Category: Book Culture

Brooklyn Book Festival Will Honor Author Mo Willems

The largest free literary event in New York City comes back to Brooklyn September 16-23. Over three hundred authors and two hundred fifty booksellers line the Brooklyn streets to offer a week of book related events for the public. Expanding into all five boroughs, local parks and bookshops will hold their own events paralleling the major events in Brooklyn. With a dedicated Children’s Day and ending Festival Day, this event is the must-see for book lovers local to the city.



Image result for brooklyn book festival
Image via Washington Square Park Blog


Every year, the festival honors an author with the Best of Brooklyn Award. Mo Willems received the honor this year, being the first picture-book author to ever receive the award. The author honored is meant to speak the feeling and essence of Brooklyn in their work. Celebrating the tradition of Children’s Day at the Festival, Willems’ book seemed like the perfect bit of nostalgia to remind us of the importance of children’s literature in Brooklyn and beyond.


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ImAge via WBUR


With beloved classics such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny, Willems’ vibrant illustrations and quirky characters make them memorable staples in our childhood bookshelves. When asked about his connection with Brooklyn, Willems said, “Brooklyn is where I found the Pigeons and Knuffle Bunnies that were to become my muses.” He can be expected at this year’s festival with hundreds of other authors across genre and audience.



The festival is currently looking for volunteers for the various events occurring, which would be the perfect opportunity for book lovers to give their time to an amazing cause, chat with fellow literature fans, and see a few of their favorite authors on the way. Volunteers can sign up at the Brooklyn Book Festival website.


Feature Image via Kundiman 

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 7/18/19

San Diego Comic Con (the biggest pop culture convention in the world that has something for everyone) is this weekend. Therefore, you’ll likely be dying from either, (A) not being there, or (B) anticipation, after all of the awesome upcoming books, comics, shows, film releases, etc. have been announced. However, we have just the thing to keep you entertained while you wait for those attractions to arrive.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!









Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town―and desperate for some kid-free conversation―she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers’ eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.



We’re fresh from ThrillerFest weekend, the literary event that celebrates thriller novels everywhere and their ability to keep us at the edge of our seats. Now’s your chance to celebrate with USA TODAY bestselling author Cate Holahan’s One Little Secret, her latest thriller about the challenges of looking for a fresh start, and how badly it can backfire if done indelicately. Holahan’s dark mystery will have you biting your nails, on your toes, and reconsidering how many alcoholic beverages you’ll want to consume in the company of those you’ve just met, so that you don’t repeat the mistakes of her vivid characters.








The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time.

The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King of Rock and Roll resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history.

Elvis’s 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 600 shows there, and sold out every one.

Las Vegas was changed too. The intimate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s premier live-entertainment center in the 1950s and ‘60s, catered largely to well-heeled older gamblers. Elvis brought a new kind of experience: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. He set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotion campaign the city had ever seen. In doing so, he opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, and brought a new audience to Vegas—a mass audience from Middle America that Vegas depends on for its success to this day.

A classic comeback tale set against the backdrop of Las Vegas’s golden age, Richard Zoglin’s Elvis in Vegas is a feel-good story for the ages.



While our Hot Pick would have been an “interesting” beach read to say the least, we feel as though a beach read should be a little more encouraging of seeking real life adventure, not murder, which is indeed what Richard Zoglin delivers with Elvis in Vegas. Zoglin is a contributing editor and theater critic for Time magazine, and gives us an informed account of the impact that Elvis had on stage performance in Las Vegas and live-entertainment. Embrace the legendary King of Rock’s comeback and return to the stage in this feel-good tale. When you hear “Vegas,” you think “adventure” right? Take this one with you for your next trip to the beach and be inspired to make your journey the best that you can make it.









How far would you go to protect the ones you love…when they may not be yours to protect?

When Josh’s longtime partner, Grace, dies in a tragic accident, he is left with a mess of grief—and full custody of her seven-year-old son, Logan. While not his biological father, Josh has been a dad to Logan in every way that counts, and with Grace gone, Logan needs him more than ever.

Wanting to do right by Logan, Josh begins the process of becoming his legal guardian—something that seems suddenly urgent, though Grace always brushed it off as an unnecessary formality. But now, as Josh struggles to find the paperwork associated with Logan’s birth, he begins to wonder whether there were more troubling reasons for Grace’s reluctance to make their family official.

As he digs deeper into the past of the woman he loved, Josh soon finds that there are many dark secrets to uncover, and that the truth about where Logan came from is much more sinister than he could have imagined…

Tightly paced and brimming with tension, Her Secret Son is a heartbreakingly honest portrait of a family on the edge of disaster and a father desperate to hold on to the boy who changed his life.


Our Dark Horse pick is indeed dark, but it is also an intimate and powerful tale about the struggles of grief, and family bonds that are stronger than blood. Hannah Mary McKinnon delivers a hero with Her Secret Son’s Josh, whose drive to do right by his son (in every way but name), is something that deserves to be recognized and admired. McKinnon’s novel will keep you in both suspense and anticipation, as you’re led through a roller coaster of emotions, hoping that Josh and Logan will be able to make it as a family.




All In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via PhotoCollage


Sabrina Carpenter to Star in ‘The Distance From Me to You’

The 2015 YA novel The Distance From Me To You, by debut author Marina Gessner is getting a film adaptation!


The Distance From Me To You Book
Image via Amazon


Equal parts romance and thriller, the novel, which is published by Penguin, tells the story of two teens who meet and fall in love whilst hiking along the Appalachian Trail. However, they soon discover that greater than the physical danger of the treacherous hike is the danger of their lives going in very different directions… 


While Gessner’s first and currently only novel was met with both mixed and generally positive reviews on Goodreads from fans in response, most of the ones that reside in the negative revolve around the fans’ disconnect due to lack of interest in camping, hiking, and other activities of the like, so if you want to read the novel before seeing the upcoming film because of its outdoorsy elements, then this is the book for you!



Girl Meets World star Sabrina Carpenter will both produce the film and star in the lead female role of McKenna Berney. Since the Boy Meets World continuation ended in early 2017, Carpenter has starred in the adaptation of Angie Thomas’s hit novel The Hate U Give, and will be in the upcoming films Short History of the Long Road and Work It. She is currently voice-acting on the Disney XD cartoon Milo Murphy’s Law.


Sabrina Carpenter in blue dress posing for Variety
Image via Variety



In fact, Danielle Fishel, who starred alongside Carpenter in Girl Meets World, as well as producing the Disney Channel hit sitcom, will also help out behind the scenes as the movie’s executive producer, bringing the two actresses together again.

Sabrina Carpenter fans: if you thought Maya Hart was a wild child, then you have yet to meet McKenna Berney…

Featured Image via Unsplash

Bryant Park Reading Room Hosts a ‘Mid-Summer Musts’ Author’s Panel

All summer, Bryant Park Reading Room hosts author’s panels every Wednesday afternoon. This week’s panel was titled ‘Mid-Summer Musts’, and focused on a special set of books that are essential must-haves for your summer reading list. Throughout the panel, the authors were often asked tough questions. 


From left to right, Meryl Moss, Basil Hero, Katherine Howe, Justin Kuritzkes, Felicity McLean, Anna Pitoniak | Image Via Jovanna Reyes



Anna Pitoniak, the author of Necessary People, was asked about the negative relationships that her characters have with one another. In response, Pitoniak described the importance of capturing ‘the true essence’ of real relationships and emulating the toxic relationships that exist in the real world in an effort to help the reader understand them better. Another member of the audience then asked a question about how the setting of the story impacts the characters and the readers. 


Image Via Jovanna Reyes


Author Felicity McLean quickly responded, as the setting of her book, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone, is an essential aspect. Since her book is based in Australia, McLean explained that she only intended for her character’s experiences to be relatable to Australians but discovered that readers from all over the world could relate to her characters. 


Image Via Jovanna Reyes


Katherine Howe, the author of The Daughters of Temperance, added to McLean’s answer and described how important the setting of Salem, Massachusetts is in regards to her characters and their interactions with the environment around them. Later, Howe was asked whether The Daughters of Temperance was a sequel to her first book, and she clearly established that her newly published book is definitely not a sequel, rather it is a ‘stand alone follow up’ to her first novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane; featuring almost all the same characters, though not requiring the reader to have read its predecessor. 



Image Via Jovanna Reyes


Another question was directed at the authors, this time the audience member asked what were the inspiration behind each of the author’s novels. Basil Hero, author of The Mission of a Lifetime: Lessons from the Men Who Went to the Moon, automatically answered and recalled on the strong feelings and the impact that the moon landing made on not only the world-famous astronauts but on the rest of America; this strong feeling is what inspired Hero to write his book. 


Image Via Jovanna Reyes


Another panelist, Justin Kuritzkes, also explained the inspiration behind his book Famous People. Kuritzkes was interested in how just one aspect of a person can make them drastically stand out from the rest, especially the aspects that the public does not see. 


Image Via Jovanna Reyes


The panel continued with interesting questions and answers until it ended with all of the authors reading the last line of their books. Although the temperature was reaching the mid-nineties, the panel was very interesting and most importantly shaded from the blazing heat. 


More information on the weekly author’s panels can be found on the Bryant Park Reading Room website


Featured Image Via Jovanna Reyes