Help Edan Lepucki Plan Her First-Ever Trip to Nashville

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Sure, you could credit the huge pre-order sales of Edan Lepucki’s California to the “Colbert bump” that helped launch it from first-novel obscurity onto the New York Times bestseller list, but don’t dismiss all the attention as empty hype. This book is worth every bit of the buzz. Now that it’s out, we’re seeing customers at the new releases table recommending it to each other — “Have you read THIS yet?” — and those word-of-mouth sales aren’t likely to stop anytime soon.
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Summertime, and the Reading Is Excellent

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Summer is a great season to be a bibliophile, because it’s considered a totally normal activity to sit in a beach/pool/lawn/whatever chair and plow through books one after the other. (Speaking of which, check out Zadie Smith’s fantastic What It Means to Be Addicted to Reading: “The beach is one of the few places pathological readers can pass undetected among their civilian cousins.”) In addition to Ann’s current favorites, here’s what our staff is reading and loving right now. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Road with Anton DiSclafani and Jojo Moyes

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How cool would it be if you were having a book club meeting and all of a sudden the author of the book walked into the room and sat down? This week, we’re making that happen, as two New York Times bestselling authors, Anton DiSclafani and Jojo Moyes, are on their way to Nashville to talk with fans of their books. Read the rest of this entry »

Go Ahead and Learn This Writer’s Name: Smith Henderson

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photo by Rebecca Calavan

Photo by Rebecca Calavan

If you’ll indulge a goofy metaphor for a moment: Imagine a bunch of books are at a party. All the novels by famous and established authors are mingling in the center of the room, air-kissing and whatnot. First novels, when they arrive at a party like this, often linger near the door or find a seat by the wall or nervously stir a cocktail, waiting to be noticed. But this first novel is different. It walks into the party, changes the music, grabs the host’s girlfriend, and swipes a bottle of booze right off the bar, leaving all the other books wondering, “Who was that?” That was Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning the Ropes: A Shop Pup’s First Day on the Job

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IMG_8252 Hi. It’s me, Opie, the dog of the store manager. I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Eleanor Roosevelt. ^ That’s her. She used to be the “special correspondent” of our shop dog team, but now that she’s not a baby anymore, it’s finally time for her to start work at the store. That’s where I come in. As senior store-hound, it’s my job to teach the junior store-hound how everything works. Here’s how the first day went. Read the rest of this entry »

Realistic YA Fiction Is Here to Stay (Then Again, It Never Went Away)

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As the manager of our books for young readers section, I could not be more delighted with all the ink being devoted lately to the topic of young adult fiction. Specifically, I’m thrilled at the focus on contemporary realistic YA books. One of our favorite authors, John Green, has been widely credited for this surge in demand for stories that don’t involve dystopias, zombies, or vampires. The only part of this flurry of attention I take issue with is the idea that realistic fiction for young readers is “new.” (See, for example, “How Reality Became the Hot New Thing in YA.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Planning Ahead

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Okay, okay, I know I said I was retreating from the book reports, but all I meant was that I was freeing myself from my own sense of obligation. I’ll still write them when there’s a book I want to talk about, which happens to be the case. Read the rest of this entry »