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  • Miwa Messer 1:30 pm on 2018/06/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , oprah winfrey,   

    Oprah’s New Book Club Pick Is an Unforgettable Story of Faith, Hope, and Justice 

    The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin, is the unforgettable and inspiring true story of a wrongly convicted man who survived solitary confinement on death row for more than three decades—and it’s the latest pick of the Oprah Book Club.

    Thirty-three years ago, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested.

    The charges: Capital murder. Two counts.

    Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted and sentenced to death via electrocution.

    But he was innocent.

    Anthony Ray Hinton’s nightmare begins with a horrible case of mistaken identity; he knew he was innocent, and believed it was only a matter of time until the mistake was uncovered and he was released. But the judicial system didn’t believe him. Living under a system with a separate standard for poor black men, the truth was not enough to set twenty-nine-year-old Hinton free.

    The Sun Does Shine is, ultimately, a triumphant example of a man reclaiming own life, as best he can under horrific circumstances. Hinton’s first three years on death row were marked by silence, anger, and despair. But then he made a decision, to not only accept his fate on death row, but to live on death row. And that’s when this becomes a remarkable story of acceptance, fortitude, compassion—and humor.

    This is also the story of our country’s deeply flawed judicial system—separate and not equal—and the realities of systemic racial bias and its deep impact on all of us. Hinton is one of “the longest-serving condemned prisoners facing execution in America to be proved innocent and released,” according to Bryan Stevenson, the attorney who worked to secure Hinton’s freedom. (Stevenson is also the bestselling author of Just Mercy, and wrote the foreword to The Sun Does Shine.)

    The Sun Does Shine is a thoughtful and deeply emotional book that’s sure to spark conversation, which makes it a terrific book club pick. As you’ll see in the exclusive clip below, featuring the author and Oprah Winfrey, Anthony Ray Hinton’s story is a powerful one, full of faith, hope, and love.

    The Sun Does Shine is on sale now.

    The post Oprah’s New Book Club Pick Is an Unforgettable Story of Faith, Hope, and Justice appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2017/12/29 Permalink
    Tags: david zinczenko, fresh starts, , , keenan mayo, meditation for fidgety skeptics, melissa hartwig, oprah winfrey, , the super metabolism diet, the whole30 fast & easy cookbook, the wisdom of sundays: life-changing insights from super soul conversations   

    7 Books for a New Year, New You 

    January is almost here! Now’s the time to get your resolutions on the fast-track with 7 books that will help you achieve a happier, healthier 2018.

    The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30, by Melissa Hartwig
    Whole30 is all the buzz lately when it comes to fitness and healthy eating, refining a diet style based around eating unprocessed foods with minimal carbs, and eliminating sugars and alcohol. Which will be a lot easier now that the holidays are over, am I right? This new cookbook focuses on convenience, with recipes from Whole30 co-creator Hartwig designed to get you feeling right with minimal time in the kitchen.

    Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book, by Dan Harris, Carlye Adler, and Jeffrey Warren
    Science has begun to back up the promise of meditation, with benefits that many of us could be enjoying. There are a lot of barriers, though, from misconceptions to confusion about where to begin. ABC News anchor Harris teams up here with meditation teacher Warren to take a cross-country journey exploring some of the myths that keep people from trying it out and interviewing people who’d like to try about why they haven’t. From it all emerges some simple, practical instructions about how to get started and why.

    The Whole30 Day by Day: Your Daily Guide to Whole30 Success, by Melissa Hartwig
    If you’ve started on the Whole30 program of eating minimally processed foods and cutting out sugars, or if you’re just interested, this book is designed to make it easy. It’s intended by program co-creator Hartwig as a daily guidebook to healthy eating; sort of like a portable eating coach. It’s got day-to-day reminders, tips, guidelines, as well as inspiration and ideas for tracking your progress and staying motivated.

    Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle, by Bobby Flay, Stephanie Banyas, and Sally Jackson
    Bobby Flay’s method here is less about eliminating anything from your diet, and more about making the most of each meal. The idea being that you can make satisfying, flavorful recipes using lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables by knowing how to use your spice drawer. The balanced recipes utilize low-calorie flavor enhancers like rubs and marinades to jazz up meals, and Flay also offers up some satisfying breakfast, snacks, and smoothies as well as some fitness tips to keep your energy up and the weight off.

    The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World’s Happiest People, by Meik Wiking
    Inspired by the happiness habits of his homeland of Denmark, Wiking set out to discover not just what makes Danes so generally happy, but what secrets could be found in other parts of the world. Focusing on six factors—togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness—Wiking looks at what makes people content and satisfied all over the world, whether it’s by savoring a meal or dancing a tango. It’s full of tips based on Wiking’s journeys and research into what makes people happy, and how we can apply those lessons to our own lives.

    The Super Metabolism Diet: The Two-Week Plan to Ignite Your Fat-Burning Furnace and Stay Lean for Life!, by David Zinczenko and Keenan Mayo
    Eat This, Not That! author Zinczenko joins Keenan Mayo to provide a complete guide to getting your metabolism going in 2018. Many of us are feeling pretty sluggish this time of year, so it’s a good time to get things cranking. The book includes recipes and menus for keeping that engine going in-between meals, along with shopping guides and workouts. The focus is on balanced proteins and carbs as a way to feel full and full of energy.

    The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, by Oprah Winfrey
    Going beyond just our bodies in 2018, Oprah’s new book collects some of the most extraordinary moments of insight and inspiration from her Super Soul Sunday television show. Authors, teachers, writers, and celebrities—people like Shonda Rhimes, Thich Nhat Hanh, Wayne Dyer, and Arianna Huffington share what they’ve learned about finding purpose and making connections in a busy world. The book includes several photographs, as well as an intimate essay from Oprah herself.

    What’s on your new you to-do list?

    The post 7 Books for a New Year, New You appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:30 pm on 2017/06/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , oprah winfrey,   

    5 Things You Need to Know about the New Oprah’s Book Club Selection, Behold the Dreamers 

    When you’re living in an age of Peak Entertainment, there’s one big problem: choice. Having too many fantastic books to read is a much better problem than having too few, but it also means deciding what to spend your time on can be difficult. Thank goodness, then, for Oprah’s Book Club, which has once again descended from the literary heavens to help us choose.

    The latest pick for Oprah Book Club, announced today, is perhaps the perfect novel for this moment in time. Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers is a tale of the immigrant experience in America, a novel concerning the 1%, income inequality, and the housing bubble and Wall Street’s culpability in it, and it showcases a broad range of human relationships. It has been hailed as perhaps the first great 21st-century American novel, and in our current political environment it might be the most necessary piece of fiction you’ll read this year.

    If (as if) Oprah’s imprimatur isn’t enough to convince you, here are five things you need to know about Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers.

    1. Mbue writes from experience
    Behold the Dreamers is about Jende Jonga and his wife, Neni, who move from Cameroon to the United States in 2007, seeking what all immigrants once sought in this country: a better life. Jende parlays intelligence, enthusiasm, and liberal doses of self-hype into a job as a chauffeur to Clark Edwards, a high-level executive at Lehman Brothers. The Edwards also find work for Neni, and it seems like the Jonga family has a firm foothold in the American Dream. And then, of course, the economic crash of 2008 hits, and in short order the American economy is in chaos—and Lehman Brothers ceases to exist, sending Jende and Neni into a panic over their jobs.

    Mbue, herself a native of Cameroon, came to the U.S. in 1998 in order to attend school. Taking night courses, she earned a Masters degree in education and psychology at Columbia University while working a series of jobs: receptionist at a dental office, bank teller, dishwasher, lingerie saleswoman at Nordstrom, and door-to-door vacuum-cleaner saleswoman. Once out of school she found a job doing market research, and when the economy went bad in 2009 she decided not to give up that job to pursue a Ph.D.—only to be laid off.

    2. The book has been big news since before its publication
    Behold the Dreamers first made headlines back in 2014, when it sold to Random House for seven figures—and then sold film rights to TriStar. Back then it was titled The Longings of Jende Jonga, and it was already one of those novels people in publishing circles whispered about.

    Of course, plenty of books that get talked about fail to live up to the hype—but Behold the Dreamers has. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award, was named a New York Times Notable Book, was longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award, and made it onto many “best of” lists.

    3. It’s more complicated than the summary makes it sound
    While the book focuses on two recent immigrants and their pursuit of the American Dream, this is a quintessentially American story. If you’re imagining a two-dimensional 1% vs. 99% story in which the Clarks—rich, white, complicit—are villains and the Jongas are unalloyed heroes, prepare yourself for a much subtler, more nuanced book. Mbue manages to make her characters human. The Clarks, often painfully unaware of their privilege and their blind spots, are depicted as decent people battling their own demons, trying in their way to do good. The Jongas are hardworking, good-hearted people—who nevertheless struggle with their own frailties and shortcomings. Mbue isn’t offering a simplistic story, but rather a deep investigation into what it means to be American today.

    4. It offers a necessary perspective on class
    Many celebrated novels that deal in class in America are told from the perspective of relatively affluent people, but Mbue tells hers from the point of view of the Jongas, who live in a small, dark, roach-infested Harlem apartment. For the Jongas the economic downturn isn’t a distantly threatening event, but a clear and present danger that may destroy everything they’ve worked for, underscoring how little security and safety immigrants have in this country—a situation that is steadily getting worse.

    5. Jende Jonga is a great and complicated character
    One of Mbue’s sly bits of genius in this book is that Jende, our protagonist, is not a flatly sympathetic hero: he and his wife both engage in dangerous self-deception, as well as plain old deception. On the one hand their regard for America and the opportunity it represents is almost religious, and on the other Jende is a bit of a Don Quixote, puffing up his achievements—he tells people he works “on Wall Street” and struts about with a briefcase, playing the big shot. He’s wonderfully rich and fully developed, warts and all.

    The post 5 Things You Need to Know about the New Oprah’s Book Club Selection, Behold the Dreamers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 12:45 pm on 2016/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: ayana mathis, , , , , , , ekhart tolle, , , , oprah winfrey, , oprah's picks,   

    10 Favorites from Oprah’s Book Club 

    Deciding which book is the “next big thing” is a tough job. Good thing we have Oprah to do the job for us! Her thought-provoking book club selections are some of my favorites of all time—and in honor of her latest pick, announced today, we’re taking a look back at some of her best previous selections.

    Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
    Cheryl Strayed’s world was in shambles: her marriage was crumbling, she was struggling with drugs and infidelity, and she still hadn’t moved on from her mother’s death four years earlier.  So she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail—over one thousand miles of rough terrain—alone. This memoir-turned-movie (starring Reese Witherspoon) is gut-wrenchingly sad but ultimately uplifting, as Cheryl finds the physical and emotional strength to push forward, both on the trail and in her life.

    The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
    “Handful” Grimke is a slave in Charleston during the 1800s. When she’s ten years old, she’s given to Sarah, the daughter of her owner, as a gift. The two girls are thrust together during a tumultuous period in history, both suffering great losses—and sharing in one another’s joys—against the backdrop of the abolition and women’s rights movements. Based on the true story of abolitionist Sarah Grimke, this novel tracks the evolution of a young girl brought up in privilege, and how she eventually fought for the liberation of people everywhere, especially slaves and women.

    The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis
    Hattie’s story is one of devastation and grit. She escapes Georgia in 1923 in pursuit of the American dream in Philadelphia. Instead, she marries a man she will grow to hate—especially after the deaths of her firstborn children, which could have been prevented. As a result, Hattie hardens herself toward her following nine children, hoping to better prepare them for the troubles that surely await them in a world that was not kind to their mother. Each child’s perspective is see in chapters carrying them all the way through 1980, resulting in a beautiful portrait of a family let down by a world they long to thrive in.

    Ruby, by Cynthia Bond
    Ephram Jennings has always loved Ruby Bell, ever since she was a little kid in their small Texas town of Liberty. But Ruby ran away as soon as she could, escaping a violent household and seeking refuge in 1950s New York City. Years pass, and when Ruby is finally lured home again by family tragedy, she and Ephram are reunited. But Ruby’s mental state begins to unravel once she’s home, and Ephram is forced to make a choice: rescue her from her own pain, or remain loyal to his hometown.

    Nightby Elie Wiesel
    A memoir of the author’s experience surviving the Holocaust, Night is a simultaneously terrifying and uplifting story of what happens when the entire world is ripped out from beneath you, and the strength it takes to begin again after tragedy strikes. Elie was an almost 11-year-old in Romania when World War II began, and the encroaching Nazi threat began to destroy Jewish families’ way of life. Eventually, Elie and his family were taken to Auschwitz, where he lost his father, endured unspeakable atrocities, and questioned whether God existed. A book that forces the reader to confront the deepest evils of humanity, Night is haunting, beautiful, and essential reading.

    A New Earth, by Ekhart Tolle
    Moving on from fiction to self-help, this next Oprah book club pick is all about you unleashing your best self on the world. In Tolle’s view, the ego is humanity’s enemy, and if we release our conscious attachments to our egos, we will live more fulfilling lives—and also end most of the conflict and suffering in the world. If you’re looking for a new start, this is the book for you.

    The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
    A man and his young son wander a postapocalyptic American wasteland, searching for survival on the coast—what awaits them there, they don’t know, but it can’t be worse than what they’ve left behind. The two are alone after the suicide of the boy’s mother, unable to live in the nuclear winter. Written in beautiful, minimalistic prose, The Road is mysterious, brutal, and ultimately hopeful, a treatise on the true love between a father and his son when the entire world around them has broken down.

    The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
    Against the backdrop of the Congo’s rebellion against Belgian Rule, Nathan Price brings his wife and four daughters to help him in his evangelist cause. The story is narrated by Orleanna, his wife, and later, their four daughters, as they recount their father’s involvement in the western colonization of Africa through a unique and sometimes prejudiced lens. But their time in Africa changes them irrevocably, and their journeys take them on different paths towards redemption.

    Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    The book opens with Cal sharing a defining fact of his life: he has not always been Cal, and sometimes goes by Calliope. Cal was born intersex, possessing both female and male genitalia. The journey Cal takes towards self-acceptance and understanding begins even before birth: it kicks off with the history of Cal’s entire family, beginning in 1922 with their grandparents’ journey to America, and the reveal of another secret: Cal’s grandparents were siblings, and married one another for protection in their strange new world. Family and personal history mingle with some of the most important moments in American history in this emotional story of a person reconciling their past and present.

    Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
    And finally, drumroll, please—Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, is the newest Oprah’s Book Club pick! Continuing the pattern of her previous picks, this novel deals with the intersection of race and gender against the cruelty and desperation of the Antebellum South. Cora, a slave, learns about the underground railroad from Caesar, a new arrival on the plantation where she labors. Together they decide to escape, encountering not just terror, pain, and the dogged pursuit of a slave hunter, but slipstream twists to the historical narrative, including the transformation of the metaphorical railroad into a literal one.

  • Jeff Somers 12:43 pm on 2016/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , oprah winfrey,   

    Oprah Names a New Book Club Selection 

    Twenty years ago, Oprah Winfrey launched a new feature of her legendary television show: Oprah’s Book Club, starting with inaugural pick The Deep End of the Ocean. Over the next 15 years, Oprah’s Book Club had an astonishing effect on book publishing and the careers of the writers she chose. The club encouraged Oprah’s viewers to read more, read more difficult books, and then come together to discuss them. When The Oprah Winfrey Show ended in 2011, so did the book club—but it was revived on Oprah’s OWN network a year later. This new version of the club, known as Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, has been much more exclusive, with only four books selected over the course of five years. And today we have a fifth: the Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection is The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.

    The Author
    Whitehead is a lifelong New Yorker, born in Manhattan, a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, and the bestselling author of six novels and many works of nonfiction. Whitehead is a master of blending genres and styles, introducing gritty noir combined with fanciful sci-fi elements, tackling issues of race, culture, and societal rot with an almost Pynchonesque energy and unpredictability. His work is equal parts intellectual challenge and pure entertainment, offering a lively humor that makes even his most challenging and original concepts a lot of fun to read about. Anyone who has been looking for a new favorite author should follow Oprah’s direction and read his new novel.

    The Underground Railroad
    Whitehead brings his sense of the absurd in the service of truth to his newest novel. In The Underground Railroad, Cora is a slave on a Georgia plantation, living a miserable, hellish existence. In Whitehead’s version of history, however, the Underground Railroad Cora hears about and escapes to isn’t a metaphor for a series of safe havens and secret pathways to the North—it’s a literal railroad underground, a belching steam engine that pulls a creaking boxcar along steel tracks. Cora and a fellow slave, the educated Caesar, climb aboard and begin a horrifying adventure that’s easy to compare to classics of the imagination such as Gulliver’s Travels, but with a modern sense of dark humor and horror that makes their adventures much more than the increasingly surreal sum of their parts.

    The Horrors of Slavery
    Whitehead is one of the few modern authors who has the tools to tell a story like this—simultaneously a harrowing story of slavery and one woman’s fierce determination to escape it, and an exercise of imagination that sees Cora discovering an antebellum southern city that can’t possibly have existed, complete with soaring skyscrapers and a tolerant attitude towards blacks that makes it seem like an ideal place to escape to (until an even more sinister reality is discovered). Cora’s travels on the underground railroad lead her into increasing dangers, but also keep her one step ahead of the slave-catcher Ridgeway, who justifies his relentless pursuit with an increasingly elaborate series of rationales for his career and livelihood. Driven ever onward, Cora encounters people and places that slowly tighten the sense of tension and terror—the book turns into one of the most gripping and terrifying stories of slavery and its evils you will ever read, not in spite of the more fanciful aspects of the story but because of them.

    A Modern Classic
    The Underground Railroad is one of those books in which a masterful writer comes into complete control of his talents at precisely the right moment to produce a book perfectly suited to its time. As we continue as a nation and a people to struggle with the ugly legacy of slavery, the ongoing battle with systemic racism, and a surge of violence in our society that seems never-ending and unstoppable, Whitehead’s new novel examines the roots of all of these problems in a way that feels electrifyingly new and smart. Once again Oprah has proved she has her finger on the literary pulse; she has chosen a book that everyone should read.

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