The Contemporary Whodunnit: How the Authors of Three New Thrillers Keep Us Hooked

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You know how good books can make you feel like you’re someone else? You get so inside the mind of a character that when that character is amused, you laugh; when they witness something sad, you cry; when they’re scared, you look over your shoulder. And when a character goes on a hunt for answers to a horrible crime, you stay up late, turning page after page in the search for a culprit. (All the thrills of a manhunt, all the comfort of pajamas and a warm bed.) Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Resolutions

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Ann with fellow author Daniel Pink, sharing reading recommendations on a PBS Newshour segment filmed at Politics & Prose in Washington, DC

January is always my happiest month. Yes, the weather is dismal, but dismal weather gives me an excuse to stay indoors and read and write, which is really what I want to be doing in May when it’s gorgeous outside. I love January because the exhausting holidays are finally over and the world is quiet again. (I don’t mean the big world, just my own small one.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond Bring Back “Dear Sugar,” Everyone Rejoices

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Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (photo via WBUR)
Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (photo via WBUR)

Here’s what’s happening: Customers read Wild, love it, then see the movie and love that, too. Then they get hungry for more Cheryl Strayed; so they come back and get Tiny Beautiful Things, Strayed’s book based on her popular Dear Sugar advice column at The Rumpus, and they fall in love with Strayed’s candor, compassion, and no-holds-barred personal storytelling all over again. Perhaps they also buy her novel, Torch, and read that. They scour the internet for every article they can find with a Strayed byline. But then what? Cheryl Strayed Withdrawal Syndrome sets in. Read the rest of this entry »

Gayle Forman’s New Novel Starts With a Suicide, Becomes a Mystery

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Photo by Dennis Kleiman

Gayle Forman has been writing for a long time, but it’s only recently that her name has jumped up into the instantly-recognizable category. The film adaptation of her bestselling novel, If I Stay, hit theaters last year and sent a new flock of fans into bookstores looking to find all the Forman books they could get their hands on. Good news for those folks: Her engrossing new novel, I Was Here, comes out this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Ask Andy: What to Read If You Love Spy Books

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Andy Brennan, store manager and secret agent man

Three facts you may not have known:

1. There’s a magazine devoted to all things sleuthing. It’s called Pursuit. Seriously.
2. Our store manager, Andy Brennan, has the perfect voice for radio. How did we not know this before now?
3. There are plenty of great books about spies out there for people who think they’ve read all the great books about spies already. Read the rest of this entry »

Songs and Stories at a Gathering of Writers

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Calling all Nashville storytellers (and there are a lot of storytellers in Nashville): A Tale of Two Tims: A Celebration of Literature and Lyrics presents author Tim O’Brien, National Book Award winner and author of The Things They Carried, alongside musician Tim O’Brien, Grammy-winning Americana and bluegrass legend. O’Brien and O’Brien have been getting each other’s fan mail for decades, but they’ll meet for the first time on January 17, when they share the stage for a unique event supporting The Porch Writers’ Collective. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Twas the Day Before Christmas

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‘Twas the day before Christmas
and all through the store
all the creatures were stirring
(except Opie, who snored) Read the rest of this entry »