Read It Forward

Join Read It Forward here on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. ET for a LIVE VIDEO CHAT with authors Sarah McCoy and Mary Doria Russell. Mary will moderate the discussion of Sarah’s latest novel, The Baker’s Daughter, now in paperback. RSVP now and see you soon!

“I began to ponder how a man, any human, could be so dedicated. People are dedicated to God or to men. I couldn’t imagine why he did that, so I gave him a different reason – love for a woman. I am not recreating the story, I just loved the characters. So my character falls in love with a missionary’s daughter who returned from China to Andover (not Exeter), wearing empress’s clothing,” explains Da Chen, author of My Last Empress. “When they fell in love they were in youthful angst, they were by a haystack and she started smoking opium. The haystack caught fire and she died in the fire. And ever since then he begins to have a fantasy, dreams about her, and he loses his mind. And then he decides to go to China to look for her incarnation, believing her soul was trapped in the land.”

“Samuel Johnson wrote, ‘To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends.’ What did I expect from my home? I wanted it to be a place of love, comfort, calm, and exploration – but my home didn’t always feel as homey as I wished,” admits Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster bestseller The Happiness Project. “I decided to do another happiness project, and this time focus on the aspects of my life that shape my experience of home, such as possessions, time, body, neighborhood, marriage, and parenthood. The book’s title, Happier at Home, is a reference to that line of Johnson’s. I’m a hardcore devotee of Dr. Johnson.”

“Michael Douglas has been in the public eye for decades but how well do you really know him?” asks critically acclaimed and bestselling biographer Marc Eliot. “In my forthcoming biography, there is a lot of surprising new and original material about him.” In Michael Douglas, Marc Eliot brings into sharp fo­cus this incredible career, complicated personal life, and legendary Hollywood family. Eliot’s fascinating portrait of the lows and remarkable highs in Michael’s life – in­cluding the thorny yet influential relationship with his father – breaks boundaries in understanding the life and work of a true American film star.

“Shani Boianjiu has found a way to expose the effects of war and national doctrine on the lives of young Israelis. So her subject is serious, but lest I make her work sound in any way heavy let me point out how funny she is, how disarming and full of life. Even when she is writing about death, Boianjiu is more full of life than any young writer I’ve come across in a long time.” –Nicole Krauss, author of Great House and The History of Love

“‘Everything written in this book is true,’” reveals Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster’s Wager. “I say that, from time to time. ‘Everything that happens to my characters is fiction.’ I say that, too. Sometimes, I say both things on the same occasions, for instance at a public event, or in an interview. Both of these comments are true . . . . I could say that fiction and fact are like two shadowboxers jousting in my novel, or like dreams that transform one into another. And back again! I could say that the only way I could express the way I truly feel about my family’s journey through the Vietnam War, was to make up stories.”