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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There’s a Book for That: Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is September 10th through September 16th this year. Since 1975, NSPW awareness events are held throughout the week corresponding with World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on September 10th. The campaign informs and engages health professionals and the public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.

It’s an important topic and the campaign aims to reduce the stigma, increase understanding and offer help and hope.  Many books have been written about suicide – from personal accounts and professional analyses to young adult novels that tap into their readers’ empathy. We invite you to consider these excellent titles that offer help and insight for those who suffer.   FEATURED TITLES: Mental Health Emergencies by Nick Benas and Michele HartMENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCIES: A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING AND HANDLING MENTAL HEALTH CRISES by Nick Benas, Michele Hart Ready reference to mental and emotional health crises and concerns, providing overviews and expert guidance on more serious problems. Ideal for first-responders, teachers, counselors, and human resource professionals.   So Much I Want to Tell You by Anna AkanaSO MUCH I WANT TO TELL YOU: LETTERS TO MY LITTLE SISTER by Anna Akana In 2007, Anna Akana lost her teen sister Kristina to suicide. In the months that followed, Anna realized that the one thing helping her process her grief and begin to heal was comedy. So Much I Want to Tell You is a collection of funny, candid essays giving empowering advice to young women on topics from self-esteem and friendship to sex and career decisions, from YouTube comedian Anna Akana.   If You Feel Too Much by Jamie TworkowskiIF YOU FEEL TOO MUCH, EXPANDED EDITION: THOUGHTS ON THINGS FOUND AND LOST AND HOPED FOR by Jamie Tworkowski, Donald Miller In 2006 Jamie Tworkowski wrote a story called “To Write Love on Her Arms,” about helping a friend through her struggle with drug addiction, depression, and self-injury. The piece was so hauntingly beautiful that it quickly went viral, giving birth to a non-profit organization of the same name. Now in an expanded hardcover edition with new stories–The New York Times bestseller from the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms!   Boy Meets Depression by Kevin BreelBOY MEETS DEPRESSION: OR LIFE SUCKS AND THEN YOU LIVE by Kevin Breel Kevin Breel burst into the public’s awareness when at 19 his TED talk became a worldwide phenomenon. Through the lens of his own near suicide, he shared his profoundly vulnerable story of being young, male and depressed in a culture that has no place for that.   You Are Not Alone by Dena YoheYOU ARE NOT ALONE: HOPE FOR HURTING PARENTS OF TROUBLED KIDS by Dena Yohe Parents whose teenage or young adult kids are in the midst of crisis—due to destructive choices, mental illness, self-injury, bullying, or other causes—find themselves exhausted, alone, desperate, powerless, and grieving. They don’t know where to turn for their own support. Dena Yohe has been in their shoes and offers this survival guide for hurting parents.   Suicide by Earl A. GrollmanSUICIDE: PREVENTION, INTERVENTION, POSTVENTION by Earl A. Grollman Provides advice on how to recognize the warning signs of a potential suicide attempt, how to intervene when a suicide has been attempted, and how to comfort families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. This updated and expanded edition contains a discussion of euthanasia and living wills and a list of crisis centers around the United States.   Darkness Visible by William StyronDARKNESS VISIBLE: A MEMOIR OF MADNESS by William Styron A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron’s true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression’s psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.   For more on these and related titles visit the collection suicide prevention week.  

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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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There’s a Book for That: Letters to Our Children

This week Penguin Press published Karl Ove Knausgaard’s much-anticipated book Autumn – the first in an autobiographical quartet named after the four seasons which begins with a letter to his unborn daughter. Knausgaard, like so many mothers and fathers, feels the profound meaning of being a parent and is inspired to share what the world is like to him, what awaits her. Writers before him have followed similar impulses to impart life wisdom, family history, joys and sorrows with the next generation in letters contained in books. 

Here are some of the best:   AUTUMN by Karl Ove Knausgaard From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons. Framed by letters to his unborn daughter, Knausgaard draws upon his own childhood and describes, with sensitivity and introspection, daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden: The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice – the stuff of everyday life. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention. Beautifully illustrated by Norwegian artist Vanessa Baird.   BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction; “required reading” – Toni Morrison “Extraordinary…an impassioned letter to his teenage son—a letter both loving and full of a parent’s dread—counseling him on the history of American violence against the black body, the young African-American’s extreme vulnerability to wrongful arrest, police violence, and disproportionate incarceration.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker   POSTERITY: LETTERS OF GREAT AMERICANS TO THEIR CHILDREN by Dorie McCullough Lawson Spanning more than three centuries, these letters contain enduring lessons—in life, love, character and compassion – from famous American men and women that celebrates the American Experience and illuminates the rich history of some of America’s most storied families.   A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN: A STORY OF LOVE AND HONOR by Dana Canedy In 2005, First Sergeant Charles Monroe King began to write what would become a two-hundred-page journal for his son in case he did not make it home from the war in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb on October 14, 2006. His son, Jordan, was seven months old. A Journal for Jordan is a mother’s letter to her son about the father he lost before he could even speak.   LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by Maya Angelou Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that taught Angelou lessons in compassion and fortitude.     For more on these and related titles visit the collection Letters to Our Children

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There’s a Book for That: College Reading

Students of many ages are heading off to college and trade school, which can be transformative as well as informative. Books are a huge part of that experience. On our Common Reads site, we have lists of college reading titles, including First-Year Experience (FYE) recommendations, as well as discussion and reading guides. Your syllabus awaits:

  You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine LeirisYOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATE by Antoine Leiris On November 13, 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris, was killed by terrorists while attending a rock concert at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, in the deadliest attack on France since World War II. Three days later, Leiris wrote an open letter addressed directly to his wife’s killers, which he posted on Facebook. He refused to be cowed or to let his seventeen-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’s murder. Now Leiris tells the full story of his grief and struggle. You Will Not Have My Hate is a remarkable, heartbreaking, and, indeed, beautiful memoir of how he and his baby son, Melvil, endured in the days and weeks after Hélène’s murder.   Behold the Dreamers (Oprah's Book Club) by Imbolo MbueBEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue Oprah’s Book Club Pick! A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.   Spaceman by Mike MassiminoSPACEMAN by Mike Massimino Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope—which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission—Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible.   Incarceration Nations by Baz DreisingerINCARCERATION NATIONS by Baz Dreisinger In this crucial study, named one of the Washington Post‘s Notable Nonfiction Books of 2016 and now in paperback, Baz Dreisinger goes behind bars in nine countries to investigate the current conditions in prisons worldwide.     Exit West by Mohsin Hamid EXIT WEST by Mosin Hamid Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through… .   Blood and Earth by Kevin BalesBLOOD AND EARTH by Kevin Bales A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking. In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice a pattern emerging: Where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction. But why? Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets.   Swing Time by Zadie SmithSWING TIME by Zadie Smith Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and 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.   So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon RonsonSO YOU’VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED by Jon Ronson For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us – people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job. Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and the very scary part we all play in it.   For more on these and related titles visit the collection: College Reading
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There’s a Book for That: Bullying

With the start of a new school year, students, parents, caregivers, and teachers have a lot on their minds. Bullying is, unfortunately, one of those things. It’s a topic now frequently covered in fiction, with a widening focus on bullying that happens at all ages and looks at the causes (some titles include, or are even from, a bully’s perspective). But books on bullying can also

provide new perspectives to educators and to parents, allowing for discussions on empathy, fairness, and understanding. FEATURED TITLES Wonder by R. J. PalacioWONDER by R.J. Palacio; ages 8-12 SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JULIA ROBERTS, OWEN WILSON, AND JACOB TREMBLAY! Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, it’s also the book that inspired the Choose Kind movement. Take the pledge to Choose Kind here! Learn about the Wonder Certified Kind Classroom Program here.   Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy LudwigCONFESSIONS OF A FORMER BULLY by Trudy Ludwig; ages 8-12 After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she’s told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn’t take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. Told from the unusual point of view of the bullier rather than the bullied, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tools they can use to identify and stop relational aggression.   Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna DewdneyLLAMA LLAMA AND THE BULLY GOAT by Anna Dewdney; ages 2-5 Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?   All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria JamiesonALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL by Victoria Jamieson; ages 8-12 Available September 5, 2017! Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.   A Friend for Lakota by Jim Dutcher and Jamie DutcherA FRIEND FOR LAKOTA by Jim Dutcher and Jamie Dutcher; ages 4-8 The sweet tale of Lakota, the shy wolf pup, is sure to touch the heart of any animal lover. Readers will marvel at Lakota’s strength growing up as the lowest-ranking and frequently picked-on member of a wolf pack until he finally finds that supportive and nurturing friend he’s always wanted. The book also introduces young readers to the need for conservation awareness: through Lakota’s life story, readers will come to understand the many challenges wolves in the wild face today.   They Don't Like Me by Jane KatchTHEY DON’T LIKE ME: LESSONS ON BULLYING AND TEASING FROM A PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM by Jane Katch  With her acute eye and deft pen, Katch watches her class of four- and five-year-olds begin to form exclusionary groups and tells us what happens as she tries to intervene. Talking with her brother, who teased her as a child; with high school kids; and, as always, with her class, Katch comes to new understandings of why some kids bully and scapegoat, how other kids get through the experience, and how she as a teacher might intervene. They Don’t Like Me is at once a fascinating, absorbing look into the social lives of children and a book for teachers and parents who are trying to understand how to prevent exclusion and how to support children who are being teased and bullied.   Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg MedinaYAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina; ages 14 & up Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had. Also available in a Spanish Edition here.   Find more books on bullying and bullying prevention at the collection on Edelweiss

Cathy Virtz’s Multi-Generation Westminster Family Tradition

For nearly 30 years, Cathy Virtz has been working at our Penguin Random House distribution center in Westminster, Maryland, most recently as Shipping Manifestor.  Cathy recently shared her story with Igloo, covering her tenure with the company and how she has encouraged a number of her family members to join the ranks at Westminster – a true multi-generation family tradition.  Here is Cathy, in her own words. 

“I have been here at Penguin Random House going on 29 years.  I work in Shipping on Hahn Rd. in Westminster.  I came here in 1989.  I have worked in many areas … Shipping, A/R, Customer Service, Picking. You name it, I’ve worked it. “I got my daughter, Sherry Virtz, here right out of school.  She worked in a grocery store, banks, not having benefits. I put my foot down and told her, ‘Girl, you have got to get something steady. If you want a car and those designer jeans you have to have, you got to get a job.’ So I told her to come here.  Well, she did. Her words to me were, ‘Mom, if you think I’m staying here for any time you’re crazy.’ Well, she worked in the warehouse and kept coming to work. Loved the pay checks, loved the vacations, loved all the perks we have.  28 years later she is still here.  She is now in Sales.  Her title is Fields Sales Manager. So for someone who said, 'Mom I’m never staying here,’ she has sure has made a great career for herself.  She loves her job and the company. “Since her, I’ve had my granddaughter Brooke, who worked summers here while in college.  She is now a pastry chef.   My grandson Dylan worked here, too, but he moved on and now works for NASCAR.  My other granddaughter worked here as well and the experience helped her learn what she wanted in life. “I also brought in my niece Christina, who has now been here 5 years. She works in our Credit department.  She often thanks me for getting her to give Penguin Random House a try.  Prior to her time here, she also worked as a banker, with no benefits or vacation time.  Even though all of us have our good days and bad, she loves her job.  And we always look forward to getting a girl’s night out together at the wonderful Holiday Party. “Those of us in my family who worked here in the past and those who are still here  love what the company has done for us and the nice things we are able to have in life.”      

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.

French Connection: Knopf’s Jonathan Segal Converses with Author Martin Walker

Jonathan Segal, Vice President, Senior Editor, Knopf, recently was able to get together with one of his long-standing authors, Martin Walker, in the Dordogne region of France, where Walker has a home and has set his wonderful “Bruno, Chief of Police” series of

mysteries. (Segal has a home in the Lot region of France, which is contiguous.) Editor and author met in the tiny village of St. Pompon where, by total coincidence, they stumbled across a restaurant called Chez Bruno. This photo op (with Walker on the right) was too good to resist. Then they went to work on the latest Bruno manuscript (to be published next year), glasses of rosé at hand to aid in the process, and finally they got to reminiscing. Segal: As I was reading this latest novel, I thought again of how much joy there is in these books—how much, through Bruno, you express your infinite pleasure in being able to spend as much time as you do in the Dordogne. Before I ask you about the origin of the Bruno character—and other repeating characters in the novels as well—tell me, what first attracted you to the region? What keeps you here? Walker: What attracted me first were the usual French pleasures of the street markets, the croissants for breakfast, the food and wine and restaurants and the ridiculously charming landscape with medieval castles and ancient stone churches perched on cliffs above winding rivers. Then I began visiting the Périgord caves with their prehistoric paintings and engravings and it was like peeling layer after layer from an onion as I became ever more fascinated by these remote ancestors of ours. At the same time I was visiting the vineyards, getting to know the vignerons and learning more about wine, which got me increasingly interested in cooking, and the whole place began to open for me like a flower. S: And what was on your mind as you created Bruno? W: In our local tennis club, I began playing doubles on Friday mornings with a bunch of guys and we all brought wine and food and one of our number always made omelets for us all with his own truffles. Sometimes he brought venison or even wild boar. This was Pierrot, a keen hunter and great cook, an army veteran who was our village policeman and a genuinely decent guy. I already had the perfect setting for a novel in the Périgord itself, and now I had the perfect character in Pierrot, but since he was a cop I now had to figure out how to write a mystery story. [caption id="attachment_85681" align="alignright" width="300"]Jonathan Segal and Martin Walker Jonathan Segal and Martin Walker[/caption] S: Were you at all concerned about your friends recognizing themselves in your books? W: I was a little nervous when they started being published in French, but the mayor told me he was pleased that he had not turned out to be the murderer. And since the English-language and Dutch and German versions had already been out for three and four years, before the French translation, Pierrot was already finding foreign tourists asking for him in the local markets so he could sign their books and have his photo taken with their wives. Then foreign TV crews and journalists began arriving in our village, and one morning in the café I was enjoying my croissant when three local women of a certain age arrived solemnly before me. Their arms were folded beneath their breasts, and I have been married long enough to know what that stance signifies. Monsieur Martin, they said, next time you have cameras here, you have to give us three days’ notice. Of course, mesdames, I replied, but why? Because, they replied in unison, we want to go to the hairdresser. S: It sounds like it has been a great ride. As things stand right now, what has been your greatest satisfaction with the Bruno books? W: Obviously the world-wide sales of the books, now close to 3 million, have been very gratifying. But the real reward is the ever-growing number of Americans, Germans, Italians, Australians and others whom I now meet in the Périgord who have been attracted by my Bruno stories. They come to the markets and look for a local policeman and ask if he is Bruno (several of them are now claiming to be the “real” one). They visit the Bergerac vineyards asking for the wines Bruno likes, go to the restaurants for dishes he enjoys, to the prehistoric cave paintings that so intrigue him and they rent canoes for the trip he took down the Vézère River. Since the Périgord economy depends heavily on tourism, being able to introduce so many more people to this magical region has been a very welcome development. Special Thanks to Knopf Publicist Katie Schoder for making this feature interview possible.

Three Crown Titles Barnes & Noble Discover Fall 2017 Selections

Barnes & Noble has announced their selections for Discover’s Fall 2017 season and they have chosen three forethcoming Crown titles. The B&N Discover Great New Writers program connects readers with books from up-and-coming authors from around the world.


Fall 2017 Discover Great New Writers Selections

BarnesandNoble AMERICAN WOLF by Nate Blakeslee (Crown, October 17) THE FAR AWAY BROTHERS by Lauren Markham (Crown, September 12) FIRE ON THE TRACK by Roseanne Montillo (Crown, October 17)