Blogs

Book Bites: Walking, Pitching, Scooping, Theorizing, Endling

Warm weather is here, and we’ve got summer on our minds. That means books about baseball, books about ice cream, and books about the great outdoors—both in our own world and in a sweeping new fantasy realm from the mind of Katherine Applegate. Plus, Valerie knows the perfect action-packed literary thriller to take to the beach. Remember, nothing blocks harmful UV rays like holding a book in front of your nose. Reading: It’s good for your health.

Now Batting for Team Edith: Denise Kiernan

You know us. We have a tendency to wax poetic about the power of a great novel, like Young Jane Young (watch for it in paperback!) or A Gentleman in Moscow (watch for it on your television!). But a good piece of nonfiction? Now that will really get us going. There's something extra magical about reading a propulsive tale full of complex characters and shocking plot developments—and knowing that all of it actually happened.

Author Denise Kiernan is a modern master of the nonfiction form—she's responsible for undisputed staff favorites like The Girls of Atomic City and The Last Castle. The latter of those two is celebrating its paperback release in May, and Denise herself is swinging by the shop on May 8 to share its story and sign copies. If you haven't read it already, do yourself a favor and snag a copy—you have just enough time to savor it before the event. If you have read it, well, we have a feeling we'll be seeing you there. In the meantime, tide yourself over by checking out our illuminating Q&A with Denise below.

Gail Honeyman on Eleanor Oliphant and What's Next

It's been well over a year since we first got hold of an ARC of Gail Honeman's debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. In the intervening months, the book flew from staff member to staff member, always accompanied by that most exciting of phrases: "You have to read this." It was a natural choice for our staff book club. And when it was published last May, we pressed it into as many hands as we could reach.

So it probably goes without saying that we're excited to welcome Gail to the shop on June 11. Seriously, friends, go ahead and circle your calendars now. We'll wait.

When you get back, check out these insightful questions and answers, courtesy of Pamela Dorman books. And if you haven't read it already, get ready to meet your new favorite novel.

Book Bites: A Newbery Medalist, Meg Wolitzer, and a Bourdain-Approved Cookbook

This week, we’ve got a slew of fantastic recommendations from big names for you. Meg Wolitzer’s fiery new release, The Female Persuasion, deserves a place on your shelf. With bullseye social commentary, relatable characters, and an eye-catching cover, this book is a timely must-read. Meanwhile, chef Edward Lee’s Buttermilk Graffiti takes us on a journey across the melting pot of America; brimming with fascinating stories and mouthwatering recipes, you’re in for a delightful spread from start to finish. (Oh, and Anthony Bourdain loved it.) Middle grade readers rejoice: 2017 Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly has a new book out! You Go First expertly pieces together the complicated challenges of family, growing up, and making friends. Take it from us—don’t miss it!

We could go on, but the reviews await. Read on!

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Me

Some of you may know that I'm late to the poetry lovefest. But hanging out with friends from Diesel Bookstore in California and Talking Leaves in Buffalo (add those two to your travel list) has educated me in understanding and appreciating this lovely art form. I try to read a poem every morning as dawn approaches. I try to understand what the poet is thinking and how I react. What does this mean to us—this approach to our lives—all messy and beautiful?

Book Bites: New York, Alaska, North Carolina, France, Morocco

Spring break may have come and gone, but we're still nursing a case of wanderlust. Here, as ever, books are our friend. Explore seven of our recent favorites below, and be transported to an array of wonderful settings, from your mom's kitchen counter to the lush streets of Tangiers. The Book Bites Express is also making stops in the Alaskan wilderness, the French countryside, the backwoods of North Carolina, and Central Park this week. They're all worth a trip—what sounds best?

Roshani Chokshi on Aru Shah, Writing for Middle Grade, and Hot Cheetos + Swedish Fish

Roshani Chokshi rocked the YA world when her debut novel, The Star-Touched Queen, shot up the New York Times bestseller list upon its publication in 2016. Tabbed as an "author to watch" by Kirkus, she hasn't let her foot off the gas since. A Crown of Wishes, the follow-up to The Star-Touched Queen earned more starred reviews as it expanded Chokshi's fictional universe and doubled down on the original's clever nods to Indian folklore. Now, Chokshi is tackling a new challenge: Writing for middle grade readers. Her middle grade debut, Aru Shah and the End of Time, is the story of a twelve-year-old girl who unwittingly frees an ancient demon and has to journey through the Hindu Kingdom of Death. It was chosen to launch Rick Riordan's new publishing imprint, and it doesn't disappoint.

Don't miss Roshani when she visits the store on March 28—we're so jazzed to share this book with Houston readers. Learn more about this exciting young author by reading our Q&A below, then pre-order Aru Shah to reserve your spot in the signing line when Roshani comes to town.

Caldecott Honoree Brendan Wenzel on Illustration, Conservation, and Inspiration

Author and illustrator Brenden Wenzel, who was awarded a Caldecott Honor for his gorgeous picture book They All Saw a Cat, loves planet earth. You can sense that the moment you pick up one of his books—each of Wenzel's works, from his collaborations with other authors to his solo outings, shines with his awe of the natural world. That's especially true of Hello Hello, his latest picture book release, which celebrates the majesty and diversity of some of our planet's most critically endangered species. A staunch environmentalist, Wenzel is using his considerable skill to inspire kids and change the world.

We can't wait to welcome Brendan Wenzel to the store on Wednesday, March 21 to hear more about his process and inspiration. In the meantime, check out his thoughtful answers to our questions in our Q&A.

Book Bites: TeenBookCon is Coming!

Here's something you already know: We love books.

But maybe you didn't know this: We think that some of the best books being published today are written for teens and young adults.

That's especially apparent to us now, as we prepare to host the ninth annual TeenBookCon on March 24. We've been reading some of the wonderful novels by this year's authors—you can read seven of our recommendations below—and we've come away better readers and wiser people. Urgent, funny, and full of nuance, these stories have universal appeal. So check out our roundup, then pre-register (it's free!) for TeenBookCon online. You'll have a chance to meet all of the authors featured below—along with nineteen others. It's going to be a magical day.

What's Cooking with Tim Miller

Here at the store, we almost always have a picture book circulating around our staff. Sometimes they make us think, like Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel. Sometimes they make us cry, like Love by Matt de la Peña. And sometimes they make us snort coffee through our noses and run to the back room, howling with laughter. Author and illustrator Tim Miller specializes in that last category. His books are zany, funny, and full of heart. He's a big hit with young readers, too—we're teaming up with Tim to visit a few Houston-area schools on April 3, and we can't wait to see their reactions to What's Cooking, Moo Moo?, his laugh-out-loud latest. Before we yuk it up with the youngsters, we caught up with Tim for a quick Q&A. Read on!

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