Interview an Author: Lori Goldstein

BecomingJinnOn May 9th I had the opportunity to interview Lori Goldstein, the author of Becoming Jinn, which was an amazing experience. Lori Goldstein was inspired to write Becoming Jinn by a mother and daughter who survived an earthquake in Turkey the daughter was named Azra which lead to the amount of research she had done for this book. Lori Goldstein had read an Encyclopedia of Jinn and another work surrounding morrocan, middle eastern Jinn. The setting of her great novel is in Massachusetts which she chose because of the shortage of books based in Massachusetts and because of the beautiful beaches that are important locations in her novel. Lori Goldstein also shared with me that the hardest part of the book to write was the first page and that Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars would make a good Azra on the big screen. Finally to my favorite question — if she were working on any other works —  I am delighted to report that she is brainstorming ideas for a stand-alone contemporary novel as well as book two for the a Becoming Jinn series!  Thank you Lori Goldstein for giving me the chance to interview you and I hope you come back to Eight Cousins for your future books.

~ Emily, 17

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Customer Review: Dreamland

DreamlandDreamland

Robert L. Anderson

HarperTeen

$17.99

Available September 22, 2015

Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson is perfects for fans who love books that leave you on the edge of your seat.  The book takes on a unique plot where Odea Donahue has the ability to walk people’s dreams. There are three rules, do not change anything, never be seen, and don’t walk the same person’s dream twice.  When a boy with a dark past moves into town Odea breaks these rules, sparking changes in her life and the people around her.

~ Emily, 17

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Customer Review: This Monstrous Thing

ThisMonstrousThingThis Monstrous Thing

Mackenzi Lee

Katherine Tegen Books

$17.99

Available September 22, 2015

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee is a creative makeover on the legendary tale of Frankenstein. Alasdair Finch is a shadow boy, an mechanic that makes limbs out of clockwork which is highly illegal in 18th century city of Geneva. One day his brother dies, Alasdair does the impossible and resurrects him with the help of clockwork. In this novel you will discover the disastrous consequences and how Alasdair deals with them. This Monstrous Thing is great for fans of Frankenstein and of re-tellings.

~ Emily, 17

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Staff Review: Harvest for Hope

Harvest for HopeHarvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating 

Jane Goodall

Warner Books

$15

Available now

“Unless we stop the pollution and degradation caused by industrial farming and seriously address overfishing and global warming, we will literally run out of enough resources to feed everyone by the year 2050” (p.279); a scary thought, which is exactly why it is important to read this book.

If you are not aware of the effects of industrial farming, pesticides and hormones, for example, on you or the people and animals around you, this book will serve as a much-needed wake-up call to why we all need to eat mindfully. For those that are already aware of the issues mentioned in this book, you may learn some additional, important information that adds to the knowledge and awareness you already have.

Too many of us have lost touch with the land. Jane Goodall, persuasively and respectfully, yet strongly and compellingly, urges all of us to reconnect with it. The connection between people and the land is vital to the future of life on this planet.

Reading this book will help you realize why the source of your food, every bite you eat, matters. Every choice you make as an individual has an impact. Jane Goodall does an amazing job of presenting frightening facts, yet telling us what we can do to hope, to incite change, and to make a difference.

~ Rebecca

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Staff Display: War

Books about war are always popular, for a variety of reasons, but I am not interested in making a political statement. I just wanted to highlight some of the great literature that arises from war.

I don’t have any great pearls of wisdom about war, as I don’t have any personal experience with it, so I’ll quote from a blog (http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/12/02/books-about-war/) that is far more eloquent than I am:

“War is unquestionably mankind at his worst. Yet, paradoxically, it is in war that men — individual men — often show the very best of themselves. War is often the result of greed, stupidity, or depravity. But in it, men are often brave, loyal, and selfless… The study of war is the study of life, because war is life in the rawest sense. It is death, fear, power, love, adrenaline, sacrifice, glory, and the will to survive.”

I chose mostly fiction for this display, rather than straight-up historical non-fiction. I wanted to explore the idea of war and how it affects the individual, whether that person is a soldier or a combatant, a civilian caught in the midst of conflict and combat, or a society that finds itself engulfed by war. I purposely chose not to include any Holocaust literature, as I find it difficult to think objectively about war when the Holocaust is involved.

Signage is always a really fun part of putting a display together. I put up pictures of children’s alphabet blocks to spell out the letters W-A-R, along with pictures of those ubiquitous green army men. I really liked the uneasy feeling conveyed by this juxtaposition.

Some highly recommended reading:

We Die Alone: A World War II Epic of Escape and Endurance, by David Howarth – first published in 1955, this is the true story of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian who snuck back into an occupied Norway to recruit for the Resistance. This is a truly gripping account of incredible bad luck, amazing perseverance in the face of terrible odds, and the selflessness of people who helped him escape from the Germans. I read this a long time ago, but have never forgotten it. It is reminiscent of Shackleton’s ordeal in Antarctica, except Shackleton wasn’t in danger of being killed by other people.

The Young Lions, by Irwin Shaw – published in 1948, this was recommended to me by a customer a couple of years ago, and I wish I remembered her name so that I could thank her! It is the story of 3 soldiers – a young German Nazi, a young American Jew, and an older, cynical American. It is the story that underlies all other stories: Good and Evil. (You know, like when Matthew McGonaughey says at the end of the first season of True Detective, “There’s just one story: light versus dark”). It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. How could a book about war be beautiful? There are 6 or so pages that make this book that elevate this novel to something remarkable. This is when the young Jewish soldier finds himself in an English church, listening to the vicar deliver a war sermon to some soldiers that acknowledges the reality that the killing that they must do will be terrible, that it will not be glorious, and that there is no righteousness in the act of killing.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

HHhH: A Novel by Laurent Binet

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Baghdad Central by Elliott Colla

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz

Little Bighorn by John Hough Jr

Neverhome: A Novel by Laird Hunt

Daughters of Mars: A Novel by Thomas Keneally

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Furies: War in Europe, 1450 – 1700 by Lauro Martines

War! What is it Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots by Ian Morris

Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice by John A. Nagl

Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

All Quiet on the Western Front  by Erich Maria Remarque

The final Storm by Jeff Shaara

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

First of July: A Novel by Elizabeth Speller

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe

The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War 1; Barbara W. Tuchman’s Great War Series by Barbara W. Tuchman

Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Snow Hunter by Paul Yoon

The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500- Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau by Alex Kershaw

We Die Alone by David Howarth

The Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure by David Howarth

~ Lysbeth

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Staff Display: Squeezed for Time

Time 1 Time 3 Time 4 Time 2 Time 5

I find that as I get older I have less patience with books that are extremely long. Why are there so many words? Do we really need to talk so much? I never used to read short stories or short novellas, yet now find myself compelled to read more of this kind of literature.  Prose poetry (poetry written in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities) and flash fiction (fiction of extreme brevity) are two types of writing that I am particularly excited about.

Some recommended reading:

Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub

The Fall by Diogo Mainardi

A Distant Father by Antonio Skarmeta

All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm

Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape by Sarah Manguso

Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon

Mind of Winter: Poems for a Snowy Season by Robert Atwan

Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho by Matsue Basho

Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolabo

Stranger by Albert Campus

Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins

Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis

Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis

Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems: by Kiki Dimoula

Best American Short Stories 2014 by Jennifer Egan

Art Of Living: The Classical Manual On Virtue, Happiness, And Effect by Epictetus

Ex Libris: Confessions Of A Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

This I Believe: Life Lessons by Dan Gediman

Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems by Louise Gluck

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 by Daniel Handler

Best European Fiction 2013 by Aleksandar Hemon (editor)

James Herriot’s Favorite Dog stories by James Herriot

James Herriot’s Cat Stories by James Herriot

Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel by Sun-mi Hwang

Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected stories of Tove Jansson by Tove Jansson

Gifts From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gardener’s Son by Cormac McCarthy

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision — Short Story Collection Edith Pearlman

There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Fam by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Heaven of Animals: Stories by David James Poissant

Crying of Lot 49: A Novel by Thomas Pynchon

Disquiet, Please! : More Humor Writing from the New Yorker by David, Remnick

Fur Person by May Sarton

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim by David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Whispering Muse: A Novel by Sjon

Pearl by Jon Steinbeck

Testament of Mary: A Novel by Colm Toibin

David Foster Wallace Reader by David Foster Wallace

Consider the Lobster: and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems by Rosanna

~ Lysbeth

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Staff Review: Half the Sky

HalftheSkyHalf the Sky

Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

Vintage Books

$15.95

Available now

Half the Sky is one of the most powerful, inspirational and important books that I have read.

I was already aware of many of the issues that Nicholas Kristoff and Cheryl WuDunn highlight in their book; still it inspired me. It “galvanized” (to use one of the words that they mention a few times) me into action, this review being my first act.

We all have a voice. Kristoff and WuDunn urge us to use it. Too many women continue to suffer, to be victims of unspeakable acts of cruelty and violence. We need to act. As uncomfortable as reading the stories in this book may be, just think: you are reading a non-fiction book; a woman or girl has lived through, or is living through, that “story.”

Despite the horror, there is hope. People, including the girls and women in these horrible situations themselves, are acting. Kristoff and WuDunn even include an appendix of organizations that support girls and women, giving you the tools you need to take immediate action.

Empowering women will help change the world. Take the time to read this book. Even if you cannot act on this particular issue immediately, you will have a valuable resource to which you can refer in the future.

~Rebecca

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Community Discussion: To Kill a Mockingbird

ToKillaMockingbirdWhat is it like to reread To Kill A Mockingbird after many years?

It was a real treat to read and experience this novel again after a number of years.  This time around, I marveled at the writing …. the descriptions that evoke the hot summers, the slow pace of the days, the gossipy neighbors, the life of a small town.   And the story is timeless — a story that survives because it still has much to show us about our own integrity and how we view others who are “not like us”.   Would we have the courage to stand apart from the mainstream?

~ Libby

Go Set a Watchman available July 14, 2015!

Pre-order your copy now!

GoSetaWatchman

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Customer Review: Circus Mirandus

Circus MirandusCircus Mirandus

Cassie Beasley

Dial Books

$17.99

Available now

Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley, is an incredible book!  Micah’s grandfather has always told Micah about the magical circus he went to as a boy, and Micah is fascinated by the stories. Now, Micah’s Grandpa Ephraim is dying, but Grandpa Ephraim reveals to Micah that Circus Mirandus is real, and that its most impressive magician owes him a miracle. Micah immediately wants to contact the magician and get the miracle so that his grandfather can live. With his newfound, and almost too smart friend, Micah plans a way to get to Circus Mirandus. What happens next, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out! Circus Mirandus is an unbelievable book, that can make you feel happy, sad, angry, and intrigued, all at once!  If you love fiction books that are adventurous and magical, Circus Mirandus is the book for you!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Customer Review:

Saving Mr  TeruptSaving Mr. Terupt

Rob Buyea

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

$16.99

Available July 14, 2015

Saving Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea is the third book in a series I really love. This book shared another school year full of experiences of Buyea’s characters/Mr. Terupt’s students.

Mr. Terupt’s fifth grade students: Peter, Anna, Jeffrey, Alexia, Danielle, Luke and Jessica, make posters, raise money, and try to save their favorite teacher’s job as their town suffers unexpected budget cuts. Which teachers should keep their jobs?  Which teachers should go? Is there a way to do it fairly?

I enjoy how the author breaks apart the story so that each character has their own opportunity to speak and share how they feel about a specific setting, event, or what’s going on at home.  This is definitely a book I would recommend to people who like determination, adventure, and friendship changes.

~ Madeline, age 10

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