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  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2018/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , bear town, beneath a scarlet sky, cecelia ahern, , , educated, , franklin graham, , , helen hoang, , mark sullivan, , , , tara westover, the gift, , , , therese ann fowler, through my father's eyes,   

    Cottage by the Sea Author Debbie Macomber Shares Her Summer Reading List 

    Filled with memorable characters and set in gorgeous locales, bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s novels about family, friendships, and love, will help even a staycation feel like an escape. And while her stories are perfect for reading any time of the year (her Angel series and Christmas novels are delightful to cozy up with during the holidays), summer is the perfect time to lose yourself one of her lush, heartwarming stories. In her newest novel, Cottage by the Sea, a woman who has experienced great trauma travels to the Pacific Northwest, a place where she has happy memories from childhood, to recover. There she begins building a new life for herself, despite her grief, discovering her own community and even finding romance—until she finds herself at the crossroads of an important and life-defining decision. Ms. Macomber was kind enough to share her own summer reading list with B&N Reads—and it is filled with fascinating stories, from nonfiction to historicals, that are sure to find their way onto your own summer to-be-read pile! Enjoy her ten picks below (and don’t miss her interview with the B&N Podcast here!).

    Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan
    I’m actually half way through this book about an Italian youth working for the resistance in World War II, which I’m finding to be fascinating. It’s based on a true story and compelling reading.

    Through My Father’s Eyes, by Franklin Graham
    With the death of Billy Graham earlier this year I have this book on my bookshelf and am eager to read about the man himself.  I personally attended two of his crusades and am a great admirer of this godly man.

    The Gift, by Cecilia Ahern
    This is actually a Christmas book that I’ve been wanting to read since the holidays.  If I wait much longer it will be the season so I’ve moved it to my “to-be-read” pile.

    The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
    There’s been quite a bit of industry buzz about this book.  I found the premise intriguing, an autistic woman who is eager to understand what it is to fall in love.

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Her beach reads are something I look forward to each summer season. This story is full of romance, and even has a surprising twist that I did not expect!

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    It’s a thought provoking and relatable novel that involves complex social issues we face in today’s society. This is definitely one of her best, and who doesn’t love the cobalt blue cover!

    The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
    Many people know Kristin from her book The Nightingale, but this stand alone is just as amazing! The Great Alone is set in Alaska which is wild in nature. This setting mixed with the dysfunction of the family creates a downfall of events. Each dark moment seems to get darker and darker. This story digs deep, and the character development is incredible. Your heart will be intertwined and invested not only with Leni and her parents, but the community who embraces this family.

    Bear Town, by Fredrik Backman
    The tragedies that befall this community and the families there are much like you’d experience in any small town. When you finish this book, you know there is more to this story. I was thrilled to see the follow up Us Against You was just released.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    This is a truly gripping story about a girl struggling for an education. It pulled at my heart strings as I read through each page. This book is moving and demonstrates the power in someone’s life that an education holds.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Ann Fowler
    With her highly anticipated new book coming out this October, A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts, I decided to reread this one.  It was just as good if not better the second time. It takes you back in time to the roaring twenties and the Jazz era. Re-reading this book made me anxious for her next debut.

    Cottage by the Sea is on B&N bookshelves July 17.

    The post <i>Cottage by the Sea</i> Author Debbie Macomber Shares Her Summer Reading List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Miwa Messer 4:15 pm on 2018/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , tara westover   

    Educated: A Memoir Author Tara Westover Shares The Books That Taught Her the Most About Writing 

    It’s no exaggeration to say that Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club set the world on fire when it was first published in 1995; a national bestseller for over a year, the darkly comic story of Mary’s East Texas childhood made memoir as we know it today, well, a thing. Then came Jeanette Walls with The Glass Castle in 2005, a powerful account of the author’s unconventional, impoverished childhood that went on to spend a total of 261 weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list. Joining those books in 2012 was Cheryl Strayed’s massive, massive hit, Wild, winner of our Discover Award.

    To this trio of indelible voices add Tara Westover and her profound, deeply inspirational debut, Educated: A Memoir, a Spring 2018 Discover Great New Writers selection. This is storytelling at its finest: emotionally honest and frank, beautifully written, driven by a narrative velocity that had the Discover selection committee readers holding their breath. Tara is unsparing—of herself, her family, and her community—as she recounts her extraordinary journey from an Idaho junkyard to a master’s program at England’s Cambridge University and doctoral program at Harvard. Tara might still be living and working with her family on an Idaho mountain had things continued as her parents—and she herself—once imagined; she only began to think of leaving after her older brother turned violent. This shockingly original story is not only a testament to the power reading has to change a person’s trajectory, but also an intensely honest and often heartbreaking story of one young woman’s decision to save her own life.

    We can’t wait for readers everywhere to meet Westover. Here, she shares her own picks for the life-changing books that taught her about writing.

    So here’s the thing: some people grow up reading all kinds of literature, so by the time they think about writing a book, they have, it seems, read a whole library. I was not one of those people. I grew up in a family where reading was very much encouraged; however, the texts to hand were most often scriptures or sermons (those weren’t the only books in the house, but they made up the bulk of what I read). After that, I read academic papers and textbooks until I was twenty-eight, which is the age when I decided to write my own book and realized that, sadly, I really hadn’t read enough of them.

    Luckily, there isn’t any magic combination of books that a person needs to read to learn how to write. There is no definitive list. Writing is like painting: every book you read gives your prose a different hue, a new color with which you can paint your words. These are the books I found most helpful in painting mine.

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    Austen’s writing is elegant—every sentence seems designed with the care of an architect—but what I found most instructive about it was the pace of it, and the careful construction of the plot. All the characters are just where they need to be, doing just what they need to do, for the story to unfold. Jane must become ill so Lizzy can visit her, so she can become trapped at Netherfield long enough for Mr. Darcy to fall in love with her. Mr. Collins must visit, and during that visit he must be utterly ridiculous, augmenting the ridiculousness of Mrs. Bennet, so Mr. Darcy can display his outrageous pride and insult Lizzy when he proposes. And ultimately, Mr. Wickham must run away with Lydia so Mr. Darcy has the opportunity to put away his pride and do the thing which is most distasteful to him, in order to help Lizzie, in order to prove himself to the reader. There is a rhythm to the unfolding of these events that is so perfect as to be reminiscent of the ball at Netherfield.

    The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    From Toni Morrison, I first began to comprehend point of view and the importance of finding the right narrator for a story. The Bluest Eye is about a young girl, Pecola, who is used sexually by her father and becomes pregnant, but while much of the novel is told in the first person, the first person is not Pecola but another girl her age, named Claudia. This allows the reader to see Pecola as peripheral, to see her brushed aside by other characters with swifter bodies and louder voices. Since that brushing aside is part of the tragedy of Pecola and what happened to her, this point of view is powerful, more powerful than if the story were told by Pecola. We get a sense of sadness, even of regret, from the narrator of Claudia, who is telling this story as an adult, that the child Claudia does not seem to feel. To her child self Pecola is a nuisance; to her adult self, Pecola is a regret. This layering of perspectives creates tension and adds a richness to the atmosphere of the story. 

    Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris
    I read “Loggerheads” when I was first trying to wrap my head around the concept of the “short story,” and what I took from it was the classic principle that sometimes the best narratives are not about what they seem to be about; they are about something else. “Loggerheads” seems to be the story of some baby turtles the author and his friend Shaun found on a beach, then slowly starved to death. In the story’s structure, the turtles are in the foreground. They set the pace of the story. But the emotional punch comes not with the death of the turtles, and not with the death of Shaun’s father, but with the revelation, some eighteen years later, that Shaun’s father had drunk himself to death, and Shaun had never told the author. You could read these parallel stories any number of ways: you could make the turtles into metaphors, or take them more literally as straightforward evidence of the boys’ cruelty. However you choose to conceptualize it, the story of Shaun and the author is enhanced by situating the two together. For me, the two narratives come together powerfully on the final page, when the author goes to a library to research turtles and discovers the following: “A female might reach four hundred pounds, and, of all the eggs she lays in a lifetime, only one in a thousand will make it to adulthood. Pretty slim odds when, by ‘making it,’ you mean simply surviving.”

    The White Album, by Joan Didion
    Joan Didion taught me that I cannot write like Joan Didion. The first time I read “On Self-Respect,” Didion’s voice seemed so strong it was overpowering—it echoed in my head as if God were speaking the words. I tried for a time to write like Didion, but the results were dreadful. It wasn’t that the mimicry was wrong, although it certainly was. Actually, some of the worst sentences I wrote were those that, on a technical or grammatical level, were closest to hers. But they sounded false, like the words themselves were in disguise, somehow impersonating other words. In time I accepted the reality that, although I admired her writing very much, so much it thrilled me to read it, hers was not a voice I could imitate in my search for my own. I was looking for something else. Funnily enough, once I’d found it, I realized that more and more of Didion began creeping into my writing in ways I loved.

    The post Educated: A Memoir Author Tara Westover Shares The Books That Taught Her the Most About Writing appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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