Author Spotlight: Jennifer Ryan 5/17

May 29, 2017

Jennifer Ryan (author of THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR) | 8 Great Questions – Jennifer Ryan (author of THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR) answers 8 Great Questions about books, words, and characters.

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For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.

An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.

Author Spotlight: Colson Whitehead 5/17

May 25, 2017

Colson Whitehead on his early writing

Author Colson Whitehead (THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD) explains how publishing think pieces at the Village Voice made him a better fiction writer.

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, (and an Oprah’s Book Club selection) the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Author Spotlight: Gideon Rachman

May 21, 2017

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Easternization by Gideon Rachman

Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond

**Named BOOK OF THE WEEK by Fareed Zakaria, CNN**

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, will be in the US for events during the week of 5/22. He is primed to discuss growing tensions with North Korea, Trump’s reversal on Xi Jinping & China and broader brush-stroke arguments about the growing shift of economic and political power away from the West and towards Asia.

· CHICAGO, IL: Chicago Council on Global Affairs – 5/22
· SAN FRANCISCO, CA: World Affairs Council San Francisco & Mechanics Institute – 5/23·
· SEATTLE, WA : Town Hall Seattle – 5/24
· NEW YORK, NY: 92nd Street – 5/25

NY Times Op Ed: How Trump Can Solve His Chinese Puzzle

“Reviewing China’s challenge to America’s decades long predominance in Asia’s waters, Mr. Rachman links it to a broader Chinese goal, led by Mr. Xi, of finally overcoming China’s so-called “century of humiliation.” This is a fascinating story…”

“This intelligent and provocative new book by [The Financial Times] leading Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Gideon Rachman, reminds us of different requirements for journalistic excellence: historical education, engagement in scholarly debates and tireless travel to interview global decision-makers.”

The fresh and persuasive argument laid out in EASTERNIZATION, contends that the rise of China is bringing to an end, the era of American dominance of world affairs. As Rachman explains, the eclipse of America is driven by a historic shift in power from the West to Asia – that is bringing to a close, 500 years of Western dominance of world affairs.

The book crisply outlines the mounting evidence for “Easternization”; catapulted by Asian countries exponential growth over the last fifty years. This escalating power-shift eastward is directly shaping the lives of people around the world, from Russia to Brazil to Ethiopia, and domestically within the U.S. – jeopardizing a tenuous peace between East and West.

EASTERNIZATION goes further to explain the appeal of Trump, Brexit and the growing wave of nationalist populism in Western countries and considers how this phenomenon will play into and escalate changes to the global balance of power. A timely preface addresses the election of Donald Trump and his pledge to “make America great again” – by returning the US to a golden era, when America’s status as the richest and most powerful nation in the world was unchallenged. Rachman argues that the Trump strategy, by failing to adapt intelligently to an irreversibly changed world, is actually likely to escalate the decline of US power around the globe – and increase the risk of instability and conflict between the major powers.

Drawing from interviews with top political and military leaders, EASTERNIZATION is an absorbing, cogent argument and a must-read for anyone interested in the underlying forces driving fiscal and political upheaval and threatening the West’s global power.

« From the Winner of the 2016 Orwell Prize and the 2016 European Press Prize Commentator Award «

“A focused delineation of the shifting center of gravity toward Asia and the need for a strenuous Western response without losing global primacy. Financial Times chief foreign affairs commentator Rachman (Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety, 2011), a recent winner of the Orwell Prize, presents a fair, astute assessment of China’s rise during the past few decades in relation to its nervous neighbors, and especially the nuanced—and highly criticized—response of President Barack Obama… Rachman carefully looks at both India’s and Russia’s roles in the global shift toward “easternization,” and he considers the American and Western response, which has been largely ineffectual since the crises of 2008…A sage, forward-seeing study to be heeded.” —KIRKUS

“Excellent… Rachman’s theme takes him on a most interesting and stimulating tour du monde. His discussion of the impact of China’s rise on south-east Asia, contrary to the great majority of accounts, is subtle and nuanced… A most informative, readable and interesting piece of work that deserves a wide readership.” —Martin Jacques, GUARDIAN

“What this book is really about, and is very good at describing,
is the growing impact of China on its neighbors, on the world” —THE ECONOMIST

“A vivid and persuasive analysis of the dramatic shifts in global power…In his timely new book, Easternization, Gideon Rachman articulates a clear and persuasive idea… [His] flair for rich anecdotes, clever writing, strong analysis and original insight are impressive… Easternization hits its mark, with a wide range of arguments and prognostications that scholars and policymakers must contemplate as we consider the coming Asian century.” —FINANCIAL TIMES

About the Author

Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times. He won the European Press Prize awards, regarded as the “European Pulitzers,” as well as the Orwell Prize, Britain’s leading award for political writing, in 2016. Before joining the Financial Times in 2006, Gideon spent 15 years as a journalist and editor at The Economist  – and he has worked as a foreign correspondent in Bangkok, Brussels, and Washington. His first book,Zero-Sum Future (2010), predicted the rise in international political tensions and turmoil that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. He is married with four children and lives in London.

EASTERNIZATION by Gideon Rachman. Other Press (April 4, 2017). ISBN: 978-1590518519. 336p.

Author Spotlight: Tasha Eurich

May 17, 2017

3 strategies for becoming more self-aware | Tasha Eurich – Tasha Eurich (organizational psychologist and author of INSIGHT) gives three tips for becoming more self-aware, based on her extensive research of highly self-aware people.

Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Tasha Eurich

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The first definitive book on the science of self-awareness, Insight is a fascinating journey into everyone’s favorite topic: themselves.

Do you understand who you really are? Or how others really see you? We all know people with a stunning lack of self-awareness—but how often do we consider whether we might have the same problem?

Research shows that self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st century—the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. Unfortunately, we are remarkably poor judges of ourselves and how we come across, and it’s rare to get candid, objective feedback from colleagues, employees, and even friends and family.

Integrating hundreds of studies with her own research and work in the Fortune 500 world, organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich shatters conventional assumptions about what it takes to truly know ourselves—like why introspection isn’t a bullet train to insight, how experience is the enemy of self-knowledge, and just how far others will go to avoid telling us the truth about ourselves. Through stories of people who’ve made dramatic gains in self-awareness, she offers surprising secrets, techniques and strategies to help readers do the same – and therefore improve their work performance, career satisfaction, leadership potential, relationships, and more.

At a time when self-awareness matters more than ever, Insight is the essential playbook surviving and thriving in an unaware world.

INSIGHT by Tasha Eurich. Crown Business (May 2, 2017). ISBN 978-0451496812. 368p.

Author Spotlight: Blake Crouch

May 10, 2017

Author Blake Crouch on his ideal writing spaces and bookstore shopping | Author Shorts – Author Blake Crouch (DARK MATTER) discusses his ideal writing environment and what books he looks for first when entering a bookstore.

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Dark Matter is now available in paperback!

A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy-

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

5/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch. Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 2, 2017). ISBN 978-1101904244. 368p.

Author Spotlight on: Abbi Waxman

April 30, 2017

How working in advertising helped me as a novelist | Abbi Waxman – Author Abbi Waxman (THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS) discusses the writing lessons she learned from years working as an ad copywriter.

About the book


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In the spirit of A Man Called Ove and Good Grief—a poignant, funny, and utterly believable novel about life and loss.

Give grief a chance . . .

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently, being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles botanical garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…

Author Spotlight on: Jeffrey Tambor

April 28, 2017

Jeffrey Tambor interviewed by his children | The Tambor Family Show – Respected thespian Jeffrey Tambor is interviewed by his children in the first and last episode of The Tambor Family Show. Topics include his storied career and his new book, ARE YOU ANYBODY?

About the book

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ARE YOU ANYBODY? by Jeffrey Tambor 

It’s rare that an actor embodies even one memorable character over the arc of a career. Jeffrey Tambor has managed to create three, beginning with Hank “Hey Now!” Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, the series created by Garry Shandling, Jeffrey’s first mentor in television. He went on to find two more show creators, Mitch Hurwitz of Arrested Development and Jill Soloway of Transparent, who shared a love of actors and taught him a lot about acting along the way.

Are You Anybody? is Tambor’s chance to discuss his creative process and immense accomplishments from a life lived onscreen. Drawing from his formative childhood years, in which he describes himself as a fat Hungarian-Jewish kid with a lisp and a depressive father to how he drew inspiration from his life to create these characters, Tambor’s memoir is funny, insightful, and uplifting, touching on comedy and the enduring chutzpah required to make it through life.