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Literature

Literature

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin refills her coffee cup for author Caroline Fardig’s second Java Jive Mystery, Mug Shot.

Title: Mug Shot (Java Jive Mystery #2)

Author: Caroline Fardig

Pages: 246

Publisher: Alibi

AISN: B01208O1D6

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

How do we remember our experiences when grief has consumed them? It seems like a heavy question for a book called The Square Root of Summer to tackle, and while this book does deliver on the title's promise of teenage vacation hijinks, romance, and mathematical equations, it also presents a heartrending quandary: How to move forward with a life that has been defined by loss.

3 Generations Of Trauma Haunt 'Ladivine'

Apr 28, 2016

Fair warning: Guilt, shame, grief, cruelty — the denser flavors of the human dynamic — make for intense reading. Not handled well, such heavyweight emotions easily turn to stone. But the sharp-edged writing in Marie NDiaye's second novel, Ladivine, warrants spending time with her bleak vision of reality. Committed readers may find unexpected rewards in the harrowing twists and turns this gloomy family drama takes.

So now we know who Beyonce's favorite poet is: 27-year-old Somali-Brit Warsan Shire.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin dives into a new mystery series with Skinny Dipping with Murder, author Auralee Wallace’s first Otter Lake Mystery.

Title: Skinny Dipping with Murder (Otter Lake Mysteries, #1)

Author: Auralee Wallace

Pages: 305

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN: 978-1250077776

When it comes to Shakespeare's legacy, it seems safe to conclude that "what's past is prologue."

Today marks 400 years since the day Shakespeare died, and people are celebrating his life and work around the world.

April 23 is also believed to be the Bard's birthday. As you might expect, the biggest events honoring Shakespeare are taking place in the U.K.

"Don't touch that!"

"Don't eat that!"

These phrases are well known to children of a certain age.

Little kids don't quite get why eating ice cream for breakfast five days a week is not a good idea. They may be confused about why, exactly, potatoes are food while rocks are, well, not something to put in your mouth. I mean, take a moment to consider that both come from the ground, both are covered in dirt, and both have a shape that could rightly be described as "potato-y."

James Brown always wanted to take the stage last.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin travels to fairy tale land with a couple of adventurous siblings in the audio edition of Sarah Mlynowski’s first Whatever After novel, Fairest of All.

Title: Fairest of All (Whatever After, #1)

Author: Sarah Mlynowski

Runtime: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

AISN: B00HZ7FSV2

Returning to a book you've read multiple times can feel like drinks with an old friend. There's a welcome familiarity — but also sometimes a slight suspicion that time has changed you both, and thus the relationship. But books don't change, people do. And that's what makes the act of rereading so rich and transformative.

Every writer knows the paralyzing terror of the blank page. For poet Tess Taylor, the antidote to fear came through farming.

Taylor is the author of Work & Days, a new volume of poetry inspired by her year spent working on a farm in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. She was there living alone in a cabin as part of a writer's residency, finishing her first book of verse, and "had nothing to do but write," she says. "The idea of facing the blank page for that much time really scared me."

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin is paired up with an unlikely couple in author Kemper Donovan’s The Decent Proposal.

Title: The Decent Proposal

Author: Kemper Donovan

Pages: 305

Publisher: Harper

ISBN: 978-0062391629

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

'Every Heart' Is A Doorway To Winning Fantasy

Apr 9, 2016

Seanan McGuire's award-winning novels and short stories have been testing the parameters of genre fiction for years now, but always with a deep love of horror and fantasy. That hasn't changed in her new novella, Every Heart a Doorway. Rather, she's doubled down — and in half the number of pages. Tight and tautly told, Every Heart grabs one of speculative fiction's most enduring tropes — the portal fantasy, where a person slips from the real world into a magical realm somewhere beyond — and wrings it for all the poignancy, dark humor, and head-spinning twists it can get.

The very mention of the Silk Roads creates an instant image: camel caravans trudging through the high plains and deserts of central Asia, carrying silks, spices and philosophies to Europe and the larger Mediterranean. And while these ancient routes may remain embedded in our imagination, they have, over the past few centuries, slowly faded in importance. The region today is home to despotic regimes, failing states and endless conflict. But historian Peter Frankopan thinks that the Silk Roads "are rising again."

It's 9:30 on a Thursday night and Chinese and foreign jazz fans descend on the JZ Club in Shanghai's former French Concession. Glasses clink and the splashing sound of cymbals ripple through a cabaret setting bathed in soft red light.

Andrew Field, an American historian, says clubs like JZ represent a return to Shanghai's cosmopolitan past.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin searches for answers with a not-so-mild-mannered single mom in Maggie Barbieri’s latest Maeve Conlon novel, Lie in Plain Sight.

Title: Lie in Plain Sight

Author: Maggie Barbieri

Pages: 326

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250073440

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

Food, clothing, and shelter: How have these three basic necessities been inflated into a culture of consumption that now threatens to deplete the resources of the planet that gives us life? That's the question at the heart of Frank Trentmann's new book, Empire of Things. Trentmann has the bona fides to back up his exhaustive probe into consumerism: He's a decorated academic and the award-winning author of Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption, and Civil Society in Modern Britain and The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption.

Murder And Crows In 'Taxidermist's Daughter'

Mar 29, 2016

A colony of jackdaws. A tiding of magpies. A storytelling of rooks. A murder of crows. These whimsical collective nouns roost at the heart of Kate Mosse's new gothic thriller, The Taxidermist's Daughter. Posing the dead as living creatures has an honored place in the psychology of horror, from Norman Bates' stuffed critters in Psycho, to his real-life forerunner, Ed Gein, the mad taxidermist of deepest, darkest Wisconsin. Mosse employs taxidermy as a clever device over which to drape the skin of her story.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin moves into a mysterious little town with the audio edition of Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic.

Title: A Snicker of Magic

Author: Natalie Lloyd

Runtime: 8 hours, 12 minutes

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

AISN: B00INC9W4M

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

Helen Oyeyemi is one of literature's weird sisters. She's kin to the uncanny likes of Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson and Jeanette Winterson, whose names trail down the back covers of her books like a pagan invocation.

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