Category Archives: Book of the Week

Book of the Week | The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

TITLE: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

AUTHOR: Gabrielle Zevin

PUBLISHER: Algonquin Books

RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2014

GENRE: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. (Description from Goodreads)

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Book of the Week | This Is Me by Chrissy Metz

TITLE: This Is Me

AUTHOR: Chrissy Metz

PUBLISHER: Dey Street Books

RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2018

GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

An inspirational book about life and its lessons from the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated star of NBC’s This Is Us.

When This Is Us debuted in fall 2016, a divided America embraced a show that celebrates human connection. The critically acclaimed series became America’s most watched—and most talked about—network show, even building on its fan base in the drama’s second season. As Kate Pearson, Chrissy Metz presents a character that has never been seen on television, yet viewers see themselves in her, no matter what they look like or where they come from. Considered a role model just for being her authentic self, Chrissy found herself on magazine covers and talk shows, walking red carpets, and as the subject of endless conversations on social media “I don’t know what you’ve been through to play her,” she is often told by fans, “but it was something.”

In This is Me, Chrissy Metz shares her story with a raw honesty that will leave readers both surprised but also inspired. Infused with the same authenticity she brings to her starring role, Chrissy’s This is Me is so much more than your standard Hollywood memoir or collection of personal essays. She embraces the spirit of Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, and shares how she has applied the lessons she learned from both setbacks and successes. A born entertainer, Chrissy finds light in even her darkest moments, and leaves the reader feeling they are spending time with a friend who gets it.

Chrissy Metz grew up in a large family, one that always seemed to be moving, and growing. Her father disappeared one day, leaving her mother to work a series of menial jobs and his children to learn to live with the threat of hunger and the electricity being cut off. When her mother remarried, Chrissy hoped for “normal” but instead experienced a form of mental pain that seemed crafted just for her. The boys who showed her attention did so with strings attached as well, and Chrissy accepted it, because for her, love always came with conditions.

When she set out for Los Angeles, it was the first time she had been away from her family and from Florida. And for years, she got barely an audition. So how does a woman with the deck stacked against her radiate such love, beauty and joy? This too is at the heart of This is Me.

With chapters that alternate from autobiographical to instructional, Chrissy offers practical applications of her hard-won insights in a series of “Bee Mindful” interstitials. There she invites you to embrace gratitude in “Say Thank You” or to be honest with your partner and yourself in “The Shrouded Supreme.” Blending love and experience, Chrissy encourages us all to claim our rightful place in a world that may be trying to knock us down, find our own unique gifts, and pursue our dreams. (Description from Goodreads) 

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Book of the Week | I Was Here by Gayle Forman

TITLE: I Was Here

AUTHOR: Gayle Forman

PUBLISHER: Viking Juvenile

RELEASE DATE: January 25, 2015

GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss. (Description from Goodreads) 

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Book of the Week | The Book of Dreams by Nina George

TITLE: The Book of Dreams

AUTHOR: Nina George

PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing

RELEASE DATE: April 9, 2019

GENRE: General Fiction, Adult Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

Warm, wise, and magical—the latest novel by the bestselling author of THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP and THE LITTLE FRENCH BISTRO is an astonishing exploration of the thresholds between life and death

Henri Skinner is a hardened ex-war reporter on the run from his past. On his way to see his son, Sam, for the first time in years, Henri steps into the road without looking and collides with oncoming traffic. He is rushed to a nearby hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.
 
After the accident, Sam—a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144 and an appetite for science fiction—waits by his father’s bedside every day. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, a coma patient like Henri and the sole survivor of a traffic accident that killed her family. As these four very different individuals fight—for hope, for patience, for life—they are bound together inextricably, facing the ravages of loss and first love side by side.
 
A revelatory, urgently human story that examines what we consider serious and painful alongside light and whimsy, THE BOOK OF DREAMS is a tender meditation on memory, liminality, and empathy, asking with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives once we are gone. (Description from NetGalley)

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Book of the Week | The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

TITLE: The Perfect Wife

AUTHOR: JP Delaney

PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books

RELEASE DATE: August 6, 2019

GENRE: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense

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

A missing woman receives a second chance at life, thanks to her billionaire husband–but the consequences are deadly in this gripping psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before.

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago? (Description from Goodreads)

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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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