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  • BN Editors 2:00 pm on 2018/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , bear town, beneath a scarlet sky, cecelia ahern, , , , , franklin graham, , , , , mark sullivan, , , , , the gift, , , , therese ann fowler, through my father's eyes, z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald   

    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.

  • Jen Harper 5:00 pm on 2018/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , hild, , , jubilee, margaret walker, michelle moran, nefertiti, nicola griffith, , Priya Parmar, , , tananarive due, the black rose, the dream lover, the invention of wings, , vanessa and her sister, , z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald   

    10 Books Celebrating Influential Women in History 

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    March is Women’s History Month, so to celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite historical fiction books about some awesome women through the ages. From the first professional female pilot and American’s first black female millionaire to well-known names like Zelda Fitzgerald, George Sand, and Nefertiti, these incredible women—and so many more—have had a profound impact on their communities, society, and the world. So in commemoration of Women’s History Month, these are her stories.

    The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
    With alternating narratives by two extraordinary female characters, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings tells the incredible story of real-life abolitionist pioneer Sarah Grimke and urban slave Hetty “Handful” Grimke in early 19th-century Charleston. On her 11th birthday, Sarah is given ownership of 10-year-old Hetty, and the two go on to influence each other and the destiny of women’s and African-American rights over the next 35 years. In real life, Hetty died of an “unspecified disease” after being severely beaten as punishment for Sarah teaching her how to read. But Kidd knew Hetty’s voice was imperative to telling this powerful story.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
    Zelda Fitzgerald was so much more than the beautiful, outlandish wife of famed This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. And Therese Anne Fowler’s impeccably researched novel brings her to life, starting with her whirlwind courtship with young army lieutenant Scott when she was just 17 in Montgomery, Ala. Despite her parents’ disapproval, Zelda falls for Scott, and what follows is an incredibly readable tale of the couple’s fame at the dawn of the Jazz Age; their days galavanting around New York City, Paris, and more; the alcoholism and infidelity that plague their marriage; and the talented and often scandalous Zelda’s struggles with mental illness.

    Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain
    From the author of The Paris Wife comes another riveting read for historical fiction lovers. Paula McLain has crafted a compelling story about real-life female aviator and author Beryl Markham in 1920s colonial Kenya. Following an unconventional upbringing by her father and the native tribe who share his estate, the bold and fearless Beryl goes on to become a horse trainer—during a time when there were no female horse trainers—and later the first professional female pilot and a record-setting flyer. Beryl also finds herself tangled in a love triangle with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and writer Karen Blixen in this rich and passionate tale.

    Jubilee, by Margaret Walker
    Margaret Walker’s powerful novel set in the South during the American Civil War tells the true story of Vyry Brown, a biracial slave who was the daughter of a white plantation owner and a black enslaved woman. Vyry’s tale is based on the life of Margaret Duggans Ware Brown, the author’s great-grandmother. Walker is able to seamlessly blend together her family’s oral history she heard from her grandmother along with extensive research to offer a deeply moving and realistic portrayal of what life was like for slaves in the deep South—their struggles and desires—from their own perspective.

    Saint Mazie, by Jami Attenberg
    Bringing not only Mazie Phillips Gordon to life but also the sights and sounds of Jazz Age New York City, Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie tells the story of a movie ticket seller, an ordinary woman who did some extraordinary things. Witnessing the hungry, addicted, and injured homeless people roaming the Bowery, Mazie selflessly helped them the best she could, giving them money and opening the doors of The Venice theater to those in need. With details of her life imagined through fictional diary entries and account from those who knew her and only knew her through her journal, Attenberg’s witty book allows the spirit of Mazie to live on.

    The Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg
    Nineteenth-century French novelist George Sand was an eccentric and passionate woman who embraced an unconventional lifestyle in the pursuit of her dream of becoming a writer. In Elizabeth Berg’s richly captivating novel, readers are initially introduced to Sand as Aurore Dupin, a woman in the process of leaving a loveless marriage to start a new life in Paris. She changes her name, defies the restrictions on women in society, and takes on a who’s who of lovers and friends including Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. Exploring themes of sexuality, gender, and art, The Dream Lover is a must-read for fans of historical fiction.

    Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar
    History remembers writer Virginia Woolf much more so than her sister, painter Vanessa Bell. But Priya Parmar’s elegant and dazzling novel, set in early 20th-century London, brings Vanessa out of her sister’s shadow to show just how truly gifted and multidimensional Vanessa was as well as the profound influence she had on Virginia. The story is told through Vanessa’s invented journal entries and correspondence and follows the siblings as they buck convention and forge their own path toward artistic success. But when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love, Virginia careens into madness, having been ever-dependent on her sister as a steadying force in her life.

    Hild, by Nicola Griffith
    For fans of A Game of Thrones and exquisitely written historical fiction, Nicola Griffith’s Hild sheds some light on the Dark Ages and one of its most pivotal women, Saint Hilda of Whitby. The well-researched tome set in seventh-century Britain introduces readers to Hild as a curious child with a plotting and ambitious uncle set on becoming overking of Angles. Hild finds a place at his side as the king’s seer, an indispensable role that leads to her being feared by many as she truly seems to see the future. Griffith manages to bring the harsh yet beautiful realities of Hild’s experiences to life in this impeccable read.

    Nefertiti, by Michelle Moran
    Michelle Moran transports readers to ancient Egypt in her novel about two influential royal women in history, Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet. Strong-willed Nefertiti is set to marry an unstable pharaoh named Amunhotep. Following her marriage, Nefertiti is beloved by the people of Thebes, but, unbeknownst to her, powerful priests are plotting against her heretical husband. The only person willing to brave the inevitable ramifications and tell Nefertiti of the plot is her younger sister. While Nefertiti longs for power, her sister only wishes for a quiet life and to follow the her heart. Moran manages to bring them both to life in vivid detail on the page.

    The Black Rose, by Tananarive Due
    Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove, the daughter of slaves on a Louisiana plantation in 1867; she went on to become America’s first black female millionaire. After being orphaned at age 7, married at 14, and widowed with a young child at 20, she was not content to maintain her lot in life. She became an inventive entrepreneur, creating hair and beauty products like a potion that became Wonderful Hair Grower and a hot comb that allowed black women to straighten their hair. Walker rose from poverty to become the head of a hugely successful company and a philanthropist for African American and women’s causes. The Black Rose, started by author Alex Haley before his death in 1992 and completed by writer Tananarive Due, is the remarkable fictionalized account of her riveting life.

    What fiction would you recommend about influential women in history?

    The post 10 Books Celebrating Influential Women in History appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Kawecki 3:30 pm on 2015/04/17 Permalink
    Tags: , art imitates life, , ficionalized biographies, , z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald   

    6 Fictionalized Biographies You Should Already Be Reading 

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    If you’ve ever ventured into the deep abyss of fanfiction, you know that fictionalized biographies are the fanfics of the historical world. From ‘shipping two people who weren’t (proven to be) together, to adding in extra characters, to changing the plot, fake bios are like real life, and then some. Plus, you get to speculate about what might be based on actual events, and what has been either exaggerated or completely fabricated. Here are six of the best fictionalized biographies that ever (never?) happened.

    1776, by David McCullough
    1776 isn’t quite a biography; at least, it’s not a biography of a single individual. David McCullough tells the story of various famous Americans (and a few British guys) during the year American declared independence—and it’s utterly engrossing. If you’re an American history buff, this book is a must read. It will give you a better grasp on how events came together to cause the Revolutionary War. And if you’re just a good-character buff, this book will make you fall so hard for John and Abigail Adams. New literary power couple? Yes, please.

    The Paris Wifeby Paula McLain
    Speaking of power couples, this book is not about one. McClain’s novel fictionalizes the life of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. During the years the couple lived in Paris, Hadley struggles to support Hemingway emotionally and artistically as he writes The Sun Also RisesEveryone’s got an opinion on Hemingway, and good or bad, you’ll find something to agree with in this bio/novel.

    The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    Meet Neftalí, a Chilean boy who sees beauty everywhere. Despite being put down by children his own age and especially his father, Neftalí continues to write about and collect the treasures he finds in the world. Ryan’s novel, illustrated by Peter Sis, explores the childhood of a young boy, who, against all odds, grows up to become Pablo Neruda, a wildly successful poet. Beautiful and inspiring, this book shows you that hope can be many things—but it’s especially green.

    I, Elizabeth, by Rosalind Miles
    My lifelong obsession with this lovely royal redhead might make me a bit biased, but Miles’ fictional autobiography of Queen Elizabeth I should definitely be on your need-to-read list. Told from the perspective of a declining Elizabeth, the novel documents her life from childhood to old age, with all the wit, humor, and regret you’d expect from a woman who muscled her way through war, scandal, and exile.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
    If you’re not into Hemingway, perhaps you’ll like a look into the lives of the Fitzgeralds instead. Zelda is seventeen when she meets then-nobody F. Scott Fitzgerald. As glamorous and edgy as she is complicated, Zelda comes across as a real, flesh and blood person trying to make her way in the social circles of the Jazz Age with an alcoholic author for a husband. Toss in her desire for freedom and her struggles with mental health, and you’ve got the story of a woman you just want to hug for a minute…then ask to accompany you on an adventure or two.

    Sunflowers, by Sheramy Bundrick
    For everyone who’s ever wondered why Vincent Van Gogh would cut off his ear and deliver it to a seemingly random prostitute named Rachel, Sunflowers is for you. Rachel is looking for an escape when she finds herself in Arles, being sketched by a man with red hair. What follows is a fictionalized account of their attempt to love each other despite difficult circumstances. Told from Rachel’s perspective, it’s a fascinating tale with a lot of art and a few fudged facts thrown in.

    What’s your favorite fauxography?

  • Heidi Fiedler 3:30 pm on 2014/10/13 Permalink
    Tags: artists, , column mclann, dancer, eight girls taking pictures, f.g. haghenbeck, , girl with the pearl earring, irving stone, the agony and the ecstasy, the secret book of frida kahlo, , , whitney otto, z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald   

    8 Great “Fic-y” Bios of Writers, Artists & Dancers 

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    9780452282155_p0_v3_s260x420When you feel stuck at work, at home, or in love, sometimes it helps to take inspiration from the avant-garde artists that have walked among us. But if you’re a die-hard fiction lover and wouldn’t read a biography with a ten-foot pair of reading glasses, there’s still a perfect bio genre for you: the Fic-y Bio. You can read about everything from what it was like to become Marie Antoinette to how the wives of America’s top scientists survived living at Los Alamos when the atomic bomb was being built. My favorites are the fic-y bios of the writers, artists, and dancers who created the art that continues to inspire us today. Here are some of the best of the bunch:

    The Agony and the Ecstasy, by Irving Stone
    This story of Michelangelo is one of the earliest books in the genre, but it’s as juicy as any of today’s tell-alls. There are all the flourishes of the Renaissance. The infamous Medicis. Unpopular popes. Art made of gold, for goodness’ sake. You will be transported.

    Eight Girls Taking Pictures, by Whitney Otto
    Tina Modetti and Imogen Cunningham were two of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. Otto focuses on them and six other female photographers in her imaginative novel that examines what it meant to be an artist and a woman at a time when women were barely allowed to drive, let alone pick up a camera and show the world what they saw.

    Dancer, by Colum McCann
    Perfectionists will see themselves in this brutal book about Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Covering Nureyev’s life from peasanthood to celebrity, the novel examines the dangerous obsession that professional dancers must embrace to pursue their passion. Read. Sigh. Pick up your pen. Grab your brush. Put on your shoes. Start again. Whatever our craft is, we are never done.

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
    The glamorous bits of The Great Gatsby are all here: decadent parties, celebrity, and scandal. But this time the story is told not by the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, but by his wife, Zelda. Sensual and glamorous, this novel will draw you in.

    The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo, by F.G. Haghenbeck
    There are lots of books told from the perspective of a wife, mistress, or other idle woman living with a Big Bad Powerful Artist Man. This isn’t one of them. This is the story of the great painter Frida Kahlo as imagined by Mexican novelist Haghenbeck. He imagines the writer’s favorite recipes, love letters, and musings as though he has uncovered a diary. The result is unforgettable.

    Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
    This book about Vermeer’s famous painting may have started the modern craze of fic-y bios. It does what the best of them do: pulls the reader into the chaos and beauty of life as an artist; creates a rich world with real and imagined historical and personal details; and inspires the reader to see the world differently. And it does all three absolutely beautifully.

    What’s the best fictionalized biography you’ve read?

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