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1. Summer Reading: Emily Giffin’s THE ONE & ONLY

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In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One and Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

 

 

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2. Trailer for THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU stars Jason Bateman as Judd Foxman, who’s in the midst of dealing with his wife’s affair when his sister Wendy (Tina Fey) calls to tell him their father has suddenly died.

After the funeral, Foxman matriarch Hillary (Jane Fonda) tells her four children (Bateman, Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll) their father’s last wish was to have his kids under the same roof for one week. So the siblings remain at their childhood home — with visits from Rose Byrne, Dax Shepherd, and Connie Britton along the way. (via Buzzfeed)

Based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper.

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3. Cover Love: Celebrity Edition

Two new books coming out by two VERY funny people. Check out the covers and descriptions for Amy Poehler and Neil Patrick Harris’ forthcoming books.

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SICK of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D.You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht.

CHOOSE correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a guest stint onCelebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! On sale October 14, 2014.

 

 

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Amy Poehler’s Today Show Reveal

As a veteran of beloved television series like “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” and major motion pictures like “Mean Girls” and “Baby Mama,” Amy Poehler, actress, producer, comedian extraordinaire, has some advice to dish — and we can’t wait to read it.

On October 28, 2014, Dey Street Books will publish Poehler’s highly anticipated literary debut, “Yes Please.” 

True to form, Poehler’s first foray into publishing will tackle a variety of topics, from friendship and parenting to advice on love and life, all done with her inimitable wit. On Sale October 28, 2014

It looks like it will be a very funny Fall. Which one do you think you will pick up first?

 

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4. Book Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

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SUMMARY:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.
Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

PRAISE:

“Catherine McKenzie’s latest book may be her finest. HIDDEN explores the intersecting lives of a man, his wife, and a woman who may or may not be his mistress. Imaginatively constructed, filled with nail-biting tension and gracefully written, HIDDEN is a winner.” — Sarah Pekkanen, author of These Girls and Skipping a Beat

“What I love about this deft, intimate novel is that here are no angels or demons here, just adults—husbands, wives, mothers, fathers—leading complex, messy, very human lives. They all struggle to weigh desire against obligation, what they want against what is right. I found myself in the impossible, wonderful position of rooting for all of them—and of missing them when the book was over.” — Marisa de los Santos, author of Belong to Me and Love Walked In

“Using distinct narrative voices, Catherine McKenzie has crafted a compelling novel that kept me turning pages at a breakneck speed. Heartbreakingly honest and real, Hidden is a wonderfully relatable tale.” — Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of On The Island

BOOKFINDS REVIEW:

HIDDEN is a captivating and emotionally complex story. Told from the point of view of  three main characters (Jeff, Tish, and Claire), this is the story of life, death, love, deceit, family, and the bonds that tie us all together. HIDDEN reads like a riveting mystery with a well-drawn out plot and believable characters. A fantastic story from a great new voice in fiction.

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5. Lit Links

 

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This weekend is the Newburyport Book Festival in Newburyport, MA. Author Andre Dubus III will be attending along with Caroline Leavitt, Jenna Blum, Hallie Ephron, Wally Lamb, Jessica Keener, Claire Messud, and many more. The festival was founded in 2005 and has steadily grown into a wonderful literary event. What are your plans for the weekend? Here are some interesting Lit Links from around the web.

15 Most Expensive Books in the World.

Trip to the Library = Happiness.

Writing advice from James Patterson.

Third Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Movie.

Amazon’s 100 Best Thrillers and Mysteries to Read in a Lifetime.

Alicia Silverstone Pens Parenting Book.

J.K. Rowling’s CASUAL VACANCY Miniseries.

Reading 100 years of bestsellers.

The best time to write.

Edgar Allen Poe statue coming to Boston.

The Junglebook coming to the big screen in live action form.

Six Degrees of Education.

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6. Lit Links

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What books are you planning on diving into this weekend? Any exciting plans? I am hopefully finishing up the Pulitzer Prize winning THE GOLDFINCH and then jumping into ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead. We are also gearing up for the Boston Marathon that will be broadcast on Monday. Here are a few interesting literary links from around the web…

Books that grab from page one according to Kirkus.

Great interview with Judy Blume for American Libraries Magazine.

Donna Tartt “surprised” by Pulitzer for The Goldfinch.

Editor with string of hits is joining Little, Brown.

7 Brilliant Ways Authors Build Buzz.

World Read Aloud Day.

A literary couple at home.

Flatiron Books to publish Oprah in September.

ROOM by Emma Donoghue headed to the big screen.

21 female authors you should be reading. Will ReadWomen2014 change our collective reading habits?

Image via.

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7. Giuliana Rancic Pens Memoir

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According to Publisher’s Weekly, Giuliana Rancic sold world rights to her memoir to Crown Archetype. Rancic is currently co-anchor of E! News and also stars in the reality show, Giuliana and Bill with her husband, Bill Rancic. According to Crown the book will be an inspiring one, touching on everything from Rancic’s childhood, growing up poor in Naples, to her more recent battles with infertility and breast cancer.

There are many things that my fans, my friends, even my family never knew about my private struggle. I hope by writing this book and sharing my journey, I can be an inspiration to those facing their own personal turmoil.

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8. Happy National Poetry Month

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April is National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

In 2011, Samantha Reynolds started Bentlily, a site where she documents her goal to write one poem-a-day.

I pledged to write one poem a day. Not to rack up reams of poetry — that was just a lovely side effect. No, the real goal was to train me to see the world constantly with the eyes of a poet, which means to slow down, savour, take delight in, and note the very essence of the world around me.

Poets.org has a poem-a-day for the entire month of April.

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9. Ben Affleck Stars in Gone Girl

Anticipation is steadily growing for the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling thriller, GONE GIRL. The studio has just released the first trailer and it certainly captures the essence of the book. Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a man who has become a suspect in the disappearance (murder?) of his wife.

Have you read the book? Are you excited about seeing the film?

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10. Why I Write: Mary Gaitskill

I would like to start a new segment of the site where I allow authors to answer the simple question “Why do you write?” I recently found a post about the author Mary Gaitskill on Brainpickings. Maria Popova (Brainpickings creator) found this gem in the book WHY I WRITE by Bill Blythe.

To satisfy a basic, fundamental need. I think all people have this need. It’s why children like to draw pictures of houses, animals, and Mom; it’s an affirmation of their presence in the corporeal world. You come into life, and life gives you everything your senses can bear: broad currents of animal feeling running alongside the particularity of thought. Sunlight, stars, colors, smells, sounds. Tender things, sweet, temperate things, harsh, freezing, hot, salty things. All the different expressions on people’s faces and in their voices. For years, everything just pours into you, and all you can do is gurgle or scream until finally one day you can sit up and hold your crayon and draw your picture and thus shout back, Yes! I hear! I see! I feel! This is what it’s like! It’s dynamic creation and pure, delighted receptivity happening on the same field, a great call and response.
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Mary provides another reason for why she writes:

To give form to the things we can sense but not see. You walk into the living room where your father is lying on the couch, listening to music. You are small, so he doesn’t hear or see you. His face is reacting to the music, and his expression is soft, abstract, intensely inward. It is also pained. It is an expression that you have never seen. Then he sees you and smiles, but the music still fills the room with that other expression…

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11. Weekend Reading Plans

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place comes a new memoir that examines the bond—sometimes nourishing, sometimes exasperating, occasionally divine—between mothers and daughters.

When Kelly Corrigan was in high school, her mother neatly summarized the family dynamic as “Your father’s the glitter but I’m the glue.” This meant nothing to Kelly, who left childhood sure that her mom—with her inviolable commandments and proud stoicism—would be nothing more than background chatter for the rest of Kelly’s life, which she was carefully orienting toward adventure. After college, armed with a backpack, her personal mission statement, and a wad of traveler’s checks, she took off for Australia to see things and do things and Become Interesting.

But it didn’t turn out the way she pictured it. In a matter of months, her savings shot, she had a choice: get a job or go home. That’s how Kelly met John Tanner, a newly widowed father of two looking for a live-in nanny. They chatted for an hour, discussed timing and pay, and a week later, Kelly moved in. And there, in that house in a suburb north of Sydney, 10,000 miles from the house where she was raised, her mother’s voice was suddenly everywhere, nudging and advising, cautioning and directing, escorting her through a terrain as foreign as any she had ever trekked. Every day she spent with the Tanner kids was a day spent reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral.

This is a book about the difference between travel and life experience, stepping out and stepping up, fathers and mothers. But mostly it’s about who you admire and why, and how that changes over time.

Advance praise for Glitter and Glue

“Kelly Corrigan’s heartfelt homage to motherhood is every bit as tough and funny as it is nostalgic and searching. It’s a tale about growing up, gaining wisdom, and reconciling with Mom (something we all must do eventually), but it’s also an honest meditation on our deepest fears of death and abandonment. I loved this book, I was moved by this book, and now I will share this book with my own mother—along with my renewed appreciation for certain debts of love that can never be repaid.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love

“In this endearing, funny, and thought-provoking memoir, Kelly Corrigan’s memories of long-ago adventures illuminate the changing relationships between mothers and children—as well as everything else that really matters.”—Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project

“Kelly Corrigan parses the bittersweet complexities of motherhood with humor and grace. Her writing has depth and buoyancy and light. It’s a river on a summer day. You slip into the current, laughing, and are carried away by it. Glitter and Glue is a perfect gift for anyone with a mother.”—Mary Roach,New York Times bestselling author of Stiff and Spook

“In Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan gives us a lovely and insightful lesson in what it means to be both a mother and a daughter. This book will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and I know that you will gobble it up in a single day, just like I did.”—Ayelet Waldman, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Mother

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12. Interview With Author Emily Liebert on YOU KNEW ME WHEN

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Debut author Emily Liebert has burst onto the scene with her new novel, You Knew Me When. At the heart of this charming debut is the concept of friendship; what it means, how it grows and how it can change you. Emily Liebert answers a few questions about her writing process, her inspiration and what’s next for her writing career.

Tell us the story behind the story. How did you come up with the plot for You Knew Me When?

I’ve always been interested in the bonds of female friendship. When I was younger, I had a best friend who dumped me when I met my first serious boyfriend. And I’ve had other friends who’ve either been disappointing or quite the opposite — who’ve stuck by me through the best and worst of times. I wanted to explore this. I also wanted to present two women — one with a husband and child, who was unhappy with her job and the other with a big career, but no family to speak of. It raises the age old question — can women really “have it all”?

What was the most challenging aspect of writing You Knew Me When?

The most challenging aspect, for me, of writing any book is actually sitting down at the computer and starting to write. Some days you just don’t feel it. And every now and then, that’s ok. But you can’t slack off all the time! So I push myself to start writing and, usually, once I do the words start flowing.

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

That friends and family are more important than anything else. That’s not to say that building a career and life for yourself isn’t important, but you have to remember to cherish the people that were there for you in the beginning.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I always write a thorough outline and brief character descriptions before I start writing a book. It’s a chapter by chapter outline. Sometimes I’ll end up going in a different direction, but I find that it’s much easier to sit down and write when you have a plan. When I’m in writing mode, which is about six months or so out of the year (the rest is spent on publicity, partnerships, editing etc…), I typically write about four hours/day. I try to wrap up the writing by 4pm, so I can return emails and deal with other work items.

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen. I only read one book at a time.

What authors inspire you?

Judy Blume, Jennifer Weiner, Jill Kargman, Emily Giffin, Jane Green, Sarah Pekkanen, and Elizabeth Noble

What have you learned from this experience?

That writing a book isn’t just about the writing. You could pen a masterpiece and if no one knows about it, you’re in trouble! Marketing and publicity are a huge piece of the publishing success puzzle.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Develop a thick skin. You will have doors slammed in your face. But when those doors are slammed in your face, kick them in!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m not sure I’ve followed that advice, but it’s good nonetheless!

What are you working on now?

I just finished writing the first draft of my next novel, The Love That Lies Ahead. So I’ll be in the editing phase of that soon. And I’ll be chatting with my editor next week about my idea for novel number three!

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This interview originally appeared on Huffington Post Books.

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13. Alice Hoffman: Cover Designer

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Alice Hoffman and focused on the input she has on the covers of her books. We live in a society that certainly does judge books by their covers and the art of cover design is one that is highly scrutinized from all angles (sales, design, art, appeal). Authors typically do not have a say in the covers of their books. Oftentimes they are sent a cover (possibly a few versions if they are lucky) and are told this is how their book will look. According to Nan Graham, senior vice president and publisher at Scribner, “Never in the history of the world does the author come up with the perfect cover, and certainly not the day you get the manuscript.”

In 2010, when Hoffman sent her editor the draft for her historical novel, “The Dovekeepers,” set during the siege of Masada in ancient Israel, she included a photograph by Joyce Tenneson she found while writing the book. The image, of a long-haired woman with a white bird on each shoulder, became the novel’s cover.

This week, Ms. Hoffman’s newest novel, “The Museum of Extraordinary Things,” was published with another cover she proposed. The glowing image is of a creature that appears part-fish, part-fairy, with a long tail, wings and the suggestion of a human torso. Ms. Hoffman found it in a coffee-table book while browsing a New York bookstore. “As soon as I saw it, I thought, this is the photograph I always wished I’d taken,” said Ms. Hoffman, who submitted it along with her draft. (via Wall Street Journal)

Summary of THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS

Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.

 

What are your thoughts on book cover design? Do they impact your decisions? Do they play into your overall perception of a book?

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14. Motherless Brooklyn Headed to the Big Screen

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According to Deadline, Edward Norton will star, direct and write the film version of Jonathan Lethem’s MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment have stepped in to fully finance the film for a late 2014 production start in New York. While Lethem’s novel is contemporary, Norton has set the story in New York in 1954, a time of great change in the city. He plays Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, who tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend. Armed only with few clues and an obsessive mind, Lionel slowly unravels closely guarded secrets that have major ramifications. It leads him through Harlem jazz clubs, Brooklyn slums and sets him against thugs and Gotham power brokers to honor his friend and save a woman who might his own salvation.

This will be Norton’s second time behind the camera after he made his debut on Keeping The Faith. He set this up at New Line as the book was published, right after Norton got an Oscar nomination there for his mesmerizing performance in American History X. Norton currently stars in the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel, and most recently wrapped the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed comedy Birdman, both for Fox Searchlight. He’s repped by UTA and attorney Robert Offer.

“We all know Edward Norton is one of the most compelling actors of our generation, but I also know he’s an exceptional writer and filmmaker,” said Ratner, who directed Norton in the 2002 adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon. “As soon as I read his script for Motherless Brooklyn I knew this was a project I wanted to get involved with and am thrilled to partner up with Edward and Class 5. Edward’s script has melded elements of Jonathan Lethem’s terrific novel with an original story that at once feels classic and entirely fresh. And with Edward playing Lionel Essrog, the brilliant private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, this will be a tour de force performance.”

Here is more information about MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN:

From America’s most inventive novelist, Jonathan Lethem, comes this compelling and compulsive riff on the classic detective novel.

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways.  Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head.  Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

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15. Today Show Picks a New Book

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The Today Show Book Club has made a new selection, UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY by Nancy Horan, author of the wildly popular LOVING FRANK.

Here are some details of their latest pick directly from the Today Show’s website:

The third TODAY Book Club pick is “Under the Wide and Starry Sky,” the second novel by Nancy Horan, the celebrated author of “Loving Frank.” Share your thoughts about Horan’s windswept romance by joining the TODAY Book Club community, a fresh and interactive digital discussion series. RSVP to the Google Hangout with Nancy Horan, happening Thursday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m. ET., follow @TODAYsBooks and stay up to date with the TODAY Book Club newsletter. 

Book worms, get ready for a little romance: TODAY Book Club’s latest pick is Nancy Horan’s historical fiction, “Under the Wide and Starry Sky.”

Remember the old adage, behind every great man, there’s a great woman? In Robert Louis Stevenson’s case, it was true. Horan’s sweeping book centers around the famed “Treasure Island” author’s life with his wife and muse Fanny Van de Grift.

“I am led to great women by first becoming interested in the men, the artist,” Horan told TODAY’s Natalie Morales.

That was the seed for her first novel, “Loving Frank,” the best-selling portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright’s complicated relationship with one of his clients, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Both were married when they met.

Horn uncovers a similarly complex and unconventional love affair in her latest book, which delves into the profound impact Van de Grift had on Stevenson’s writing.

“They had a remarkable romance that truly led to some great creations of literature that are still influencing our lives today,” Marissa Schleicher, executive director of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, told TODAY.

At the start of the novel, 35-year-old Van de Grift, a mother of three, leaves her philandering husband behind in San Francisco — an incredible feat for a woman in the 1870s. She travels to Europe, where she eventually meets the young but sickly Scottish writer. Once divorced, she moves around the world with Stevenson, from Switzerland to New York to Australia. Van de Grift becomes one of her husband’s toughest critics — but Stevenson wasn’t always receptive to his modern wife’s criticisms.

“She was adventurous. She was game,” Horan said. “She had a lot of grit. She was very inventive.”

Horan drew heavily from the couple’s letters and Stevenson’s writings to paint a realistic portrait of their relationship, based on both fact and fiction.

“What I did with this book and also with the previous book is take the journey with these couples,” she told Morales.

Published by Ballantine Books, “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” hit bookstores on Jan. 21. Join in on the conversation by tweeting your thoughts with the hashtag #TODAYBookClub, and RSVP for a Google Hangout with author Nancy Horan and Natalie Morales on Feb. 27.

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16. Want Not by Jonathan Miles

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WANT NOT by Jonathan Miles (Houghton Mifflin)
Waste not, Want not: that’s the idiom that the title of Jonathan Miles new novel, Want Not, comes from. It’s about the psychology of waste. It can be human, toxic, food, debt and sickness. Jonathan Miles tells the story through three narratives: a young freegan couple Talmadge and Micah, who met at Burning Man. They are squatters who live off of things they find in dumpsters. While Talmadge comes from money, Micah, grew up poor in Appalachians and had to scrounge for food to survive.
The second story is about Elwin Cross Jr., a professor of applied linguistics, who is morbidly obese and his wife has just left him. He has a job in New Mexico where he has to create a warning sign that will last generations to let people know there is an underground crypt where radioactive waste will be stored.
The third narrative is about Sarah, Dave, and Alexis. Sarah has lost her bond broker husband on 9/11. Since then she has married Dave, a cruel debt collector who makes a lot of money forcing people to pay unnecessary credit card debt. Alexis is Sarah’s daughter from her first marriage.
It’s a funny novel that is also dark just like his brilliant debut novel, Dear American Airlines, and reminds me of another literary Jonathan: Mr. Franzen. It’s a book that will make you think about waste and being wasteful. Highly recommended.

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17. January Picks

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On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee

Known for his realistic fiction about immigrants in modern America, Lee has decided to go the dystopian fiction route. Here he imagines a future United States where immigrants have come from China because conditions at home have become unlivable. Downtown American cities like Baltimore, where the novel is set, becomes labor settlements of these “New Chinese,” where they fish for food for the wealthy living in communities outside the cities. Fan, a diver, looks for her missing boyfriend and ventures out of the confines (and safety) of her home to the outlaw “outer countries” and to the wealthy enclaves of the “Charters.”

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Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow

Ragtime author Doctorow has written his 12th novel, about a cognitive neuroscientist who we think is his therapist. The novel is a series of conversations that makes it very “Waiting for Godot” like talking about subjects like consciousness, the reliability of memory and existence of free will. The more Andrew talks we learn more about his past and his regrets. It’s a departure both in time and style for this masterful writer.

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Alena by Rachel Pastan

Pastan’s third novel is modern day retelling of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca. Even echoing the novel’s famous opening lines “Last night I dreamed of Manderlay again.” But this novel is set at a cutting edge art museum on Cape Cod called the “Nauk.” The unnamed narrator is an assistant curator from the Midwest who is visiting the Venice Biennale, where she meets an enigmatic founder of a Massachusetts art museum and gives her the job of the curator. It’s been two years since the tragic death of the beloved former curator Alena and our narrator finds herself in over her head, when the staff stifles her creative vision in favor of honoring Alena’s legacy.

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18. Happy Bookidays! Giveaway Day 1

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image via Media Tinker

Starting today and running right into the New Year we will be hosting a Holiday Book Giveaway. Today’s BOOKIDAY GIVEAWAY is for Mary Kay Andrews CHRISTMAS BLISS.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental comes a novella that celebrates love, the holidays, and antiques. Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry. Listeners have come to love these characters in Mary Kay Andrews’ three previous Savannah novels: Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze, and Blue Christmas. Christmas Bliss offers Andrews’ legions of fans the best of many things: familiar characters, a new novella for Christmas, and a celebration of Mary Key Andrews’ own favorite pastime-antiquing. Blue Christmas was a fan favorite, and now Christmas Bliss is sure to fly off store shelves and into the hands of Andrews fans in bestselling numbers.

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19. Salinger

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In the new documentary and book “Salinger” it is revealed that his estate will be publishing five new books between 2015 and 2020. Some of the unpublished works will feature recognizable characters: one will be a book about the Glass family called “The Family Glass,” while another collection will focus on rest of the Caufield family and “The Catcher in the Rye” will be included in that collection.
There will be also a novel set in World War II based on his first marriage and a novella about his war experiences. There will even be a book about the Vendanta Religious Philosophy. The New York Times has reviewed the book today and the movie (and the book) will be out on September 6th.
Here is a summary of the book by David Shields and Shane Salerno from Goodreads:
Based on eight years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews with more than 200 people—and published in coordination with the international theatrical release of a major documentary film from the Weinstein Company—The Private War of J.D. Salinger is a global cultural event: the definitive biography of one of the most beloved and mysterious figures of the twentieth century.

For more than fifty years, the ever elusive author of The Catcher in the Rye has been the subject of a relentless stream of newspaper and magazine articles as well as several biographies. Yet all of these attempts have been hampered by a fundamental lack of access and by the persistent recycling of inaccurate information. Salinger remains, astonishingly, an enigma. The complex and contradictory human being behind the myth has never been revealed.

No longer.

In the eight years since The Private War of J.D. Salinger was begun, and especially in the three years since Salinger’s death, the authors interviewed on five continents more than 200 people, many of whom had previously refused to go on the record about their relationship with Salinger. This oral biography offers direct eyewitness accounts from Salinger’s World War II brothers-in-arms, his family members, his close friends, his lovers, his classmates, his neighbors, his editors, his publishers, his New Yorker colleagues, and people with whom he had relationships that were secret even to his own family. Shields and Salerno illuminate most brightly the last fifty-six years of Salinger’s life: a period that, until now, had remained completely dark to biographers. Provided unprecedented access to never-before-published photographs (more than 100 throughout the book), diaries, letters, legal records, and secret documents, readers will feel they have, for the first time, gotten beyond Salinger’s meticulously built-up wall. The result is the definitive portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century

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20. Piper’s Book Nook for Whatever After: Sink or Swim

This might be my favorite book review of all time! Enjoy Piper’s Book Nook and her review of Sarah Mlynowski’s WHATEVER AFTER: SINK OR SWIM.

Here’s a summary of Sarah’s latest in the Whatever After series.

Once again my brother and I are in hot water . . .

We weren’t planning to mess up the fairy tales. The first two times we did it by accident. But when our magic mirror pulls us into the story of the Little Mermaid, we have no choice but to try and rewrite it. Let’s just say the original story does NOT end happily!

Now we need to:
– Convince our mermaid to keep her tail
– Plan a royal wedding
– Avoid getting eaten by sharks

We’ve got to find a happy ending for the Little Mermaid . . . before she’s fish food and we’re lost at sea forever!

Scholastic Press, May 2013

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21. Interview with Alison Atlee, author of The Typewriter Girl

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Tell us the story behind the story. How did THE TYPEWRITER GIRL come to be?

Setting was everything for this story. I’d found a vintage postcard of an English seaside town, and the card featured a switchback railway, a forerunner of the modern roller coaster. When I saw it, I knew I wanted to set a story there. I needed a character to build the roller coaster, and another one to shake up the town where it is built, and that’s how John and Betsey came to be.

I’d also recently read Pygmalion (later the basis for My Fair Lady), so when I was picking names, Liza/Elizabeth was in mind, as well as two details about that character: one, that she owned a birdcage, “its occupant long dead,” which I found such a poignant detail for George Bernard Shaw to mention; two, that she was always insisting, “I’m a good girl, I am!” I named Betsey, gave her a living bird, and wondered, what if she wasn’t a good girl?

What was the most challenging aspect of writing THE TYPEWRITER GIRL?

This isn’t the most challenging, but I’m always so glad when readers appreciate the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter because putting them together nearly drove me nuts. They come from an actual 1890’s typing manual. I made a photocopy and started cutting out sentences and passages I liked or thought would work with certain scenes. Eventually, I had a wall covered in scraps of paper and sticky notes as I pulled everything together.

That was for submission. Revisions after the book sold meant scenes added and deleted, and I had to do some of it all over again. Luckily, I saved those scraps!

 What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

I would be thrilled for a reader to come away from The Typewriter Girl wondering, “Can I give my dreams a little more growing space?”

Betsey begins the story having accomplished quite a bit for a woman of her class and education, and she thinks if she can just hold on, maintain that much, it will be good enough. She’s afraid to hope for more. One of the pleasures of writing this story was discovering all the ways her dreams could get bigger, go wilder, and I hope that resonates with readers.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I have a direction in mind, and draft from that. When I get stuck, I go to a “synopsis” where I re-tell the story to myself, ask questions, begin a great many sentences with the word “maybe.”  That usually gets me through to the next thing, but it’s such a mess! Once I took my laptop into the Apple Store for some help, and when that synopsis file came up on the screen, I nearly leapt up onto the table to hide it from the Apple rep. I think I might have been less embarrassed if it had been naughty photos!

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

Thank you VERY much for the “s” on “books”–I keep them stashed everywhere, so I’m always in-progress on more than one. On the nightstand right now is Where the Light Falls by Katherine Keenum. I have an issue of Lapham’s Quarterly on my kitchen counter, and the audio of The Night Circus for car rides. The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson is on my phone for waiting rooms and lines, and then there’s the stack for research, including Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks.

Which authors inspire you?

Today I’ll pick Simon Winchester for his curiosity and use of the English language–rich, unexpected, and impeccable.

What have you learned from this experience?

One of my elementary school teachers had a poster of Garfield the cat and Odie the dog up in a tree with the caption, “It’s amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn’t know what one can’t do.”

I went into writing for publication pretty blindly, and for me, that worked. If I’d known everything ahead of time, I would not have believed I could do it.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

So much to say here, but I might start with what I said above–don’t worry about the industry until you have to. Worry about craft, worry about your characters, worry about finishing the story. All the publishing stuff doesn’t matter until you’ve done your time on that part.

Also, by “worry,” I mean learn/work/focus.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Getting enough sleep makes all the difference.

What are you working on now?

The next couple of books, of course! And reconfiguring my writing space.

Thanks, Alison, for stopping by Bookfinds. You are an inspiring author and have written a gorgeous novel! We look forward to all of your future work! Read more about Alison on her website. 

 

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22. What We’re Reading: The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest release, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS was selected as an Amazon Best Book of the Month for OCTOBER 2013. Here’s a great interview with Elizabeth for BookPage in which she talks about the inspiration behind THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS and what she has planned next.

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A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed

In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert’s wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers. (via Amazon)

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23. The Painted Girls Heading to the Small Screen

According to Deadline.com, the CW and CBS TV Studios are working on adapting THE PAINTED GIRLS by Cathy Marie Buchanan into a television show. “THE PAINTED GIRLS is set in 1880′s Paris against the backdrop of the turbulent and exciting world of “La Belle Epoque” – decadence, poverty, sex, drugs and a serial killer running rampant through tht ecity. It revolves aroudn three sisters studying at a top ballet academy, one of whom becomes the muse for Egard Degas and his famed paintings of ballerinas.” via Deadline. No word on casting yet but we will keep you updated.

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THE PAINTED GIRLS by Cathy Marie Buchanan

SUMMARY:

A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era.

Paris. 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventy francs a month, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, meanwhile, descends lower and lower in society, and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde—that is, unless her love affair derails her completely.

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.

 

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24. Divergent Trailer Released

The theatrical trailer for Veronica Roth’s dystopian tale DIVERGENT has been released and is sure to appeal to fans of THE HUNGER GAMES.

Here’s the summary of DIVERGENT for anyone who is new to the game and hasn’t yet been swept under the tidal wave of fan love for Roth’s story.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

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25. Live By Night Gets Theatrical Release Date

The film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night, directed by Ben Affleck, will be released on Christmas Day, 2015. Affleck will star in the film but no other names have been announced.

Affleck’s first outing as a director was a film based on another Lehane novel, 2007′s Gone Baby Gone.

Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow)

Combining edgy suspense and the vivid period detail that made The Given Day a smashing success, award-winning, bestselling author Dennis Lehane delivers a masterful epic of Prohibition-era America told through the story of a charismatic young gangster on his rise through the glitz and the violence of the Roaring 20s

“Lehane deserves to be considered among the most interesting and accomplished American novelists of any genre or category.”-Washington Post

By 1926, Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston Police captain, defies his proper upbringing and his father’s strict law-and-order orthodoxy. Graduating from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the riches, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns battle for control, no one-neither family or friends, enemies or lovers-can be trusted. For men like Joe, beyond the money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems more likely than all others: an early death.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the razzle-dazzle of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a relentless epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femme fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a propulsive saga of revenge, it is also a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was a cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

Affleck is currently at work playing the lead in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, set for release on Oct 3, 2014.
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