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  • Miwa Messer 2:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , the book of speculation, ,   

    The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories 

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? Chloe Benjamin’s dazzling novel, The Immortalists, asks big questions about life and death and love and family. If you loved Erika Swyler’s fantastic novel The Book of Speculation as much as we did, you’ll love this incredible story of destiny vs. choice as much as the booksellers who handpick books for our Discover Great New Writers program do.

    And because we love the way Chloe—and her characters—see the world we asked her to riff on the flip-side of Valentine’s Day. So here are her recommendations for ever-so-slightly-cracked-love-stories:

    I’m always game for a good love story—even better if it’s slightly cracked. After all, love stories don’t feel entirely human if they don’t have a sliver of something else: pain, awkwardness, humor, surprise. These reads are proof that forging a bond with another person isn’t for the faint of heart.

    The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
    When Faber’s novel opens, pastor Peter Leigh is about to leave his wife, Bea, for the mission of a lifetime: he has been chosen to minister to an alien population on a planet called Oasis, which has been newly colonized by humans via a mysterious company called USIC. What follows is a deliciously imaginative and ultimately heartbreaking exploration of morality and faith—as well as the story of the longest long-distance relationship in human history. The Book of Strange New Things has everything I love in a novel: an epic sweep; an atmospheric setting; creative, clever worldbuilding; and characters you remember long after you turn the last page.

    Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro
    Quatro’s second book and first novel burns as brightly as its title promises. The story of an affair that begins in the mind and ends in the body, Fire Sermon is an exquisite, raw and often shocking exploration of female desire and embodiment. Quatro fearlessly explores the dynamics that lead Maggie, a Christian and academic, out of her marriage. Fire Sermon is committed to rigorous inquiry: of God, of our partners, but especially of ourselves.

    Euphoria, by Lily King
    Inspired by the extraordinary life and contributions of Margaret Mead, Euphoria follows a trio of anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea. Don’t be fooled: this somewhat academic premise, which becomes gripping in its own right, belies the novel’s steam and electricity. Soon, a love triangle develops between American Nell; her charismatic but combustible husband, Fen; and successful, fragile Andrew Bankson, who comes unexpectedly into their orbit. King brilliantly illuminates the ethical questions that intensify as the trio becomes embedded with the Tam, a fictitious local tribe—and with each other.

    A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
    The rise of Galentine’s Day has shown us that romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that deserve celebrating this month. A Study in Charlotte, the first novel in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series, charts the complicated friendship between the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and the great-great-great-grandson of John Watson as they solve crimes at boarding school. It’s delicious crossover YA, perfect for teenage girls who are sick of reading about boy geniuses—as well as those navigating the kind of friendships that challenge our definition of the term.

    A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
    You might have read this one, as it was one of the breakout books of 2015—but if you haven’t, consider it bookmarked. A Little Life might not seem like the kind of book you read in honor of Valentine’s Day; it is, in part, a brutal and horrific look at the legacy of abuse. But it is also an emphatic celebration of the love that sustains Yanagihara’s four central male characters. InA Little Life, friendship is profound and sustaining, sometimes equal to—but ultimately deeper than—any romantic attachment.

    The post The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Miwa Messer 2:00 pm on 2018/02/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , the book of speculation, ,   

    The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories 

    If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? Chloe Benjamin’s dazzling novel, The Immortalists, asks big questions about life and death and love and family. If you loved Erika Swyler’s fantastic novel The Book of Speculation as much as we did, you’ll love this incredible story of destiny vs. choice as much as the booksellers who handpick books for our Discover Great New Writers program do.

    And because we love the way Chloe—and her characters—see the world we asked her to riff on the flip-side of Valentine’s Day. So here are her recommendations for ever-so-slightly-cracked-love-stories:

    I’m always game for a good love story—even better if it’s slightly cracked. After all, love stories don’t feel entirely human if they don’t have a sliver of something else: pain, awkwardness, humor, surprise. These reads are proof that forging a bond with another person isn’t for the faint of heart.

    The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber
    When Faber’s novel opens, pastor Peter Leigh is about to leave his wife, Bea, for the mission of a lifetime: he has been chosen to minister to an alien population on a planet called Oasis, which has been newly colonized by humans via a mysterious company called USIC. What follows is a deliciously imaginative and ultimately heartbreaking exploration of morality and faith—as well as the story of the longest long-distance relationship in human history. The Book of Strange New Things has everything I love in a novel: an epic sweep; an atmospheric setting; creative, clever worldbuilding; and characters you remember long after you turn the last page.

    Fire Sermon, by Jamie Quatro
    Quatro’s second book and first novel burns as brightly as its title promises. The story of an affair that begins in the mind and ends in the body, Fire Sermon is an exquisite, raw and often shocking exploration of female desire and embodiment. Quatro fearlessly explores the dynamics that lead Maggie, a Christian and academic, out of her marriage. Fire Sermon is committed to rigorous inquiry: of God, of our partners, but especially of ourselves.

    Euphoria, by Lily King
    Inspired by the extraordinary life and contributions of Margaret Mead, Euphoria follows a trio of anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea. Don’t be fooled: this somewhat academic premise, which becomes gripping in its own right, belies the novel’s steam and electricity. Soon, a love triangle develops between American Nell; her charismatic but combustible husband, Fen; and successful, fragile Andrew Bankson, who comes unexpectedly into their orbit. King brilliantly illuminates the ethical questions that intensify as the trio becomes embedded with the Tam, a fictitious local tribe—and with each other.

    A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
    The rise of Galentine’s Day has shown us that romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that deserve celebrating this month. A Study in Charlotte, the first novel in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series, charts the complicated friendship between the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and the great-great-great-grandson of John Watson as they solve crimes at boarding school. It’s delicious crossover YA, perfect for teenage girls who are sick of reading about boy geniuses—as well as those navigating the kind of friendships that challenge our definition of the term.

    A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
    You might have read this one, as it was one of the breakout books of 2015—but if you haven’t, consider it bookmarked. A Little Life might not seem like the kind of book you read in honor of Valentine’s Day; it is, in part, a brutal and horrific look at the legacy of abuse. But it is also an emphatic celebration of the love that sustains Yanagihara’s four central male characters. InA Little Life, friendship is profound and sustaining, sometimes equal to—but ultimately deeper than—any romantic attachment.

    The post The Immortalists Author Chloe Benjamin Shares 5 Slightly Cracked Love Stories appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Bridey Heing 6:00 pm on 2015/06/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , the book of speculation   

    Erika Swyler’s Mournful And Magical The Book of Speculation 

    In her debut novel, a Discover Great New Writers pick, Erika Swyler explores the power of legacy and heirlooms to connect the past and present. The Book of Speculation is by turns magical and mournful, a reflection of the ways in which the past can control us. Swyler’s lyrical prose blurs the line between the supernatural and the real, building a world that captures the imagination and delights in beauty even as it sends chills down your spine. At the heart of this complex multigenerational tale of circuses and mermaids lies two siblings touched by sorrow, left to grapple with the weight of a crumbling house full of memories.

    Simon Watson has been struggling to hold it together for a while. Following his mother’s suicide and his father’s withdrawal into mourning, he was left to care for his young sister, Enola. When his father passes away and Enola leaves their small coastal town, Simon must maintain the pieces of his family’s once idyllic life. Shackled to a long-neglected house, he muddles through, working at the local library and questioning whether he can ever get out from under his sense of obligation to the home his family left behind.

    When the arrival of a mysterious book coincides with a surprise visit from his volatile sister, Simon worries something sinister is on the horizon. His suspicions are confirmed as he and an elderly midwest bookseller dig up bits of information on the names and dates found in the book, which they discover is a record of a long-disbanded traveling circus. The history of Simon’s family is linked to this band of travelers through a long tradition of women who worked as mermaids and tarot readers, holding their breath for endless minutes and telling fortunes. But if holding their breath underwater is a skill that’s passed down from generation to generation, how is it possible every woman in his family has drowned on July 24?

    Layers of magical imagery rest atop a central idea: objects can possess an energy that wraps us up in our own history. For Simon, the house he grew up in holds a toxic appeal. He wants to keep it intact for his mother, his adored neighbor, his sister, seeing the house as a manifestation of his obligation to love.

    But when he learns a hard-to-swallow truth about the house and the connection between his family and the neighboring McAvoys, a family Simon often wished he was part of as his own disintegrated, the house becomes more dead weight than living memory. In one moment, the things we hold most dear can be reinvented, or dissolve into meaninglessness.

    Chapters alternate between the past and present, bringing the two timelines closer and closer as Simon learns more about his family’s troubled history. The effect is puzzlelike, as the reader and Simon put names and significant details together to approach the truth. Enola’s character—her losses, the lure the road has on her, her perennial restlessness—slowly come into focus as Simon digs deeper into their shared history. He and his sister are inheritors of a legacy born of death and disaster, mired in a sadness so deep it’s taken generations and centuries to finally cast it aside.

    For Simon, gaining knowledge is a way to start over. By delving into the past he, Enola, and Alice McAvoy—the neighbor’s daughter with whom he begins a conflicted romance—are able to scale barriers built on uncertainty and distance to start again. The exploration of dark corners just might promise rebirth, a freedom from the invisible weights that stunt Swyler’s characters.

    The Book of Speculation is lyrical, mythic and epic in a focused sense, exploring the web of buried secrets surrounding one family and a highly insulated community of travelers. It offers a unique exploration of the power of the sea, the history that comes before us, and the ways in which we must come to terms with the past. It’s a thrilling and fascinating read, with enough unexpected turns to draw you in.

     
  • Lauren Passell 8:23 pm on 2015/05/14 Permalink
    Tags: a sleepwalker's guide to dancing, , , cecily wong, charlotte rogan, darin strauss, diamond head, , , half a life, i am an executioner, , , rajesh parameswaran, , the book of speculation, the lifeboat   

    Meet Some of Your Favorite Discover Authors! 

    On Tuesday, May 12, Barnes & Noble celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Discover New Writers Program, which puts fantastic new writers in the spotlight, making sure they get the attention they deserve. Writers gathered at The Standard Hotel to raise a glass to Discover, and to celebrate exceptional writing. Here are a few of the writers we met:

    Discover2

    Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life, with Redeployment author Phil Klay

    Discover3
    Q: What was your reaction when you fond out you won?
    A: Disbelief, profound gratitude. I feel like my heart is swollen.
    Q: What do you wish you knew while you were writing your first book?
    A: Nothing. I wouldn’t have wanted to change my journey.
    Q: What advice do you have for writers struggling to write their first book?
    A: Write the story you absolutely have to tell. That will sustain you through everything.

    The Lifeboat author Charlotte Rogan, standing with Rajesh Parameswaran, author of I Am an Executioner

    Discover4

    “I cried when I found out I was a Discover winner.” —Cecily Wong, right, author of Diamond Head

    Discover5

    Marie-Helene Bertino, author of 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, and Mira Jacob, author of A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

    Discover6

    Q: What did you do when you found out you won?
    A: I cried. When I finished it I thought, “I like this. Maybe my mom will.” But to have other people like it is big.

    Q: Did you always think you’d write a book?
    A: Growing up, I’d go to Barnes & Noble and see my books on the shelf and think, “How do I get there?” I wound up doing it!

    Q: What do you wish you knew when you were writing your first book?
    A: I wish someone would have told me how long it would take.

    Q: What advice would you give to writers struggling to finish their first book?
    A: It’s totally worth it not to give up. Just for the sense of accomplishment. Nobody can take that away from you.

    —Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation, with Discover reader Nathan Dunbar

     
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