Tag: three to read

Bookstr's Three to Read: 'The Border' by Don Winslow, 'The Last Romantics' by Tara Conklin, 'Women' by Mihail Sebastian

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 3/1/19


February may be over, but winter definitely isn’t. Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy: book, fireplace, blanket, hot beverage of your choice. We’d advise you to kick back and relax… but some of these books are certain to get your heart racing. This week, we’ve got a timely and incisive look at the war on drugs, an exploration into the enduring value of art, and a classic rediscovered after nearly eighty years.

Here are Bookstr’s Three to Read: the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!


Our Hot Pick


'The Border' Don Winslow



What do you do when there are no borders?  When the lines you thought existed simply vanish?  How do you plant your feet to make a stand when you no longer know what side you’re on?

For over forty years, Art Keller has been on the front lines of America’s longest conflict: The War On Drugs. His obsession to defeat the world’s most powerful, wealthy, and lethal kingpin—the godfather of the Sinaloa Cartel, Adán Barrera—has left him bloody and scarred, cost him people he loves, even taken a piece of his soul.

Now Keller is elevated to the highest ranks of the DEA, only to find that in destroying one monster he has created thirty more that are wreaking even more chaos and suffering in his beloved Mexico. But not just there.

Barrera’s final legacy is the heroin epidemic scourging America. Throwing himself into the gap to stem the deadly flow, Keller finds himself surrounded by enemies—men that want to kill him, politicians that want to destroy him, and worse, the unimaginable—an incoming administration that’s in bed with the very drug traffickers that Keller is trying to bring down.

Art Keller is at war with not only the cartels, but with his own government. And the long fight has taught him more than he ever imagined. Now, he learns the final lesson—there are no borders.

In a story that moves from deserts south of the border to Wall Street, from the slums of Guatemala to the marbled corridors of Washington, D.C., Winslow follows a new generation of narcos, the cops that fight them, the street traffickers, the addicts, the politicians, money-launderers, real-estate moguls and mere children fleeing the violence for the chance of a life in a new country.


Don Winslow‘s The Border is much more than your average crime novel—in terms of accolades and subject matter. Stephen King called Winslow’s writing “balls-to-the-wall,” which means you’re pretty much guaranteed to put your nose to the book. A former investigator and antiterrorist trainer himself, Winslow is familiar with the darkness he portrays. But darkness isn’t all Winslow uncovers: throughout the novel, he explores how to live “decently in an indecent world,” searching for humanity amidst the violence and desperation of the drug trade and addictions that come with it. Winslow’s complex portrait of the drug trade and those involved on both sides of the border.

As interested as the novel is in the intricacies of human nature, it’s also a thorough examination of phenomena and institutions: the opioid epidemic, the war on drugs, the U.S. border. Politically incisive and deeply human, this astounding conclusion to Winslow’s best-selling trilogy is as relevant as it is intoxicating.


Our Coffee Shop Read


'The Last Romantics' by Tara Conklin



When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.


Here’s what the back jacket doesn’t mention: poet Fiona Skinner is 102 years old, writing in a world ravaged by climate change. Set in 2079, Tara Conklin‘s expansive and devastating The Last Romantics explores our modern times from a unique nostalgic viewpoint. The Female Persuasion author Meg Wolitzer called this novel “richly observed… welcoming,” and it’s been welcomed onto quite the series of best books lists: literary trendsetters Bustle, Goodreads, and Lithub are calling this one of the hot picks of the year. Despite the broad scope and tremendous ambition of the novel, it never ceases to be deeply personal.

Although family is a well-trafficked theme, Conklin takes a more original path, examining both the pain and strength inherent in the bond of siblings. Conklin’s protagonist is a writer, and it shows: the novel explores the power of storytelling as a means to endure hardship—and this book is an excellent example of stories profound enough to do just that. Readers will appreciate the novel’s deep human intimacy and timely, ambitious exploration of all the decades ahead of us.


 Our Dark Horse


'Women' by Mihail Sebastian



Stefan Valeriu, a young man from Romania who has just completed his medical studies in Paris, spends his vacation in the Alps, where he quickly becomes entangled with three different women. We follow Stefan after his return to Paris as he reflects on the women in his life, at times playing the lover, and at others observing shrewdly from the periphery.

Women‘s four interlinked stories offer moving, strikingly modern portraits of romantic relationships in all their complexity, from unrequited loves and passionate affairs to tepid marriages of convenience.


Mihail Sebastian (1907 – 1945) is a classic Romanian writer whose work was censored under an anti-Semitic establishment. He believed in “intelligent revenge,” and, in 1934, he actually got it. His novel, For Two Thousand Yearsdepicts life as a Jewish man in Romania and the existential questions that arise when one’s identity is in conflict with one’s nationality. Although the western world didn’t discover his world until after his death, it’s not too late to celebrate his life and achievements. It wasn’t until 2016 that the novel was available in English—now, we have the chance to discover yet another classic. Women is a masterful portrayal of love and relationships from one of history’s great lost writers.


If one of these sound like a match to you, let us know! But hey, it is called Three to Read—maybe that’s the number of books you want to try.


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Bookstr's Three to Read

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 2/22/19

Shockingly, it’s nearly March—by this point, we hope your 2019 isn’t turning out to be a 20-whine-teen. The good news is that if the real world’s been getting you down, a book can always offer the pleasant escape you might be looking for. (Embarking on a 20-wine-teen might accomplish the same, but you won’t be smarter by the end of it.) Some of these reads timeless picks; some are out-of-this-world, and others may take you on a journey to find your better self. Whether your preference is historical fiction, YA fantasy, or lighthearted literary fiction, these books may not improve your whole year… but they’ll improve your day every minute you’re reading them. Let’s take a look.


Our Hot Pick:


'The Huntress' by Kate Quinn


In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.


Kate Quinn is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller on a mission: to make history seem more engaging and personal, giving it the same life and humanity as the present we inhabit. Her renowned historical novel The Alice Network was a smash hit among readers, telling the entangled stories of a foreign female spy and an American socialite. We’re always thrilled to read about badass female war heroes, who are often underrepresented in historical fiction. Quinn delivers in hot new release The Huntress, giving us a full cast of dynamic women and their very real places in history. As a bonus, Quinn herself includes a lengthy author’s note explaining her creative choices and how the novel fits into historical context! No suspension of disbelief necessary—Quinn’s already done all the work for you. This brand-new release is sure to fly off shelves… so make sure you get it into straight onto your bookshelves.


Our Coffee Shop Read:


'Muse of Nightmares' by Laini Taylor



Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old. She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise. She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?


Fans know Laini Taylor for her trademark pink hair… and her strikingly unique fantasy worlds. Best known for her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Taylor’s name is as big as her bibliography: she’s served as a panelist for NYC’s own BookCon and has recently hosted a well-attended public talk with fellow YA superstar Angie ThomasMuse of Nightmares is the second book in Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer series, which acquaints us with a war-orphan-slash-librarian, a legendary lost city, and the descendants of murdered gods. Despite preferring more ‘literary’ works throughout her adolescence, Taylor rediscovered her love of fantasy when she read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, making her both awesome and relatable. You may regret any personal misfortunes of 2019, but you won’t regret giving this one a try.



'Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss' by Rajeev Balasubramanyam



Professor Chandra is an expert at complex problems. There’s just one he can’t crack: the secret of happiness

In the moments after the bicycle accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes, but his life’s work.

He’s just narrowly missed out on the Nobel Prize (again) and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas.

All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor (who is from California), Professor Chandra should just follow his bliss.

He doesn’t know it yet, but Professor Chandra is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.


Rajeev Balasubramanyam‘s Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss is a heartwarming and insightful tale of self-improvement. While the book may seem lighthearted and charming, it’s deeper than you may think—and that’s exactly why you should give it a try. Professor Chandra needs to realize what we could all stand to learn: that professional accomplishments can’t replace love, not the love we need from other people and not the love we need from ourselves. Being killed by a bike would be a pretty sad way to go, but it’s about time our egotistical and arrogant professor learns doing it alone is a far worse fate. According to Kirkus Reviews, “his journey to self-realization feels like the real thing,” and so we can learn by example.


All In-Text Images Via Amazon.