Tag: Normal People

5 Up-and-Coming Female Authors You Need to Know

Women have a lot to say — or write. Contemporary fiction is currently filled to the brim with smart and savvy female authors blowing readers away with their debuts. If these authors aren’t on your shelf already, go ahead and assume that they will be by the time you reach the end of this list. Here are a few incredible modern storytellers that you need to know.

1. Sally Rooney

 

American cover for Normal People
Image Via Penguin Random House

 

If you haven’t heard the name, Sally Rooney, you may have seen one of novels — Conversations with Friends or Normal People on Instagram, where they have become quite the staple for ‘bookstagram’ users. Meanwhile, she is also receiving rave reviews from critics and winning awards for her works, including the British Book Awards’ Book of the Year. With both readers and critics commending this 28-year-old’s two recent novels, you be wondering if she is overhyped — reader, she is not. Rooney’s writing is quiet, yet striking. It’s relatable, yet challenging. Her novels about the everyday lives of young, smart people are slow burners, while also somehow being page turners. Rooney is worth every bit of the hype, pick up one of her books already.

 

2. Elif Batuman

 

The Idiot

Image Via Amazon

 

Another highly praised writer, Batuman is the author of debut novel, The Idiot, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2018. The Idiot follows Harvard freshman Selin in her first year, during which she meets and begins an email correspondence with an older student, Ivan. It is captivating to experience Selin struggle to work out her feelings for Ivan in conjunction to adjusting to adult life. Batuman’s characters are radiantly real — flawed and often naive, but compelling and visceral all the same. Batuman also has a collection of essays entitled The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.

 

3. Candice Carty-Williams

 

'Queenie' by Candice Carty-Williams

Image Via Amazon

 

The titular protagonist of Carty-Williams’ debut novel, Queenie, is one of those characters that you desperately want to be friends with. Tired of not seeing herself depicted in contemporary media and fiction, Carty-Williams molded the character of Queenie, a Jamaican British woman living in London, struggling with her job, her relationships. Not only does Carty-Williams expertly convey the personal and intimate, but tackles the larger scale societalissues that affect individuals. From fetishization within interracial dating to gentrification, Queenie experiences it all — as does the reader.

 

4. R.O. Kwon

 

book cover

Image Via Amazon

 

The Washington Post claims that Kwon “doesn’t make it easy to get her debut out of your system.” The debut in question, The Incendiaries, follows two college freshmen, one of whom becomes involved with an extremist religious cult tied to North Korea. With an unconventional structure — told via a stream-of-consciousness-like regaining of memories — Kwon pulls the reader in by keeping them at bay. Yet, even with the method of distancing, readers are able to connect deeply with the characters and their actions. It’s a contradicting experience of a novel well worth diving into.

 

5. Kristen Roupenian

 

Via Simon & Schuster

 

The author of “Cat Person” has written more than just “Cat Person.” Roupenian quickly rose to fame in late 2017 when her short story, “Cat Person,” was published in The New Yorker and quickly became the second most read story of the year on the popular site, despite being published in the December issue. After receiving a $1.2 million advance for a collection of short stories, she published You Know You Want This early this year. The result is a group of smart and fascinatingly dark short stories. These stories are not “Cat Person” from different angles, but rather a group of versatile and sharply contrasted pieces showcasing Roupenian’s abilities. And yet, the keen observation and sharp prose of “Cat Person” are consistently present. Readers are able to get just as lost in each of these worlds as millions of readers did with Margot and her cat person date, Robert.

Filming Begins on Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’ Adaptation

If you were unaware, the soon to be cult classic and heart-wrenchingly-real bestseller (like it weirdly broke me) of the year, Normal People is being turned into a twelve-part series. Sally Rooney became the youngest author to win the Costa Novel Award in 2018 (beating us all to it) before her book was named 2019’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. The word-weaving powerhouse that is Ms. Rooney has helped pen the pending adaptation alongside Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe.

 

Image Via Virginmediatelevision.ie 

 

The novel follows the ever-changing, often infuriating relationship between Connell and Marianne post-Irish economic downturn. The two occupy very different social circles at school; Connell is popular and well-liked (but just a dick), while Marianne (super clever) is ostracized and ridiculed. The two form a connection in secret which begins since Connell’s mother is Marianne’s family’s cleaner. After they escape the irrelevancy of secondary school, Marianne blossoms and Connell does not. Both go to university and have very different experiences, all the while remaining in each other’s lives (to a certain extent). The novel examines all the idiosyncrasies that make us “normal,” bringing to light various traumas and insecurities that are often ignored by an indifferent society.

According to Virgin Media Television, the adaptation being produced by Element Pictures (The Favourite, The Lobster)—expect some nuanced and potentially fucked up feels. It will star Daisy Edgar Jones (Cold Feet) as Marianne and Paul Mescal debuting as Connell. Room (oh this is going to be heavy) filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie McDonald will serve as duel directors.

 

Image Via Inews.co.uk

 

Rooney, also serving as an executive producer, said: “As a long-time admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of Normal People. I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.”

 

Image Via Independent.ie

 

Abrahamson added: “It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing Sally Rooney’s extraordinary novel to the screen with such a brilliant cast and crew. It’s also lovely for me to be shooting in Ireland again and telling an Irish story after shooting abroad. The film and TV industry here is full of talented and committed people who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.”

 

In an interview with Irish Independent, Sally Rooney once said, “There is a part of [her] that will never be happy knowing that [she is] just writing entertainment, making decorative aesthetic objects at a time of historical crisis.”

This is the sort of thinking that contributed to prose that is thoughtfully rooted in realism and, inevitably, to a kick-ass television show as well.

 

Normal People will premiere on Hulu and BBC next year. Go read the book in the meantime.

 

Featured Image Via Independent.co.uk

Swoon Over Bookstr’s Romance Picks This Week!

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent romance books for your recommendation pleasure. Romance offers a look into the lives of couples, dealing with love and all the trials it offers. Let’s fall in love with the couples of these books and the worlds they create!

 

5. The unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

 

A toucan sits on a tree branch against the backdrop of a yellow sky

 

Image via Goodreads

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a romance set in the sweeping tropical vista of Hawaii. It tells the tale of twins, different as night and day. Olive Torres is constantly faced with bad luck and mishaps, while her sister Ami is a perfect, seemingly unflappable champion who is getting married. Olive is forced to attend the wedding with the best man, her nemesis Ethan Thomas. But when the entire wedding gets food poisoning, there’s a honeymoon up for grabs and Olive begrudgingly decides to spend it with Ethan. But as they spend more time together, Olive realizes she might be developing feelings for the man she hated.

 

4. The View From Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

 

A beautiful view of an island with mountains rising in the distance around the Golden Gate Bridge

Image via Amazon

The View From Alameda Island by Robyn Carr tells of a woman who dares to confront her unhappy marriage and start a new life. Lauren Delaney seemingly has a perfect life, with a successful career and a rock solid marriage but on their twenty fourth anniversary , she defies her abusive husband and divorces him. As she starts a new life, she meets another soul, a man who also is struggling to end an unhappy marriage. As she is pursued by her husband who wants her back, Lauren struggles to start a new existence, one that will make her truly happy.

 

3. Boyfriend for Hire by Kendall Ryan

 

A man smiling sits on top of a woman in bed

Image via Amazon

Boyfriend For Hire by Kendall Ryan tells the story of a hot male escort. One of the sexiest guys women can hire, he has only one rule: this is a job and he earns a pay check. In six years, he hasn’t fallen for a client. Not once. Until a woman called Elle. Elle’s friend has hired him to accompany her to a wedding but Elle doesn’t know her date isn’t real. He falls for her but what happens when Elle finds out he’s been hired to make her happy?

 

2. The Girl he used to know by Tracey Garvis Graves

 

A young woman in blonde hair stands facing away from the viewer

Image via Amazon

The Girl He Used to Know tells of a young woman with social anxiety called Annika Rose, who attends the University of Illinois. She prefers the quiet solitude of chess and books to being around people. But when she plays against a boy her age called Jonathan Hoffman, he is smitten with her, especially after he loses to her at chess . He pursues her and they begin a doomed love affair. Now, a decade later the two reunite and the attraction blooms but to be together, they need to face their own circumstances that drove them apart.

 

1. Normal People by Sally Rooney 

 

Two sketches of a woman and a man stand on top of her each other

Image via Amazon

Normal People tells of two people who attract from opposite circumstances. Marianne is quiet, isolated, and lonely. Connell is popular, well-adjusted, and the star of the football team. They pretend not to know each other but share a secret bond behind closed doors. A year later, the two attend Trinity College together and grow closer as the years at the school go on. As Marianne begins to veer towards self-destruction through her isolation and Connell searches for a more meaningful life, the two will always share a bond that will show how far they’ll go for each other.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’ Wins Book of the Year at British Book Awards

On Monday evening Sally Rooney, the much-lauded twenty-eight-year-old Irish writer, won the Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, also known as the Nibbies, for her second novel Normal People.

Normal People follows the relationship between two teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who attend the same secondary school. Connell is handsome and popular while Marianne is a regular loner, but both see beauty in the other. The novel twists and turns as the pair go off to Trinity College during which time Marianne becomes popular while this time it is Connell who struggles to fit in.

 

Sally Rooney and the cover of "Normal People"

Image Via The Independent

 

The novel achieves “that rare thing, a sublime work of literary fiction that exquisitely renders a universal experience: being young, finding love, friendship and, ultimately, a sense of self,” said Brett Wolstencroft, manager of Daunt books and judge according to The Guardian.

 

Sally Rooney

Image Via The Irish Times

This award is the novel’s third prize. Previously, Normal People was voted as the 2018 Waterstones’ Book of the Year  and won ‘Best Novel” at the 2018 Costa Book Awards.

The novel was also long-listed for the Women’s Prize for fiction, however the competition was stiffer this time around, given that Michelle Obama’s Becoming was also nominated!

 

Michelle Obama's "Becoming"

Image Via Goodreads

Becoming, published in November 12th, 2018, broke record sales in a stellar fifteen days and was an Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

There seemed to be no stopping Becoming. It beat out Michael Wolff’s White House expose Fire and Fury in the non-fiction sections and its audiobook, read by Obama herself and on track to be “already the best-selling audiobook of all time” according to the BBC, beat out Ben Whishaw’s telling of Stephen Hawking’s final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

However, in the end, the Book of the Year prize went to Rooney. Alice O’Keeffe, books editor of The Bookseller and chair of this years judges, commented that the book “was unanimously praised by our Book of the Year judges. It really is an exceptional novel from one of the most exciting young writers we have.”

The other three judges joined O’Keeffe in her praises.

Judge Stig Abell, editor of the TLS said, “Sally Rooney may well be on her way to becoming the major literary figure of our time…”

Brett Woolstencroft, manager at Daunt Books, said the book was “a phenomenon”.

According to Bea Carvalho, fiction buyer at Waterstones, who judged the Fiction Book of the Year award also won by Rooney,  Normal People “is that rare gift of a novel which can be enjoyed by readers of all tastes”.

 

Sally Rooney

Image Via The Independent

 

Sally Rooney stayed humble, despite her enormous success, saying, “…I do feel astonishingly lucky.”

 

Featured Image Via Mountains to Sea