Maggie is our 'big kid' staffer! She's very passionate about her new fiction, ya and dystopian book finds. Just ask...
Most people know Judd Apatow for his laugh-out-loud comedy movies, which I'm a big fan of. The book he just released, Sick in the Head, is a compilation of interviews he has done with his fellow comedians. Everyone from Jon Stewart to Stephen Colbert, Lena Dunham to Jimmy Fallon, and loads more, shares their stories with Judd in this funny, yet surprisingly touching, book. If you are a comedy fan to any extent, you need to pick up this book.
While I was away in Denmark for a semester, I took a course about environmental crisis in literature. One of the books I wrote about in my final exam was Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. While it was required reading for school, which usually means it's a bit of a bore, this could not be more opposite. Oryx and Crake is about a world incredibly different, yet eerily similar, to our own. Snowman is the only true human left, and describes how the world has come to be in its current state. It all comes down to Crake, Snowman's genius best friend, and Oryx, the mysterious girl they both are in love with. Atwood is a master at her craft, and I'm very grateful this is the first in a trilogy so I can see what happens to these characters next.
I originally picked up this book because it’s be made into a movie and, of course, the book is always better. If I Stay is about Mia, a cellist who will soon be on her way to Julliard. Until, that it, one snowy day in Oregon when she and her family get into a horrific car accident. Both of her parents die, and Mia is left in-between the world of the living and that of the dead. It’s up to her to decide – does she pass on to the next world to join her parents and baby brother, or does she fight to stay alive?
Whenever Maggie Stiefvater comes out with a new book, I get my hands on it as soon as humanly possible. Her previous stand-alone novel, The Scorpio Races, is a permanent staff pick of mine.
Sinner is a follow-up to her bestselling series about werewolves. Has-been rock star Cole St. Clair has recently moved to Los Angeles to film a reality TV show. It just so happens to also be the city where his old flame resides. Cole struggles to balance being on camera 24/7, his pursuits of Isabel's affection, recording a new album, and the ever-present urge to turn into a wolf.
This is not a book about werewolves. It's a book about relationships, the dangers of addiction, and the power music has to heal us.
Nora lives in a refurbished farmhouse with her mom. She lives a seemingly normal high school life, until she’s stuck with the creepy kid Patch as a lab partner. He drives her insane, and science soon becomes her most dreaded subject because it means she has to put up with him for an entire hour. However, as Nora begins to learn more and more about Patch, her feelings about him change. Patch is a fallen angel – he was put on this earth to protect her. The closer they get, the more danger Nora seems to be in. Can he really do what he was sent here to do, or will he fail to keep Nora safe?
I remember learning all about the historical city of Lowell, Massachusetts, in my high school history classes. Francis Cabot Lowell, the city's founder, traveled to Europe in the early 1800s to memorize the blueprint for a cotton mill, and returned to the US to build one from scratch. The city of Lowell is touted as being the first opportunity for women to escape from the family farm and make their own income. The Daring Ladies of Lowell tells the fictional story of one such mill girl.
Alice finally has a chance at independence. She recently got a job as a mill girl, and moves to Lowell to begin her new life. She soon becomes best of friends with Lovey, a spirited girl whose antics have earned her a less-than-desirable reputation in town. When mill owner's son Samuel Fiske comes to check on things at the mill, Alice catches his eye, and a whirlwind romance begins. However, it is cut short when Lovey gets murdered, and the town becomes caught up in turmoil and scandal. Alice has to choose between her loyalties to Samuel and the mill girls, and both options have severe consequences.
What first drew me to Shotgun Lovesongs was the fact that one of its main characters was based on Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon (a childhood friend of author Nickolas Butler). However, I soon got sucked into the story because of the beautiful writing and the author's gift of describing Midwestern small-town life to a T.
Four close-knit high school friends reconvene many years later in their hometown of Little Wing, Wisconsin, to attend a wedding. Kip, the groom, is a hotshot business executive in Chicago, Lee is an indie musician who made it big, Ronny is a bronco rider who is left slightly brain damaged by a rodeo accident, and Henry is a dairy farmer who never left Little Wing. This is definitely a must read for this summer.
Nickolas Butler is going to be at the store for an event this summer - lucky us! Click here for your ticket.
Setterfield's debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, is one of my all-time favorites. I couldn't wait to read her follow-up, Bellman and Black, and it did not disappoint!
William Bellman, in a lapse of boyhood judgment, kills a crow with his slingshot. At the moment, he can only think about how his peers will look up to his mastering of the ultimate 13-year-old weapon, but the consequences of such an act will follow him until the day he dies. Dark, twisted, and mysterious, Bellman and Black will be a title that I recommend for years.
Harry was struck by lightning as a kid - sort of. The aftermath left him with scars all over his body and incredibly low self-esteem. Things seem hopeless for Harry, until he meets Johnny. Charismatic, popular, and natural born-leader, Johnny takes Harry under his wing and declares him his best friend. The boys survive middle school and high school together, and in an effort to prevent their friendship from falling apart once they go away to college, Harry suggests that the rag-tag band he created with Johnny tour the country during their last summer together. Written as a college admissions essay, this novel was unique and heart-warming. Perfect for music lovers and all those who ever wanted to be in a band.
Usually, assigned readings for school are simply things you read and try your best to understand – rarely are they books you sincerely enjoy and even rarer do you recommend them to other people.
However, A Small Place is an exception. Jamaica Kincaid grew up in Antigua, an island known only for its tourist attraction, but, in fact, holds much more. Kincaid discusses the pervasive problems her island has, as well as the distaste she has towards tourists, and the pride she holds toward her homeland. This book made me rethink how I travel and to look beneath the surface of the countries we often see as simply resorts. Enlightening!