Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Young Peoples Literature

The National Book Foundation has announced the longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Impossible KnifeViking / Penguin Group (USA)

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.
Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?

Girls Like UsCandlewick Press

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

No SurrenderAlfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Random House

Typical Malley – to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard – he knows his cousin’s in trouble before she does. Wild Skink – he’s a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets and giant gators.

With Skink at the wheel, the search for a missing girl is both nail-bitingly tense and laugh-out-loud funny.

Greenglass HouseClarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House–and themselves.

ThreatenedScholastic Press / Scholastic

Into the jungle. Into the wild. Into harm’s way. When he was a boy, Luc’s mother would warn him about the “mock men” living in the trees by their home — chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night. Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn’t mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job. Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family — and must act when that family comes under attack.

The Port Chicago 50Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Publishers

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

A fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II.

100 Sideways MilesSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved. Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

NogginAtheneum Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that. The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars. Oh well, you only live twice.

Revolution The 60sScholastic Press / Scholastic

It’s 1964, and Sunny’s town, Greenwood, Mississippi, is being invaded. So is her home. Her daddy got married last summer, and her house filled up with a new stepmother, Annabelle, a new brother, Gillette, and a new sister, Audrey. Sunny’s new family has been growing together, but when Gillette tattles to her father, things grow chilly between them. Greenwood has been tense and chilly too, but that’s because students and “agitators” from up north have driven down in buses for a Freedom Summer to help register citizens in the town to vote. Everyone in the town, from the churches to the schools to the movie theaters, has been choosing sides, and Sunny suddenly understands how scary it can be to help people out, even when you know you’re doing good.

Brown Girl DreamingNancy Paulsen Books / Penguin Group (USA)

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child.

Finalists will be revealed on October 15. You can add the books longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature by visiting TheReadingRoom.

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Diane Chamberlain’s Favorite Books

During our recent conversation with Diane Chamberlain about her latest novel The Silent Sister, we asked for a list of her 10 favorite books. Here’s what Diane selected.

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11 22 63What if you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot.


 Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, embarks on a fascinating journey back to 1958 – from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life.

The Fault in Our StarsDespite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.


The Thirteenth TaleAngelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life? As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life…

Ordinary GraceNew Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and “Hot Stuff “comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms:

Accident. Nature. Suicide.

And murder.

The Glass CastleJeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.




Year of WondersWhen an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer.

Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love.

As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”



The End of Your Life Book ClubWhen Mary Anne Schwalbe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her publisher son Will accompanied her to her treatments. As they had all their lives, they discussed books and the end of your life book club was born. They read and re-read dozens of books, not just ‘great’ books but a huge range.

Funny and poignant, The End of Your Life Book Club is moving and inspirational. The book spans 75 years, it references locations all over the world and deals with the biggest questions life has to offer and the biggest challenges human beings confront.




The Art of Racing in the RainEnzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on the race track, one can successfully navigate the ordeals and travails one encounters in life. Enzo relates the story of his human family, sharing their tragedies and triumphs. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations as a dog, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family.




Where'd You Go BernBernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace. To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s place in the world.




Departure at DawnLawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930′s.






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10 Must-Read Books about the Old West

10 Must-Read Books about the Old West

Check out our selection of the 10 books that need to be on every cowboy”s bookshelf.

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All the Pretty HorsesAll the Pretty Horses
by Cormac McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself.  With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

The novel was the winner of the 1992 National Book Award for Fiction.

Lonesome DoveLonesome Dove
by Larry McCurty

Set in the late 19th century, Lonesome Dove is an adventurous story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. The narrative centers around two friends: Augustus McCrae, a reluctant rancher who has a way with women, and W. F. Call, whose talent for leadership conceals a secret sorrow. For Gus, Call, and the others who join the journey, the cattle drive is not only a daring and, perhaps, foolhardy endeavor, it comes to represent American dreams of the West.






Three-Ten to YumaThree-Ten to Yuma
by Elmore Leonard

Trust was rare and precious in the wide-open towns that sprung up like weeds on America’s frontier—with hustlers and hucksters arriving in droves by horse, coach, wagon, and rail, and gunmen working both sides of the law, all too eager to end a man’s life with a well-placed bullet. The New York Times-bestselling Grand Master of suspense deftly displays the other side of his genius, with seven classic western tales of destiny and fatal decision . . . and trust as essential to survival as it is hard-earned.





The Log of a CowboyThe Log of a Cowboy
by Andy Adams

Told with campfire-story spirit, The Log of a Cowboy is one of the best tales of cowboy life ever written. Drawing from his own life as a cattle driver, Andy Adams recounts the adventures of America’s frontier. Through such memorable characters as Bill Blades and Bull Durham, we bear witness to gunfights, buffalo stampedes, and cattle drives from Texas to Montana.






The Brave CowboyThe Brave Cowboy
by Edward Abbey

Jack Burnes is a loner at odds with modern civilization. A man out of time, he rides a feisty chestnut mare across the New West — a once beautiful land smothered beneanth airstrips and superhighways. And he lives by a personal code of ethics that sets him on a collision course with the keepers of law and order. Now he has stepped over the line by breaking one too many of society’s rules. The hounds of justice are hot in his trail. But Burnes would rather die than spend even a single night behind bars. And they have to catch him first. Burns lived by the values of the Old West — which makes him a threat to the New West. He is an archetypal outlaw, foreign to the ways of modern civilization, of sprawling shopping malls, superhighways, and polluted skies.


Riders of the Purple SageRiders of the Purple Sage
by Zane Grey

Jane ran her cattle business and bossed the cowboys who rode the expanse of purple sage around her prosperous Utah ranch. Then she dared disobey the Mormons who ordered her to marry grim, brutal Elder Tull. Now her stock was being stampeded and her men disappearing. Then the mysterious gunslinger called Lassiter rode into town.

The VirginianThe Virginian
by Owen Wister

Still as exciting and meaningful as it was when first published one hundred years ago, Owen Wister’s epic tale of a man caught between his love for a woman and his quest for justice exemplifies one of the most significant and enduring themes in all of American literature. With remarkable character depth and vivid passages, The Virginian stands not only as the first great novel of American Western literature, but as a testament to the eternal struggle between good and evil in humanity. With an engaging new introduction by Gary Scharnhorst, professor of English at the University of New Mexico, this volume is an indispensable addition to the library of American Western literature.



The ShootistThe Shootist
by Glendon Swarthout

This is the all-time classic novel chosen by the Western Writers of America as one of the best western novels ever wrttten. It is also the inspiration for John Wayne’s last great starring role–the acclaimed 1976 film, “The Shootist”

Chosen by the Western Writers of America as one of the Best Western Novels Ever Written.






by Jack Schaefer

A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889.

It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes of a young boy and a hero who changes the lives of everyone around him. Renowned artist Wendell Minor provides stunning images and a moving introduction to this new edition of Shane, the ultimate tale of the Western landscape.



by Lois’Amour

He was etched by the desert’s howling winds, a big, broad-shouldered man who knew the ways of the Apache and the ways of staying alive. She was a woman alone raising a young son on a remote Arizona ranch. And between Hondo Lane and Angie Lowe was the warrior Vittoro, whose people were preparing to rise against the white men. Now the pioneer woman, the gunman, and the Apache warrior are caught in a drama of love, war, and honor.





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10 Must-Read Books About New York

10 Must-Read Books About NYC

Check out our list of 10 quintessential books about New York City.

9781590170700want_to_read_buttonNorman Moonbloom is a loser, a dropout without even the determination of a genuine deadbeat. His brother, a slum landlord, hires him to collect rent from his tenants in apartment buildings all over Manhattan. But as Moonbloom makes the rounds among them, as he hears the complaints, and then the stories, of a wildly varied and brilliantly described assortment of urban characters, he finds himself drawn back into the circus of life, with all its unforeseen responsibilities, in spite of his better judgement.

Manhattawant_to_read_buttonTen years ago landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson came across a British Headquarters map from 1782. By geographically matching, or geo-referencing, this historical map with a map of modern Manhattan and examining volumes of historical documents and journals, he has been able to visually reconstruct, down to the city block, what Manhattan looked like four hundred years ago.

Conquering Gothamwant_to_read_button

Conquering Gotham” re-creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water-bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail.

The Epic of New York City


In swift, witty chapters that flawlessly capture the pace and character of New York City, acclaimed diarist Edward Robb Ellis presents his masterpiece: a thorough, and thoroughly readable, history of America’s largest metropolis.

The Island at the Center of the Worldwant_to_read_buttonIn a landmark work of history, Shorto presents astonishing information on thefounding of our nation and reveals in riveting detail the crucial role of theDutch in making America what it is today.

Ladies and Gentlemen the Bronx is Burningwant_to_read_buttonA kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in 1977, “The Bronx Is Burning “is the story of two epic battles: the fight between Yankee Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch for the city’s mayorship. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts–one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city–was the subtext of race.

Great Fortunewant_to_read_buttonIn this hugely appealing book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, acclaimed author and journalist Daniel Okrent weaves together themes of money, politics, art, architecture, business, and society to tell the story of the majestic suite of buildings that came to dominate the heart of midtown Manhattan and with it, for a time, the heart of the world.

The Great Bridgewant_to_read_buttonIn the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.

The Bridgewant_to_read_buttonTowards the end of 1964, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge–linking the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island with New Jersey–was completed. It remains an engineering marvel almost forty years later–at 13,700 feet (more than two and a half miles), it is still the longest suspension bridge in the United States and the sixth longest in the world.

Triangle - The Fire that Changed Americawant_to_read_button On March 25, 1911, as workers were getting ready to leave for the day, a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. Within minutes it spread to consume the building’s upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside: their ladders simply weren’t tall enough. People on the street watched in horror as desperate workers jumped to their deaths. The final toll was 146 people—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history.

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Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9-11 headerWe select the 9 most resonant responses to the devastating events of September 11, 2001.

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102 Minuteswant_to_read_buttonNew York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn draw on hundreds of interviews with rescuers and survivors, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts to tell the story of September 11 from the inside looking out.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Closewant_to_read_buttonNine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

Where You left Mewant_to_read_button Jennifer was living the kind of idyllic life that cliches are made of, until her husband Doug was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, and she became a widow at age thirty-five—a “9/11 widow,” no less, a member of a select group bound by sorrow, of which she wanted no part.

Fireboatwant_to_read_buttonOriginally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. After the September 11 attacks, with fire hydrants at Ground Zero inoperable and the Hudson River’s water supply critical to fighting the blaze, the fire department called on the Harvey for help. There were adjustments — forcing water into hoses by jamming soda bottles and wood into nozzles with a sledgehammer — and then the fireboat’s volunteer crew pumped much-needed water to the disaster site. The John J. Harvey proved she was still one of New York’s Bravest!

Firehousewant_to_read_buttonA Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist offers an intimate portrait of Engine 40, Ladder 35 on the Upper West Side of New York City, which lost 12 men in the World Trade Center attack.

Portaits of Griefwant_to_read_buttonFew aspects of The New York Times’s coverage of September 11 and of all that has followed have attracted as much comment as “Portraits of Grief.” The series profiled the lives lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center and was a story in itself, becoming required reading for many the world over.

Saturdaywant_to_read_buttonSaturday, February 15, 2003. Unusually, Harry Perowne wakes before dawn, drawn to the window of his bedroom and filled with a growing unease. What troubles him as he looks out at the night sky is the state of the world, the impending war against Iraq, a gathering pessimism since 9/11 and a fear that his city, its openness and diversity, and his happy family life are under threat.

The Falling Manwant_to_read_buttonThere is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years. Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people.

The Legacy Letterswant_to_read_button

Ten years after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the family members of one hundred of the individuals lost on that terrible day look back-and forward-in this inspiring collection of letters. Filled with love, resilience, humor, wonder, and encouragement, the letters offer a unique perspective on the events of the unforgettable day that forever changed our world.

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Top 10 Books About Fashion

Top 10 Books About Fashion

Our selection of the 10 must-read books about fashion. Share your favorites in the comments below!

The Little Black Book of Style - Nina Garciawant_to_read_buttonA Fashion Director at “Elle” magazine, Nina Garcia knows trends and that balancing the classics with the trends is what style is all about. “The Little Black Book of Style” provides the essential rules for fashion that every woman should know.

The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisbergerwant_to_read_buttonWhen Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She’s never heard of the world’s most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly. But she’s going to be Miranda’s assistant, a job millions of girls would die for. A year later, she knows altogether too much.

The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drakewant_to_read_buttonIn 1950s Paris, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld were friends, the rising stars of the fashion world. But by the late sixties, the city was invaded by a new mood of liberation and hedonism, and dominated by intrigue, infidelities, addiction and parties. Each designer created his own mesmerizing world, so vivid and seductive that people were drawn to the power, charisma and fame, and it was to make them bitter rivals.

Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallicowant_to_read_buttonMrs Harris is a salt-of-the-earth London charlady who cheerfully cleans the houses of the rich. One day, when tidying Lady Dant’s wardrobe, she comes across the most beautiful thing she has ever seen in her life – a Dior dress. In all the years of her drab and humble existence, she’s never seen anything as magical as the dress before her and she’s never wanted anything as much before. Determined to make her dream come true, Mrs Harris scrimps, saves and slaves away until one day, after three long, uncomplaining years, she finally has enough money to go to Paris.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundywant_to_read_buttonEdith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy’s Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.

DV by Diana Vreelandwant_to_read_buttonAs fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue , Diana Vreeland–and her passion, charm, insouciance, and genius for style–energized and inspired the fashion world for fifty years. In this glittering autobiography she takes us around the world with her, revealing her obsession with fashion high and low–pink plastic poodles, for example–and dropping timeless sayings like, “As you know, the French like the French very much.”

Diary of a Mad Diva – Joan Riverswant_to_read_buttonA no-holds-barred, delightfully vicious and always hilarious look at the everyday life of the ultimate diva. Follow Joan on a family vacation in Mexico and on trips between New York and Los Angeles where she mingles with the stars, never missing a beat as she delivers blistering critiques on current events, and excoriating insights about life, pop culture, and celebrities (from A to D list), all in her relentlessly funny signature style.

100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackmanwant_to_read_buttonThis book documents in pictures the most exciting and diverse period in fashion: from 1900 to today, covering high society, uniforms, sportswear, streetwear and couture.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis A Life by Donald Spotowant_to_read_buttonShe was America’s sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her complexity-until now.

Coco Chanel The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardiewant_to_read_buttonCoco Chanel was an extraordinary inventor, conjuring up the little black dress, bobbed hair, trousers for women, contemporary chic, bestselling perfumes, and the most successful fashion brand of all time. But she also invented herself, fashioning the myth of her own life with the same dexterity as her couture; and what lies beneath her own glossy surface.

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A Conversation with Lauren Beukes

A Conversation with Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is the author of The Shining Girls, Zoo City, Moxyland, Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past and the graphic novel, Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom with Inaki Miranda. And arriving in stores next week is Broken Monsters, about a criminal mastermind who creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses.

You’ve never been afraid to explore bleak subject matter in your novels, but Broken Monsters is perhaps you darkest; it stars a serial killer with a penchant for human taxidermy, after all. What was the glimmer of an idea that sparked Broken Monsters into fruition? And were you aware during its writing of just how dark and terrifying the story would turn out to be?

Well, maybe not quite taxidermy, but certainly very disturbing body art. It started, as most of my books do, with a vivid image – of the body of a boy, half-human, half-deer discovered in a tunnel marked with peculiar graffiti. It’s a very dreamy tableau, brought down to earth by the corporeal details and the sardonic dismay of the female detective who has seen some bad stuff in Detroit, but nothing like this.

I knew immediately what the body was, and who had killed him, and why, and that the unraveling of the case and the lives of the people caught up in the peripheries, would lead to a pretty dark place.

The book is about broken people and how we deal with that, and the monsters of ambition and pride and fear and I wanted to treat that with compassion. The killer does terrible, terrible things, but what drives him is ultimately very human – that desire to be recognized, to be seen, to feel known.

Broken Monsters
reminded me of classic Stephen King horror. Are you a King fan, or has he had any influence on your writing?

I love Stephen King’s work and grew up reading him, from Carrie to The Shining, his collections of short stories and, still my favourite, It. I love how he uses twisted conceits as a way of exploring who we are in the world. His characters are so vivid and real. Each page breathes with them. I think it was a natural progression to move from Roald Dahl’s dark and twisty stories with a social conscience to King’s. The other writers who have had a huge influence on me include Alan Moore (ditto inventive storytelling and picking at the human condition), Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, Jeff Noon, Joyce Carol Oates and David Mitchell.


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The Man Booker Prize 2014 Shortlist

Man Booker Prize 2014 ShortlistPreviously open to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe, the 2014 Man Booker Prize reflects the diversity of the novel in English regardless of the author’s nationality. This year’s shortlist features two America authors, Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler; one Australian, Richard Flanagan; and three British authors, Howard Jacobson, Neel Mukherjee and Ali Smith.

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To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferriswant_to_read_buttonPaul O’Rourke is a Manhattan dentist with a thriving practice leading a quiet, routine-driven life. But behind the smiles and the nice apartment, he’s a man made of contradictions, and his biggest fear is that he may never truly come to understand anybody, including himself. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online “Paul” might be a better version of the real thing.

J - A Novelwant_to_read_buttonAfter the devastation of WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED, all that should remain is peace and prosperity. Everyone knows his or her place; all actions are out in the open. But Esme Nussbaum has seen the distorted realities, the fissures that have only widened in the twenty-plus years since she was forced to resign from her position at the monitor of the Public Mood. Now, Esme finds something strange and special developing in a romance between Ailinn Solomons and Kevern Cohen. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme realizes she must do everything in her power to keep them together—whatever the cost.

The Narrow Road to the Deep Northwant_to_read_buttonIn the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

How to be Both by Ali Smithwant_to_read_buttonBorrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

The Lives of Otherswant_to_read_button Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in student unrest, agitation, extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note. The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselveswant_to_read_buttonMeet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she explains. “I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion … she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister.” As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.

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10 Must-Read Tales of Survival

Ten of the most captivating survival stories in literature. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments so we can add to our bookshelf.

THe Martianwant_to_read_buttonSix days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal.

Lord of the Flies by William Goldingwant_to_read_buttonA plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. As the boys’ delicate sense of order fades, so their childish dreams are transformed into something more primitive, and their behaviour starts to take on a murderous, savage significance.

Life of Pi by Yann Martelwant_to_read_buttonAfter the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan – and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

The Lifeboatwant_to_read_buttonThe story of Grace Sachs, an enigmatic young woman whose life is forever altered when the ocean liner on which she is honeymooning mysteriously explodes. Her husband secures her a place on a lifeboat with a group of strangers, but they soon realize their boat is over capacity, and that they must reduce their numbers in order to survive.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoewant_to_read_buttonFor more than 270 years, readers everywhere have been fascinated by the young fool who ran away from wealth, security, and family for a rough life at sea — and came to his senses too late, alone on a tropical island. Alone except for cannibals, that is, and God.

The Old Man and the Seawant_to_read_buttonTold in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal—a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Roomwant_to_read_buttonTo five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Into the Wildwant_to_read_buttonIn April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

Lost in the Junglewant_to_read_buttonFour travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare, and after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups.

127 Hourswant_to_read_buttonOn Saturday, 26 April 2003, Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old outdoorsman and adventurer, set off for a day’s hike in the Utah canyons. Eight miles from his truck, he found himself in the middle of a deep and remote canyon. Then the unthinkable happened: a boulder shifted and snared his right arm against the canyon wall. He was trapped, facing dehydration, starvation, hallucinations and hypothermia as night-time temperatures plummeted. Five and a half days later, Aron Ralston finally came to the agonising conclusion that his only hope was to amputate his own arm and get himself to safety.

Add the 10 Must-Read Tales of Survival
to your bookshelf on TheReadlingRoom.

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3 Great Books About the Royal Family

3 Great Books About the Royal CoupleThe Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, is expecting her second child, the royal household announced today – and we’re celebrating with our 3 favorite books about the Royal couple!

William & Katewant_to_read_buttonChristopher Andersen reveals the intimate details of William and Kate’s celebrated courtship and offers a mesmerizing glimpse of the man and wife and future king and queen they will become.

The Man Who Will be Kingwant_to_read_button The definitive portrait of the man who will be king.

The New Royal Familywant_to_read_buttonPacked with expert analysis and exclusive photographs, this is an essential read for royalists and romantics alike.

Want to read more?

Check out our 10 Must-Read Books about the British Monarchy on TheReadingRoom.

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