This week's links include The Boss and his children's book, Infinite Jest as legos and a floating library.
Julia Keller's debut mystery, A Killing in the Hills, introduced prosecuting attorney Belfa “Bell” Elkins and the small Appalachian town of Acker's Gap, West Virginia. In Summer of the Dead, Keller's third mystery set in Acker's Gap, Bell faces a new murderer, as well as family challenges and the burdens of the coal mining community.
The opening acknowledgements in Summer of the Dead hint at a heartbreaking story: "Some years ago I met the wise and stalwart wife of a coal miner in McDowell County, West Virginia. She had created a place for her husband under the big kitchen table; because of his many years spent working underground, and injuries to his spine, he was only comfortable in a crouching position. The story has haunted me ever since, and it inspired a key element of this novel."
Keller shed some light on this inspiration and the questions and challenges of caretaking.
Being a small kid in a big world isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes hard to get noticed, let alone feel like anything is within your control. But three new picture books are guaranteed to encourage even the smallest children to stand up for themselves—and others.
British author Jessie Burton's first published book, The Miniaturist, has been building buzz in publishing circles since 2013, when it was one of the most sought-after books at the London Book Fair. Now this historical novel, set in a 17th-century Amsterdam that Burton evokes with great skill, is poised to win over readers.
Elizabeth Little is making waves with her clever debut mystery, Dear Daughter. Written with what our Whodunit columnist calls "one of the cheekiest voices in recent memory," Little follows a now-notorious Los Angeles socialite's investigation into her mother's grisly murder: a murder that's been pinned on her. We caught up with Little and asked her about life in LA, her favorite heroines in mystery and more in a 7 questions interview.
The last thing Emma saw before going blind was the bright, spinning colors of fireworks—and then it all went dark. In the sensitively rendered and beautifully written Blind, Emma shares her story of courage and resilience as she comes to terms with a world that is forever changed. And when her insular hometown is shaken by a local teen's suicide, Emma's own tragedy is placed in sharp relief.
Science is far from serious in Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, the first in a new series from Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs. Take one kid genius, add two hilarious robots and an archnemesis with a doomsday plan, and you've got the perfect blend of imagination and invention. But with so much hilarity and adventure, how do you choose a favorite scene? We put Scieszka and Biggs to the test.
Kate Noble's The Game and the Governess is our August Top Pick in Romance! A tale of swapped identities with plenty of Jane Austen flair, the first novel in Noble's new Regency series gives a boastful Earl a much-needed reality check. Our reviewer, Christie Ridgway, calls this Romance "a delicious treat," and the insightful, strong-willed Phoebe is a heroine readers won't soon forget. We caught up with Noble and chatted about her characters, the surprising feminism of Jane Eyre, writing for television and more in a 7 questions interview.
Shirley Parenteau's new book for young readers tells the remarkable story of 11-year-old Lexie Lewis. It's 1926, and her class has been raising money to ship a doll to the children of Japan. Lexie dreams of accompanying the doll to the farewell ceremony in San Francisco. This warm story is based on real events that occurred before World War II. The author shares the astounding and long-forgotten history of the Friendship Dolls program.
Putting a playful spin on school, these picture books depict life in the classroom as a grand adventure, filled with good friends, fun activities and teachers that are wise beyond words.
Surgeon-turned-author Gabriel Weston made her literary debut with a gripping medical memoir. In her first novel, Dirty Work, she again turns to medicine for inspiration, this time investigating one of its most morally fraught procedures: abortion. In a behind-the-book story, Weston explains why she felt drawn to explore this contentious issue, and why she believes the two sides may be closer together than we think.
Though the “overnight success” story tends to make headlines, debut novels are more often the result of years of hard work and dedication. This month, we’re highlighting four debuts that deserve some time in the spotlight.
As a new school year begins, four new titles reveal that teachers can but do change lives in classrooms every day. Chronicling how teachers adapt to change, improve their methods and even learn from their own students, these books will appeal to all those interested in the impact of education.
There’s no one way to successfully parent (if only there were—this whole parenting thing would be so much easier!). While the best advice is probably to follow your instincts and cut yourself a break when you make a mistake, these new books offer fresh, sometimes funny insight into the world’s hardest job.
A whodunit inspired by classic literature, a tour-de-force story of a conflicted artist and the latest from Robert Galbraith (also known as J.K. Rowling) make for great listening this month.