It happens every year. A debut novel comes along, bowls us over, and settles itself right into our hearts. Last year, there was Gail Honeyman; this year, it's Josie Silver. Silver's debut, One Day in December, is already an international bestseller, hailed by The Bookseller as "the novelistic equivalent to Love Actually" and by Kirkus as "an emotional, satisfying read." It's an absolute charmer of a novel, full of warm characters and relatable scenes, but written with the breathless, just-one-more-page pacing of a thriller. In other words, you'll be engrossed—it's the perfect rom-com to curl up with one afternoon this holiday season. Before you put the kettle on and start busting out the Christmas sweaters in anticipation, order your copy—we'll stick it on our holds shelf or ship it right to your door. While you wait, read our lovely Q&A with the author.
Questions and answers with some of our favorite authors.
Jasmine Guillory is one of the breakout authors of 2018, and we couldn't be more pleased. Her debut, The Wedding Date, was released in January, after picking up endorsements from NPR, Roxane Gay, and scores of independent bookstores across the country (including yours truly). It's not hard to see why—Guillory writes in effervescent prose that's effortlessly readable and a whole lot of fun. She creates lovable, well-drawn characters that immediately feel like old friends. And she writes about food in a way that will have you rushing out to enjoy a three-hour lunch at around 10 AM.
Join us on Monday, October 29 at 7 PM when we welcome Jasmine to the shop for a discussion and signing of her new book, The Proposal. (Cathy's been dreaming of this day since she first got her hands on an uncorrected proof of The Wedding Date about a year ago.) The book is lovely—it's a sensational semi-sequel to The Wedding Date, and it recently earned a spot on the November Indie Next List, cementing its status as a must-read book this fall. Pre-order your copy—after reading our lovely Q&A with the author.
There's something about Texas and football, isn't there? Stories of the game are woven into the very fabric of our state. Just ask Marjorie Herrera Lewis—she's spent most of her career immersed in football, from covering the Cowboys for a variety of outlets to researching and writing her new novel, When the Men Were Gone. The book is based on the true story of Tylene Wilson. She was the first woman to coach a high school team in the state during a time when most men between 18 and 45 were fighting in World War II. Think of it as Friday Night Lights with a girl-power twist, with the added bonus of a compelling World War II-era backdrop. It's a moving story of courage and history, and the perfect gift for the sports fans or historical fiction buffs in your life.
We can't wait to welcome Marjorie to the shop tomorrow night, October 9, for a discussion and signing. Valerie caught up with Marjorie to ask a few questions before the event—read their illuminating conversation below, then pre-order your copy of When the Men Were Gone. We'll see you tomorrow!
Texas author Varian Johnson has a gift for plot. His fast-paced, hilarious books shine with tight writing, clever dialogue, and lovable characters—none moreso than his latest novel, The Parker Inheritance, a smart and socially-conscious mystery that's a ton of fun to read. (It also earned enough starred reviews to form a small constellation.)
We can't wait to welcome Varian to our Tweens Read festival on October 13, where he'll deliver the morning keynote address. After that, he'll be joined by over 25 other wonderful authors, including #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab, New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, and National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall. (For the full lineup, click here.) It's going to be a wonderful event, full of author panels and autographs. Check out our Q&A with Varian, then make plans to meet us at South Houston High School for the big day.
Nobody's better at balancing heart and suspense than Lisa McMann. Just take a look at her Going Wild trilogy. It's got a hint of Animorphs, a dash of Justice League, and plenty of down-to-earth moments between lovable, relatable characters. The result is a whole lot of fun—we can't wait for the series finale, Clash of Beasts, to come out on October 2. Coincidentally, that's the day we're hosting Lisa here in the shop for a fun event and book signing!
We recently caught up with Lisa to ask about writing, her influences, and (of course) what's in store for Charlie, Mac, and Maria. Read her responses below, then pre-order your copy of Clash of Beasts. Even if you can't make it to the event, we'll make sure you add a signed, personalized copy to your favorite shelf.
Anne Bogel is an author, blogger, and podcast host. You may know her from her blog, Modern Mrs Darcy, where she writes about modern womanhood, often through the lens of great literature. Her podcast, What Should I Read Next?, packs a plethora of book recommendations spanning all genres. But above all, Anne's a reader. Her new book, I'd Rather Be Reading, was just released this month, and is the perfect gift for your favorite bibliophile. Books after all, are a way of life. We can't wait for Anne to visit the shop on Wednesday, September 26 at 7 PM to discuss her book (and books in general). In the meantime, check out Valerie's Q&A with Anne!
Tolstoy was right: There are innumerable ways in which families can be unhappy, and Kevin Wilson illustrates a chocolate box of examples in his second short story collection, Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine. Each of the ten tales is a perfectly-balanced cocktail, magically pairing bizarre circumstances and complex characters to produce narratives that will knock you flat with their eerie empathy and truth. Wilson's work is witty and melancholic, uncanny and relatable, but above all it is yearning—for connection, for understanding, for love. If you're anything like us, you'll be spellbound by this latest collection from a master of the form.
Two married members of our team are particular fans. When they were relocating across the country a couple of years ago, they took a detour—moving truck and all—to catch Wilson on tour for his second novel, Perfect Little World. Naturally, they were thrilled, and a little starstruck, to pen the questions for our Q&A with the author.
This month, we're lucky enough to welcome journalist and author Sarah Smarsh to the shop to discuss and sign her new memoir of growing up poor in rural America, Heartland. Heartland is Valerie's pick for book of the year; it was also just longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction. So get out the pen and circle the date on your calendar—Sarah visits us on September 20, and we can't wait to see you there. In the meantime, tide yourself over by reading the conversation between Sarah and Valerie below.
There are some authors we have the distinct joy of seeing again and again. Authors like Gabrielle Zevin, say, who has graced our shop on each of her book tours. We can hardly go three months without bringing Mac Barnett to the shop. Sarah Bird, Jennifer Mathieu, Katherine Applegate... the list goes on.
Houston's own Katharine McGee is one of those frequent Blue Willow fliers. We've hosted the launch party for each new release in her Thousandth Floor YA trilogy, those bestelling founts of primetime drama, glitzy glamour, and breathless romance. The final book in the series, The Towering Sky, comes out later this month. Which means that—you guessed it—we get to throw another launch party for this longtime friend of the store. (Not to mention a juicy pre-order campaign that you really shouldn't miss out on.)
August 29th is the date in question—we're looking forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, catch up with Katharine by reading our Q&A.
Here at the shop, we've been big fans of Bob Shea since we first saw his work over ten years ago. Bob has delighted us again and again with hilarious stories full of colorful characters like Dinosaur, Unicorn, Ballet Cat, and Cheetah. What can we say? We're a book store. We love people who write and illustrate wonderful books. But then there's this other thing about Bob, too: When Hurricane Harvey hit last fall, Bob was one of the first people to reach out to the shop and offer to help. His idea? A donation program to support area schools affected by the hurricane, with each donor receiving a hand-drawn unicorn. Thanks to him, we raised more than $10,000 to rebuild school and classroom libraries. So it's safe to say that Bob Shea is a pretty cool guy.
Which is why we're so excited that he's coming to visit us. We can't wait to welome Bob to the shop on September 18 (which happens to be the release date of his new picture book Crash, Splash, or Moo!). We encourage you all to stop by, hear all about his wonderful new book, and show how much the city appreciates his generosity. Circle those calendars! In the meantime, check out our fun Q&A.