Archive for September, 2013

Hugo Award – Best SF Novel

Monday, September 30th, 2013

The winner for best novel was John Scalzi for Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas (Find this book in our catalog), described as a “sort of a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead for the SF crowd” because it “deconstructs the Star Trek mythos with a nudge-nudge-wink-wink” by focusing on “the ubiquitous disposable crewmen from USS Enterprise on the TV show, usually the first to die on any given mission.” – See more.

Catalog notes:  “Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.”(McMillan Palgrave)

Editor

Books in the News – Si-Ology 1

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Si Robertson, author of Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle (Find the book in our catalog). Was on This morning on Fox & Friends on September 16.   He was also on Dr. Oz.

Read what it says in our catalog:  “In Si-cology 101 Si recounts his outlandish tales, and weaves in an up-close look into his personal life. You’ll learn about his childhood life as the youngest son in the Robertson family, his college days, and his time in Vietnam. Si shares stories of the scores of marriage proposals he’s received in the mail (some with photos!), how he came to use a green Tupperware cup for his ever-present sweet tea, and how his cigarette smoke made a deer cough (he’s since quit smoking). And in many of these never-before-heard tales, Si openly talks about his wife Christina and two children, Scott and Trasa–who are never seen and rarely mentioned on the show. Sure to please die-hard fans and curious newbies alike, Si’s one-liners are presented alongside fun, expressive photographs, as well as photos of his family. As you learn about his behind-the-scenes life, this smattering of zany stories will have you falling over with laughter and retelling them to all your friends.”

Editor

 

Books in the News – Simple Dreams

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

On September 16, on Good Morning America interviewed Linda Ronstadt, author of Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir (Find this book in our catalog). Linda also appeared on Nightline and on Fresh Air.

This is what it says about the book in our catalog:

“Tracing the timeline of her remarkable life, Linda Ronstadt, whose forty-five year career has encompassed a wide array of musical styles, weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ’70s.

Linda Ronstadt was born into a musical family, and her childhood was filled with everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, in this beautifully crafted memoir, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.

Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folkrock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the famed Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early backup bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda went on to become the most successful female artist of the decade.

In Simple Dreams, Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success, including stories behind many of her beloved songs. And she describes it all in a voice as beautiful as the one that sang “Heart Like a Wheel”—longing, graceful, and authentic.”(Simon and Schuster)

Editor

Reading Group Suggestions

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Ingram, the book wholesaler had these reading group suggestions for September.  Click on a highlighted title to go straight to our catalog.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon.  “When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth richest black man in America, decides to open his newest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy, the owners of Brokeland Records, fear for their business until Gibson’s endeavor exposes a decades-old secret history.” (Baker & Taylor)

 

 

The Round Houseby Louise Erdrich.  “One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.” (HarperCollins)

Swimming in the Moonby Pamela Schoenewaldt.  “Italy, 1905. Fourteen-year-old Lucia and her young mother, Teresa, are servants in a magnificent villa on the Bay of Naples, where Teresa soothes their unhappy mistress with song. But volatile tempers force them to flee, exchanging their warm, gilded cage for the cold winds off Lake Erie and Cleveland’s restless immigrant quarters.

With a voice as soaring and varied as her moods, Teresa transforms herself into the Naples Nightingale on the vaudeville circuit. Clever and hardworking, Lucia blossoms in school until her mother’s demons return, fracturing Lucia’s dreams.

Yet Lucia is not alone in her struggle for a better life. All around her, friends and neighbors, new Americans, are demanding decent wages and working conditions. Lucia joins their battle, confronting risks and opportunities that will transform her and her world in ways she never imagined.” (HarperCollins)

Constance by Rosie Thomas.  “Far away from her home in England and a heartbreak she can never truly escape, Connie has carved out a new life for herself in Bali. When she hears the news that her sister Jeanette is dying, the last thing she wants is to leave her home and return to London. As a child, she was aware only of the differences between herself and her sister. One of them was dark, the other sunny. Yet they both fell in love with the same man. But with the bitterness of betrayal still between them, the sisters have to learn to forgive each other. Do the bonds of shared childhood lie deeper than they had believed? And, surrounded by family, can Connie make her peace with who she really is and who she loves?”

Editor

Some Top Forthcoming Fiction Picked By Librarians

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Baker &Taylor’s Library Reads has announced its top ten books for October. The list includes these new and forthcoming fiction titles:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. “MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection.”(Simon and Schuster)

Longbournby Jo Baker. “In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.” (Random House, Inc.)

The Lowlandby Jhumpa Lahiri. “From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.

Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan—charismatic and impulsive—finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind—including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.”

Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois. “When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful surroundings, the street food, the elusive guy next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come toArgentina to hang out with other Americans. Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape–revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA–Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see–and to believe–in each other and ourselves”(Baker & Taylor)

We Are Waterby Wally Lamb. “We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience and the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. “The author of the classic bestsellers The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a brilliant, highly anticipated new novel. A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Aloneand abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art” (Baker & Taylor)

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. “In 1927, as the Mississippi river threatens to burst its banks and engulf all in its path, two federal revenue agents investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents on the trail of a local bootlegger and make a discovery that pits them against a saboteur, forcing them to make desperate choices.”(Baker & Taylor)

 

 

Click on a highlighted title and go straight to our catalog.

Editor

Book to Movie – 12 Years a Slave

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Indiewire reported that Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave, based on the book by Solomon Northup, took this year’s Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award. The movie, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams and Michael Fassbender, has been “drawing nothing short of rave reviews.” Indiewire wrote.

Here’s what it says about the book, 12 Years a Slave, in our catalog:

“Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.” (Penguin Putnam)

 

Editor

 

Jen’s Jewels with Tracey Garvis Graves

Monday, September 16th, 2013

The best life lessons are those learned from unexpected detours in the road. Whether it’s losing a dream job or ending what you thought was a fairytale marriage, these painful experiences are tests of courage and strength. Oftentimes, the road less traveled becomes the path to happiness. Being able to come out on the other side more confident and self-assured makes the journey worthwhile. Misfortunes have a way of blossoming into some of life’s sweetest rewards. 

This month’s Jen’s Jewels Tracey Garvis Graves addresses this very topic in her latest release, Covet. It’s a relevant story about one loving couple in crisis. When Claire’s husband suddenly loses his job, she finds herself questioning the longevity of the marriage. What makes this novel so appealing is like many of us, the author has faced her own adversity in life. Luckily for Tracey, it has translated into a successful writing career.

As part of my interview, Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group, has generously donated five copies for you to win. So, be on the lookout for the trivia question. Contest winners will be randomly drawn. Good luck! Be sure to keep up-to-date on all the latest news in the publishing business by stopping by www.jennifervido.com, follow me on Facebook jennifervido.com, or on Twitter and Pinterest @JenniferVido. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewelsthe ultimate source for news on the hottest authors today.             

Jen: As a New York Times bestselling author, your path to publication is a story in itself. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the words, please briefly share with us your educational and professional background.

Tracey: Most people are surprised to learn that I have a BA in Business Administration. I did take two elective fiction writing classes in college, which I loved, but my dad felt strongly that a business degree would always come in handy (I really couldn’t argue with that!). My professional background has primarily been in Information Technology and Mortgage recruiting.

Jen: Please describe for us your “Aha!” moment when you decided to become a self-published author.

Tracey: It was less of an “Aha” moment and more of a, “now that all the literary agents have rejected me, self-publishing is my only remaining option,” kind of epiphany. Self-publishing had come a long way from the days of authors selling their books out of the trunks of their cars, but I still felt like I’d failed. But then I realized that I could let the manuscript of On the Island sit on my hard drive gathering dust, or I could self-publish it and let the readers decide if they liked it.

Jen: How did you make the transition from self-publishing to mainstream fiction with Dutton, a division of Penguin Books?

Tracey: On the Island slowly and steadily found its audience, and after it had been out for about 6 months it was featured in an Amazon promotion. The book really took off after that and ended up in the top 10 on Amazon (where it would stay for the next two months). Literary agents started reaching out to me and after I signed with Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, I received an offer for a two-book deal from Penguin. 

Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for you to write a novel? And, what is the most challenging part of the writing process?  

Tracey: Now that I’m writing full-time it takes me about 9 months to write a novel. The hardest part of the process is completing the first draft. Once I reach the revision stage it gets a little easier. It probably helps that the revision stage is my favorite part of the writing process.

Jen: Covet is a truly engrossing novel depicting the emotional journey of a young couple facing their first marital crisis. How did you arrive at the premise?

Tracey: My inspiration came from a real-life event. In the fall of 2008 my husband was in danger of being laid off. He was a valued employee and had been with his company for over fifteen years, but the recession was in full-swing and none of that mattered. I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time so the threat of losing our only source of income weighed heavily on my husband and me. Fortunately, he did not lose his job, but we knew many couples who weren’t so lucky. Most of my books start out as a question, and Covet was no different. I wondered, “What if my husband had lost his job? What if he wasn’t able to find another one? What effect would that have had on an otherwise strong marriage? The answers to those questions became the basis for Covet’s storyline. I just had to know what the outcome would be.

Jen: Claire and Chris are at a crossroad in their marriage when Chris loses his job and tailspins into depression.  How does this crisis alter the dynamics of their relationship?

Tracey: Men tend to internalize their feelings and withdraw when they’re under pressure. No matter how much Claire tried to help, it really didn’t ease Chris’s anxiety or lessen his stress. So much of Chris’s identity was wrapped up in his role as a provider. Once that was taken away he began to flounder within the framework of his and Claire’s relationship, which in turns caused their marriage to suffer. And as much as Claire loved her husband and wanted to be supportive, she was extremely vulnerable to an emotional affair because her needs weren’t being met at home. I think there are many, many women walking in Claire’s shoes right now.

Jen: Claire has Type 1 Diabetes, of which my thirteen-year-old niece Morgan also suffers. I applaud you for bringing this disease to light.  Why did you choose to incorporate it into the storyline?

Tracey: I really wanted to highlight that no matter how bad things get within a marriage, losing your spouse would truly be the worst thing that could happen. Claire’s health was something that she and Chris completely took for granted because Claire managed her disease very well. Incorporating Type 1 Diabetes into the storyline allowed me to really explore how important it is not to lose sight of what really matters.

Jen: When Chris finally lands a new job, Claire struggles with her marriage, her kids, and her disease due to her husband’s taxing new travel schedule. When she meets police officer Daniel, how does their sudden attraction change Claire’s perception of her present situation?  

Tracey: Claire’s friendship with the handsome and attentive Daniel made it easier for her to deal with the mundane aspects of her life, and the trials and tribulations of basically becoming a single parent due to Chris’s travel schedule. She felt less affected – and less bothered – by Chris’s absence because Daniel was there to fill his shoes.

Jen: In Claire’s neighborhood clique, each mom has personal issues of her own. Why does Claire not feel comfortable confiding in them concerning her troubles?

Tracey: In the book, Claire explains that she is worried about becoming fodder for the neighborhood gossip mill. Claire is going through a hard enough time as it is, and doesn’t want hers to be the family that everyone talks about.

Jen: How does Daniel’s eagerness to reach out to Claire serve as an avoidance of his private issues?

Tracey: It provides a nice diversion for Daniel. He doesn’t feel as strong a need to “get back in the game,” but at the same time he doesn’t have to be lonely, either.

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Please take us on a brief tour of your website highlighting points of interest.  

Tracey: I’m actually in the process of migrating to a new website, so I guess you could say that traceygarvisgraves.com is currently “under construction.” My new website will have much more information, including an expanded FAQ section and a tab listing all of my upcoming signings and events. 

Jen: Are you present in social media? And, what is the best way for your readers to keep abreast of the latest news?

Tracey: I am! I prefer Facebook, specifically my author page. I can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest, and at www.traceygarvisgraves.com.

Jen: Are you currently at work on your next novel? If so, what may you share with us?

Tracey: I’ve just started drafting my next book, and it’s probably my most ambitious writing project so far. It’s a fast-paced, plot-driven, contemporary romance with an element of mystery. The heroine has a three-year-old son from a previous marriage so there’s a bit of a “Jerry McGuire” feel to it that I especially love. I’m really excited about writing this story. 

Jen: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with my readers. I absolutely loved Covet. I highly recommend it to my Jen’s Jewels readers. Bravo! Best of luck in all of your future projects!

Tracey: Thank you so much for having me. I’m absolutely thrilled that you loved Chris, Claire, and Daniel’s story. Xoxo

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Tracey Garvis Graves. Please stop by your favorite bookstore, online retailer, or library branch and pick up a copy of Covet today. Better yet, how would you like to win one instead? Okay, send me the answer to the following trivia question to jensjewels@gmail.com and you’ll be entered to win!

What is the name of Claire’s husband in Covet?

In October, I will be bringing to you my interview with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams. You won’t want to miss it. Until next time…welcome to fall.

 

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

Friday, September 13th, 2013

(Find this book in our catalog)  This is the latest installment in the splendid series of crime novels featuring Chief Inspecter Gamache of the Quebec Surete.  In How the Light Gets In Gamache has for some inexplicable reason ceased to be revered as the legendary chief of Homicide and mentor at the police academy.  It is more than just simply the passing of the old guard.  For sure, the new generation of officers do not have proper respect for their chief or for his high standards, but is more than just the hubris of youth – obviously someone else is encouraging them to be disrespectful and downright insubordinate.  Gamache’s crack department has been deliberately gutted of it’s highly trained staff and he is left with just one loyal lieutenant, Inspector Lacoste.

A cloud has been hanging over Gamache since a failed raid on a terrorist cell where several of his young staff were killed or seriously injured.  A video of the raid was leaked and went viral.  It had been edited to falsely show Gamache in a very poor light, and was devastating to his traumatized staff.  It is obvious that someone very high up in the Surete has it in for Gamache. He is determined to find out who and why.

Meanwhile, Gamache has also to solve the mystery of the death of a friend of a friend from the remote and idyllic village of Three Pines. Three Pines has featured in many books of the series and becomes key to the final denouement that Gamache is inevitably being forced towards. There is also the issue of Gamache’s one-time protege, whose addictions and hatred of Gamache are being used by his enemies to help bring Gamache down, and the further mystery of the apparent suicide of a secretary at the Ministry of Transport.

I have always apreciated this series for the way each book contains several different strands which eventually end up being related in unexpected ways.  The New York Times said, “Penny writes with grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions.”  At the same time the mysteries are complex and engaging. In How the Light Gets In the crime, the setting, the characters and the plot pull the reader to the startling and violent conclusion.  Until the very end you have no hope that Gamache will prevail. When the final blow is struck you are left wondering if he really has.

This could be the end of the series, but I hope it is not.  I hope you also come to appreciate the crime novels of Louise Penny as I do.

Editor

Seamus Heaney

Monday, September 9th, 2013

(Find this book in our catalog)  On Friday, August 30, the world grew a little darker with the passing of Seamus Heaney, possibly Ireland’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats.   A winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, he wrote poetry, critical essays, and a translation of Beowulf. He wrote frequently of a rural life that reflected his upbringing on a farm near Belfast.  As a Roman Catholic in a Protestant land, his poems were often informed by the great Troubles surrounding him and his people.  HCPL is fortunate to own some of his works, including Human Chain, District and Circle, and his translation of Beowulf. In addition, his poetry can be found in numerous anthologies also owned by the library, including The  Word Exchange and Poetry Speaks to Children.

D. L. S.

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s Books of the Year

Friday, September 6th, 2013

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s books of the year for adults are:

Fiction: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (Find in our catalog).  “Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with “the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet” (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named #1 Fiction Book of the Year” by Time magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing itself – with more than a million copies in print – as a modern classic. In addition to the Pulitzer, Díaz has won a host of major awards and prizes, including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.

Now Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in the New York Times-Bestselling This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.” (Penguin Putnam)

Nonfiction: Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Soloman (Find in our catalog).  “From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.” (Simon and Schuster)

Editor

The awards will be given out at a banquet in Somerset, N.J., on Tuesday, October 1, during NAIBA’s fall conference.

Editor