Books & Authors

Featured Author Event: Jane Green

Jane Green, the “undisputed queen of the beach read,” will discuss and sign copies of her new novel THE SUNSHINE SISTERS (Berkley), in conversation with fellow Penguin Random House author Jean Hanff Korelitz, on Tuesday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Books are Magic in Brooklyn.  

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THE SUNSHINE SISTERS tells the story of three estranged sisters who return home upon the news of their mother’s serious illness. Although the three have never been close, they come together as they attempt to fulfill their mother’s last wishes—all while fighting through old jealousies and unspoken secret fears. The book has already been praised by People as “a warm, satisfying tale” and The Washington Post as a novel “with clear prose . . . a breezy story.” The author of eighteen novels, seventeen of which are New York Times bestsellers, Ms. Green has books published in over thirty-one languages that have sold more than ten million copies globally. Her other works include FALLING (Berkley), THE BEACH HOUSE (Berkley), and DUNE ROAD (Berkley). Formerly a UK journalist, Ms. Green used to have a radio show on BBC Radio London, and regularly appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart Show, and The Today Show.  Additionally, she has been a part of the ABC news team, does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in England’s longest running weekly magazine. Ms. Green, a cancer survivor, says she believes that “gratitude and focusing on the good in life is the secret to happiness,” a sentiment that certainly rings true in many of her novels.

Friday Reads: Summertime!

Summertime and the livin’ is…reading (with apologies to Ella Fitzgerald!). It’s Friday and we’ve got scintillating books for all ages to dip into this weekend – that is, when you aren’t dipping into the pool, the sea or the guacamole! You’ll be happy to find these waiting on your towel or nightstand:

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  FEATURED TITLES The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle GanekTHE SUMMER WE READ GATSBY: A NOVEL by Danielle Ganek When two estranged sisters inherit a Hamptons beach house, they search for fortune but find love instead.     The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio HillTHE SUMMER OF DEAD TOYS: A THRILLER by Antonio Hill A riveting thriller set in steamy Barcelona described by John Verdon as “an amazing debut.” Inspector Hector Salgado is a transplanted Argentine living in Barcelona. He’s got a fiery temper, a runaway wife, and would rather be watching old films than interacting with people. He’s also a brilliant cop.   Sweet Summer by Bebe Moore CampbellSWEET SUMMER: GROWING UP WITH AND WITHOUT MY DAD by Bebe Moore Campbell Written with the narrative force of fiction and the lyrical motion of poetry, SWEET SUMMER is Bebe Moore Campbell’s elegy to her extraordinary father.     Summer Lies by Bernhard SchlinkSUMMER LIES: STORIES by Bernhard Schlink, Carol Janeway From Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author of The Reader, come seven provocative and masterfully calibrated stories. A keen dissection of the ways in which we play with truth and less-than-truth in our lives. Summer Lies brims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a mélange of beautifully rendered relationships.   Love and Summer by William TrevorLOVE AND SUMMER: A NOVEL by William Trevor In spare, exquisite prose, master storyteller William Trevor presents a haunting love story about the choices of the heart, and the passions and frustrations of three lives during one long summer.     FOR YOUNGER READERS Summer of Supernovas by Darcy WoodsSUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods; Ages 14 And Up “Whether or not you believe in fate or reading the stars, if you believe in happiness and love to laugh, read Summer of Supernovas.” —Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one zodiac-obsessed teen as she struggles to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.   The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana ReinhardtTHE SUMMER I LEARNED TO FLY by Dana Reinhardt; Ages 10 And Up Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Drew’s days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane.   The Summer of the Swans by Betsy ByarsTHE SUMMER OF THE SWANS (Puffin Modern Classics) by Betsy Byars; Ages 8 to 12 Sara’s life has always flowed smoothly, like the gliding swans on the lake, until her little brother Charlie disappears. Then Sara is forced to see her life in a whole new way.     For more information on these and other summer titles, visit the collection summer

John Green, Internationally Bestselling Author, to Publish New Novel with Penguin Young Readers

Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, will publish a new novel by #1 internationally bestselling author John Green, whose works have been translated into 54 languages with more than 45 million copies in print worldwide. Scheduled for publication on October 10, 2017, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN is the story of sixteen-year-old Aza

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Holmes, a young woman looking for clues in the disappearance of a fugitive billionaire, while grappling with mental illness. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN will have a first print run of 1.5 million copies. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN begins with a fugitive billionaire and a cash reward. It is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green tells Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity. “I’ve been working on TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN for years, and I’m so excited to share it with readers this October,” says John Green. “This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.” [caption id="attachment_6914" align="alignright" width="300"] John Green, Photo by Marina Waters[/caption] Julie Strauss-Gabel, President and Publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers, adds, “As with all of John’s work, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN is both a singularly personal read and a catalyst for conversation and community. It is with tremendous pride and great excitement that his longtime Penguin family can finally shout this news to the world.” The publication of TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN comes nearly six years after the release of the instant #1 bestseller THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, which went on to sell more than 23 million copies worldwide. Named TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012, the novel was included in ‘best of’ lists from Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Atlantic Wire, GoodReads, Kirkus, BookPage, Booklist, School Library Journaland Publishers Weekly. John Green was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and Entertainment Weekly named him as one of their Entertainers of the Year. In June 2014, the movie adaptation of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was released, directed by Josh Boone, produced by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill, and starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff. Paper Towns, directed by Jake Schreier and starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, followed in the summer of 2015, again from Fox 2000 and Temple Hill. John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of LOOKING FOR ALASKA, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, PAPER TOWNS, WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON (with David Levithan), and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers) and co-created the online educational series CrashCourse (youtube.com/crashcourse). You can join the millions who follow him on Twitter @johngreen and Instagram @johngreenwritesbooks or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com.

There’s a Book for That: Baseball!

We are now officially into Summer – the season of ice cream, pool parties, beaches and baseball. To celebrate the sport of summer, we’ve put together a list of books about baseball, past and present.

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  FEATURED TITLES The Grind by Barry SvrlugaTHE GRIND:  INSIDE BASEBALL’S ENDLESS SEASON by Barry Svrluga Shortlisted for the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing In The Grind, Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post’s national baseball correspondent, zooms in on the 2014 Washington Nationals, reporting not just on the roster’s star players, but also on the typically invisible supporting cast who each have their own sacrifices to make and schedules to keep.   The Last Hero by Howard BryantTHE LAST HERO:  A LIFE OF HENRY AARON by Howard Bryant In the thirty-four years since his retirement, Henry (Hank) Aaron’s reputation has only grown in magnitude. But his influence extends beyond statistics, and at long last here is the first definitive biography of one of baseball’s immortal figures.     Baseball by Ron MartrianoBASEBALL:  GREAT RECORDS, WEIRD HAPPENINGS, ODD FACTS, AMAZING MOMENTS, & OTHER COOL STUFF by Ron Martriano Jam-packed with cool baseball trivia, history-making records, unforgettable moments, and wacky true tales of your favorite games, players and events. This book hits a grand slam right out of the park!     Shades of Glory by Lawrence D. HoganSHADES OF GLORY:  THE NEGRO LEAGUES AND THE STORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN BASEBALL by Lawrence D. Hogan Celebrating African America’s contribution to our great national pastime, this comprehensive, lively history combines vivid narrative, visual impact, and a unique statistical component, to recreate the excitement and passion of the Negro Leagues. Packed with stories, biographical essays, scores of archival photographs and other evocative artifacts, it is an important contribution to sports history and a wonderful tribute to the players and teams who wrote a unique chapter in the annals of baseball and American culture.   Casey Stengel by Marty AppelCASEY STENGEL:  BASEBALL’S GREATEST CHARACTER by Marty Appel Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and named “Baseball’s Greatest Character” by MLB Network’s Prime 9Casey Stengel is a biography that will be treasured by fans of our national pastime.     A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George WillA NICE LITTLE PLACE ON THE NORTH SIDE by George F. Will In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it enters its second century. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history?   9780804190015THE CUBS WAY by Tom Verducci With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.   For more baseball books, visit the Edelweiss collection

Sebastian Barry is First Double Winner of the Walter Scott Prize

Viking/Penguin author Sebastian Barry’s novel, DAYS WITHOUT END, has won the Walter Scott Prize, awarded annually to the best UK, Irish and Commonwealth novel set at least 60 years ago.  Mr. Barry is the first double winner of the Scott Prize, which he previously won in 2012 for his novel, ON CANAAN’S SIDE

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“It’s difficult to itemize my simple childish joy at receiving this prize; that the judges did all this work to make a 61-year-old man feel 12 again,” said Mr. Barry. The judges commented: “With all seven books on the shortlist having strong supporters on the judging panel who championed their cause in a protracted and passionate debate about the nature and purpose of historical fiction, the very books themselves seemed to fight tooth and nail for the accolade.  Eventually, DAYS WITHOUT END took the lead, for the glorious and unusual story; the seamlessly interwoven period research; and above all for the unfaltering power and authenticity of the narrative voice, a voice no reader is likely to forget.” Narrated by Irish immigrant Thomas McNulty, who has fled the Great Famine in Ireland for the United States, DAYS WITHOUT END takes in an epic sweep of his adopted land’s history and landscape.  McNulty and his lover John Cole travel the country in the 1850s to fight in the American Indian wars and ultimately the Civil War. The Walter Scott Prize is the second major accolade for DAYS WITHOUT END this year, after the novel won the Costa Book of the Year award in January (read the Igloo article here.) The Costa judges called it “a miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history.”
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Talking About THE GRACE OF DOGS, Pt. 2: Convergent’s David Kopp on The Making of a Tail Wagger

David Kopp, Vice President, Executive Editor, Convergent Books, edited Andrew Root’s book, THE GRACE OF DOGS, and was instantly drawn into this engaging story – a heart-warming, enlightening read for anyone who has ever owned, loved and lost a dog, and who wanted to further explore the full scope of the human-dog relationship, including “how our dogs shape us, and how they serve as ‘teachers,’ of sorts.”  

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Mr. Kopp worked closely with Dr. Root, shepherding this project from proposal to finished book.  Here David offers thoughtful responses to questions about the editor/author process and what separates this book from the pack. What distinguishes THE GRACE OF DOGS from the scores of dog books that are on the market now? We wanted to take this tail wagger of a book home the moment we saw the proposal. Here was a dog lover, dad and seminary prof who wanted to explore the deep and even unique connections many of us feel with our dogs. We particularly loved that Andy oriented his scholarly narrative in his own deeply felt experience. For example, he opens his story with a scene that many can relate to—a room at the vet’s office, where he and his family are gathered to say tearful goodbyes to a beloved family member—Kirby, their faithful Black Lab. Just before they head home, eight-year-old Owen spontaneously enacts a surprising ritual. He kneels, lays a doggie treat on Kirby’s now lifeless body, and then, dipping his finger in a paper cup of water, reverently makes the sign of the cross on Kirby’s forehead. “That’s the moment,” Root writes, “that I couldn’t shake.” Great news for readers that he couldn’t!  From there the author sets about to explore questions like: What in the world just happened here? A child intuiting a shared spiritual connection with a dog? If a dog is nothing more than a furry object, why did my son’s sacramental act feel so appropriate? And why did the loss of Kirby hurt so bad? There have been a lot of books exploring our relationship with dogs on the level of science or everyday experience, but Andy’s book was the first we’d seen that tapped into the spiritual component of that relationship in such a satisfying way. He explores the meaning of spirit and soul as well as the mutually beneficial evolutionary development of dog and humans. And he tackles the kitchen table questions that kids ask, most notably: Do dogs go to heaven? (Spoiler alert: yes.) But deeper than that, he shows how our dogs shape us, and how they serve as “teachers” of sorts for the best faith has to offer—reminding us that we are worthy of receiving unconditional love and capable of extending it to others. How would you describe the editor/author process and experience of working with Andrew? Andy is a theologian by training, but he draws on so many threads in this book: neuroscience, history, the writings of serious religious thinkers like John Calvin and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and of course, the story of Andy’s family and their black lab. All to say he brought of a lot of soul to his writing. Our main task with Andy was finding a way to unspool his argument in a way that would feel like a reading adventure to the average reader—not, in other words, like a scholar building a case for his premise. And of course we wanted to wrap all his thoughtful research into a heartwarming read that captures the magic we sense when we spend time with our dogs. Fortunately, Andy brought consummate skills as story teller, thinker, entertainer, dad and dog lover to the task. In keeping with our editorial vision at Convergent, we all wanted to deliver a non-religious but spiritually-informed conversation to readers in the general market. So, for example, we didn’t think readers would care about proving spirituality for spirituality’s sake, or for that matter, using chapter and verse to “prove” a particular point of view.  We knew they would be reading THE GRACE OF DOGS with their own pet in mind—their own wonderings about why their dog-human relationship feels (or felt) so unique, and can go so deep.  We figured readers simply want more insight into perhaps that persistent feeling that their relationship with their dog is or was something more than the material, something mysterious, and something that makes life more worth living. You don’t really need to use the word “spiritual” to accomplish that.

Ruta Sepetys’ SALT TO THE SEA Wins CILIP Carnegie Medal for Best Children’s Writing

salt to the seaPenguin Young Readers author Ruta Sepetys has won the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal, one of the UK’s most prestigious children’s literary awards, for her novel SALT TO THE SEA (Philomel Books/Puffin), a fictionalized account of the sinking of German ocean liner the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945.  

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Of SALT TO THE SEA, the judges said that “not one of us knew about this real-life disaster and it shows how history is skewed towards the victor.” They added: “[The book] has been selected because of the powerful, crafted language, the tight, carefully shaped plot and the range of moods evoked throughout.” Ms. Sepetys told The Guardian: “When I interviewed people during my research, some told me not to bother with the book, that the world had forgotten them. The interest in the novel confirms that through characters and story, historical statistics become human and suddenly we care for those we’ve never met. My work sits on the shoulders of nonfiction, memoir and testimony. If a reader is interested in my novels, it’s my hope that they will feel compelled to research the facts behind the fiction.” The CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Carnegie Medal is annually awarded by UK children’s librarians for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people and published in the prior year, Congratulations to Ms. Sepetys as well as her editor and publisher.

New FERDINAND Movie Trailer and Poster Revealed

ferndinandTHE STORY OF FERDINAND by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson, has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936. This timeless classic book, published by Puffin, has been adapted for big screen, with the animated feature film to be released this fall.  20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios have revealed the first official trailer and movie poster. 

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Ferdinand is a giant bull with a big heart.  While all of the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights, Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover. Watch the trailer: During World War II, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland. The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi once called THE STORY OF FERDINAND his favorite book. In 1938, the book was first adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film called Ferdinand the Bull that won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). The upcoming movie, Ferdinand, will be released by 20th Century Fox in theaters nationwide on December 15.

Talking About THE GRACE OF DOGS, Pt. 1: Author Andrew Root on Our Deep Canine Connections

the grace of dogsThe joy of having a dog family member cannot be easily measured, nor can the pain felt when the time comes to say goodbye to a furry loved one.  Andrew Root offers illuminating, personal insights into this human-dog dynamic in his book, THE GRACE OF DOGS: A Boy, A Black Lab, and A Father’s Search for the Canine Soul, published by Convergent, a Crown Publishing Group imprint, on Tuesday, June 20.   

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Dr. Root was moved to begin writing down his thoughts after his family gathered in the vet’s office to grieve losing their beloved Labrador, Kirby. Dr. Root’s eight-year-old son, Owen, led the family in a Christian ritual at their dog’s burial service, inspiring the author to draw on biology, history, theology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), and paleontology to trace how in our mutual evolution, humans and dogs have so often helped each other to become more fully ourselves. In the first of a two-part article about this special book, Dr. Root gives thoughtful responses to the following questions: How would you describe the creation of THE GRACE OF DOGS and how the book evolved while you were writing it? I always had a sense that people have deep connections to their dogs, but Kirby was the first dog that I owned that I watched my kids really fall in love with. Watching him get put down, I was really shocked with the grief of the experience. How, in the midst of that grief, there were these overtones of the spiritual. So the book was really born from that – that dark experience of losing, not something, not some kind of object that you cared about or you liked, but something that you actually loved. And that experience led to the book’s driving question: How deep is this connection, how significant is it? This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on a book. My first draft was sort of a very academic book using lofty diction. I think as an academic you in some ways write past the reader to this silent community of other people that somehow will validate your work, and it was a real kind of exorcism for me to just write for an everyday reader. Dave (Kopp) and Derek (Reed) at Convergent worked really hard to make it a good read. Every time I got an e-mail from them I swore under my breath knowing there would be more work to do, but I’m incredibly thankful for all their feedback. What are the key revelations about the dogs we love do you hope readers take to heart while reading your book? I hope readers see—even more than they do now—how unique dogs actually are. Dogs have had incredible relationships with human beings for tens of thousands of years, maybe even as far back as our own evolutionary origins, in which dogs played a part in helping us be human. I think they still play that part today. Maybe my greatest hope would be that, as people read, they keep looking at the dog curled up at their feet and are struck by the sense that there’s something mystical about these ordinary beasts—these creatures that can tell when we’re mad, can tell when we’re sad, and want to be with us. The relationships we have with our dogs is a gift—maybe even a gift from God—because it’s filled with grace, it’s freely given. A dog doesn’t look at your bank account or the number on a scale or how many degrees you have. It doesn’t even really care what other people think about you. Your dog simply desires to give you love and companionship, and that’s something we profoundly need.

David Grossman’s A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR Wins Man Booker International Prize

man booker 2017The winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize is David Grossman for A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR, published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, and Jonathan Cape in the U.K., it was announced Wednesday night in London.  Mr. Grossman, bestselling Israeli author of fiction, nonfiction

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and children’s literature, shared the award with the book’s English-language translator, Jessica Cohen, the pair dividing the most prestigious prize for translated fiction in the U.K.   Congratulations to Mr. Grossman and his publisher, as well as Ms. Cohen. Nick Barley, chair of the 2017 judging panel, commented, “David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly.  A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR shines a spotlight on the effects of grief, without any hint of sentimentality. The central character is challenging and flawed, but completely compelling. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft.” david grossmanA HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR is searing short novel about the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape—one that will alter the lives of many of those in attendance. Prior Man Booker International Prize winners include Penguin Random House authors Han Kang (in 2016, the first year the Prize was awarded to a single book rather than an author’s body of work), Chinua Achebe (in 2007) and Alice Munro (in 2009).