Author Essays

Extra Libris

What makes a writer tick? How do they form the stories that change a reader’s life? From what they love to read, to their writing process, to ideas for their next book – you’ll get exclusive behind-the-scenes peeks at the literary life.

Author Essays Extra Libris

Start Reading The Room by Jonas Karlsson

Critics say The Room is Franz Kafka meets Melville’s ‘Bartelby, the Scrivener’ with a dash of the film Brazil thrown in.

Bjorn is a compulsive, meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works–a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his co-workers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy.

Bjorn’s bizarre behavior eventually leads his co-workers to try and have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.

Author Essays Extra Libris

Literary Thriller Fans! Start Reading Uncle Janice

“Matt Burgess does not sleep for one sentence. Neither will you,” says one critic. Uncle Janice has been called “an addictive read.” What makes a book hard for you to put down? Tell us in the comments!

It just doesn’t get much better than this. Carl Hiassen compared Matt Burgess to Richard Price … and then Richard Price wrote this: “Uncle Janice is a lowdown masterful contribution to Urban American lit, charismatically written with terrific sly humor and a joyous dead-on ear. An addictive read, one of those books you wish would never end.”

Start reading … you’ll be hooked!

Author Essays Extra Libris

A Daughter Discovers Her Manic-Depressive Father’s Secret Manuscript

When we offered up Advance Reader’s Copies of He Wanted the Moon, many of you shared touching stories of your own family’s experience living with mental illness.

“When my father’s manuscript begins,” writes Mimi Baird, “he is forty years old and has lived with the diagnosis of manic depression for more than ten years. By now, he knows very well the symptoms of his disease, its dangerous, ecstatic highs followed by pitch-dark depressions.

It is February 1944, and he has retreated to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston, as he often did when he felt himself becoming manic, in order to protect his family from his increasingly erratic behavior.”

Author Essays Extra Libris

How to Write Memoir If You Have a Rotten Memory

When I decided I wanted to write about the weeks following my husband Rick’s death, I decided to develop my own memory jogging techniques. It was a slow process, but the kids and I created this book together, one memory at a time.

“I am not a doctor or a psychologist,” says author Joanne Huist Smith. “I have never studied the brain. I don’t even know how memory works and likely wouldn’t remember for long if I learned. But these are some of the tools I used to help me prepare.

Tip #5: Four memories are better than one. Once I felt I had taken a scene as far as I could alone, I interviewed others who were present at the time. The 13th Gift really is a combination of the collective memories of all my family members.”

Author Essays Extra Libris

Exclusive Interview with Suki Kim, Author of Without You, There Is No Us

Suki Kim talks about her haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il’s reign.

“Our rooms and offices were bugged,” Kim reveals. “Each building on campus was connected by an enclosed walkway with windows on either side, so everything everywhere was visible. We had to get permission for everything as though we were children. Thinking was dangerous, but there was also no time for thinking. It sometimes felt as though ‘I’ did not exist. This was a very foreign feeling—deeply claustrophobic and sometimes almost unbearable.”

Author Essays Extra Libris

Artist Creates Interactive Map for Fictional City of Stairs

Take a tour of the fictional the city of Bulikov with this beautiful interactive map – created by artist John Petersen for Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel City of Stairs.

One of the great pleasures of reading is that every reader “creates” a different book. We all bring different experiences to the page, and so we’re free to imagine these fictional worlds with characters and settings only we can see.

So it’s a real treat when an artist brings a book to life in a way that feels true. Illustrator John Petersen does just that with the city of Bulikov, the mind-bending setting of Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel City of Stairsa sci-fi novel for people who usually don’t read sci-fi.

Author Essays Extra Libris

Dataclysm: How Facebook Predicts Your Relationship Success

For married people on Facebook, their spouse is the most assimilated member of their network an astounding 75 percent of the time.

“Highly assimilated couples function – the two people together – as the bond between otherwise unconnected cliques,” writes Christian Rudder, author of Dataclysm.

“They are the special glue in a given spread of dots, and furthermore, they’re a glue like epoxy: it takes both ingredients to make the thing hold together.”

Author Essays Extra Libris

The Coen Brothers Should Make
O, Africa! Into a Movie

O, Africa! is an epic tale of self-discovery, the constraints of history and prejudice, and the stubborn resolve of family and friendship in the face of tragedy.

In the summer of 1928, twin brothers Micah and Izzy Grand are at the pinnacle of their movie-making careers. From their roots as sons of Brooklyn immigrants, they have risen to become kings of silent comedy – with the brash, bloviating Micah directing and calling the shots, while his retreating brother skillfully works behind the lens. But when Micah’s penchant for gambling, and his interracial affair with Rose, a sharp-witted, light-skinned black woman from Harlem, combine to threaten his livelihood and his life, he finds himself in need of a quick escape.