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Results 1 - 25 of 16,255
1. New Cookbooks: Better on Toast, Food52 Genius Recipes, The Picnic

Spring is a heady time for cookbook releases. There are so many new cookbooks that it feels like Christmas; we even had an early spring mini potluck lunch for a taste testing. We have so much love for many of these new cookbooks. Missing from these reviews are a number of dessert cookbooks; there were [...]

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2. Poetry Friday: Someday from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

You are the moon
And I am the sea
Wherever you are
You've got pull over me

The whole of the sky
Wants to keep us apart
The distance is wearing
A hole in my heart

Someday your moonlight
Will blanket my skin
Someday my waves
Will pull all of you in

Someday I promise
The moon and the sea
Will be together
Forever you and me.

- from The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

This song is written by one of the main characters in the novel, and performed as a duet by the two protagonists.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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3. Why the Story of Jackson and the Cherokees Is More Relevant Than Ever

People have been asking why I wanted to write about Andrew Jackson and the Cherokees. To be more precise, they ask: Why did you want to write about that? My day job is to write not history but "the first draft of history," which is what people sometimes call the news. I work for NPR, [...]

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4. Powell’s Q&A: Michael Perry

Describe your latest book. On Christmas Eve itself, the bachelor Harley Jackson stepped into his barn and beheld there illuminated in the straw a smallish newborn bull calf upon whose flank was borne the very image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Well," said Harley, "that's trouble." Turns out he was right. What's the [...]

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5. Seveneves

Cancel all your plans: once you start Stephenson's widely anticipated, deliciously meaty new novel, you won't be able to put it down. An exploding moon sets the stage for an epic tale spanning 5,000 years as humanity must find a way to survive the devastating aftereffects: earth's gradual but imminent demise. Books mentioned in this [...]

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6. The Orphan Army

Earth is in a desperate state after an invasion of gigantic bug-like aliens. Will 11-year-old Milo become the hero his prophetic dreams keep telling him he'll be? This exhilarating series opener, an action-packed blend of sci-fi and fantasy, will have you hooked. Books mentioned in this post The Orphan Army (Nightsiders #1) Jonathan Maberry Sale [...]

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7. Nimona

Archvillain Lord Ballister Blackheart and spunky sidekick Nimona battle the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, but who are the real heroes and who are the real evildoers? This brilliantly complex graphic novel is filled with science, dragons, warmth, and humor. Books mentioned in this post Nimona Noelle Stevenson Sale Trade Paper $9.09

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8. Carsick

When cult film icon John Waters decides to hitchhike across the country, expect the unexpected to happen. This blend of fiction and travel memoir features all the wit and dark humor Waters is known for, with a dose of filth thrown in for good measure. Books mentioned in this post Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes... John [...]

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9. The Upright Thinkers

In Leonard Mlodinow's The Upright Thinkers, human history can be charted by the pursuit of knowledge — it is what defines and separates us from our fellow animals. Mlodinow creates a compelling and readable narrative about that history that all thinkers (read: humans) will enjoy. Books mentioned in this post The Upright Thinkers: The Human... [...]

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10. This Is Sadie

Sadie's imagination is so huge she can go anywhere, be anything, without leaving her room. With soft, whimsical illustrations and spare, lyrical text, This Is Sadie takes us on a sweet adventure and reminds us of how far and wide our own imaginations can go. Books mentioned in this post This Is Sadie (Sadie Mac) [...]

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11. Proof

In Proof, Rogers distills the science and history of booze into a fascinating, thoroughly enjoyable book exploring alcohol's most basic elements (yeast, sugar, smell and taste) along with its neurological effects and even the dreaded hangover. You'll gain a new appreciation for one of humankind's most alluring creations. Books mentioned in this post Proof: The [...]

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12. Hold Still

This breathtaking memoir, marrying Sally Mann's powerful photography with a personal story so captivating that it rivals great works of fiction, reveals how one's art can become thoroughly intertwined with one's life. Read this book: it's a truly powerful work of art in its own right. Books mentioned in this post Hold Still: A Memoir [...]

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13. The Book of Aron

Ten-year-old Aron runs with a children's smuggling gang in a WWII Warsaw Jewish ghetto. Child rights activist Janusz Korczak strives to protect his orphanage from the impending Nazi devastation. Their powerful tale, haunting and yet blisteringly real, will linger long in your memory. Books mentioned in this post The Book of Aron Jim Shepard Sale [...]

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14. The Wright Brothers

In The Wright Brothers, David McCullough spins a history both exhaustive and personal, sharing original correspondence and examining secondary characters like the Wright sister, Katharine. With McCullough's signature depth and thoroughness, The Wright Brothers pays captivating homage to the two men who so exemplified the American spirit. Books mentioned in this post Portland Noir (Akashic [...]

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15. Grandma in Blue with Red Hat, written by Scott Menchin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

Building a picture book around actual works of art can be a tricky task. With Grandma in Blue with Red Hat,  Scott Menchin, illustrator of several picture books and author of more than a few, creates a masterpiece. In addition to his work in picture books, Menchin is an award winning illustrator and teacher at the Pratt Institute Graduate School. This makes him very well poised to write a

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16. Nine Funny Animal Videos That Will Help You Write Your Novel!

If you thought watching funny animal videos was a bad habit, a time-sink, a distraction from writing your novel, well, you're probably right. But if you feel like indulging a little self-delusion, here are nine animal videos that EVERY WRITER must study carefully. They were absolutely instrumental for us in writing War of the Encyclopaedists! [...]

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17. New Writers Digest Class: Writing and Selling Children's Books 5/21

I'm teaching a new Writers Digest Webinar this Thursday with critique incuded, and if you are interested in writing for kids, you should be in on it! The class on Middle Grade Fiction has been by far the most well-attended and often-asked-about - I think I've repeated it three times. But I kept getting requests for Picture Books, too! So this is a new class: WRITING AND SELLING CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

The live webinar is Thursday, 5/21 at 1pm eastern. Critique of your work OR query is included, and all questions will be answered.

If you cannot attend live DON'T WORRY! Everyone who signs up for the live webinar WILL get a critique and ALL questions will be answered, even if you can't be "in the room" on the day you'll have the opportunity to send questions in. And you'll have access to the program materials for a year.

The class will cover a brief overview of the children's market from baby books to middle grade fiction (some of this will be info that has been covered in prior MG only webinars). The ALL NEW sections are all about picture books, chapter books and early readers, including common Picture Book pitfalls, self-editing picture books, agent-snagging tips and more.

Some success stories:

I found my client Jennifer Torres from a WD Webinar when she submitted an early version of her awesome middle grade book STEF SOTO, TACO QUEEN to be critiqued. Not too long after that, she revised, queried me, I signed her, and we sold her book in a two-book deal to Little Brown.

I also saw this on twitter - Julie Falatko not only got an agent after the critique, but that agent went on to sell THREE books to Viking/Penguin. Awesome!




There's more info on the Writers Digest Website - hope to "see" you there! 

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18. Art Lab for Kids AND Art Lab for Little Kids AND 3-D Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake, photographs by Rainer Schwake

Susan Schwake is an artist with over two decades worth of experience teaching in a diverse number of educational settings, running her own art school and creating and curating a permanent installation of children's artwork for a new wing of her local library. As a bookseller, I was immediately drawn to her first book, Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting,

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19. Powell’s Q&A: Aleksandar Hemon

Describe your latest book. The Making of Zombie Wars is a roller-coaster ride of violence and sex. The main character, Joshua Levin, is a modestly talented wanna-be screenwriter whose day job is teaching English to immigrants and refugees. As the U.S. joyously invades Iraq, Joshua falls for a married Bosnian woman and his sadly stable [...]

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20. The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke, 38 pp, RL 2

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke is a fantastic new book from Creston Books, a homegrown publisher of books printed in America that launched in Fall of 2013. Of course I love a good story, but I also love a beautifully made book and all of Creston's books fit this bill, as you can glimpse in the photo below, and by taking a look inside The

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21. Amelia's Middle-School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss (except for words and pictures by Amelia) 80pp. RL 5

Wow! It's hard to believe that Marissa Moss's creation, Amelia and her composition book/diary, first hit the shelves 20 years ago! Amelia was not new to me, having just started as a children's bookseller, and having a daughter and a collection of American Girl dolls. Amelia and her notebooks have had a variety of publishers, starting with Tricycle Press. After publishing an excerpt from

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22. Poetry Friday: Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

- Robert Frost

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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23. Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

A boy with a broken finger who quietly suffers under the weight of his father's cruel words. A girl desperate to fit in. The teenage boy who dates a girl in public and a boy in private. A young man who is counting the days until he's 21. A teacher struggling to get her students' respect.

Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles tells all these stories and more. The book contains ten short stories total, with each character's tale roughly 40 pages long. The storylines overlap and connect, woven together by setting - all of the stories take place in the same town, on the same day - as strangers, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and classmates interact, ignore, confront, and combust.

Set aside some time for this book, because once you've finished reading it, you may feel compelled to read it again! If you read this book a second time, you will pick up on even more of the connections, causes, and consequences, just like when you read a mystery for the second time, you pick up on more of the clues because you already know the identity (and intentions) of the murderer.

The author said that this book was inspired by a stranger who flipped off her family while driving down the road. That symbol of disrespect is in each of the stories, which may make some parents or teachers hesitate, but don't be worried - overall, the book is fairly PG.

Read Between the Lines is both frank and considerate, honest in its depiction of emotional abuse, intolerance, secrets, and hierarchies within families, classrooms, and communities. Though they have different backgrounds and different interests, each character is trying to find a place for herself or himself in the world, and there's something universal in that search for identity and belonging. The point of the book is to pause, to think, to consider, to look, to look again: we don't always know what's happened to others to make them act or react the way they do; we can't read their minds, we don't know what their day has been like or what their home situation is, but if we take a moment to consider other people's feelings, to respect their space and hear their side of the story, we might be find we are more alike and more connected that we think.

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24. All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers' latest novel All the Rage begins in third-person narrative, detailing what happened to a girl at a party - at a table - in a truck - at the hands of the boy she thought she liked. Within three short pages, we learn this all happened a year ago, that this is a flashback, as we abruptly shift to first-person narrative and are brought into the here and now, where and when something has taken place that makes same girl feel even more ashamed and lost.

The action then shifts back in time two weeks and goes from there. Just two few weeks. Less than half a month. Not a lot of time, right? And yet so much can and will and does happen in that time.

A year ago, Romy was raped by a golden boy, the son of the town sheriff. Her complaints tossed aside like so much dirt, the case not pursued, Romy lost the respect of her peers, who think she made it all up, and her best friend, who is dating the sheriff's other son. Thankfully, Romy has the support of her mother - though they aren't extremely close, as Romy keeps everyone at arm's length - and she makes it through every school day with gritted teeth. At night, she escapes to her job at a restaurant at the next town over, where her reputation doesn't follow her like a cloud of dust.

The supporting characters in this book feel very real and distinct. For example, Todd, Romy's mother's boyfriend. If this were a film, I'd put Clayne Crawford or Christian Kane in that role in a heartbeat. I appreciated the realistic depiction of his chronic pain and condition, and I hope it makes people think twice before they call someone in that position "lazy." Throughout the book, Romy's mother's attempts to connect with her daughter are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, particularly the scene at The Barn (picture Big Lots!) and what comes after. If this were a film, smart actresses that fit Romy's mom's type and age would be doing everything they could to audition for that role. Then there's Leon, Romy's good-hearted co-worker who likes her, as well as his welcoming older sister and brother-in-law, who are preparing for the arrival of their first child. (Romy's reaction to that news is painful: she hopes for their sake it's not a girl.)

This feels like Courtney Summers' most mature work to date. Not to say her previous books were not mature - far from it; please read her debut novel Cracked Up to Be, followed by Some Girls Are, and on from there - but there's something even more grounded here, in the word choice of the author, the pacing of the story, and the mentality/narrative of the protagonist. "It's like a Sarah Dessen novel written by Courtney Summers," I said to a friend the day after I read it. (Then I added: "Now go read it so I can discuss it with you.")

The story could have gone in so many directions. We could have ended up in a courtroom, or a detention center, had the story focused on the pursuit of the person who attacked Romy. Or Romy could have run away, or not gotten up when she hit the ground. Instead, the book follows the story of two missing girls, only one of whom is missing in the way you suppose; the other has been gone for a long time, yet she's still there somehow - she's still here, somehow - and she tries to cover up the cracks in her foundation with red, red, red.

The story could have gone in so many directions. That's what I love about good stories and good storytellers: you can read ten books or watch ten movies or listen to ten songs with the same basic premise, but they won't be exactly the same, and the truly good ones will stand out due to the quality of the work and/or the unique sound and flavor of the author, the narrator, the singer, the artist. Summers has a distinct style, a simple and frank way of putting words down to guide readers along a train track and into a scarred soul. She usually uses first-person narrative to relate the thoughts and experiences of her protagonists, who are often burdened by secrets and losses that have shaken their strength - but it is that underpinning of strength that allows the characters to rebuild, to move forward, to strive for better.

The conclusion of All the Rage leads me to believe that Romy is going make it after all, and it is that simple thing - hope - that carries so many of us through the day, day after day. Instead of getting buried under the secrets and the pain, we should share our truths and make things better not only for ourselves, but for others. If we speak up, if we tell our stories, if we say no to what we don't want and yes to what we do want, we can have the lives we deserve and make the world safer, better, stronger, more wonderful for us all.

My favorite lines in the book include:

- ...the compliment lingers and fades. I remind myself it's nothing I have to hold or be held to. - Page 27

- Still, the way he says it to me is different than he'd say it to anyone else. Small town nuance. Something you don't learn in the city, It's knowing when hello means go away or when rough night means I know you got drunk again or when yeah, I'd love to see you, it's just so busy lately means never, never, never. - Page 37

- When Conway tells me he hopes I'm staying out of trouble what he means is I am the trouble. - Page 37

- I wonder what Leon sees when he looks at me. - Page 43

- I didn't want to see what that looked like on their faces because however they gave it back to me would come from some place I don't want any part of. - Page 53

- Sometimes I want to ask Todd how he's so good at that. Knowing more than he lets on. But I have a feeling it's from all those years he spent on the outside after his accident. When all you can do is watch, you see. - Page 128

- She doesn't even know how hard it's going to be yet, but she will, because all girls find out. - Page 263

- My heart is heavy with the weight of my body and my body is so heavy with the weight of my heart. - Page 314

- The last line of the very first section, and the last line of the book. I won't spoil them here; I'll simply say they act as bookends.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Interview: Courtney Summers (2015)
Interview: Courtney Summers (2008)
Book Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Book Review: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Book Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
What Makes Courtney Summers Smile
So You Want to Read YA? Booklist by Little Willow at Stacked

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25. The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodabaugh

I am SO in LOVE with The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodbaugh for SO many reasons. The only thing I don't like about it is that it did not exist 10 years ago when my kids were little and would have loved the projects inside. First, though, I have to commend publisher Quarry Books, creators of "high-end, beautifully designed, visual

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