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WHAT YOU MAY WANT TO ADD TO YOUR WISH LIST:

Top 10 “Obscene” Literary Classics excludes Lolita? WTF?

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Check out the Guardian children’s fiction prize longlist gallery!

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If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you may also like these equally trashy books with far more horrifying covers! No, seriously… check out Natural Law… yikes.

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In early celebration of the Fourth of July, check out the 10 Books Every American NEEDS to Read.

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Holy crap, this article is disturbing – but before you start huffing and puffing like I did, notice that the first couple of comments take care of pretty much everything you would probably want to say to the author anyway. That at least made me feel better.

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Which Books Should You Read This Summer? An awesome flow-chart.

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An interview with Patrice Kindl, author of Keeping the Castle, who I just realized is also author of The Woman in the Wall, which my BFF is still mad at me for not having read yet after borrowing it from her… about a year ago.

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I’m not proud of it, but I gave Growing Up Dead in Texas a second look because Stephen Graham Jones is hot. Not proud of it, but it’s the truth. Go look at him.

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10 Dysfunctional Literary Families We’d Secretly Like to Join is way off with the Lisbons of The Virgin Suicides but totally read my mind with House Targaryen. I mean, they’re all hot blondes, right?

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30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Turning 30

I’d like to claim ageism – and it seems kind of arbitrary – but that might just be because I’m 27 now and there are a few books on this list I still haven’t read.

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The Secret Subversiveness of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

I read it when I was eight and fell in love with it. I read it when I was 26 and was horrified by nauseating lessons and heavy-handed morals. And now… goddammit, are you telling me I have to read it again?

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WHAT I ADDED TO MY WISH LIST:

In Grace McCleen’s harrowing, powerful debut, she introduces an unforgettable heroine in ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scraps—the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind. As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father’s modest lives—a strike threatens her father’s factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territory—Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God’s chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world.

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The ground shifts repeatedly beneath the reader’s feet during the course of Salman Rushdie’s sixth novel, a riff on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the high-octane world of rock & roll. Readers get their first clues early on that the universe Rushdie is creating here is not quite the one we know: Jesse Aron Parker, for example, wrote “Heartbreak Hotel”; Carly Simon and Guinevere Garfunkel sang “Bridge over Troubled Water”; and Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae starred in “South Pacific.” And as the novel progresses, Rushdie adds unmistakable elements of science fiction to his already patented magical realism, with occasionally uneven results.

Rushdie’s cunning musician is Ormus Cana, the Bombay-born founder of the most popular group in the world. Ormus’s Eurydice (and lead singer) is Vina Apsara, the daughter of a Greek American woman and an Indian father who abandoned the family. What these two share, besides amazing musical talent, is a decidedly twisted family life: Ormus’s twin brother died at birth and communicates to him from “the other side”; his older brothers, also twins, are, respectively, brain-damaged and a serial killer. Vina, on the other hand, grew up in rural West Virginia where she returned home one day to find her stepfather and sisters shot to death and her mother hanging from a rafter in the barn. No wonder these two believe they were made for each other.

Narrated by Rai Merchant, a childhood friend of both Vina and Ormus, The Ground Beneath Her Feet begins with a terrible earthquake in 1989 that swallows Vina whole, then moves back in time to chronicle the tangled histories of all the main characters and a host of minor ones as well. Rushdie’s canvas is huge, stretching from India to London to New York and beyond–and there’s plenty of room for him to punctuate this epic tale with pointed commentary on his own situation: Muslim-born Rai, for example, remarks that “my parents gave me the gift of irreligion, of growing up without bothering to ask people what gods they held dear…. You may argue that the gift was a poisoned chalice, but even if so, that’s a cup from which I’d happily drink again.” Despite earthquakes, heartbreaks, and a rip in the time-space continuum, The Ground Beneath Her Feet may be the most optimistic, accessible novel Rushdie has yet written.

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Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.

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In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash—but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

 

 

 

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Mariana Academy is a storied institution, built with gothic architecture, founded with a serious honor code and, for the most part, run by its students. But Prisom’s Party, a secret society named after the school’s founder, has been troubling these quiet halls, naming the student community code an empty motto—Brotherhood, Truth, and Equality for All—and exposing teachers, students, and the school for every indiscretion or dishonesty.
 
Taken by her parents from the familiar environs of Beacon Hill in Boston to escape the loss of her best friend, Iris Dupont is now living in small-town Nye, Massachusetts, and attending the hyper-competitive Mariana. Her only confidant is a chain-smoking, challenge-wielding spectre named Edward R. Murrow and when he tells her to stop moping and get out there in search of a story, she takes the charge.
 
Now Iris is on the hunt for a great story, one that will make her the youngest editor-in-chief in the school newspaper’s history, but her research is leading her deep into the Trench (the school basement), toward the staff of  The Devil’s Advocate (the underground news organ of Prisom’s Party), and to discovering all the secrets they both hold. Some of them seem to involve her favorite teacher, Mr. Kaplan. Some of them seem to point to the girl who used to live in her house—an albino named Lily Morgan who left the school abruptly twelve years ago and seems to have never returned. And everything seems to be connected to a rare book she found in her borrowed room, Marvelous Species: Investigating Earth’s Mysterious Biology.
 
Was all of this triggered by the string of incidents that set the school on high alert? Does it trace back to a scandal Mr. Kaplan is hiding in his past? What is the meaning of the strange symbol that keeps showing up in the wake of the Prisom’s Party incidents? And when Iris gets deep into the story, torn by her allegiances, her reporter’s instinct, and her yearning for a true friend, will it be enough for her to ask: What would Edward Murrow do?