit close to him in age, who died during his grandfather’s youth. Jojo’s ability was inherited from his mother, who is regularly haunted (and at times, comforted) by the ghost of her murdered brother. 

    The Golden House, by Salman Rushdie
    With his latest, Rushdie attempts to make sense of our recent and current climate, political, emotional, and material. The Golden House begins on the day of President Obama’s inauguration, the same day the magnetic, perplexing, wildly unpredictable Golden family arrives from India to forge a new life in Greenwich Village. Patriarch Nero, who’s in his 70s and appears to have oligarch levels of wealth, settles into his new community with his three adult sons, all of whom capture the interest of their neighbors. Readers may experience the timeframe of the book, which contains a version of the 2016 election, as though through a satirical looking glass.

    The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill, by Jim Fergus
    A follow-up to One Thousand White Woman: The Journals of May Dodd, Mothers arrives nearly twenty years after its sensitively portrayed, fascinating predecessor was published. Both novels depict what might have happened in 1875 if the U.S. government under Ulysses S. Grant had agreed to a “Brides For Indians” program for the purpose of “blending cultures” and forging peace between the Cheyenne Indians and the white settlers. The “fallen” or otherwise “unspeakable” women sent to marry people of a starkly different culture find love, friendship, intense heartbreak, and adventure awaiting them.

    The Best Kind of People, by Zoe Whittall
    George Woodbury is Teacher of the Year at Avalon Hills Prep School. His wife Joan is an ER nurse, his daughter Sadie is smart and popular, and his son Andrew is an accomplished lawyer. But their picture-perfect family image is destroyed when George is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. Those left in his wake drift, unmoored, from anger to denial, as they question everything they’ve ever known about George. The townspeople surrounding them all have a stake in the outcome in this timely, provocative story that examines the effects of a crime on the perpetrator’s family.

    Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander
    This thrilling spy novel is centered on an unnamed Israeli prisoner and the man who has been guarding him for the past twelve years. Their relationship is but one of many explored in the book, which spans timeframes, countries, and cultures, from Paris and Berlin to Tel Aviv and the Negev Desert. How their tales intertwine may leave you breathless.

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

  • BN Editors 6:00 pm on 2017/08/21 Permalink
    Tags: , new releases, ,   

    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.

  • Dave K. 4:00 pm on 2017/08/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , new releases,   

    The Best New Vinyl to Spin This August 

    The end of summer is on the horizon (boo!), but there’s no end to Barnes and Noble’s Vinyl Store selection! We’ve got a whole bunch of exclusives coming in this August, including the soundtracks for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Power Rangers, plus a selection of songs from Disney’s Descendants series. Also not to miss: the rerelease of Suicidal Tendencies’ excellent self-titled debut and one of Elvis Presley’s most underrated albums, Elvis is Back! Keep checking in for more record recommendations, our Vinyl Store never closes.

     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Exclusive version)
    Much like the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, the second has a fun, nostalgic soundtrack covering a wide expanse of pop music. Most of it is upbeat, like Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” and Sweet’s “Fox On the Run,” but not all of it is rock ‘n’ roll. Sam Cooke makes an appearance with “Bring It On Home to Me,” and Parliament’s “Flash Light” adds some much-appreciated funk to the proceedings. Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison, and obscure pop-country band Silver are included here, too, but this soundtrack’s real gem is “Guardians Hero,” sung by none other than David Hasselhoff.

    Power Rangers (Exclusive version)
    If you’re one of those people who needs music to wake up in the morning, you should consider the Power Rangers original soundtrack. The 26-track score was composed by Brian Tyler, who also composed the scores for Iron Man 3 and five Fast and the Furious movies, as well as ESPN’s NFL theme song. Needless to say, Tyler knows his way around action sequences, so there’s a ton of energy and tension in the Power Rangers soundtrack. Even quieter tracks don’t lose intensity or momentum, as exemplified by one of the score’s overall highlights, “It’s Morphing Time.” And if what gets you going is dramatic build, “The Final Stand” has that for days.

    Suicidal Tendencies, by Suicidal Tendencies
    A lot of words get used to describe legendary L.A. punk/thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, and “fun” isn’t usually one of them. But make no mistake, their self-titled debut—released in 1983—is really, really fun. Written before the band started taking themselves and their gang image too seriously, this record is full of hilarious and astute social commentary. “Institutionalized” has become a classic American anthem for the misunderstood, while “Subliminal” is weird and funny and one of the best parts of Grand Theft Auto V‘s soundtrack. The same can be said of the delightfully deranged “I Saw Your Mommy,” which shows off the band’s impressive speed.

    Best of the Descendants (B&N exclusive)
    This unique record, sold exclusively through Barnes & Noble, will appeal to pop fans and Disneyphiles alike. The Descendants musical franchise (which includes a TV series and a few movies) follows the teenage children of Maleficent, Snow White’s Queen Grimhilde, Jafar, and Cruella De Vil. “Rotten to the Core” mixes EDM and dubstep, and “If Only” is a strong electropop ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on Top 40 radio. “Set It Off” has the most energy, mixing EDM with Broadway-style ensemble singing, something only Disney could pull off.

    Elvis is Back, by Elvis Presley
    This album was a special one for Elvis, as it was the first he recorded after serving two years in the Army. Although it didn’t get much love from critics when it was released in 1960, time has been kind to it. For one thing, Elvis received vocal training in the Army and added a full octave to his already impressive vocal range, giving extra heft to his performances of “Make Me Know It” and “Thrill of Your Love.” In fact, “Reconsider Baby” and “Like a Baby” are among the best blues vocals he ever recorded. This is the record that really kicked off the King’s transition from rockabilly teen idol to bonafide adult pop star.

    The post The Best New Vinyl to Spin This August appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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