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  • Jenny Shank 2:00 pm on 2019/05/02 Permalink
    Tags: , claiming ground, , francisco cantu, heavy: an american memoir, if the creek don't rise: my life out west with the last blak widow of the civil war, , laura bell, mean, , myriam gurba, rita williams, river house, sarahlee lawrence, searing memoirs, tara westover, the line becomes river   

    6 Memoirs to Read Next If You Loved Educated 

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    Tara Westover’s memoir Educated is a blockbuster by any standard. Those who read it early sensed that this story, of Westover’s evolution from growing up scantly homeschooled in a family of rural Idaho survivalists and then earning her PhD in history from Cambridge, had the elements of a classic-in-the-making. Educated was lauded by Bill Gates and President Obama, became a finalist for many literary prizes (including the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award, the LA Times Book Prize, and the PEN America Jean Stein Book Prize), and has endured for months on bestseller lists across the globe. There’s a good chance that you’ve already read it. So if you’re hankering for a memoir just as good as Educated, here are six stellar choices to read next.

    If The Creek Don’t Rise: My Life Out West with the Last Black Widow of the Civil War, by Rita Williams
    If you loved the way Educated took you inside a family living as though they were in a prior century, this memoir will inspire the same awe. Williams was born in Denver in the 1950s. Her father left her mother for another woman, and her mom died from carbon dioxide inhalation in a boarding house when Rita was four. Rita was given to the nearest relative, her aunt Daisy, who lived a hardscrabble, subsistence lifestyle in the mountains near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Daisy, incredibly, was the last surviving black widow of a Civil War veteran. In the early 1900’s, when she was a teenager in a family of Tennessee sharecroppers, she married a 79-year-old Civil War veteran to escape the KKK-ridden South. They came West, where Daisy eventually took Rita in, raising her in poverty, with tough love—with an emphasis on the tough. Daisy is verbally abusive and the kind of woman who reminds a child to “urinate or move your bowels” before leaving the house, but also made an arrangement to wash a private school’s floors so Rita could attend. Williams’ rise in life is perhaps even more astonishing than Westover’s—she became a writer for the Los Angeles Times, O Magazine, and the television show “Queen of the South.”

    River House, by Sarahlee Lawrence
    While Westover grew up on a mountain in Idaho, Sarahlee Lawrence grew up on a high desert ranch in central Oregon with her parents, 70’s back-to-the-landers who raised her to be self-sufficient. She writes of her mom, “Her philosophy on mothering was one of release: a bow that shoots an arrow into the world.” And Sarahlee left to become a world-traveling river guide. But as the book opens, she’s running a river in Peru when she’s gripped with a powerful urge to return home. She does, and sets herself the task of building a log cabin, by hand, during the frigid winter months so she can continue to make her living as a river guide in the summer. Lawrence’s tenacity and stubbornness help her as she struggles to build a life and a home she’s proud of.

    Claiming Ground, by Laura Bell
    If you loved the passages of Educated where Westover tenderly described the western landscape, check out Laura Bell’s arresting Claiming Ground. Bell, like Westover, considered herself the black sheep of her family. A preacher’s daughter, Bell graduated from college in Kentucky in 1977 and decided to find her own religion, pursuing her “childhood’s private world blown larger than life, with a horse, two dogs, a rifle, a wilderness.” Bell came west with her sister and began working as a sheepherder in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin. Each chapter is a lyrical snapshot from her life and work as a sheepherder, ranch hand, forest ranger, and masseuse.

    The Line Becomes A River, by Francisco Cantú
    Over the course of Educated, we see Westover’s eyes open and her mind expand as she learns lessons about the world that her isolated family never could have taught her. Westover also shares her struggles with mental instability as she tries to break free from them and start a new life. Cantú, too, begins The Line Becomes A River as a smart, sensitive young man, and has an awakening—and an unraveling—as he works for the U.S. Border Patrol. Cantú grew up along the border, speaking English and Spanish with his mother, who worked in National Parks. In college, he distinguishes himself as a scholar of the border, but feels his knowledge is too theoretical, and decides to learn firsthand about the situation at the border by joining the patrol, against the cautions of his mother. Searching, searing, and beautifully written, this book captures the complexities of life along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
    Tara Westover’s relationship with her parents was complicated, to say the least. Her father, whom she suspects has bipolar disorder, dominated her and subjected her to abuse. Yet Westover still loves her parents so much that breaking with them was heart-wrenching. In one of the most celebrated memoirs of recent years, Kiese Laymon likewise lays bare his fraught relationship with food, his body, and his mother, to whom he addresses the book. Laymon’s mother, an accomplished, loving, brilliant, black college professor in Jackson, Mississippi, raised him right and wrong at the same time. As Laymon pores through his past in this unflinching book that in the end casts no blame on his mother, he makes it clear that the abuse he suffered—from the beatings his mom gave him, to sexual violation by a babysitter, to his own disordered relationship with food—are the consequences of growing up in a society that acts as though poor black people are not fully human.

    Mean, by Myriam Gurba
    If you came away from reading Educated with a great admiration for Tara Westover’s pluck and knack for self-reinvention, here’s another indomitable memoirist to meet: Myriam Gurba. In Mean, Gurba tells the story of growing up in California in the shadow of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, the daughter of a Mexican-American mother and a Polish-American father—she calls herself a “Molack.” Gurba writes with tremendous potency and wit about how people reacted to the Mexican side of her heritage—including a hysterical chapter in which she stays at a neighbor’s house and is served a disgusting, gloppy casserole the woman describes as “Mexican” food. As a young adult, Gurba is assaulted by a stranger who then goes on to rape and kill another woman, but this memoir does not follow the standard structure of a victim’s tale. Instead, it’s a heroine’s story, an account of how Gurba became the bold, hilarious artist, poet, and writer she is today. “Art is one way to work out touch gone wrong,” Gurba writes.

    The post 6 Memoirs to Read Next If You Loved <i>Educated</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Miwa Messer 12:00 pm on 2019/04/18 Permalink
    Tags: a bend in the stars, a prayer for travelers, american spy, ayad akhtar, bobby hundreds, claire lombardo, disappearing earth, , felicity mclean, first cosmic velocity, from scratch: a memoir of love sicily and finding home, gods of jade and shadow, grace will lead us home, h. g. parry, , , jennifer berry hawes, , , julia phillips, , karen dukess, , , kimi eisele, lesley kara, lights all night long, maid, ocean vuong, on earth we're briefly gorgeous, rachel berenbaum, regina porter, , rikke schmidt kjaergaard, ruchika tomar, sara collins, silvia moreno-garcia, sissy, tara westover, tembi locke, the blink of an eye, the confessions of frannie langton, the darwin affair, the last book party, the light years, the lightest object in the universe, the most fun we ever had, the rumor, , the travelers, the unlikely escape of uriah heep, the van apfel girls are gone, this is not a t-shirt, tim mason, , , zach powers   

    Announcing the Discover Great New Writers Summer 2019 Selections 

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    Summer reading means lots of things to lots of readers: Indulgence and escape and a chance to delight in a new favorite author, mostly, though it’s also a chance for some us to catch up on books we missed earlier in the year. (And admittedly, Summer Reading is synonymous with homework for much of the younger set.) 

    For the booksellers who handpick books for our Discover Great New Writers program year-round, summer is another chance to wow other readers with books from writers who are not yet household names.  We’ve tapped twenty-one outrageously great books for you to experience this summer: Seventeen novels, three memoirs, and a true story of hope and forgiveness that we hope wow you as much as they wowed us.

    Historical Fictionis having a moment and we have four fresh, cinematic takes on the genre covering from 19th Century England to Russia during WWI and the 1960s:  A Bend in the Starsby Rachel Barenbaum, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins,  The Darwin Affair, by Tim Mason, and First Cosmic Velocity, by Zach Powers.

    Stories of Family and Home are always crowd-pleasers and we have four that readers and reviewers will be talking about all summer: How Not to Die Alone,by Richard Roper, The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, by Juliet Grames, and The Travelers, by Regina Porter.

    We’re not the only ones who love a classicComing-of-Age Story, and we can’t wait to see how other readers respond to The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess.

    Kidnappings, mysterious disappearances, and the possible identity of a notorious killer drive a quartet of Literary Thrillers, starting withDisappearing Earth,by Julia Phillips, A Prayer for Travelers, by Ruchika Tomar, The Rumor, by Lesley Kara, and The Van Apfel Girls are Gone, by Felicity McLean.

    Escape into a trio of Wildly Inventive Novels grounded in Mayan mythology, classic literature, and the collapse of the world as we know it with Gods of Jade and Shadow,by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, by H.G. Parry, and The Lightest Object in the Universe, by Kimi Eisele.

    We also have Unforgettable True Stories from streetwear visionary Bobby Hundreds (This is Not a T-shirt) and actress Tembi Locke (From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home); an incredible story of illness and recovery from scientist Rikke Schmidt Kjaergaard (The Blink of an Eye); and an unforgettable story of violence and forgiveness from Jennifer Berry Hawes (Grace Will Lead Us Home).

    If you’re a reader who loves to use the summer to catch up on your reading, our Spring 2019 Discover picks, including novels like American Spy, We Must Be Brave, and Lights All Night Long, plus memoirs like Maid, Sissy and The Light Years are here; the winners and finalists of the 2018 Discover Awards including Kiese Laymon, Tommy Orange, and Tara Westover are here; and our 29-year-old archive, including Pulitzer Prize Winners Ayad Akhtar, Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jhumpa Lahiri, countless National Book Award winners, and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro is here. 

    The post Announcing the Discover Great New Writers Summer 2019 Selections appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2019/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: anuradha bhagwati, , brittney cooper, , eloquent rage: a black feminist discovers her superpower, gloria steinem, good and mad: the revolutionary power of women's anger, mallory farrugia, , outrageous acts and everyday rebellions: third edition, , ruth bader ginsberg, tara westover, the future is feminist: radical funny and inspiring writing by women, unbecoming: a memoir of disobedience,   

    Change the World: 11 Must-Reads for International Women’s Day 

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    March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to shine a light on the unique (and consistently undervalued) contributions of half of the world’s population. It’s a time to learn—and a time to be loud.

    In honor of the occasion—and to celebrate this Women’s History Month as a whole—we’re highlighting 11 feminist-forward nonfiction reads that elevate forgotten voices of the past or shout modern truths from the rooftops.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    Shortlisted for the B&N 2018 Discover Awards and an occupant on just about every best-of list last year, Westover’s memoir of resilience details her extreme upbringing in rural Idaho. Raised by survivalist parents, Westover didn’t step foot inside a classroom until she was 17. The story of how she taught herself enough to get into college—and then onto Cambridge—is fascinating, affecting, and relatable to even those without such an unusual childhood.

    My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Maybe you’ve read her legendary dissents or seen one of the recent throng of films about her life. Now, take some time to hear from RBG herself on the topics dearest to her legacy. In carefully curated writings, Ginsburg discusses gender equality, life on the Supreme Court, interpreting law, and her own Jewish identity. It’s a must-read from one of America’s most influential women.

    Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, by Rebecca Traister
    Traister explores the current atmosphere of female rage, putting the #MeToo movement, the Women’s March, and other manifestations of this anger into historical context. Woven in with histories of suffragette, abolitionist, and other women-led rights movements are reflections on the current mood and the nature of emotions long-considered “unfeminine.”

    Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, by Brittney Cooper
    A bold collection of intersectional essays, Eloquent Rage has been recommended by just about everyone (Roxane Gay! Emma Watson! America Ferrera!). In a wide-ranging look at her own feminist evolution, Cooper critiques the traditional “whiteness” of mainstream women’s rights movements and underscores the remarkable results of channeling black women’s anger.

    Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions: Third Edition, by Gloria Steinem
    Timeless since they were first released in 1983, Steinem’s personal essays start a new chapter with a third edition featuring new writing from the author and a foreword by Emma Watson. Clear, witty, and classic, the works here run the gamut of women’s experiences, including Steinem’s infamous exposé, “I Was a Playboy Bunny.”

    Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience, by Anuradha Bhagwati
    Remarkable and radical in all the best senses, Bhagwati’s life is presented unfiltered. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Bhagwati graduated from Yale and took an unconventional next step: the U.S. Marine Corps. Here, she chronicles the abuses and indignities of a bisexual woman of color in the military, as well as her subsequent equal-rights advocacy and efforts to hold those in power accountable for sexual assault of service members.

    The Future Is Feminist: Radical, Funny, and Inspiring Writing by Women, edited by Mallory Farrugia
    This anthology is stuffed to the gills with leading writers, activists, actors, and thinkers, including Roxane Gay, Salma Hayek, Audre Lorde, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Naomi Alderman, and many more. The previously published works collected here are united in sentiments but take divergent looks at feminism’s past, present, and future.

    Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China, by Jung Chang
    This engrossing bestseller reveals one woman’s role in shaping world history. In 1852, a 16-year-old girl named Cixi became a concubine to China’s Emperor Xianfeng. When he died nine years later, Cixi’s young son took the throne, and she quickly took action to do away with the court officials who would seek to manipulate the child, instead positioning herself as China’s ruler in all but name. Though she has often been vilified by history, Jung Chang draws on new sources to offer a different perspective, arguing that Cixi’s reign—and her embrace of industry, railways, electricity, and a strong military—ushered China into the modern world.

    Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History, by Sam Maggs
    As engaging and informative as it is fun, Maggs’ collection profiles a diverse group of unsung heroines from around the world, from a chemist who developed a treatment for leprosy, to a rocket scientist who helped send the first U.S. satellite into orbit. Readers of all ages will enjoy learning about these barrier-busting women’s contributions to fields ranging from medicine to espionage; young readers in particular may be inspired to pick up the torch and make their own contributions.

    We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Based on an essay by the same name, this book tackles the issue of feminism head on. Exploring everything from race and gender to sex and power dynamics, this incredible book is perfect for those just starting to break down the definition of feminism and how it applies to their lives.

    We Are Displaced, by Malala Yousafzai
    The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani author, herself a displaced person, shares what it felt like to be forced from her home in Swat Valley. Malala also pulls together heart-wrenching yet hopeful oral histories from other young women and girls who’ve been relocated because of regional and global conflicts. Each refugee has an important story to tell, and the distinct viewpoints and brave, personal revelations will move and educate you on a wealth of underrepresented news stories.

    The post Change the World: 11 Must-Reads for International Women’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 7:00 pm on 2019/01/29 Permalink
    Tags: a place for us, american prison, , , fatima farheen mirza, heavy, , only killers and thieves, , shane bauer, tara westover, there there,   

    Introducing the Life-Changing Finalists for the 2018 Discover Awards 

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    For more than 25 years, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program has worked to identify and amplify the voices of those new authors writing books with the potential to change readers’ lives. Each year, our selection committee, made up of smart, engaged, and incredibly well-read booksellers, pores over piles of new releases to find the books coming to us from writers we believe deserve to become household name.

    In 2018, we championed 52 of them. Now, we have winnowed down that pile to the shortlist of titles that stand head and shoulders above even their vaunted peers. Here are the finalists, in fiction and non-fiction, for the 2018 Discover Awards. The nominees will share among them a cash prize pool of $105,000 ($30,000 for first place, $15,000 for second, and $7,500 for third) and receive special promotion in our stores. The winners will be announced on March 6, 2019.

    Here is the shortlist for the 2018 Discover Awards:


    Only Killers and Thieves, by Paul Howarth
    In 1885, Colonial Australia (where the indigenous people were targeted by the Native Police Force) is as wild and untamed as it will ever be—and this debut novel fully immerses readers in that world. In an outback suffering from devastating drought, two young brothers become caught up in a manhunt for an aboriginal stockman whom they believe has murdered their parents and little sister. But the truth is elusive, and the killing spree against native tribesman that results from their misguided “vengeance” has far-reaching consequences, and may haunt Billy and Tommy the rest of their lives.

    A Place for Us, by Fatima Farheen Mirza
    An Indian American Muslim family of five living in California come together for the eldest daughter’s wedding, an event that forces them to reevaluate their lives together and apart over the past few decades. In particular, youngest son Amar, who has become estranged from his parents and siblings, is reluctant to make peace with his past. Tension between the traditional Muslim culture practiced by parents Rafiq and Layla and the contemporary attitudes of their adult children infuses this highly anticipated debut with plenty of emotion and heart.

    There There, by Tommy Orange
    A powerhouse debut that deservedly earned a spot on countless best of the year lists even before its selection as a B&N Discover New Writers finalist, There There chronicles the coming together of twelve modern-day, urban Native American people at the inaugural Oakland, California, Powwow. Disparate in their ages, goals, hopes, and dreams, some of the twelve hope to connect with their history and/or long-lost family members; some desire to perform traditional dance; and others plan to take advantage of the event for their own purposes. It is a transcendent work, rich in specific cultural detail but with a compelling, human message that is also universal.


    American Prison, by Shane Bauer
    A groundbreaking inside investigation into the private prison industry and the forces that drive it, told by a journalist who was legitimately hired under his own name with no background check to be a guard for $9 an hour. From the history of the industry to the treatment of prisoners to the ugly changes he saw in himself during his employment, this is a gripping story that cannot be ignored.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    Raised in the rural Idaho mountains by a family of fundamentalist Mormon survivalists, Tara Westover didn’t attend school until she turned 17, and lived out her days preparing for the worst, helping her father salvage scrap to sell and canning food with her mother to get them through the looming apocalypse. She never saw a doctor, despite suffering serious injuries, including violence inflicted upon her by a sibling. Yet one of her brothers did make it out, however, and came back to the mountain one day with tales of college, and opportunities for a better life. Determined to follow in his footsteps, Westover taught herself enough math and science to gain admittance to Brigham University. This is the fascinating story of the strange ties that bind a family together, and the strength it takes to sever them and strike out on your own.

    Heavy, by Kiese Laymon
    We can’t stop thinking about this deeply personal book from a fearless writer. This revelatory memoir not only exposes what a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a man, it also delivers a powerful story of truth, love, and freedom. Kiese’s fans include Discover alums Lacy Johnson (The Other SideThe Reckonings) and Mychal Denzel Smith (Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching).

    Learn more about Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program.

    The post Introducing the Life-Changing Finalists for the 2018 Discover Awards appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2018/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , bear town, beneath a scarlet sky, cecelia ahern, , , , , franklin graham, , , , , 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 

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    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.

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