friday reads

Friday Reads: Banned Books

Banned Books Week runs next week from September 24 – September 30, 2017 . A celebration of the freedom to read and to heighten awareness for book censorship, Banned Books Week was started in 1982 as a response to a sudden increase in book challenges. For this year’s celebration, the coalition of organizations that sponsors Banned Books Week will emphasize the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read. In honor of the occasion, we’re highlighting classic and modern classic novels that have been challenged, along with the reason for the challenge(s). Exercise your right to read!

  INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison: Challenge reason:  Strong language Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.   The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XTHE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X by Malcolm X Challenge reason:  Offensive content In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement.   Anne Frank by Anne FrankANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank:  Challenge reason:  Explicit language (anatomical details) Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.   Beloved by Toni MorrisonBELOVED by Toni Morrison: Challenge reason:  Explicit content Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.   Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainTHE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain: Challenge reason:  Explicit/offensive language The classic boyhood adventure tale, updated with a new introduction by noted Mark Twain scholar R. Kent Rasmussen and a foreword by Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of Imagination.   The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootTHE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot: Challenge reason:  Graphic content/descriptions Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.   The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniTHE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini: Challenge reason:  Explicit content Since its publication in 2003 Kite Runner has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature, touching millions of readers, and launching the career of one of America’s most treasured writers.   Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiPERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi: Challenge reason:  Objectionable content Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.   The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonTHE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon: Challenge reason:  Explicit content and language Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing. For more information, visit the Banned Books Week website and the Edelweiss collection

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Friday Reads: Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15th and runs through October 15th during which time we honor the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture. September 15th marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period.

 Hispanic Heritage Month goes back to 1968. In honor of the occasion we’ve selected the following memoirs which offer rich, colorful and sometimes difficult portrayals. For more information visit:   FEATURED TITLES:   Rita Moreno by Rita MorenoRITA MORENO: A MEMOIR by Rita Moreno In this New York Times bestselling memoir, Rita Moreno shares her remarkable journey from a young girl with simple beginnings in Puerto Rico to Hollywood legend—and one of the few performers, and the only Hispanic, to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys. (Also available in a Spanish edition)   My Beloved World by Sonia SotomayorMY BELOVED WORLD by Sonia Sotomayor An instant American icon—the first Hispanic on the US Supreme Court—tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir. With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. (Also available in a Spanish edition)   Thoughts Without Cigarettes by Oscar HijuelosTHOUGHTS WITHOUT CIGARETTES: A MEMOIR by Oscar Hijuelos Born in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing and to the real people and places that have influenced his life and literature.   A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy HernandezA CUP OF WATER UNDER MY BED: A MEMOIR by Daisy Hernandez A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life. In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race.   American Chica by Marie AranaAMERICAN CHICA: TWO WORLDS, ONE CHILDHOOD by Marie Arana In her father’s Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother’s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken’s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait. A finalist for the National Book Award!   DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS by Piri ThomasDOWN THESE MEAN STREETS by Piri Thomas Thirtieth Anniversary Edition Thirty years ago Piri Thomas made literary history with this lacerating, lyrical memoir of his coming of age on the streets of Spanish Harlem. Here is the testament of a born outsider: a Puerto Rican in English-speaking America; a dark-skinned morenito in a family that refused to acknowledge its African blood. It is an unsparing document of Thomas’s plunge into the deadly consolations of drugs, street fighting, and armed robbery—a descent that ended when the twenty-two-year-old Piri was sent to prison for shooting a cop.   THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A BROWN BUFFALO by Oscar Zeta Acosta Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano lawyer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson’s “Dr. Gonzo.” Written with uninhibited candor and manic energy, here is Acosta’s own account of coming of age as a Chicano in the psychedelic sixties. It is a landmark of contemporary Hispanic-American literature, at once ribald, surreal, and unmistakably authentic.   An American Son by Marco RubioAN AMERICAN SON: A MEMOIR by Marco Rubio Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. Here is the story of his unlikely journey. Florida Senator Marco Rubio electrified the 2012 Republican National Convention by telling the story of his parents, who were struggling immigrants from Cuba. They embraced their new country and taught their children to appreciate its unique opportunities. “His success is an affirmation of the sacrifices members of his parents’ generation made so that their children could have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.” –Kirkus Reviews    For more on these and related titles, visit the collection: Hispanic Heritage Month titles

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Friday Reads: International Literacy Day!

Friday, September 8th is the 50th Anniversary of International Literacy Day. Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed September 8th International Literacy Day to “actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies” (Unesco). This year’s theme is “Reading the Past, Writing the Future.”

In honor of the occasion, we’re focusing on books about books: We love books, and books about libraries, bookstores, librarians, booksellers, readers, and authors are a great way to celebrate that love.  So grab a book or three and dive into the literary world of books and book lovers.   The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover BartlettTHE MAN WHO LOVED BOOKS TOO MUCH by Allison Hoover Bartlett John Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed “bibliodick” (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them.   What We See When We Read by Peter MendelsundWHAT WE SEE WHEN WE READ by Peter Mendelsund A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading—how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader.     Who the Hell Is Pansy O'Hara? by Jenny Bond and Chris SheedyWHO THE HELL IS PANSY O’HARA by Jenny Bond and Chris Sheedy Before Who the Hell is Pansy O?Hara ?, there had never been a single volume that explored the backstories of so many of the greatest books in the English language. A work sure to captivate all lovers of language and literature, it reveals in short, pithy chapters, the lives, loves, motivations, and quirky, fascinating details involving fifty of the best-loved books of the Western world.   The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh HanagarneTHE WORLD’S STRONGEST LIBRARIANS  by Josh Hanagarne Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms. When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6’7”, his tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength. What started as a hobby became an entire way of life—and an effective way of managing his disorder.   Books for Living by Will SchwalbeBOOKS FOR LIVING by Will Schwalbe From the author of the beloved New York Times best-selling The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring and magical exploration of the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity.     Walking a Literary Labryinth by Nancy M. MaloneWALKING A LITERARY LABYRINTH by Nancy M. Malone Who of us doesn’t have a list of books that changed our life? Reflecting on her own reading life, Nancy Malone examines the influence of reading in how we define ourselves. Throughout, she likens the experience of reading to walking a labyrinth, itself a metaphor for our spiritual journey through life. The paths within the labyrinth are not straight, but winding, and in the end, it is not the small circle in the center that defines the self, but the whole grand design of the labyrinth—every experience, every person we meet, and every book we read—that makes us who we are.   Books Always Everywhere by Jane BlattBOOKS ALWAYS EVERYWHERE by Jane Blatt Babies and toddlers join in an exuberant celebration of books of all shapes and sizes in this charming picture book. For little kids, books can be anything from a chair, to a tower, to a hat. But once little ones discover the magical world that can be found inside a book, the best thing a book can be—is a book! This joy of discovery is evident on the faces of these little kids as they open up a book and find a favorite story. In short, this book about books is so adorable and tempting, it will have toddlers and parents running to libraries and bookstores everywhere.   The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations by Jo BrielynBOOK LOVER’S TREASURY OF QUOTATIONS by Jo Brielyn Rich with meaningful quotes, heartfelt humor and witty one-liners, The Book Lover’s Treasury of Quotations brings together the best and brightest to speak on all that books have to offer. Whether it’s their ability to transport us to exciting new worlds, or the way they open our eyes to new ways of seeing our own, The Book Lover’s Treasury of Quotations speaks to the lifelong reader in each of us.   For more titles, visit the Edelweiss collection.

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Friday Reads: Fall Cookbooks!

If you’re already looking for perfect recipes for fall entertaining, these cookbooks might just have the fix.  See what grabs your fancy – and your palette – from these featured titles.  And if you’re looking for even more recipes and ideas, check out Taste Cooking, our online cooking/food magazine, with scrumptious recipes like Spanish Potato Omelette with Roasted Peppers, which looks like the winner of your next brunch menu.

  Peter Callahan's Party Food by Peter CallahanPETER CALLAHAN’S PARTY FOOD by Peter Callahan; Foreword by Kate Spade Venerated caterer Peter Callahan compiles his 30 plus years of entertaining experience for serving visually stunning and palate-electrifying food in new ways. You’re invited into his world of whimsy and wit as he shares brand-new signature hors d’oeuvres and expands his repertoire for the first time to offer ideas for tablescapes, buffets, seated dinners, and bars. Peter brilliantly breaks down his high-end serving style with simplifications and shortcuts, enabling you to throw the coolest of parties—regardless of your skill level, the size of the crowd, the venue, or the theme.   SMITTEN KITCHEN EVERY DAY by Deb PerelmanSmitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman Deb Perelman, award-winning blogger and New York Times best-selling author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, understands that a happy discovery in the kitchen has the ability to completely change the course of your day. Whether we’re cooking for ourselves, for a date night in, for a Sunday supper with friends, or for family on a busy weeknight, we all want recipes that are unfussy to make with triumphant results.   GUERRILLA TACOS: RECIPES FROM THE STREETS OF L.A. by Wesley Avila and Richard Parks III:Guerrilla Tacos by Wesley Avila and Richard Parks III The definitive word on tacos from native Angeleno Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos, who draws on his Mexican heritage as well as his time in the kitchens of some of the world’s best restaurants to create taco perfection.   HALF BAKED HARVEST COOKBOOK: RECIPES FROM MY BARN IN THE MOUNTAINS by Tieghan Gerard:Half Baked Harvest Cookbook Whether you need to get dinner on the table for your family tonight or are planning your next get-together with friends, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook has your new favorite recipe.     THE ESSENTIAL COCKTAIL BOOK edited by Megan Krigbaum:The Essential Cocktail Book by An indispensable atlas of the best cocktail recipes—each fully photographed—for classic and modern drinks, whether shaken, stirred, up, or on the rocks.     MODERN CIDER by Emma Christensen:Modern Cider by Emma Christensen Homebrew guru Emma Christensen presents accessible hard cider recipes with modern flavor profiles that make for perfect refreshments across the seasons. This lushly photographed cookbook features recipes for basic ciders, traditional ciders from around the world, cider cousins like perry, and innovative ideas that take ciders to the next level with beer-brewing techniques and alternative fruits. With Christensen’s simple, friendly tone and 1-gallon and 5-gallon options, this book’s fresh and fizzy recipes prove that cider-brewing is truly the easiest homebrewing project–much easier than brewing beer–with delicious, fruit-forward results!   THE SIMPLE BITES KITCHEN by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque:The Simple Bites Kitchen by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque Toasty warm in the winter and cool in the summer, Aimée’s comfortable kitchen is a place where the family gathers, cooks together, and celebrates everyday life. In The Simple Bites Kitchen, she brings her love of whole foods to the table and shares heart-warming kitchen stories and recipes that are nutritious, fairly simple to make, and utterly delicious.  

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Friday Reads: Spelling!

Make no mistake, spelling counts. As detailed in an article this month, The True Importance of Good Spelling (, poor grammar and spelling turn people off from hiring, dating and can make online sites seem fraudulent:

“While some spelling mistakes are harmless and funny, many aren’t. The humble typo not only has the power to make us appear less intelligent than we are. Poor spelling can also create confusion, a loss of clarity and meaning and in extreme cases it can cost millions in missed sales and job opportunities. It has the potential to wreck customer relationships and even ruin your chance of finding love online.” So make sure to check your spellcheck! “Middle East peach” is not what most of us are after! Below, we offer the whole family assistance with spelling-themed titles: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SPELL?: KILLER QUIZZES FOR THE INCURABLY COMPETITIVE AND OVERLY CONFIDENT by David Grambs, Ellen S. Levine A cornucopia of spelling challenges—from the deceptively simple to the truly vexing—for good, better, and exceptional spellers (or those who want to be). The Spy Who Couldn't Spell by Yudhijit BhattacharjeeTHE SPY WHO COULDN’T SPELL: A DYSLEXIC TRAITOR, AN UNBREAKABLE CODE, AND THE FBI’S HUNT FOR AMERICA’S STOLEN SECRETS by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee Before Edward Snowden’s infamous data breach, the largest theft of government secrets was committed by an ingenious traitor whose intricate espionage scheme and complex system of coded messages were made even more baffling by his apparent dyslexia. Bee Season by Myla GoldbergBEE SEASON: A NOVEL by Myla Goldberg Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father’s spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. Spell Check - primary image SPELL CHECK (DK); Ages 7 to 9 Mastering the ability to spell English words correctly can be a difficult and frustrating task for young students. DK’s new Spell Check gives kids a fun way to practice spelling. From homophones and contractions to how to use a dictionary, Spell Check covers all the spelling rules and exceptions your child needs to know. Coming in November! You Can't Spell America Without Me by Alec Baldwin and Kurt AndersenYOU CAN’T SPELL AMERICA WITHOUT ME: THE REALLY TREMENDOUS INSIDE STORY OF MY FANTASTIC FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP (A SO-CALLED PARODY) by Alec Baldwin, Kurt Andersen Political satire as deeper truth: Donald Trump’s presidential memoir, as recorded by two world-renowned Trump scholars, and experts on greatness, generally. For more on these and related titles visit the collection, Spelling

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Friday Reads: Surf Lit!

Now that we have a little distance from Shark Week – it’s time to hit the surf! Surfing is much more than a sport, but rather a way of life for those who savor nature and the lull between waves as much as the thrill of the ride. The “endless summer” is an appealing philosophy to surfers who are often globe-trotters and environmentalists. And no wave is the same, much like no book is! We’ve identified a strong set rolling in from authors who are eloquent about their passion, among them a Pulitzer Prize winner and a hot new release…

  SURFING WITH SARTRE: AN AQUATIC INQUIRY INTO A LIFE OF MEANING by Aaron James Released this week from the bestselling author of Assholes: A TheorySurfing with Sartre is in the tradition of Barbarian Days and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  In developing his unique surfer-philosophical worldview, James draws from his own experience of surfing and its culture and lingo. He includes relevant details from the lives of philosophers, from Aristotle to Wittgenstein. In the process, James speaks to readers in search of personal and social meaning in our current anxious moment.   BARBARIAN DAYS: A SURFING LIFE by William Finnegan Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Autobiography! A deeply-rendered self-portrait of a life-long surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker journalist, Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession. Surfing looks like a sport, but that’s only to outsiders. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.   SURF’S UP: THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO SURFING by Louise Southerden For any girl or woman who has wanted to give surfing a try, this book is geared solidly to the young as it delivers The who, what, when, where, why, and how of surfing for women from one of Australia’s leading surfing journalists and a surfer girl herself.   A GOLDEN AGE: SURFING’S REVOLUTIONARY 1960S AND ’70S by John Witzig Chronicling the great creative years in the evolution of surfing, the late 1960s and early ’70s, this engaging volume documents the revolutionary changes of the era—in board length, in surf style and technique—through the images of Australian photographer John Witzig. Witzig not only photographed the scene, he was part of it.   THE DAWN PATROL by Don Winslow As cool as its California surfer heroes, Don Winslow delivers a high velocity, darkly comic, and totally righteous crime novel. Every morning Boone Daniels catches waves with the other members of The Dawn Patrol: four men and one woman as single-minded about surfing as he is. Or nearly. They have “real j-o-b-s”; Boone, however, works as a PI just enough to keep himself afloat.   THE WAVE: IN PURSUIT OF THE ROGUES, FREAKS, AND GIANTS OF THE OCEAN by Susan Casey In her astonishing new book Susan Casey captures colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out. For legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, hundred foot waves represent the ultimate challenge. As Susan Casey travels the globe, hunting these monsters of the ocean with Hamilton’s crew, she witnesses first-hand the life or death stakes, the glory, and the mystery of impossibly mammoth waves.   FOR YOUNGER READERS INDI SURFS by Chris Gorman; ages 4 to 8 From surfer dad and photographer Chris Gorman comes Indi Surfs, the story of a little girl who braves the ocean to find the perfect wave. Gorman’s evocative images and text capture the essence of beach culture and the surfer’s journey in the story of a young girl who takes to the waves. Challenged by the ever-changing ocean, Indi shows how patience and persistence pay off in pursuit of the ultimate surfing goal.   For more on these and related titles visit the collection surf lit
There’s a Book for That! is brought to you by Penguin Random House’s Sales department. Please follow our Tumblr by clicking here—and share this link with your accounts: Thank you! Did you see something on the news or read about something on your commute? Perhaps you noticed something trending on Twitter? Did you think: “There’s a book for that!”? Then please, send it our way at    

Friday Reads: Friendship Day

Take a moment to hug your friends on Friendship Day!  In the U.S., Friendship Day is August 6, but any day is a good one to show your friends how much you appreciate them.

Below is a list of books for all ages about friends and friendships, and how they make us better (even if sometimes those friendships don’t stay in tact).

  Swing TimeSWING TIME by Zadie Smith New York Times bestseller * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction * Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.   The Joy Luck ClubTHE JOY LUCK CLUB by Amy Tan In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan’s debut novel—now widely regarded as a modern classic—examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters.   PIECES OF HAPPINESS by Anne Ostby Just published this month!  A novel of five lifelong friends who, in their sixties, decide to live together on a cocoa farm in Fiji, where they not only start a chocolate business but strengthen their friendships and rediscover themselves.   My Brilliant Friend by Elena FerranteMY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.   The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-ScottTHE FIREBRAND AND THE FIRST LADY by Patricia Bell-Scott A finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and longlisted for the National Book Award, The Firebrand and the First Lady is the riveting history, two decades in the making, of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist and the first lady of the United States forged an enduring friendship that helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.   FOR YOUNGER READERS The Friendship Code #1 by Stacia DeutschTHE FRIENDSHIP CODE #1 by Stacia Deutsch; Ages 8-12 Loops, variables, input/output – Lucy can’t wait to get started with the new coding club at school. Finally, an after school activity that she’s really interested in. But Lucy’s excitement turns to disappointment when she’s put into a work group with girls she barely knows. All she wanted to do was make an app that she believes will help someone very special to her. Suddenly, Lucy begins to get cryptic coding messages and needs some help translating them. She soon discovers that coding – and friendship – takes time, dedication, and some laughs!   Bad AppleBAD APPLE by Edward Hemingway; Ages 3-5 When Mac, an apple, meets Will, a worm, they become fast friends, teaching each other games and even finishing each other’s sentences. But apples aren’t supposed to like worms, and Mac gets called “rotten” and “bad apple.” At first, Mac doesn’t know what to do—it’s never easy standing up to bullies–but after a lonely day without Will, Mac decides he’d rather be a bad apple with Will than a sad apple without.   National Geographic Kids Chapters: Together Forever by Mary QuattlebaumTOGETHER FOREVER: TRUE STORIES OF AMAZING ANIMAL FRIENDSHIPS by Mary Quattlebaum; Ages 7-10 A fluffy chicken and a pup on wheels? A goat and a donkey who are inseparable? Puppy and cheetah best friends? This new chapter book features all kinds of heartwarming, awwwww-inspiring—and completely true—stories about animal friendships. It’s so funny, sweet, and filled with engaging photos, fast facts, and fascinating sidebars, that you can’t help but want to cuddle up and read about these unlikely pairings and animal best buddies.   For more books on friends and friendships, from BFFs to frenemies, visit the Friendship Day collection.

Friday Reads: Swimming!

Refresh yourselves! There’s no better time for swimming than in Summer so we’ve got some great books to dive into this weekend all about the joys of being a swimmer – the weightless, meditative quality of being in the water. Other than for escaping the heat, swimming is one of the best things you can do for your health and we hope these novels, memoirs and manuals provide inspiration.

  Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacCollSWIMMING HOME: A NOVEL by Mary-Rose MacColl “The lone swimmer, turning over now to switch to a perfectly executed back crawl, wasn’t Oxford or Cambridge, wasn’t a man. It was a woman, a girl. It was Catherine. Of course it was Catherine.” From the author of the international bestseller In Falling Snow, a beautifully-written, heartwarming novel of a young woman swimmer in 1925.   The Swimmer's Workout Handbook by Terri SchneiderTHE SWIMMER’S WORKOUT HANDBOOK: IMPROVE FITNESS WITH 100 SWIM WORKOUTS AND DRILLS by Terri Schneider Just out in June and with 100 of the best swim workouts for all experience levels, The Swimmer’s Workout Handbook is a complete guide to escaping the routine of pool swimming with varied training workouts to keep you challenged and engaged, and improve your performance.   Swimming by Nicola KeeganSWIMMING by Nicola Keegan Born in a landlocked town in the center of Kansas, Pip is tall, flat, smart, funny, and supernaturally buoyant. On land, she has her share of troubles: an agoraphobic mother, a lost father, and a school full of nuns who just want her to sit still. But in the water, Pip is unstoppable. Swimming her way from a small Midwestern team to the Barcelona Olympics, Pip’s journey is the story of a young girl with an unsinkable spirit, struggling to stay afloat in the only way she can.   Swimming Studies by Leanne ShaptonSWIMMING STUDIES by Leanne Shapton Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Swimming Studies is author and artist Leanne Shapton’s lyrical and revealing illustrated memoir about the competitive pressures and meditative calm found in the sport she trained for as a teenager.     Find a Way by Diana NyadFIND A WAY: THE INSPIRING STORY OF ONE WOMAN’S PURSUIT OF A LIFELONG DREAM by Diana Nyad Legendary athlete Diana Nyad gives us the story of pursuing her dreams, mastering the 111-mile swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64—and demonstrating what is possible when we refuse to give up.     Open Water Swimming Manual by Lynne CoxOPEN WATER SWIMMING MANUAL: AN EXPERT’S SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR TRIATHLETES AND OPEN WATER SWIMMERS by Lynne Cox Lynne Cox has set open water swimming records across the world, and now she has focused her decades-long experience and expertise into this definitive guide to swimming. Cox methodically addresses what is needed to succeed at and enjoy open water swimming.     Swimming in the Sink by Lynne Cox SWIMMING IN THE SINK: A MEMOIR by Lynne Cox Also by open-water swimming legend Lynne Cox, this stunning memoir of life after loss tells of facing the one challenge that no amount of training could prepare her for: heartbreak.       Swim to Me by Betsy CarterSWIM TO ME by Betsy Carter At two, Delores’s mother dropped her into the shallow end of a lake, trusting instinct would teach her daughter to swim. From then on, the water is where Delores Walker feels most at home. Now, nearly seventeen, she’s boarding a Greyhound bus leaving the Bronx for sunny Weeki Wachee Springs, a tacky roadside attraction in the shadow of Walt Disney’s new Florida phenomenon.   For more on these and other refreshing titles, visit Swimming.

Friday Reads: Summer Camp!

Are you sending your kids to summer camp? Do you have fond memories of bygone summer adventures yourself? July is a big month for camps – whether it be themed day camps or the excitement of sleep-away camp. Deep and lasting friendships, as well as milestones of independence, are often formed at camp and the following books (for children and adults) take us there without the bug bites!

  Perennials by Mandy BermanPERENNIALS: A NOVEL by Mandy Berman The quintessential summer read: a darkly poignant coming-of-age novel about the magic of camp and the enduring power of female friendship. Rachel Rivkin and Fiona Larkin used to treasure their summers together as campers at Camp Marigold. Now that they are reunited as counselors, after their first year of college, their relationship is more complicated. Through them, as well as from the perspectives of their fellow counselors, their campers, and their mothers, we witness the tensions of the turbulent summer build to a tragic event, which forces Rachel and Fiona to confront their pasts—and the adults they’re becoming.   The Interestings by Meg WolitzerTHE INTERESTINGS: A NOVEL by Meg Wolitzer The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.   Honor GirlHONOR GIRL: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR by Maggie Thrash; Young Adult Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding.     Sports Camp by Rich WallaceSPORTS CAMP by Rich Wallace; Ages 9 to 12 Riley feels like the smallest kid at sports camp. In fact, he is. He just turned eleven in April, but most kids here are twelve, and a few are even thirteen—and gigantic. It’s hard enough for a shrimp like Riley to fit in. He just doesn’t want to be the weak link as his bunk competes for the Camp Olympia Trophy.   Roller Girl by Victoria JamiesonROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson; Ages 8-12 For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship.   Summer Ball by Mike LupicaSUMMER BALL by Mike Lupica; Ages 8-12 Danny Walker is heading to Right Way basketball camp for the summer, and he knows that with the country’s best players in attendance, he’s going to need to take his game up a notch if he wants to match up. But it won’t be easy. Old rivals and new battles leave Danny wondering if he really does have what it takes to stand tall.   For more on these and related titles, visit Summer Camp Friday Reads  

Friday Reads: Hotel Lit

This summer, readers and reviewers are loving A Gentleman in Moscow and The Dollhouse which set us thinking about the sub-genre of hotel lit… books where the hotel setting is so prominent and intriguing that the hotel, or inn, becomes another character.  Whether these establishments are historical or fictional, we give

the authors of the following titles a five-star rating for transporting us into their stories. It’s not all vacation either!   A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor TowlesA GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin.  Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.   The Dollhouse by Fiona DavisTHE DOLLHOUSE: A NOVEL by Fiona Davis Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.   High Dive by Jonathan LeeHIGH DIVE: A NOVEL by Jonathan Lee One of the Best Books of the Year The Wall Street Journal • The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle  One of The New York Times “Critics’ Top Books” of the Year A moving and darkly funny novel, set around a bustling seaside hotel that’s poised to become ground zero for the assassination of a political leader: In September 1984, a bomb was planted at the Grand Hotel in the seaside town of Brighton, England, set to explode on the day Margaret Thatcher and her entire cabinet would be staying there. In High Dive, Jonathan Lee takes us inside this audacious assassination attempt, and into the hearts and minds of a group of unforgettable characters.   The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda QuickTHE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Amanda Quick At the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel on the coast of California, rookie reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…The dead woman had a red-hot secret about an up-and-coming leading man, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist.   HOTEL DU LAC by Anita BrooknerHOTEL DU LAC by Anita Brookner In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question “Why love?” It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a pseudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to restore her to her senses.   Hotel World by Ali SmithHOTEL WORLD by Ali Smith Five people: four are living; three are strangers; two are sisters; one, a teenage hotel chambermaid, has fallen to her death in a dumbwaiter. But her spirit lingers in the world, straining to recall things she never knew. And one night all five women find themselves in the smooth plush environs of the Global Hotel, where the intersection of their very different fates make for this playful, defiant, and richly inventive novel.   Life at the Marmont by Raymond Sarlot and Fred E. BastenLIFE AT THE MARMONT: THE INSIDE STORY OF HOLLYWOOD’S LEGENDARY HOTEL OF THE STARS–CHATEAU MARMONT by Raymond Sarlot, Fred E. Basten Raymond Sarlot bought the Chateau Marmont in 1975, but what was originally a business purchase became a love affair as he delved into the hotel’s incredible history. From its perch overlooking the Sunset Strip, the glamorous Marmont reigned for decades as the spot for artists, writers, musicians, and actors of every stripe. Here, Sarlot and Basten share a wealth of scandalous and intriguing tales about them all.   Ocean Sea by Alessandro BariccoOCEAN SEA by Alessandro Baricco At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition which science has failed to remedy. When these people meet, their fates begin to interact as if by design.   The Hotel Cat by Esther AverillTHE HOTEL CAT by Esther Averill; Ages 5 to 9 One wintry day a lonely stray cat wandered into the Royal Hotel. He chased mice so well that he was given the job of Hotel Cat. Tired of always spending time in the cellar Tom ventured upstairs and met the gentle Mrs. Wilkins, a longtime hotel resident who had the ability to communicate with cats. She encouraged Tom to keep an open mind about the hotel guests…   For more on these and related titles, visit Hotel Lit