Tag: jennifer egan

Subway Ad for One Book One New York. Drawing of three people sittitng down and reading different books.

Did You Know That New York City Has a Book Club?

 

 

If you live in NYC, you might have seen the ads for One Book, One New York on the subway. If you have not seen them or you just don’t live here, One Book, One New York is a project organized by the NYPL in which citizens can vote on what book they’d like to collectively read. That book is then advertised with the goal being that many people will begin reading the same book. I think it’s pretty neat and also kind of strange. Anyway, the people have voted and they chose Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach as the winner.

 

 

Book cover for Manhattan Beaches

Image Via GoodReads

 

The follow up to Egan’s critically acclaimed A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach takes place during WWII. According to NYC.gov, “Manhattan Beach tells the haunting World War II-era story of Anna Kerrigan, who becomes the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s first female diver, and her search for her missing father.” Manhattan Beach is not getting great reviews from everyone. Many reviews are positive but some go as follows:

 

Reading the dust jacket one would have thought this book contained a real good mystery. The only mystery to me was how anyone found this book entertaining! The characters were lackluster, the plot all over, the ending was unbelievable, and all in all, I found this book boring. – Elaine N. (Via Goodreads)

 

Looking back over the novel, I get an intense feeling of dissatisfaction. Everything is a series of disconnected plot points; many long, slow parts where nothing happens, and even the more action-filled parts were not particularly interesting. Bloodless and forgettable. – Emily M (Via Goodreads)

 

Pretty harsh reviews. But, as I said, this book does have a ton of positive ones such as:

 

This is a hauntingly ambitious historical novel of the sea and New York, set during the Depression era and the Second World War. It is impeccably researched in its period details and well plotted. -Paromjit (Via Goodreads)

 

“What can’t she do?” is right. Turns out Jennifer Egan can do anything she damn well pleases, including take 7 years to write a World War II novel that manages to shuck all the expected conventions of writing about those years. There is some amount of mystery here but it isn’t a mystery novel, just like there’s plenty of history but it isn’t a historical novel. Egan’s writing has all the pleasure of a comfy blanket on a crisp autumn morning – so what luck that this fall brings a joy like this novel. -Drew (Via Goodreads)

 

Do you let negative reviews deter you from starting a book or do you look to good reviews for recommendations? If you wany yo join in on the party and you live in New York, pick up a copy and see how you like it. I am curious to see what the next book choice will be.

 

Feature Image Via Vulture

John Green Haruki Murakami Margaret Atwood music cool people great awesome

Check Out What Music Your Favorite Authors Love

We know you’re always looking for new music. Instead of listening to your local public radio station to find out what the cool college kids are listening to (Hint: it’s probably Migos), let your favorite authors give you some recommendations. Here’s a round-up of some of the best authors’ best musicians. And, helpful as ever, I’ve compiled them all into a convenient Spotify playlist for your edification. Happy listening!

 

 

1. Stephen King – LCD Soundsystem

 

King is a huge music buff. He wrote a music column for Entertainment Weekly called “Must List” for years. In an interview about his music taste, King talked about LCD Soundsystem’s song “Yeah,” saying, “all I can say is if this is where disco went when it died, then it was very good and went to heaven.”

 

2. George Saunders – John Prine

 

Saunders loves music, and even played in a jazz fusion band in high school. Of John Prine’s “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore,” Saunders said, “My friend I used to listen to this over and over…There’s something growing up outside of Chicago, knowing that all this stuff was just a few miles away—[it] was very politicizing.”

 

3. Jennifer Egan – Kings of Convenience

 

Though she grew up obsessing over The Who (“I had a consuming crush on Roger Daltry!”), Egan’s taste has become thoroughly less rock-y. She likes this band called Kings of Convenience, about whom she said, “I’m also pretty crazy about the Kings of Convenience—a Norwegian band that’s been compared to Simon and Garfunkel.” I love them both, but Simon and Garfunkel is a far cry from The Who.

 

4. David Sedaris – Abbey Lincoln

 

I had never heard of Abbey Lincoln before, but Sedaris has nice things to say about her. In fact, he’s pretty much in love with her. Sedaris says, “Just from the very first song that I heard I was crazy about her. You know people say that all the time—”I have to be your biggest fan.” But I have to be her biggest fan. I really have to.”

 

5. David Foster Wallace – R.E.M.

 

The Infinite Jest author definitely liked music, but his taste is maybe not as expansive as you’d think. According to biographer David Lipsky in his book Travels With David Foster Wallace, “[Wallace’s] music tastes were pretty eclectic. He loved the R.E.M. song ‘Strange Currencies’ (‘I mean, I will find one or two songs — I listened to ‘Strange Currencies’ over and over again all summer’).” That said, Wallace also claimed to “have the musical tastes of a thirteen year old girl.” It’s 2018, though, and I’m not sure how many thirteen-year-olds are listening to R.E.M. Besides “Everybody Hurts.” Which is a great song.

6. Haruki Murakami – The Beach Boys

 

Murakami is essentially a human jukebox. He loves The Beatles, Radiohead and  Duke Ellington, among others. But one group that pops up again and again in his work is The Beach Boys. Which, you know what, fair enough. Pet Sounds is one of the all-time greats.

 

7. Margaret Atwood – The Arrogant Worms

 

Atwood, Canadian, loves Canadian music. So much. In an interview with CBC Music, she said, “I’m kind of keen on a group called the Arrogant Worms. When I’m explaining Canada to people who aren’t Canadian, I always start with their song, ‘Canada’s Really Big.’” It’s official: Margaret Atwood has cooler music taste than me.

 

8. John Green – The Mountain Goats

 

Green’s fondness for The Mountain Goats is widely known, as he references them every chance he gets. New Year’s Eve 2014, Green tweeted his habit of listening “This Year” annually to begin the new year. It’s a good song, and it makes sense Green loves John Darnielle’s music. They’re both angsty.

 

9. Vladimir Nabokov – Nothing

 

Seriously. Nabokov once described music thusly: “Music , I regret to say, affects me merely as an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds.” Given this, I think Nabokov might have enjoyed John Cage’s “4’33″”.

 

 

Feature Images Via Youtube, Flavorwire, and British Council Literature

Jaws

Sorry, but These 2017 Books Would Make Killer Movies

Books turn into movies, people then buy the books, people compare the two, and, inevitably, people choose the book over the movie. It’s the way things work. It’s great for everybody. I know it’s frustrating for some, but great books almost always get adapted. It’s the way it’s always been. Seriously, if you’re a fan of silent movies, you’ll know most of those are based on books.

 

Anyway, 2017 provided a bunch of great stories for television and movie producers to eyeball. Here are some of our essential 2017 reads that could be spun into killer adaptations, complete with publishers’ descriptions.

 

1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

 

'Exit West

Image Via Amazon

 

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

 

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

 

2. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

 

Sing Unburied Sing

Image Via Amazon

 

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

 

His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.

 

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

 

3. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

 

Manhattan Beach

Image Via Amazon

 

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

 

Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

 

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.

 

4. The Idiot by Elif Batuman

 

The Idiot

Image Via Amazon

 

The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings.

 

At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan’s friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin’s summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer.

 

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman’s fiction is unguarded against both life’s affronts and its beauty–and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.

 

5. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

 

Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Image Via Amazon

 

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.

 

It is an aching love story and a decisive remonstration, a story told in a whisper, in a shout, through unsentimental tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Each of its characters is indelibly, tenderly rendered. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love—and by hope.

 

The tale begins with Anjum—who used to be Aftab—unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her—including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.

 

6. Made for Love by Alissa Nutting

 

Made for Love

Image Via Amazon

 

Hazel has just moved into a trailer park of senior citizens, with her father and Diane—his extremely lifelike sex doll—as her roommates. Life with Hazel’s father is strained at best, but her only alternative seems even bleaker. She’s just run out on her marriage to Byron Gogol, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, a monolithic corporation hell-bent on making its products and technologies indispensable in daily life. For over a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. The world she escapes into is a far cry from the dry and clinical bubble she’s been living in, a world populated with a whole host of deviant oddballs.

 

7. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 

Strange the Dreamer

Image Via Amazon

 

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

 

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

 

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries–including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

 

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

 

Welcome to Weep.

 

Feature Image Via Letterboxd

reese and little fires everywhere

7 Books From 2017 ALREADY Being Adapted

Sup y’all. So we all know about upcoming adaptations such as Donna Tartt’s The GoldfinchJennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Old news. What you probably didn’t know is that the following rake of rip-rollicking reads are also set for screens great and small. Thanks to Bookbub for the original article that brought these gems to our attention! 

 

1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 

 

Image Via Goodreads

Image Via Goodreads 

 

Amazon says: 

 

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

 
Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

 
With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

 
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

 

The film will be made by Dreamworks, and Paula Hawkins will executive produce. Jared LeBoff and La La Land‘s Marc Platt will produce. 

 

2. Sleeping Beauties: A Novel by Stephen King and Owen King

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says: 

 

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.

One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.

Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously dramatic father-son collaboration that feels particularly urgent and relevant today.

 

The rights have been purchased by Anonymous Content, with Stephen and Owen both co-creating what will be a TV series. Oscar-winning producer Michael Sugarand Ashley Zalta will produce. 

 

3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says: 

 

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

 

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

 

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

 

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

 

Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s production company, has optioned the book for a television series.

 

4. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says: 

 

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

 

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

 

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally will be producing the movie adaptation along with Saunders. 

 

5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 

 

Image Via Amazon

 Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says:

 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

 

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . . 

 

Reese’s Hello Sunshine strikes again, with rumors she will star in the film! 

 

6. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says: 

 

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

 

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 

 

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

 

E! is developing this Breakfast Club-inspired thriller into a television series. 

 

7. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

 

Image Via Amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

Amazon says:

 

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

 

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

 

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.

 

The book has been acquired byby Scott Rudin Productions, but we’re not yet sure if it will be a movie or series.

 

Featured Image Via Popsugar and Amazon