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  • BN Editors 6:00 pm on 2017/08/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , summer reading   

    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.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 6:27 pm on 2017/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: , how to bang a billionaire, mature content, off base, p.s. your cat is dead, real love: the art of mindful connection, , , summer reading, suzanne brockman, , the ship beyond time, under rose-tainted skies   

    The Joy of Diversity! A Summer Reading List from Some Kind of Hero Author Suzanne Brockman 

    Characters in modern romance novels come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, creeds, abilities, and orientations! Reading stories about people who don’t look, act, and think exactly as we do allows us to step into a different (or perhaps not so different) life, and experience both challenges and joys we otherwise might’ve missed—widening our world-view even while keeping us wildly entertained.

    Here’s my summer reading list of diverse—and wildly entertaining—books:

    How to Bang a Billionaire, by Alexis Hall.
    Confession: I find nothing appealing about billionaires these days, so it’s nice to see that the first person hero of this romance—a funny, charming, adorable undergrad at Oxford—is well outside of his comfort zone, too, as he collides with his billionaire love interest. Still, I’ll gladly go anywhere Hall leads me. If he writes it, I’ll love it—he’s just that good. (Also…? Gotta love that title!)

    Trust Me, by Farrah Rochon
    The latest romance in Rochon’s popular, Louisiana-set Holmes Brothers series has a kickass heroine who’s running for mayor and a freelance journalist (and Holmes Brother) hero! I’m already in love!

    Mature Content, by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
    I’m a huge fan of Erickson and Hassell’s funny, edgy Cyberlove series of romances, and this is long-awaited book number four. All set in the same fast-paced (mostly on-line) world, these searingly h-h-hot and heart-wrenchingly emotional books can be devoured in any order.

    The Ship Beyond Time, by Heidi Heilig
    The sequel to The Girl From Everywhere, which I loved madly, merges time travel and fantasy with history and adventure. I’m so glad I’ll have a chance to spend more time with Nix, the book’s brilliant YA heroine who, like Heilig herself, hails from Hawaii.

    Under Rose-Tainted Skies, by Louise Gornall
    Yet another intriguing YA romance—with a heroine who has agoraphobia and OCD, yet manages to connect with the super-cute boy-next-door. According to a review from Library Journal, Gornall “(draws) from her own experiences” to tell this story. But it’s this line from the book’s blurb that made me click the buy-now link: “Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in?I can’t wait to take this complicated journey with her!

    An Extraordinary Union, by Alyssa Cole
    I recently read and loved Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union, set during the Civil War, and immediately went to see when her next book (a sequel, called A Hope Divided) comes out. It’s not until November, but that’s okay, because Cole’s backlist of historical romances is deliciously diverse. I’m eager to read both Be Not Afraid for its Revolutionary War time-period (and that awesome cover), and Let it Shine, set during the Civil Rights era in 1961.

    P.S. Your Cat is Dead, by James Kirkwood
    Originally published in the early 1970s, I was sixteen when I first plucked this book from the paperback rack at the grocery checkout—on the day that my best friend’s cat was killed by a car in front of her house! That fateful encounter was the start of my lifelong love of Jim Kirkwood—who went on to co-write the book for A Chorus Line before AIDS stole his genius from the world. I can’t wait to do a reread of this life-changing story, and hope that all of Kirkwood’s novels comes back into print soon.

    Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, by Sharon Salzberg
    Yes, it’s non-fiction, but Salzberg’s classic Loving Kindness is a go-to book for me in these troubling, turbulent times. I’m looking forward to this new release from a mindfulness expert whose easy-to-read voice is that of a loving, compassionate friend.

    Off Base, by Annabeth Albert
    I’ve heard great things about Albert’s military romances, and decided to start with this romance featuring a closeted (even to himself) Navy SEAL, and his journey towards love, light, and truth. That’s the kind of HEA I simply can’t resist.

    The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    Lyrically poetic, heart-breaking, sharply funny, and breathtakingly tragic, this YA novel about a girl who witnesses the violent death of a friend in a police shooting is the must read of 2017. (And probably 2018, 2019, and 2020, too.) I read it earlier this year when it first dropped into my e-reader, but I’ll definitely be reading it again this summer.

    Suzanne Brockmann’s latest book, Some Kind of Hero, is available on B&N bookshelves now! 

    The post The Joy of Diversity! A Summer Reading List from Some Kind of Hero Author Suzanne Brockman appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 7:00 pm on 2017/07/11 Permalink
    Tags: , summer reading   

    Swell Author Jill Eisenstadt Shares Her Picks for Essential Summer Reading 

    Jill Eisenstadt’s debut, From Rockaway, was bound by the nihilistic routines of a trio of lifeguards who spend their summers surveying New York’s Rockaway Beach. Though still young, their lives already seem decided, split between watching the waves and working blue-collar jobs in the cold months. Her latest, Swell, returns to the shore thirty years later, in the story of a family with some serious baggage, moving into a Rockaway house that’s haunted in more ways than one. An unwanted houseguest and the return of a character who first appeared in From Rockaway round out this darkly funny, sympathetic tale.

     

    Both books make for perfect beach reading, set seaside but far from candy-colored. Here’s Eisenstadt to share a list of more ideal waterfront reads, for your summer enjoyment.

    What makes a good beach read? For me, it’s mainly about practicality. Leave the heavy tome at home. Avoid the minuscule print (though that’s advice for everywhere). Don’t bother with anything you’d care about getting stained with sunscreen or sandwich drippings. Wind, wet, sand, salt – such conditions require a book you can wrangle. Break the spine, throw the sopping towel over accidentally, or fold down pages when your bookmark vanishes. Other than that, it’s a matter of your current mood. So have a good assortment handy – old and new, serious, light, something in between. Content-wise, I tend to go for sweltering settings or themes, but that’s personal. There can be no bad beach books because, thank Poseidon, books don’t need charging or batteries.

    Some for Summer 2017:

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, with an Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld, chaser
    Like beaches, Jane Austen is a place to escape from the news. Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern take is pure fun, an inside joke for the outdoors.

    Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami
    Short stories work well on the beach, particularly ones that tend toward the spare and philosophical. Between stories you can take a swim or stare out to sea wondering why Murakami used a Hemingway title, whether the men in the book could be weirder, and ultimately what it all means.

    The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery
    If you haven’t heard, octopuses are in. And no, it’s not octopi, as you’ll learn if you read this. Includes many other fascinating insights into these intelligent, emotional beings.

    The Member of the Wedding, by Carson McCullers
    “It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid.”

    Endless Love, by Scott Spencer
    I haven’t looked at this novel in decades but nor have I forgotten it. And I just recounted to verify….yes, the sex scene is 36 pages long! Definitely high time to revisit.

    The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
    Psychological thrillers do not get better than this. Exciting and intelligent and set in fabulous sometimes beachy locales (the Ligurian coast). Never will you find yourself more fervently rooting for a sociopath.

    Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed
    Lie on the sand on a big soft towel and listen to your daughters (or friends) take turns reading advice aloud. This book, culled from columns originally run in the Rumpus, written by the once anonymous and shockingly wise Cheryl Strayed, is a guaranteed conversation starter. When and if you gather the will to finally take a walk, there’s also a handy spinoff podcast with the wonderful Steve Almond.

    Sea Grapes, by Derek Walcott
    Poetry on the beach is essential. Because, as Walcott himself writes in the title poem of his most famous collection, “The classics can console. But not enough.”

    The post Swell Author Jill Eisenstadt Shares Her Picks for Essential Summer Reading appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2017/06/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , summer reading   

    The Summer’s Best History Books in Paperback 

    The most shocking thing about summer is that it reminds you it’s been a year since last summer. It also means all the great history books you meant to read a few months ago are now in paperback, the better to read at the beach. These eight history books were well worth it in hardcover, making them the ultimate bargains in paperback.

    Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill, by Candice Millard
    In modern times, Winston Churchill is often reduced to the jowly, growling, portly man who made epic speeches during the Blitz. Churchill was one of the most important people in the world long before World War II, however—a man who rose to the epitome of power in England, only to stumble and fall before finding greatness again. Millard makes an argument that Churchill was more than just a brilliant politician, examining a specific moment in his youth—his capture and escape from a POW camp during the Boer War—finding within him a James Bond type, a man of daring action and peerless talent. This fascinating character study will drive you to reconsider your opinion of the man who remains quite possibly the most famous prime minister of all time.

    Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick
    Everyone should read Philbrick’s incredible examination of the Revolutionary War, focused on the two men who dominated its early years: George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Philbrick will surprise even a well-read historian with revelations about the personalities and politics of the early Revolution; his in-depth examination of Washington and Arnold offers up plenty of surprises—the former wasn’t the perfect leader he’s sometimes imagined to be, and the latter wasn’t entirely unjustified in the anger and sense of betrayal that led his name to become shorthand for treachery.

    Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin
    Hill, a Secret Service agent who served from 1958 to 1975 under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford—and immortalized in the Zapruder Film when he leaped onto the President’s car after Kennedy was shot—offers incredible insights into the top tier of American power. Dealing with his own undiagnosed psychological problems after the trauma of the Kennedy assassination, Hill battled through to serve his country with distinction. His eye for detail makes this book fascinating from beginning to end, as even private moments take on the weight of history. While presidents might be judged by their actions, orders, and written accounts, eye-witness testimonies like Hill’s are every bit as essential.

    Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, by Clinton Romesha
    Medal of Honor awardee Romesha recounts the incredibly story of the Battle of Keating. The Command Outpost was located in one of the most remote and dangerous areas of Afghanistan, and on October 3rd, 2009 the Taliban attacked it, sparking one of the bloodiest battles in the war’s history, leaving eight American soldiers and more than 150 Taliban dead. Romesha combines his own firsthand experience of the conflict with impressive journalism, bringing hours of interviews and research to the story in order to give you a real sense of the desperation and pressure these soldiers were under. Red Platoon is a visceral experience anyone debating the moral hazard of war must read.

    Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, by Larry Tye
    Nearly fifty years after his assassination, Bobby Kennedy has become more saint than human being, with all his problematic failings sanded down in veneration. Tye has a deep respect for Kennedy’s accomplishments, but doesn’t shy away from depicting the very real human being who evolved and changed over the years. Bobby Kennedy in his youth was a very different man from the Bobby Kennedy who many now see as the last gasp of 1960s optimism, and Tye presents a clear-eyed view of the man over time.

    The Romanovs: 1613-1918, by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    Sometimes history requires a broad vision and huge cast of characters, and sometimes, you need to drill down to a focal point. Montefiore does the latter in spectacular fashion, tracing a single family’s origins, exploits, and violent ending. Of course, the family happens to be the Romanovs, who collectively ruled the Russian Empire for three centuries, producing some of the most colorful and powerful figures in history while carving out a huge but delicate empire. Few families were as cohesive and as interesting, and few had as much influence over history, as the doomed Romanovs, whose decisions, failures, and obsessions loom over the modern age.

    The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb, by Neal Bascomb
    While the Allies knew the Nazis were working on their own atomic bomb during World War II, they didn’t know how close it was to completion. If this sounds like the premise of a taut spy thriller, you’d be right—but it’s also real history. The German bomb effort relied on heavy water, which was produced in German-occupied Norway, and Bascomb spins the tale of multiple efforts to destroy the facility with a fiction writer’s skill for tension and surprise. That the heroic efforts of overmatched resistance soldiers—on skis—are all true makes this one of the most remarkable books you’ll ever read about World War II.

    Commander in Chief: FDR’s Battle with Churchill, 1943, by Nigel Hamilton
    In the story of World War II, Winston Churchill is usually painted as the stalwart strategist and brilliant leader, and Roosevelt is given less attention. Hamilton seeks to rectify this with the second installment of his study of Roosevelt’s life and career, focusing on the pivotal year of 1943, when Roosevelt brought forth his vision of a European invasion, the total destruction of Germany, and the establishment of the United Nations—a plan Churchill superficially endorsed, but attempted to block and undermine at every turn, because he didn’t think it could succeed. The Roosevelt that emerges from these pages is a leader for the ages, and a revelation for those who haven’t yet studied one of the greatest presidents ever.

    The post The Summer’s Best History Books in Paperback appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 5:30 pm on 2017/06/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , summer reading   

    A Summer Break Reading Guide for All Ages 

    Summer means different things to different people, depending on their age, their life situation, their life goals—and their reading habits. Some folks read their one book a year over the summer, lazing on a beach. Others sail into June with a reading list arranged alphabetically and by length. Some just like to wander into bookstores all summer long and pick up random books. If you err on the side of planning, here are some recommendations for how to approach your summer reading list, designed for all kinds of people doing all kinds of things.

    For teens fresh out of school
    Are you ready for the summer? Sure, there’s going to be plenty to do as you try to cram a full year of living into a three-month period that must also include Little League, dance class, and camping with the scouts, but there’s always time to read. If you’re into fantasy novels with a kick, check out Royal Bastards, by Andrew Shvarts, which is like Game of Thrones if the kids did more butt-kicking and less suffering. Looking for a great romance to reignite your faith in humanity? Try Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen, in which Louna’s summer job working for her wedding planner mother leads to a second-chance romance. And if you want a period-piece mystery (and who doesn’t?), check out The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth Wein.

    For older teens heading into college
    This is it, the last summer before the rest of your life, so make the most of it. First, indulge a little and have some fun with Stephen King’s latest, Gwendy’s Button Box. Next, bone up on your life skills with How to Be a Bawse, by Lilly Singh—because you’re gonna need those skills. Finally, burnish your literary side with A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, a perfect novel to get your brain back into a more thoughtful mode.

    For graduates seeking their first job
    It’s time to put away childish things and get a job—or at least designate a single room (or drawer) in your new place where the childish things live. In the meantime, entering into adult life is daunting, so kick it off with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson, one of the best guides to life you’ll ever read. Then, get practical with Finance for Normal People, by Meir Statman, and get a side hustle going with the help of The Big Life, by Ann Shoket—because you’re gonna need one.

    For parents about to have a houseful of kids on summer break
    You’ve gotten used to being able to sip a cup of tea and listen to a podcast while you plan your day, but that’s all over. Soon you’ll be living in a bouncy house that doesn’t bounce. You’re gonna need an escape, so stock up on smart but thrilling new books like The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware, or a sci-fi adventure like The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., by Neal Stephenson, or a smart retelling of a classic like The One that Got Away, Melissa Pimentel’s take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

    For young professionals still dreaming of long-lost summer vacation
    Sometimes you’re like Jack from Lost and you just want to go back to the island—in this case, the days when you were still a kid and not a world-weary adult. Relive the good old days this summer while commuting to your first real job, with a delightful confection like hilarious diary-style story Confessions of a High School Disaster, by Emma Chastain, coming-of-age classic Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, or, as a reminder of how awful everything was in high school, Carrie, by Stephen King.

    For empty nesters
    Your footfalls echo through the place, and suddenly you have nothing but time. This is the summer you train yourself to read again, with all the books you’ve missed over the last, oh, twenty years, like big art mystery The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, perennial must-read My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante, and alt-universe slavery era epic Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.

    For the newly retired
    You did your bit, you saved your pennies, you raised your kids: you now have the time to read whatever you want—and time means you can start a book series with a few dozen books, because why not? Start off with a classic historical adventure like the Aubrey-Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian, or an epic fantasy like The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan, or J.D. Robb’s In Death series, kicking off with Naked in Death.

    For folks who don’t read much
    You’ve got one book in you every year, so it has to count. This summer, there are a huge list of wonderful reads to choose from, including what might be this year’s Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena, or The Duchess, the latest from go-to fave Danielle Steel, or what’s sure to be the new hot title in thrillers this year, Rag Doll, by Daniel Cole.

    For folks who read everything
    You’ve spent the first six months of the year reading at a pace that would kill most people, so you don’t really need a summer list, do you? Try to spice it up anyway with indie books you might miss otherwise, like Stephen Florida, by Gabe Habash, the story of a high school athlete unaware of the enormity of his own depression, or Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang, which captures what HBO’s Girls would be if it accurately represented the demographics of New York City, or a fun nostalgia-soaked horror novel like Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero.

    A can’t-miss, fail-safe choice for everybody
    You have a bunch of books, or you only read one book, or you don’t like to be ruled by lists—fair enough. Take a bit of a stretch and read Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. It’s a little weird, a little literary, and, for some, a little hard to get into over the first few pages. Then something clicks and you adore it, and it makes your summer.

    The post A Summer Break Reading Guide for All Ages appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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