Debut Novels | Six Picks

March 24, 2017

Read It Forward editors Abbe and Emma give six recommendations for debut novels! If you’re not familiar with the website, you really should check it out, there is some great content there for readers.

SYMPATHY by Olivia Sudjic

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro

RICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam

THE NEST by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR by Jennifer Ryan

DODGERS by Bill Beverly

 


Author Shorts – Andrea Davis Pinkney

March 19, 2017

Author Andrea Davis Pinkney on her career before writing, and writing process | Author Shorts– Author Andrea Davis Pinkney (A POEM FOR PETER) discusses her job as an editor at a mechanics magazine and where she finds inspiration for her characters.

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A POEM FOR PETER by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day

 

Illustrated by Steve Johnson

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.

For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

A POEM FOR PETER by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Viking Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2016).  ISBN 978-0425287682. 60p.


Judge a Book: Nickolas Butler

March 14, 2017

THE HEARTS OF MEN by Nickolas Butler | Judge a Book – Play along as Judge a Book contestants at the Brooklyn Book Festival try to figure out what Nickolas Butler’s THE HEARTS OF MEN is about ONLY by looking at its cover. Boy Scouts? An affair? Oppression?

the-hearts-of-men-by-nickolas-butler

Finalist for the 2016 Prix Médicis Etrangere*

An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp—from the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs

Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.

Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths—and the limits—of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.

The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality—and redemption.

 


Pierce Brown: 8 Great Questions

March 12, 2017

Author Pierce Brown (The Red Rising Series) answers eight great questions! All about books, naturally.

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RED RISING by Pierce Brown

The book that started it all. “A dystopian science fiction tale set on a terraformed Mars, [that] actually exceeds its prepublication praise. It will be one of the most immersive and memorable books you’ll read,” Barnes & Noble
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, BUZZFEED, AND SHELF AWARENESS

“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler
 
Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Red Rising Series


3 Defining Moments of Emperor Nero’s Life by Margaret George

March 10, 2017

3 defining moments of Emperor Nero’s life | Author Margaret George

Author Margaret George (THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO) looks at three moments in Emperor Nero’s life where he made decisions that broke with tradition.

the-confessions-of-young-nero

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THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO by Margaret George

The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman—or child.

As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become—an Emperor who became legendary.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.


Writing Advice: Scott Sigler

March 6, 2017

How journalism helped me become a novelist | Author Scott Sigler – Author Scott Sigler (ALONE) offers writing advice, drawing from the lessons he learned while working as a journalist.

Author Scott Sigler on his early writing and bookstore shopping | Author Shorts


Author Clare Mackintosh on her first significant pieces of writing

March 4, 2017

Author Clare Mackintosh (I SEE YOU) talks about her first pieces of writing that reached a wide audience, and the surprising aspects of being a writer.

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I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh

The author of the New York Times bestseller I Let You Go propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…
 
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…


Thriller Books | Six Picks

February 25, 2017

Read It Forward editors Abbe and Emma give six recommendations for thriller books!

 

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

In the Woods by Tana French

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman


Writing Advice: Author Clare Mackintosh

February 23, 2017

Author Clare Mackintosh (I SEE YOU) discusses the writing lessons she learned from twelve years as a police officer.

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Click to purchase

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh

The author of the New York Times bestseller I Let You Go propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world…
 
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her…

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

“Mackintosh scripts a hair-raising ride.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A well-crafted blend of calculated malevolence, cunning plot twists, and redemption that will appeal to fans of Sophie Hannah, Ruth Rendell, and Ruth Ware.”—Booklist (starred review)

Mackintosh’s meticulous detail to investigative accuracy and talent in weaving a thrilling tale set her work apart from others in the field.”—Kirkus Reviews

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh. Berkley (February 21, 2017).  ISBN 978-1101988299. 385p.


Paula Hawkins on 3 Real Books, 1 Fake?

February 21, 2017

Author Paula Hawkins (THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN) guesses which book is fake. Categories include books by Sue Grafton, John Grisham, YouTube stars, and the Star Wars universe. Good luck, Paula!