harry-potter-trivia-quiz

Test Your Wizarding Skills: Harry Potter Trivia Quiz

It’s Harry Potter Book Night! Join in by grabbing your favorite Harry Potter book and taking our quiz. Do you have a knack for wizardry? Test your knowledge of all seven books and find out if you’re a powerful wizard or more of a Muggle.

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10 Contemporary Authors Redefining Black Literature

In honor of Black History Month and to celebrate the quality and diversity of black literature, we have selected a variety of contemporary black authors we hope you enjoy. These authors are redefining black literature with their view of the world and the rich history they bring to their work. Their contributions to literature as a whole are immense and impactful. Some authors here are well known such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Americanah, and Ishmael Beah for his memoir A Long Way Gone which describes his childhood as a soldier in Sierra Leone. Others here are emerging as great storytellers like authors, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and Dinaw Mengestu—both are longlisted for the 2015 Folio Prize.

A new wave of talented black authors is on the rise. With positive immigration changes around the world and especially in African nations, superb, international writing is surfacing. Regardless of where these authors are from, their work is about being a member of the world.

Although we did not include classics on this list, if you’re interested in digging up the greats, reach for James McBride’s timeless contribution, The Color of Water. And of course, this will be the first year Maya Angelou is not actively involved in Black History Month celebrations; however, the 36 books she published in her lifetime are each worth reading as they tell the story of her rich past.

Thank you for considering our list. We hope you enjoy it. Tell us what you think about this year’s selections in the comments below.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

yvonne-dust

bit.ly/1zQmFna & Random House

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was named “Woman of the Year” in 2004 by Kenya’s Eve Magazine and won the 2003 Caine Prize for African Writing. Previously writing short-stories, the Kenyan author published her first novel, Dust, in 2014.

Jeffery Renard Allen

song-of-the-shank

bit.ly/1zKrVqI & Graywolf Press

The novelist and poet often uses lyrical language and a playful tone when writing about the lives of African Americans in his work. His latest novel, Song of the Shank, tells the symbolic story of a nineteenth century slave and musician.

Zadie Smith

NW-zadie

bit.ly/1HViZV0 & Penguin

The tenured professor in NYU’s Creative Writing Program had her first novel, White Teeth, featured on Time’s 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list in 2006. She has been an editor and author of both fiction and non-fiction, with her latest novel, NW, published in 2012.

Teju Cole

teju-cole

bit.ly/1I0PTn2 & Random House

Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American author and photographer who loves to travel. His latest book, Every Day Is for the Thief, was previously published in Nigeria and came out this year in the United States. His novels include real memories, as well as illustrations to illuminate the experiences.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanah-book

bit.ly/1zcAIkR & Random House

The Nigerian novelist and short story writer has published five books including Americanah, which was selected as one of The Best 10 Books of 2013 by the New York Times. Her TEDx talk “We should all be feminists” in 2012 received much attention, with part of it being used in Beyoncé’s song “Flawless”.

Taiye Selasi

ghana-must-go-book

bit.ly/1x9JXwG & Random House

The impressive London-born author’s first novel, Ghana Must Go, was named one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Best Books of 2013. Additionally, Toni Morrison gave Selasi a one-year deadline in 2006 to come up with a short-story—which she met with “The Sex Lives of African Girls.”

Roxane Gay

an-untamed-state-book

strib.mn/16uM8pj & Grove Atlantic

Roxane Gay published two of her three books this past summer, creating her prominent place amongst contemporary writers. Her novel, An Untamed State, tells the narrator’s story of being kidnapped for 13 days.

Ishmael Beah

ishmael-beah

bit.ly/1Cvg7uA & Macmillan

Ishmael Beah became known for his memoir, A Long Way Gone, which detailed his youth in Sierra Leone as a child soldier. His first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow was released last year and describes the homecoming of two people in Sierra Leone’s Imperi village after a brutal civil war.

Jacqueline Woodson

Untitled-1

Jacqueline Woodson & Penguin

Although not new to the writing scene, Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming this year. The author has also written numerous other children’s and young adult books.

Dinaw Mengestu

all-our-names-image

bit.ly/1I16RSg & Random House

In his third novel, All Our Names, Dinaw Mengestu explores the relationship between a foreign exchange student from Ethiopia and the social worker assigned to his case. Although the book may seem like it’s about an immigrant on the surface, it’s much more about finding yourself and how much of that is affected by where you come from.

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madam-bovary

“Madame Bovary” Movie Trailer Released

Penguin

Penguin

The trailer for the upcoming film “Madame Bovary” has been released! The adaptation of the 1856 novel of the same name by Gustave Flaubert is set to open later this year. Mia Wasikowska plays the titular character Emma Bovary, who becomes bored with her life and marriage after seeing what high society has to offer. After publishing the novel, Flaubert was put on trial for the novels obscenity since it was not socially acceptable for women to have affairs–only men. Luckily, he was acquitted and the novel became a bestseller. Will you see the film? 

The movie also stars Ezra Miller (Leon Dupuis) and Paul Giamatti (Monsieur Homais).

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harper-lee

Harper Lee to Publish “To Kill a Mockingbird” Sequel in July

HarperCollins

HarperCollins

Hold on to your hat! Harper Lee says that after 60 years of collecting dust, her unpublished novel will see the light of day on July 14th this year.

Up until now, Harper Lee, 88, has only published one book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Sound familiar? Yes, the novel is no small feat; it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and clinched Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom among other prestigious awards.

In what is being dubbed an “extraordinary literary event,” fans have something more to look forward to from Lee. The new novel, “Go Set a Watchman” will feature Scout Finch (from “To Kill a Mockingbird”) as an adult returning from New York to visit her father Atticus Finch.

Lee says she thought the novel was lost until her friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it attached to the original typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird” last autumn.

Publisher HarperCollins plans on printing two million copies on the first round. We wish Lee the best of luck with her new novel, and will be the first in line to pick it up in stores.

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Former Student Returns Library Book 65 Years Late, Pays £1,500 Fine

Sir Jay Tidmarsh, 82, recently spotted his school’s stamp inside an old book. The former student returned the book to Taunton School in Somerset (which he left in 1949) and paid the 65 year late fee of £1,500. Of course the late fee was more of a donation that Tidmarsh has now made to the library. Neil Longstreet, director of the Taunton School Foundation, has said he will officially pardon all other former students holding on to Taunton library books in hopes it will raise more funds to develop the library.

The book Tidmarsh had unknowingly held on to is Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham–a collection of short stories about a British spy in World War I.    

Sir Jay Tidmarsh with the copy of Ashenden. Courtesy: The Guardian/Taunton School/PA

Sir Jay Tidmarsh with the copy of Ashenden.
Courtesy: The Guardian/Taunton School/PA

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President Obama Recommends This National Book Award Winner

President Obama told CNN this weekend that he recommends Redeployment by Phil Klay, a book he read while on vacation. The book is a collection of fictional short stories about the lives of soldiers on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, involving both what happens to them while they are there and when they return. Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Phil Klay

Phil Klay

You can watch the interview here:

Source: CNN 

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new-in-fiction

New Fiction: February 2015

February is here, and with it: new fiction. We’ve created a list of books we’re excited to read this month. Notable authors such as Neil Gaiman and Alex Berenson have new books coming out, along with debuts from Joakim Zander and Cecilia Ekback. Check out even more new releases on our site. What are you looking forward to reading this month? Let us know in the comments!

Miramont’s Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Lake Union Publishing

Lake Union Publishing

Release Date: February 1

Adrienne has had visions that reveal the secrets of those around her since she could talk. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries surrounding her French aristocratic family, her Aunt Marie takes Adrienne to America—to Miramont Castle, the castle her family built and abandoned three years later.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

nightingale macmillan

Macmillan

Release Date: February 3

Two sisters, separated by experience, are thrust into World War II in France. Love, survival and freedom all play a role in this novel.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

neil gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Release Date: February 3

Gaiman’s latest collection of short stories contain previously published works and a Doctor Who story written for the fiftieth anniversary of the series in 2013.

The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

the swimmer harpercollins

HaperCollins

Release Date: February 10

The Homeland meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo debut novel has everything from family troubles to suspense as a CIA agent races to save the daughter he never knew he had.

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

the secrets of midwives macmillan

Macmillan

Release Date: February 10

Three generations of midwives are involved in this story that follows Neva, a midwife trying to keep her pregnancy a secret; her mother, Grace, who won’t let secrets rest; and, her grandmother, Floss, who is taken back 60 years by this news—to a secret that is similar to Neva’s.

Twelve Days by Alex Berenson

twelve days penguin

Penguin

Release Date: February 10

John Wells is back, and this time he has twelve days to stop the United States from attacking Iran.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queen harper collins

HarperCollins

Release Date: February 10

The debut novel from Victoria Aveyard follows Mare, a girl with special powers living in a world where commoners with Red blood serve the Silver-blooded (and superhuman) elite. When it is discovered she has special powers, Mare enters a dangerous world.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café by Max Lucado

Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson

Release Date: February 10

After splitting from her husband, Chelsea takes a job behind the counter at the Higher Grounds Café and soon realizes that people aren’t just coming for the coffee—they are there for answers to life’s biggest questions.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Random House

Random House

Release Date: February 10

The story of a family spanning four generations—the Whitshanks experience life’s joys and disappointments together in their worn Baltimore home.

Blue Stars by Emily Gray Tedrowe

blue stars macmillan

Macmillan

Release Date: February 17

The story of two women who wind up caring for their loved ones in the same army hospital is as touching as it is heartbreaking.

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

dreaming spies random house

Random House

 

Release Date: February 17

King’s series continues as Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes meet a few suspicious characters on board their steamer—leading to a mystery in Japan.

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck

weinstein books

Weinstein Books

Release Date: January 27

We missed this wonderful novel in last month’s “must-reads”! Set in Sweden, a town’s secrets are revealed during the kind of winter that will make you remember you’re mortal.

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‘The Thorn Birds’ Author Colleen McCullough Dies at 77

A year or so ago, I was talking with a good friend who was never short of good book recommendations. He was often a very large signpost on my journey to various book discoveries, and a very reliable source of books that never failed to ensure I came away with a better understanding of the topic on which a book was written. It would be no surprise therefore to know that some of his previous recommendations have been Anthony Marra’s debut novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Booker-shortlisted Mark Mulholland’s A Mad and Wonderful Thing.

What surprised me though was that as we sat on the veranda overlooking the beach, I glanced across to the table to see a book authored by Colleen McCullough. Stunned I immediately old him I hadn’t pegged him as a romance reader. He looked somewhat amused and then proceeded to tell me that her Masters of Rome series was one of the best epic historical novels he had ever read. “Don’t be deceived,” he said. “They are richly detailed, well researched depictions of the politics and intrigue of Ancient Rome and I consider them a must read.”

David Maclaine wrote in his review, “The key to McCullough’s success is the succession of great characters she creates. Decisive in her interpretation of well-known historical figures, she also brings to life an array of vivid female characters whose stories have been neglected in the short summaries of history as we know it.”

It is disappointing that the writer of the obituary in The Australian dismissed this great writer and her work, continuing the age old perception that only those women as beautiful and rich as Cleopatra are worthy of great reverence. No doubt their loss not ours.

As Maclaine writes, “The novels are not for those who like short, swift books centering on romance or action-packed adventure. They are at heart huge, rich political novels, treating in detail the inner workings of the Republic and the unceasing struggles of ambitious men to use its institutions to gain fame and fortune.”

Here are the seven novels in order of publication:

Masters of Rome series

The First Man in Rome (1990)

The Grass Crown (1991)

Fortune’s Favorites (1993)

Caesar’s Women (1996)

Caesar (1997)

The October Horse (2002)

Antony and Cleopatra (2007)

Booktopia

Booktopia

McCullough’s final novels, Bittersweet and Sins of the Flesh (Carmine Delmonico series) were published in 2013.

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Dr. Seuss Quotes to Brighten Your Day

The magical world of Dr. Seuss has fueled readers’ imaginations for years! From The Cat in the Hat to Green Eggs and Ham, there is no shortage of magic in Dr. Seuss’ words. He has offered generations of people advice. From children, to young graduates, to adults, his inspiring words have given readers new places to explore every time they turn the page.

blissfulroots

blissfulroots

A person’s a person, no matter how small.” 

creatingkeepsakes.com

creatingkeepsakes.com

” Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

creatingkeepsakes.com

creatingkeepsakes.com

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.

earlymoments

earlymoments

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

higherperspective

higherperspective

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

knowledgeoverflow

knowledgeoverflow

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

www.sofeminine.co.uk

www.sofeminine.co.uk

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.

shame-full.com

shame-full.com

You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

hammieblog.wordpress.com

hammieblog.wordpress.com

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

www.invyn.com

www.invyn.com

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!

galleryhip.com

galleryhip.com

You miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.

blog.freepeople.com

blog.freepeople.com

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

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Must-Visit Indie Bookstores

Kathleen Kelly’s “The Shop Around the Corner” will forever be in our hearts as New York’s best Upper West Side children’s bookshop. While we wish the fictional independent bookstore from You’ve Got Mail was real, there are many other bookstores that you can actually set foot inside! From California to New York, and London to Sydney, there’s never a shortage of amazing independent bookstores to visit.

The Booksmith, San Francisco, California sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com The independent bookstore located in the Haight-Asbury neighborhood of San Francisco, is loved for its wide selection of books and its many events—including “Shipwreck” and other author events. Run by husband and wife duo, Praveen Madan and Christin Evans, the bookstore now runs the East Bay’s most successful author events series: Berkeley Arts & Letters.

Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, United Kingdom

forbookssake.net

forbookssake.net

This truly “delight”-ful bookstore located in Bath is full of charm and offers a very enticing Reading Spa package. The package includes a chat with Mr. B’s bibliotherapist (there is such a thing!) and tea and cake to enjoy while they prescribe you a new tower of books to read.

Skylight Books, Los Angeles, California

almaalexander.org

almaalexander.org

The Los Angeles bookstore features many events and great staff picks. The store also hosts book clubs that you can check out on its website. The quirky bookstore is partially-owned by Jeffery Tambor—also known as George Sr. from Arrested Development.

Cow Books, Tokyo, Japan

cowbooks.jp

cowbooks.jp

The Japanese bookseller’s specialties include selling out-of-print books that focus on 1960s-70s social movements, progressive politics and more. The bookstore focuses on books surrounding “freedom”—including memoirs.

Strand Bookstore, New York, New York

strandbooks.com

strandbooks.com

Strand Bookstore is one of New York City’s most popular booksellers and features “18 miles of books”. The bookstore features many events including trivia nights and poetry readings and is a staple in New York book culture.

Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Massachusetts

harvard.com

harvard.com

The independent store has been open since 1932, operating in Cambridge, Massachusetts—home to Harvard University. While not connected with the school, the book store sells new and used books, hosts author events, delivers books by bike messenger, and can even bind your book for you.

Elliot Bay Book Co.,Seattle, Washington

blog.seattlepi.com

blog.seattlepi.com

Featuring many events and author readings throughout the year, the Elliot Bay Book Co. is located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. The independent bookstore prides itself on being knowledge about all things books and has been helping readers discover them since 1973.

Readings, Melbourne, Australia inside-story-melbourne With a fully-stocked calendar of events, including conversations, signings, and author panels, this independent bookstore is sure to delight. As a bonus, 10% of its annual profits go to The Readings Foundation—which supports individuals and organizations that wish to further develop literacy, community and the arts.

Slightly Foxed, London, United Kingdom

deweydivas.blogspot.com

deweydivas.blogspot.com

Slightly Foxed started as a quarterly literary journal and in 2009 opened its own bookshop. The bookshop sells both new and used book, with a focus on the second-hand and antiquarian market. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014.

Avid Reader, West End, QLD, Australia

urban-usher.com

urban-usher.com

Avid Reader started when a group of friends thought West End needed a bookstore that specialized in new, quality fiction and non-fiction. The charming bookstore hosts frequent events that include book clubs.

Honorable Mentions:

The Poetry Bookshop, Hereford, United Kingdom

Oscar and Friends, Surrey Hills, NSW, Australia

Kay Craddock Antiquarian Bookseller, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Gleebooks, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Berkelouw Books, Berrima, NSW, Australia

Lesley McKay’s Bookshop, Woollahra, NSW, Australia

Muirs Bookshop and Café, Gisborne, New Zealand

Page & Blackmore, Nelson, New Zealand

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