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  • 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.

  • Melissa Albert 4:30 pm on 2017/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    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 9:00 pm on 2017/07/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    August’s Best New Fiction 

    For reading your way through the dog days of summer, August brings us a fabulous collection of character studies. Among them are tales of female friendship, a psychologically fraught novel about father-daughter survivalists, and two juicy books about the writing life, from the perspective of a woman who believes she must write under a male pseudonym to achieve her dreams and that of a wildly successful author whose reluctant embrace of motherhood alters her ambitions. Fans of historical fiction will delight in a fresh book of Tudor madness by Philippa Gregory, as well as a mystery set in 1880s Manhattan. And for those whose kids are returning to school, you won’t want to miss Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher, about an empty nester seeking a titillating new world online.

    The Right Time, by Danielle Steel
    A bright, precociously successful writer of complex thrillers, novelist Alexandra Winslow was told during her formative years that men will only read her genre of books if they’re written by other men. The warning stayed with her, and she decided to pursue her passion under a male pseudonym. Having overcome more heartache than most by her teen years, including an absent mother and the death of her beloved father (who shared his love of mysteries with her), Alex’s latest difficulties are compounded as she realizes the double life she’s living is slowly destroying her. Will she find the strength to reveal her true self to the rest of the world? Will the time ever be right for her to step out of her own shadow?

    The Last Tudor, by Philippa Gregory
    Considered by many to be the queen of British historical fiction, Gregory proves her bona fides once again with a continuation of her wildly popular Tudor series, which depicts the larger than life, tragic, and heroic characters circling Henry VIII and his descendants. This time we’re treated to the infamous tale of Lady Jane Grey and her sisters Katherine and Mary. Jane’s incredibly brief reign as Queen of England ends with her imprisonment in the Tower of London. Lovely Katherine, who dared marry for love, risks a similar fate, until eventually only brave, young Mary, a stunning dwarf, is left to defy the ruling cousins who have so tormented her family. 

    Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta
    Forty-six, divorced, and having recently seen her only son off to college, the title character is entering empty nest mode when an unexpected and provocative text message—“U R my MILF”—lures the idealistic (and thus frequently disappointed) Mrs. Fletcher down an Internet rabbit hole. Her new obsession with the possibilities of MILF-dom have real-life consequences that may clash with her community. Meanwhile, her teenage son, Brendon, faces his own identity crises at college, as his irresponsible ways, sexual entitlement, and frat-boy privilege speed him toward a rude awakening. As always, Perrotta (Election, The Leftovers, Little Children) is a genius at dark humor and revealing the subversive side of suburbia. 

    The Burning Girl, by Claire Messud
    A psychologically astute depiction of a broken female friendship, as narrated by the more circumspect half of that bond, Julia. She and (wilder, bolder, fatherless) Cassie were inseparable from preschool through junior high, until events in adolescence drove them apart in ways that may reverberate for years. Julia’s heartache over her estrangement from Cassie, as well as Cassie’s behavior—she deliberately dated and dumped Julia’s crush—may end up having chilling ramifications. As teenaged Julia looks back on their intense, lost friendship, a mystery concerning Cassie’s whereabouts hints at darker information to come.

    My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent
    A much buzzed about debut that has garnered incredible praise from Stephen King and Celeste Ng, My Absolute Darling thrusts readers into the traumatized yet brave beyond measure head of 14-year-old Turtle, whose widowed father, Martin, is a brutally manipulative man living in the wilds of northern California. Between bouts of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse that have utterly isolated Turtle from her classmates and peers, Martin teaches her everything he can about guns, knives, and survival in the wilderness. Turtle only begins to suspect her own life is worth protecting—from Martin—after she meets a high school boy whose safe, achingly normal existence stands in sharp contrast to her own.

    Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin
    If you’ve ever pondered the many paths Monica Lewinsky’s life could have taken post scandal, this book is for you. As a Congressional intern in Florida, Aviva Grossman anonymously but naively blogged about the affair she was conducting with her boss, and the resulting fallout (all on her, none on him) seems inescapable. Even after she’s changed her name, moved to Maine, and begun raising her daughter the best way she knows how, the past returns to rearrange her own political ambitious. This is a story told through multigenerational POVs, in which readers get to hear from Aviva, her mother, the congressman’s wife, and Aviva’s daughter, Ruby. Sign me up for Aviva’s PAC!

    The Red Haired Woman, by Orhan Pamuk (translated by Ekin Oklap)
    The winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, Pamuk sets his tenth book in his birth place and favorite locale: Istanbul, Turkey, where a young apprentice and his mentor toil digging wells in the unforgiving summer heat. The two men form a father-son bond that is tested to the breaking point when the younger man becomes dangerously infatuated with a mysterious red-haired actress in a traveling theatre troupe. A murder mystery wrapped around tantalizing myths and legends, some of which may be brand new to western readers.

    The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas
    Joan Ashby’s writing career is off to a dazzling start. Adored by critics and readers alike for her dark prose, she’s poised to become a lifelong literary star. Children were never in the picture—until Joan’s husband, Martin, changes the rule they agreed to and urges her to succumb to motherhood. Raising her two boys isn’t easy, and her creative ambitions struggle against the “consumptive nature of love.” Wolas’ powerhouse debut novel promises to take readers on an emotional ride, while tackling questions about the ways in which women are sometimes forced to choose between love of family and self-actualization. 

    The Address, by Fiona Davis
    Two tales told one hundred years apart, relating to the same magnificent address: the Dakota apartment building in New York City. In 1884, Sara Smythe, a troubled housekeeper from London, emigrates to America to oversee the Dakota’s management and bask in the company of architect Theodore Camden, the (married) man she adores. In 1985, Bailey Camden, a struggling addict with family ties to the grand building, is tasked with its redesign. Did Sara Smythe kill Theodore Camden all those years ago, as history tells it? Or is the building holding onto secrets only Bailey can uncover?

    The Half-Drowned King, by Linnea Hartsuyker
    Viking fans, this one’s for you! The first book in a trilogy set in the ninth century, King depicts the soaring adventures of a pair of siblings. Warrior Ragnvald Eysteinsson, heir to a chiefdom, is brutally betrayed by his stepfather, Olaf, and swears fealty to a man prophesied to be Norway’s future ruler. Ragnvald’s sister, Svanhild, is equally desperate to escape Olaf and sees a possible route to freedom via Ragnvald’s rival. A fantasy novel based on historical events, it’s a gripping, Norwegian read-along for Game of Thrones fans.

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

  • Sarah Skilton 7:30 pm on 2017/07/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , let's make some magic, new releases, 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.

  • Sarah Skilton 1:00 pm on 2017/06/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    June’s Best New Fiction 

    Who needs travel plans when this month’s books take us to Martha’s Vineyard, Philly, 19th-century Britain, India, Scotland, France, Italy, and China? Grab your suntan lotion, wide-brim hat, your comfiest beachwear, a smoothie (or margarita), and a new book, because summer is finally here. Whether you prefer 1950s Hollywood, love modern-day romance and dramas, or you’re an Outlander-aholic, we’ve got you covered.

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy
    Roy’s debut novel, The God of Small Things, came out twenty years ago, and this follow-up promises to be worth the wait with its complex, lovingly rendered characters, whose disparate, occasionally tragic lives intertwine in ways both unexpected and inevitable. Set in Old Delhi and Kashmir, where a displaced outsider sleeps on her ancestors’ graves at night, it’s the story of an abandoned baby whose arrival alters the lives of those who wish to claim her. Packed with soulful love stories between parents and children, and lovers old and new.

    The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand
    Hop on the fast ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and meet the 39-year-old Frost sisters: fun-loving, hard-drinking Harper, who’s allergic to responsibility, and her estranged, identical twin sister, Tabitha, a cultured and elegant woman and single mother who lives a few miles away in Nantucket, where she struggles to keep their mother’s boutique afloat. The twins haven’t gotten along in years, but when scandal engulfs them both, they decide to swap islands—and lives—in a desperate attempt to help right each other’s wrongs. Scrumptious and intelligent beach fare.

    The Duchess, by Danielle Steel
    19th-century Britain: You’re a duchess whose brothers have turned against you upon your beloved father’s death—so what do you do to survive? If you’re Angelique Latham, a young woman of impeccable breeding, smarts, and beauty, you put the cruel past behind you and find a way to escape to Paris, where you open a high-end brothel. The establishment, Le Boudoir, accepts only the kindest, wealthiest, and most powerful clients. Despite her success in this arena, Angelique yearns to return to her former standing, but fears she is destined to live out her life as a product of its era.

    Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction, by Diana Gabaldon
    A must-own collection for lovers of Gabaldon’s mega-popular, riveting Outlander books (and the TV series), it comes with two never-before-published novellas. The rest of the collection consists of short stories that illuminate the lives of fan favorite characters (swoon, Jamie Fraser), some of which have previously appeared online or in other anthologies. Here, they’re all together for the first time. The tale I’m most excited to read concerns criminal dealings in rare books.

    Little French Bistro, by Nina George
    When her miserable marriage detonates after forty-plus years, Marianne’s planned exit—she jumps into the Seine while on a trip to Paris—eventually leads to her living in the coastal town of Port de Kerdruc. Though lacking knowledge of the French language, she’s welcomed by the locals, particularly the chef at the title bistro. A charming feast for the senses, translated from its original German, this ultimately hopeful story about the unexpected, well-earned delights of a suicidal woman’s third act will build upon fans’ appreciation of George’s previous bestseller, The Little Paris Bookshop.

    Kiss Carlo, by Adriana Trigiani
    A life-changing telegram is at the heart of this historical novel, set at the dawn of television’s golden age in post–WWII Philly, where the Palazzini family operate a cab company and Western Union telegraph office. Adopted son Nicky realizes he can no longer pretend his current life is enough for him. The truth is he loves the stage—particularly Shakespeare’s comedies, which perfectly mesh with global bestseller Trigiani’s brand of romance and humor—and longs to pursue his passions there. But the whole family is bursting with long-kept secrets, and uncovering them will be a treat for readers.

    The Chalk Artist, by Allegra Goodman
    Goodman’s eighth novel, a love story and empathetic character study, explores the addictive allure of virtual reality games and the age-old battle between art and commerce. Young, idealistic English teacher Nina, whose father runs a wildly successful gaming tech company, falls for Collin, an art-school dropout, talented but depressed, whose chalk art process necessarily includes erasing his own work. Their connection inspires them to pursue greater heights, even while two of Nina’s difficult-to-reach students struggle with changing relationships with themselves and each other.

    Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan
    Champagne clinks, everyone! Kwan is back with his third novel about hilariously, insanely rich Asians bickering over fashion, marriage, social standing, and (of course) money. Despite its distinctly modern setting and locales, there’s a classic “novel of manners” vibe to these books, which is why they’re catnip for fans of Jane Austen, William Thackeray, and Edith Wharton. In Problems, we find Nick Young and his controversial (read: not wealthy) wife Rachel returning to Singapore after Nick’s helluva dame grandmother, Su Yi, with whom Nick is estranged, falls ill. The main issue that has the elite families of China in a scheming, soapy lather: Who will inherit Tyersall Park, Su Yi’s absurdly decadent compound?

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    The Golden Age of Hollywood had more than its share of scandalous secrets, and an iconic 1950s starlet, Evelyn Hugo, is about to reveal them all—or at least seven of them, corresponding to her infamous seven husbands. Now in her late 70s, Evelyn has chosen a seemingly random journalist who has fallen on hard times to confess to, and her reasons for this are just one of the juicy mysteries readers will be eager to discover. Within its tabloid-yummy trappings, this book has depth, heart, and emotion to spare.

    The Sunshine Sisters, by Jane Green
    When their difficult (to put it mildly) mother, a former B-movie star, calls them home to help her end her life, the Sunshine sisters, Meredith, Nell, and Lizzy, are reluctant to make the trip. Selfish Ronni Sunshine was not an easy or loving parent, and the grown daughters have each been damaged in different ways by her past behavior. As soon as they could, they scattered across the world to escape. However, now that they’re reunited, perhaps they can see their way forward with a renewed connection and sense of purpose.

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

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