A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul. Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home.
It is Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s. Abraham Lincoln is a circuit-riding lawyer, a member of the state legislature, a man of almost ungovernable ambition. To his friends he is also a beloved figure, by turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possessed—a man of whom they, too, expect big things. Among his friends and political colleagues are Joshua Speed, William Herndon, Stephen Douglas, and many others who have come to the exploding frontier town of Springfield to find their futures.
The new year is a time of boundless optimism: the clock strikes twelve, the calendar rolls over, and a clean slate stretches out before you. At first our enthusiasm makes our resolutions seem easy! But then as the days tick by, the small nuisances of real life start to trickle back in and get in the way.
If you’re anything like us, now is the time you’re looking to bolster your resolutions and turn them into new habits. That’s why we’re so excited to offer 25 winners this box of 10 life-changing books. From delicious American Heart Association-approved recipes, to unique organizing strategies, to an inspiring novel about fresh starts, February is about to be a breeze.
As an avid reader, I too must face the inevitable issues of the practice. Which book to choose? Catch up on the classics? Or stay relevant with a recent release? Should I push myself to finish the one I’m currently reading or find something more compelling? Am I giving up too soon, though? What will people say if they find out I couldn’t finish it? And how am I supposed to read a hardcover in bed, anyway? And where do I put all these damn things?
But maybe the most pressing predicament of the practical reading life is this: Where the hell are all my bookmarks?
This is how it goes every time: While reading I’ll suddenly need to stop, so I look around for something—anything—to stuff between its pages. At first I’ll grab whatever’s near me—McDonald’s receipts, overdue bills, wedding invitations I have no plan on accepting—and use those, but you’d be surprised how quickly that sort of day-to-day flotsam runs out. Frustrated I enter my library, thinking, I’ve shopped at a million bookstores and have been given a million bookmarks—how can I not find one? When I don’t need one, they of course seem to spill out of the shelves, a library’s version of a leak.
Approaching middle age, Deedra Climer experienced an unimaginable tragedy―the death of her only son, Joshua, in a motorcycle accident. The spiral of grief that followed reopened ugly wounds that had never fully healed: being raised by a mentally ill and drug-addicted mother, the struggles she faced as a young single mother, and the guilt from exposing her children to one toxic boyfriend after another. Stripped bare emotionally, Deedra is forced to face who she is and where she came from. In sifting through the stark pain of the past, she is finally able to piece together her own sense of self and begin to imagine an unburdened future. Told with crushing honesty and an unflinching eye, Wailing Wall shares one woman’s struggle to make sense of her shattered life in the year following her son’s motorcycle death, weaving social media, poetry and fiction to expose her tragic past and the contours of the new American South. Framed by the devastation of loss, Deedra’s story reaches beyond heartbreak to show the strength of her spirit, illuminated by the persevering hope of redemption.
I didn’t mean to write a memoir.
When I started writing Wailing Wall on the back of an envelope on the way to bury my son, Joshua, all I knew was that I had to write.
My life depended on it. Transforming what was in my mind into words on the page was a confession of sorts, and I trusted those words to bring me through the darkness that slithered around me and wrapped my body so tightly I forgot to breathe.
Memoir saved my life.
We know how difficult it is for one author to write a book—but three authors writing one book together? Well, that seemed nearly impossible to us. New York Times bestselling authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig recently collaborated on The Forgotten Room—a rich, multigenerational novel of love and loss that spans half a century.
The book opens in 1945, when wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Young doctor Kate Schuyler is drawn—through clues left in a painting and a ruby pendant—into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion. In her pursuit of answers, she finds herself pulled into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. Set in alternating time periods, The Forgotten Room is a decadent treat of a novel told by three incredible storytellers.
Read It Forward sat down with Karen, Beatriz and Lauren and interviewed them about the secrets behind their writing collaboration.
Read It Forward: How did you build these characters together? When an author sees a character in her minds’ eye, how can that minds’ eye vision be shared with others?
Lauren: We built these characters on tea and scones. Well, sort of. The characters took shape at Alice’s Tea Cup on 64th Street in New York City as we drank innumerable pots of tea and fleshed out the characters together, exclaiming and interrupting each other as these people came to life for us. By the end of that very long tea, it felt like we were gossiping about old friends we’d known for years. You know, “Oh, OLIVE, of course she’d do that!” Right, Beatriz?
Beatriz: Exactly! I think it really helped that the three of us had already built this wonderful friendship—that’s why we wanted to write a book together in the first place—so we really had a huge amount of fun (and tea) bringing the characters to life together. So much fun that I sometimes wonder whether Karen was spiking the pot with a little something extra during bathroom breaks.
From the novelist the New York Times compares to Paul Bowles, Evelyn Waugh and Ian McEwan, an evocative new work of literary suspense.
Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life of quiet desperation as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.
And on that first night, a small windfall precipitates a chain of events– involving a bag of “jinxed” money, a suave American, a trunk full of heroin, a hustler taxi driver, and a rich doctor’s daughter– that changes Robert’s life forever.
A SUDDEN DUSK had come. The road dipped slightly by a second crossroads and they paused while the engine turned and they could hear the insects purring wildly in the fields. A headlight was coming across the opposite field at high speed but they could not see the surface of this other road. The sugarcane was high here on all sides and tall banana trees lined the road. The moon now flashed between their leaves. It was because the road curved sharply that they did not see the other beam of light for a few seconds. It came around the bend at a leisurely pace and they saw that it was a motorbike and on it was the white man that Robert had seen at the temple earlier in the day.
He recognized him at once and when the bike slowed the barang looked up and saw them and drew to a halt at the side of the sugarcane.
“It’s the guy I saw earlier,” Robert said to Ouksa, and he felt a desire to get out of the car and make himself known.
Ouksa said nothing, but the sudden frown was telling.
In between reading books and talking about books, Team Read It Forward has found another way to showcase the literature we love: Instagram!
We think the visual platform is the perfect way to share what we’re reading and celebrate the beauty of books and their alluring and colorful covers at the same time.
Introducing @bookbento, a browse-able bookstore of recommended reads and arresting book jackets paired alongside a still life of delightful objects. A veritable feast for the eyes!
Check out a few of our favorite @bookbento images below and click the snapshot to buy the book. Then follow us on Instagram, and create your own book bento with a beloved book. Be sure to tag it using the hashtag #bookbento so we can see your vivid and vibrant shots!
Happy reading…and scrolling!