Blogs

Bryan Washington on MEMORIAL, Houston, and What He’s Reading

We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Bryan Washington, Houston literary superstar and author of Lot, returns with a new novel on October 27. It’s called Memorial, and it’s a touching and funny story about two young, gay Houston men: Mike, a Japanese American chef, and Benson, a Black day care teacher. Through their stories, Washington explores universal themes of family and what it means to be human—parent, child, lover, friend. The book is just sublime, and we couldn’t be happier for this Houston author. 

We’re extremely excited to host a special, virtual launch event for Bryan Washington and Memorial on October 26, and to offer signed, personalized copies to attendees. You can learn more about that event and register here. In the meantime, enjoy our Q&A with the author below. 

Dear Rick, Love Cathy

A note from Blue Willow Events Coordinator Cathy Berner on the enduring magic of "Uncle" Rick Riordan, whose final book in the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles is out October 6.

Fifteen years ago, Valerie handed me a book called The Lightning Thief and asked me to read it. I had just started working at the shop on a very part time basis—my kids were in preschool and kindergarten. I can still remember the silver cover with a gorgon, a minotaur, and a three-headed dog. And I vividly remember how I felt when I read the first few pages—I knew I was holding something special. 

The Best Books of 2020

2020 has been a unique year, to say the least. Through all the uncertainty, we've been so grateful for you, our friends and neighbors, and your wonderful support of our local bookstore. With the holidays just around the corner, we can't wait to help you discover the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. To that end, our merry band of booksellers is very proud to present our annual "Best Books" list—a selection of titles we especially loved this year, and think you will, too. 

Happy reading, friends. And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued love and support.

New in YA: October Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

Our amazing (and busy) Teen Advisory Board reads and reviews a lot of books every month. This works out well for us, because they have truly great taste—from thrillers to rom-coms and everything in between, this group of voracious readers is helping to make our YA section one of the most exciting places in the shop. Here, take a look at some of the October releases they're most excited to share with you. One of the books, Foreshadow, has even been selected by the board as the second book in our YA First Editions Club subscription program. Subscribers reecive a new book every month, with a bookplate signed by the author, exclusive bookmark, invitation to a Zoom hangout with the author(s), and a note explaining why the Teen Advisory Board loved the book. Did we mention that subscriptions make a great birthday or holiday gift? wink Happy reading! 

Book Bites: Required Reading

This week, we put together a list of must-reads for y'all. Some books are returns from beloved, well-known authors (Sophie Blackall! Jacqueline Woodson! Garth Nix! Graham Swift!), while others are by staff faves or soon-to-be-well-known (so hop on board first!) writers like KA Holt and Tracy Deonn. We made it easy: Just keep this list of books in your back pocket and add 'em all to your to-be-read list. Happy reading! (Good luck deciding which one to start with.)

Book Bites: Gold Mine!

September is the start of the big fall publishing season, and there are lots and lots of big, exciting books heading towards our shelves—including the ones in this post! Our best advice: Treat yourself to a nice, large stack to keep you entertained as it slowly starts to get darker earlier and we find ourselves spending even more time indoors. We've sifted through tons of titles to find some real gold—whatever your age or interests, your To-Be-Read pile is about to get a lot more exciting. Happy reading, friends, and may your next read always be ready!

Tracy Deonn on Magic, Secrets, and LEGENDBORN

YA pre-order alert! Folks, there’s a new can’t-miss book on its way to our shelves. It’s called Legendborn, and it’s the debut YA novel from author Tracy Deonn. Legendborn is a bewitching blend of fantasy and contemporary YA, full of Arthurian legend and Black Girl Magic. If you like books about myth and magic—if you’re into Kiersten White or Tomi Adeyemi or Victoria Schwab or Dhonielle Clayton—you’re going to love Legendborn. Blue Willow staffer Caroline Roberts is certainly a fan, and we can vouch for her excellent taste! Enjoy this Q&A between Caroline and Tracy, then be sure to pre-order your copy of Legendborn, which comes out on September 15. Be warned: There are a few *spoilers* within... so if you need to bookmark this one and come back once you’ve read the book, be sure to do that! 

Book Bites: Books to Stay Inside With

We're headed towards another week of grueling heat and humidity—with a possible hurricane thrown in, for good measure—which makes us much happier with the prospect of another week spent largely indoors. But we know that it can get boring being confined to one space, even if the thermometer readings make it worth your while. Happily, we have just the thing: A new list of fantastic reads for all ages (YA books in a separate post, here) for you to peruse. Find your next great adventure (or memoir, or historical fiction, or...) to keep you entertained while you stay cool inside, relax by the pool, or enjoy your nighttime reading. Read on, friends!

New in YA: September Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

The amazing and talented members of Blue Willow’s Teen Advisory Board read a ton (we mean a TON) of books every month. They find and review incredible and engaging books that they think fellow YA bookworms will enjoy. Below, take a look at their September favorites to find your next favorite read(s)!

Also, attention to all YA lovers: You can now purchase a subscription to Blue Willow’s YA First Editions Club! Each month, subscribers receive a first-edition book picked by our Teen Advisory Board, a bookplate signed by the author, and some fun exclusives—like special bookmarks and virtual hangouts with authors. You can learn more here—happy reading!

Guest Post! Author Rex Ogle on the Magic of Graphic Novels

Have you noticed our graphic novel section growing? It’s true—the more we read this genre, the more we love it. If you haven’t picked one up in a while, now’s a great time to dive in. Don’t just take it from us, though. Author and friend of the shop Rex Ogle (Free Lunch) says we’re living in a golden age for graphic novels, and he would know—he used to edit comics for Marvel, DC, and Scholastic, among others.

Here, Rex shares his perspective on the genre, as well as some of his top graphic novel picks for middle grade and young adult readers.

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