Category Archives: Book of the Week

Book of the Week | The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Thank you Grand Central Publishing for providing a copy of this book to me. I’m always grateful for their generosity and indulging me in my obsession with books.


IMG_1076TITLE: The Light of the World

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Alexander

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2016 (Paperback Edition)

GENRE: Memoir

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | B&N

In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning in the wake of loss.

The Light of the World is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the enduring gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares what matters most, The Light of the World is required reading. (Description found author’s website)

ABOUT ELIZABETH ALEXANDER

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Professor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, and teacher. She is the author of six books of poems, two collections of essays, a play, and various edited collections. She was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. She previously served as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, where she taught for 15 years and chaired the African American Studies Department. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her memoir, The Light of the World, has just been released to great acclaim. (Bio found on Author’s Website)

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Book of the Week | Girl In The Dark by Anna Lyndsey

Today I want to share a book that I’ve been anxiously wanting to read, but I’ve been waiting for it to be physically in my hands.

The first time I saw this book on a shelf I immediately fell in love with the cover which led me to read the description and add it to my reading list. The only problem is that I have no more room on my bookshelf or in our tiny apartment, so how do I choose which book to replace so that I can add this gem to my collection? Thoughts?

Well, my birthday is coming up so maybe I will just treat myself and figure out where to store this in my apartment after I read it. #BookLoverProblems


22543949TITLE: Girl in the Dark: A Memoir of a Life Without Light

AUTHOR: Anna Lyndsey

PUBLISHER: DoubleDay

RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2015

GENRE: Memoir

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

Even impossible lives endure.

Once, Anna Lyndsey had an ordinary life. She was young and ambitious and worked hard, she had just bought an apartment, she was falling in love. Then what began as a mild intolerance to certain kinds of artificial light developed into a severe sensitivity to all light. Now, at the worst times, Anna must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, where she loses herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission, she can venture out cautiously at dawn or dusk into a world that overwhelms her starved senses with its beauty.

Eventually, Anna’s unthinkable fate becomes a transcendent love story, offering an extraordinary perspective from which we can see light and the world anew.

About Anna Lyndsey: Anna Lyndsey is a pen name. Lyndsey for several years in London as a civil servant until she became ill. She now lives with her husband in Hampshire, England.


EXCERPT

Light Gets In

It is extraordinarily difficult to black out a room.

First I line the curtains with blackout material, a heavy, plasticky fabric, strange flesh-like magnolia in colour, not actually black. But the light slips in easily, up and over the gap between the rail and the wall, and at the bottom through the loops made by the hanging folds.

So I add a blackout roller blind, inside the window alcove. But the light creeps in around the sides, and shimmies through the slit at the top.

So I tackle the panes themselves. I cut sheets of cooking foil, press them against the glass, tape them to the window frames. But the foil wrinkles and rips, refuses to lie flat. Gaps persist around the edges, pinpricks and tears across the middle. I tape and tape, tape over tape, foil over foil, layer upon layer. Instead of neat sheets of foil tethered by single strips of tape, the thing is becoming wild installation art. But I can’t stop. The light is laughing at me; it is playing deliberate games, lying low to persuade me that I have made an area secure, then as soon as I move on, wriggling through some overlooked wormhole. The day beyond my window is an ocean, pressing and pulsing at my protecting walls, and I must plug a leaky dike perpetually against its power.

At last, I think I may have done enough. I lower the blind on my crazy patchwork of foil, pull the curtains, place a rolled-up towel along the crack at the bottom of the door. I sit quietly on the bed, and wait for my eyes to adjust.

And I have it. Finally I have it. I have blackness.

I lie back inside my box of darkness, the new container for my life. I am overwhelmed with exhaustion and relief.

(Description and Excerpt found on Knopfdoubleday.com

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Book of the Week | When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel

when-we-meet-again-9781476754161_lgTITLE: When We Meet Again

AUTHOR: Kristin Harmel

PUBLISHER: Gallery Books

RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2016

GENRE: Women’s Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | BAM! | INDIEBOUND |

Emily thinks she’s lost everything…until a mysterious painting leads her to what she wants most in the world. The new novel from the author of international bestsellers The Sweetness of Forgetting and The Life Intended shows why her books are hailed as “engaging” (People), “absorbing” (Kirkus Reviews) and “enthralling” (Fresh Fiction).

Emily Emerson is used to being alone; her dad ran out on the family when she was a just a kid, her mom died when she was seventeen, and her beloved grandmother has just passed away as well. But when she’s laid off from her reporting job, she finds herself completely at sea…until the day she receives a beautiful, haunting painting of a young woman standing at the edge of a sugarcane field under a violet sky. That woman is recognizable as her grandmother—and the painting arrived with no identification other than a handwritten note saying, “He always loved her.”

Emily is hungry for roots and family, so she begins to dig. And as she does, she uncovers a fascinating era in American history. Her trail leads her to the POW internment camps of Florida, where German prisoners worked for American farmers…and sometimes fell in love with American women. But how does this all connect to the painting? The answer to that question will take Emily on a road that leads from the sweltering Everglades to Munich, Germany and back to the Atlanta art scene before she’s done.

Along the way, she finds herself tempted to tear down her carefully tended walls at last; she’s seeing another side of her father, and a new angle on her painful family history. But she still has secrets, ones she’s been keeping locked inside for years. Will this journey bring her the strength to confront them at last? (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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Book of the Week | Surprise Me by Deena Goldstone

cover84140-mediumTITLE: Surprise Me

AUTHOR: Deena Goldstone

PUBLISHER: Nan A. Tales; Doubleday Books

RELEASE DATE: June 21, 2016

GENRE: Literary Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | BAM! | HUDSON | INDIEBOUND | POWELL’S

A bittersweet debut novel, Surprise Me is an unconventional love story about two writers who see more in each other than they see in themselves, and how that faith transforms them.

The fragile dream of becoming a writer takes hold of Isabelle Rothman during her senior year of college. Feeling brave, she begins a one-on-one tutorial with a once highly praised novelist, Daniel Jablonski, who is known on campus as eccentric, difficult, and disengaged. Despite his reputation, Isabelle loves his early novels and hopes Daniel can teach her the secrets of his luminous prose. But their first meeting is a disaster. He never read the chapters she submitted and will not apologize for being unprepared. He has lived up to his reputation, and she feels dismissed, humiliated, and furious.

But slowly, over the semester, they gingerly form a bond that begins to anchor both of them. And over the next twenty years, as they live very separate lives—she in Northern California and he finally settled in a tiny New Hampshire town—they reach out to each other through e-mails, phone calls, and visits. Their continual connection helps Isabelle find the courage to take greater risks and push Daniel to work through layers of self-loathing and regret that have kept his career from flourishing. They are the single constant in each other’s life and the most profound influence.

Daniel and Isabelle recognize they are among the blessed few who meet at the exact moment they need each other the most, and that their lives are transformed by this connection. In a final collaboration, the boundaries of teacher and student give way to a work that heals something in each of them. They truly see each other as extraordinary—as people do when they love—and that belief makes all the difference. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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Book of the Week | Chronicle of A Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashid

cover86481-mediumTITLE: Chronicle of A Last Summer

AUTHOR: Yasmine El Rashidi

PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing

RELEASE DATE: June 28, 2016

GENRE: Literary Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON

Cairo, 1984. A blisteringly hot summer. A young girl in a sprawling family house. Her days pass quietly: listening to a mother’s phone conversations, looking at the Nile from a bedroom window, watching the three state-sanctioned TV stations with the volume off, daydreaming about other lives. Underlying this claustrophobic routine is mystery and loss. Relatives mutter darkly about the newly-appointed President Mubarak. Everyone talks with melancholy about the past. People disappear overnight. Her own father has left, too—why, or to where, no one will say.

We meet her across three decades, from youth to adulthood: As a six-year old absorbing the world around her, filled with questions she can’t ask; as a college student and aspiring filmmaker pre-occupied with love, language, and the repression that surrounds her; and then later, in the turbulent aftermath of Mubarak’s overthrow, as a writer exploring her own past. Reunited with her father, she wonders about the silences that have marked and shaped her life.

At once a mapping of a city in transformation and a story about the shifting realities and fates of a single Egyptian family, Yasmine El Rashidi’s Chronicle of a Last Summer traces the fine line between survival and complicity, exploring the conscience of a generation raised in silence. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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Book of the Week | The Last Girl by Joe Hart

cover74018-mediumTITLE: The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy, Book 1)

AUTHOR: Joe Hart

PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2016

GENRE: Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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Book of the Week | The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

cover77957-mediumTITLE: The Choices We Make

AUTHOR: Karma Brown

PUBLISHER: Harlequin (US & Canada)

RELEASE DATE: July 12, 2016

GENRE: Women’s Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND | INDIGO

Following her critically acclaimed debut novel Come Away with Me, Karma Brown returns with an unforgettable story that explores the intricate dynamics between friends and mothers

Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.

She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.

Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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