Barnes & Noble Will Not Stock Titles Published by Amazon – Publisher’s Weekly
THIS JUST IN. Short, sweet, to the point.
A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou’s childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women, Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people—and the times—that touched her life.
I had to read this for my advanced nonfiction writing course, and my peers were surprised when I said I had not read it before. Apparently it’s assigned a lot in high school English classes. My high school, though extremely academic and well-educated, was a bit biased and stuck underneath a bubble. It’s a predominately white, rich community, and in no way intended to create a curriculum that was – by not having black literature – racist. What wasn’t there or didn’t happen in this community, wasn’t or wouldn’t be acknowledged. I didn’t realize how sheltered it was until I came to college.
That said, all I knew about this memoir was that the narrator was raped as a young girl. I went into the text feeling a sense of dread, as well as a bit of “gosh, another writer rambling about all her troubles, that’s so new” attitude. I was pleasantly surprised instead!
Angelou wrote this piece simply, carefully, and entertainingly, while incorporating huge ideas and deep questions. A range of topics within a chapter would include the use of language, the complexities of family and familial love, race, the boundaries of race, sexuality, gender, and social interactions. My favorite parts of this memoir were moments when the narrator struggled between a love for reading – literature by white people, she’d always point out – and a desperation for reality – such as the power struggles between men and women, whites and blacks, children and adults.
Despite all its merits, I do not think I will pick this up again. I enjoyed it for the sake of its academic purposes, and I can easily understand why high school teachers put this on reading lists for students. My general distaste for reading nonfiction is showing.
Rating: ★★ of 5
GoodReads: 3.96 of 5
Here’s a glimpse from the news this week about upcoming and newly published books!
The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy was published January 24th, a good historical and contemporary novel interweaving two stories.
Summary: In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.
Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.
Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
Mr g by Alan Lightman, newly published, a playful story about the Creation – as told by God.
Summary: Barraged by the constant advisements and bickerings of Aunt Penelope and Uncle Deva, who live with their nephew in the shimmering Void, Mr g proceeds to create time, space, and matter. Then come stars, planets, animate matter, consciousness, and, finally, intelligent beings with moral dilemmas. Mr g is all powerful but not all knowing and does much of his invention by trial and error.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and Mr g discovers that with his creation of space and time come some unforeseen consequences—especially in the form of the mysterious Belhor, a clever and devious rival. An intellectual equal to Mr g, Belhor delights in provoking him: Belhor demands an explanation for the inexplicable, requests that the newly created intelligent creatures not be subject to rational laws, and maintains the necessity of evil. As Mr g watches his favorite universe grow into maturity, he begins to understand how the act of creation can change himself, the Creator.
Some debut novels and upcoming plans for future publications include:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
What a whirlwind! I haven’t been that tossed about since Hunger Games!
This young adult, dystopian novel depicts a war-destroyed city attempting to live in peace and harmony through various factions. However, it’s violent, it got my blood pumping, and there are tender moments that are excellently, strategically placed. Everything comes together so well, like pieces of a puzzle. Some moments in the novel are pretty stereotypical of a young adult novel: the teenagers within factions have stereotypes. The Amity, for example, are warm and friendly and wear colors of summer, while the Dauntless have more of a “goth” or “bad kid” look with black, tattoos, and piercings. The reasoning behind these factions, their purposes, and their colors are very well thought-out and each faction has strengths and weaknesses. It’s a matter of working in harmony that comes into play with this novel.
However, one of the best things about this young adult novel is that Tris is not spending her time trying to understand her feelings about boys. She focuses on herself and her loved ones. There is a love story in the midst of the violence and war, but it is not a love triangle – a fault that I personally find frustrating in young adult fiction. Roth has a purpose for each character, and through advanced technology (which, hauntingly, is highly plausible to occur anytime within the next few years) the reader can discover all sorts of dark things about each person: fears, weaknesses, the depth of intelligence. I would not call this novel “sci-fi” – it is dystopian and apocalyptic, much like Hunger Games.
This is the first book of the Divergent Trilogy. I was left with several questions that I can only assume will be answered in books 2 and 3. What is beyond the fence Dauntless guards? How many Divergents are there? Part of this next question was answered, but: why is everyone against a Divergent?
I’m thrilled for book 2, Insurgent, out in May!
Rating: ★★★★★ of 5
GoodReads: 4.4 of 5