Sadie Jones, author of the award-winning The Outcasts, heads into new, weird territory with her third novel, The Uninvited Guests.
The story takes place over a single day in the crumbling Sterne estate, somewhere in the pre-WWI English countryside. A train derailment disrupts the day's party, and what follows is "a kind of prickly menace and biting wit . . . [that] builds to a horrible crescendo in a scene with echoes of the war to come."
Check out our Q&A with Jones, where she chats about The Uninvited Guests and its pre-war English setting:
I simply needed a time we perceive as beautiful and romantic and yet trembles on the brink of the unknown. Western civilization was at a peak, both culturally and scientifically; to me that generation sits like white icing on the dark slag heap of the century before it, looking blindly toward the new century, the mass suicide of the Great War.
Is Sadie Jones' newest on your list?
That's the thought behind the Buried Life, a group of four grads who set out to achieve the ultimate bucket list: every single crazy thing they wanted to do. Their cross-country Winnebago tour became an MTV reality show and led to What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?. The book is a graphic collection of illustrated dreams of the Buried Life's fans, plus heartfelt essays by the guys and more.
Meet the four boys who make up the Buried Life in the book trailer from Artisan books:
Is this a book you'd give to a graduate? Do you wish you'd received it when you graduated?
Mother's Day is this Sunday! Our May issue features five great books for moms (grandmothers and expecting moms, too!). Below are the book trailers for two of these books: Up by Patricia Ellis Herr and Bloom by Kelle Hampton.
Up is the memoir of a mom and her pint-sized hiking partner. Patricia Ellis Herr and her five-year-old daughter climbed nearly 50 New England peaks during their year-and-a-half adventure. Our reviewer called it "half hiking reference manual and half meditation on how to instill independence and confidence at a young age—an odd and oddly compelling combination."
Kelle Hampton, best known for her blog Enjoying the Small Things, shares the story of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome. Her memoir, Bloom, is a "searing and brave portrait of her baby’s first year . . . [that] gives a whole new meaning to the term 'open book.'"
No sugar-coated motherhood stories here. Will you check these out? Do you know a mom who would love to read one of these incredible memoirs?
Don't feel bad if Jenny Lawson, aka the Bloggess, makes you laugh at terrible things (dead pets, etc.). It's not your fault—her life has been ridiculous, her humor is questionable and her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, captures it all.
Here's what our reviewer had to say about Lawson's riotous book:
"This is the kind of book where, once you’ve got the lay of the land, a sentence like '[My neighbor] seemed more concerned this time, possibly because I was belting out Bonnie Tyler and crying while swinging a machete over a partially disturbed grave' makes total sense. It might also make you laugh and cry simultaneously, since the grave held Lawson’s beloved pug and she was swinging at vultures who were trying to dig him up. If that doesn’t make you laugh, there’s a story about her multiple miscarriages and the subsequent birth of her daughter that’s an absolute howler. No, seriously. Plus: Chupacabras!"
Is this a must-read?
Tania Head was one of the most famous survivors of 9/11. She barely escaped the collapse of the south tower while her fiancé perished in the north tower. She became a lifeline for fellow survivors through the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network.
But Tania lied.
The Woman Who Wasn't There captures her story of deception and betrayal that catapulted her into the spotlight. Author Robin Gaby Fisher collaborated with Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., a filmmaker Tania approached to make a documentary for the Survivors' Network—the same documentary that began to unravel her story in 2007.
Check out the book trailer from Simon & Schuster:
This book has my attention, not just because of the "what was she thinking?" aspect (and subsequent anger from everyone), but also because our reviewer had this to say:
"But what causes someone to exploit such a tragic event? Head never applied for victim compensation, and her work with the Network was voluntary. In the end, all she gained was a small measure of fame and intimate friendships with survivors. Ultimately, The Woman Who Wasn’t There forces us to examine our need for connection and purpose by any means necessary."
Our April Top Pick in Nonfiction is Wild, the magnificent memoir by Cheryl Strayed. After the death of her mother, Strayed decided to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. She starts her journey alone, grieving and misguided (her pack weighs more than 70 pounds) but discovers "a visionary state of solitude" while battling blisters and the elements. Writes our reviewer:
Wild is never simply a survival memoir. . . It is also a guidebook for living in the world, introducing a vibrant new American voice with a deceptively simple message: Go outside and take a hike.
Is this a memoir you will check out?
Grace McCleen's debut novel, The Land of Decoration, looks at the world through a unique set of eyes—those of a 10-year-old girl who has created a model of the Promised Land in her bedroom. It's one of our most buzzed-about debuts of 2012 and one of our 30 most anticipated books of 2012.
In our interview with the author, McCleen touches on childhood, everyday miracles and spirituality:
"And there are people these days who believe that miracles still happen. I’m not sure. . . . I could see how something could appear to be a miracle, but also make scientific sense. Now I’m open to many things which I wasn’t when I believed in a single God.”
The Land of Decoration is out now! Fans of Emma Donoghue's Room should check it out – will you?
Listen up, nail-biters, smokers and refrigerator grazers! With the help of award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg and his book The Power of Habit, it's time to re-think our habits and how they can be changed.
Duhigg's discoveries promise to help you transform your life by using the same breakthrough science that was crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Martin Luther King Jr. and Febreeze.
Duhigg answered some of our habit questions in a Q&A! Find out what he means when he says, "The brain is incredibly plastic."
In the book trailer for The Power of Habit, Duhigg shows how he experimented with and conquered one of his own habits:
As it turns out, you can teach old dogs new tricks.
Readers: What habit do you want to change? Are you interested in Duhigg's book?
The world always seems to need saving, doesn't it? In Nick Harkaway's second novel, Angelmaker, it's business as usual—not. It's a steampunk/mobster noir/thriller that tosses clockmaker Joseph Spork into a race against time (get it?) to halt the oncoming end of days.
Here's what our reviewer had to say:
Angelmaker is the stuff that steampunk is made of—the heroes are stalwart, the antagonist so villainous he makes even the worst Bond foe seem charmingly amateurish, and the threat monstrously dire. Just as importantly given the genre it inhabits, the devices, constructs and “doodahs” created, used and coveted by all sides involved are marvelously varied, inventive, and either inspiring or sinister (and sometimes both).
What do you think of Angelmaker?
I first discovered Lady Duff Gordon as a character in Kate Pullinger's The Mistress of Nothing, and so it came as no surprise to see the very real fashion designer appear in another work of fiction, Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker. I knew Gordon trained the first fashion models and founded the catwalk, but I had no idea she was one of the most famous survivors of the Titanic.
Historical fiction fans who have yet to enjoy a novel starring hard-nosed yet charismatic Gordon are missing out. The Dressmaker, which unfolds before, during and after the sinking, incorporates Gordon's real testimony from the Titanic trials.
Check out the book trailer from Doubleday:
Who is your favorite real historical figure in a novel?