Author

Jennifer Blankfein - page 2

Jennifer Blankfein has 53 articles published.

Jennifer Gans Blankfein is a freelance marketing consultant and book reviewer. She graduated from Lehigh University with a Psychology degree and has a background in advertising. Her experience includes event coordination and fundraising along with editing a weekly, local, small business newsletter. Jennifer loves to talk about books, is an avid reader, and currently writes a book blog, Book Nation by Jen. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons and black lab.

A ‘Red-Haired Woman’ Turns Lives Upside Down in Pamuk’s New Book

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I really enjoyed this short but dense book, The Red-Haired Woman written by Turkish Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk. In the 1980s, a teenage, fatherless boy is an apprentice to Master Mahmut, a well digger. They dig for water in the hot sun, and tell stories to pass the time. As time goes on, they develop a tight relationship and grow to rely on each other as co-workers and as father and son. However, everything is turned upside-down when, one evening, the boy observes a beautiful red-haired woman twice his age and daydreams about her to get through the difficult days of work. She is an actress in a traveling theater production and he becomes overwhelmed with a desire to…

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Chaos Hits Home for the Holidays in ‘The Boyfriend Swap’

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If you are looking for an escape this holiday season, The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr is just what you need! We step in on an unforgettable character, Robyn, who is a teacher dating an actor. Her family would like for her to meet a guy with ambition and some success but they are always disappointed with the creative types she is drawn to. Sydney is a lawyer at her father’s law firm and she is dating a lawyer. Her father is obsessed with the law and tends to talk business incessantly; something she has no patience for. Ann Marie is Robyn’s roommate and she works for Sydney at the law firm.  The three girls were together at a wine party and…

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Danzy Senna’s ‘New People’ Explores Race, Identity and More

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I really enjoyed New People and was intrigued by who the description, “new people”, referred to. Maria and Khalil are a seemingly happy, engaged couple living in Brooklyn, both light skinned, mixed race. Khalil, a technology consultant, comes from a solid, intact family unit and is close with his parents and sister who is darker skinned than he is. Maria has no relatives; she was adopted by a black woman who was hoping to raise a “mini me” and has since passed away. She is spending her time writing her dissertation on Jamestown and busy learning about the mass suicides, how this could happen, and how those people kept going as long as they did. Maria’s previous boyfriend was white and…

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‘The Best of Us’: Joyce Maynard’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life

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I highly recommend reading Joyce Maynard’s The Best of Us, but just make sure you have a box of tissues. Maynard finds the love of her life in her 50s, many years after being divorced and raising her children as a single mother. She and Jim, her new love, had a wonderful connection and were enjoying life to the fullest. And then their future was shattered when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She stood by him, provided hope and continued to look for treatments and solutions until the end. Her love story is beautiful and devastating as she chronicles the time before she meets Jim, during their love affair and his battle with this devastating disease, and afterward when she…

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‘White Fur’: Is Love Really More Powerful Than Money?

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The more I think about this novel, the more I love White Fur by Jardine Libaire. It’s the 1980s and Elise, a school dropout and recently homeless young girl is living in New Haven with a friend she met on the street. Jamey is one of the white, privileged and wealthy guys in the apartment next door; the longtime buddies are students at Yale and everything material has been given to them on a silver platter. The unlikely attraction between Elise and Jamey is powerful, lustful and trepidatious on Jamey’s part, as Elise is from low-class, poor, unsophisticated stock, and although she has big love for her family and knows what she wants out of life, his fancy and pretentious family and…

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Review: A Favorite ‘Sourdough’ Recipe Changes Everything

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan is the perfect blend of culinary secrets and technological experiments, filled with excitement and drama. Lois is a programmer who spends her endless days writing code and programming a robot arm. She resorts to drinking a Slurry (an unappealing nutritional concoction) for lunch during the day, and ordering delivery of spicy soup with delicious bread from a neighborhood hole in the wall at night. She falls into this comfortable routine and when the delivery guy tells her he and his brother, the chef, have to leave the country, she is distraught. Because she has become to them the “Number One Eater”, they are leaving her with a valuable secret…the special starter for the sourdough bread she adores,…

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Gabriel Tallent’s Literary Debut is an ‘Absolute Darling’

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Wow! My Absolute Darling is literary fiction at its finest! This vividly written debut is rich in language with full descriptive prose and incredibly complex characters. Turtle, a motherless teenager living with her reclusive and resourceful survivalist dad, has an unusual existence. Some of her days begin with raw eggs and a sip of beer before she goes on the bus to middle school. With little interaction amongst her classmates and not much interest in academics, her attendance is haphazard. Not the typical northern California fourteen-year-old, she spends lots of time wandering around alone outside in nature and is often busy cleaning her gun. Her large and physically imposing father, Martin, provides sparse supervision and motivation, yet he is all she has,…

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Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, a Life-Changing Friendship

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Heartbreaking, inspiring and a tribute to dedication, Reading With Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship is the memoir of an Asian American ‘Teach For America‘ teacher and her friendship with a poor black student in Helena, Arkansas. Their special relationship is in the forefront of the story with race relations, education and the legal system the backdrop for setting. Michelle had always been encouraged by her traditional Taiwanese parents to get an education, settle down and get married. But Michelle found the job of teaching troublesome kids in the Delta extremely rewarding. She stuck with it for a couple of years during which her student, Patrick, attended on occasion. His home life was less than perfect and his family was not…

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Abduction and Raw Emotion in ‘The Atlas of Forgotten Places’

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Don’t let this exceptional new novel fall under the radar! Based on war-torn Africa and the innocent people caught in the middle, the stunning debut of The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams takes us to Uganda where a young girl, Lily, goes missing. The authorities are hard to come by and disorganized, so her aunt Sabine, a former aid worker, travels from Germany to the village where she was last seen. She intends to trace Lily’s steps and try to understand if she was in danger and kidnapped, or if she had a motive to disappear. At the same time a Ugandan woman, Rose (who was previously kidnapped and abused by the Lord’s Resistance Army but now back in…

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Cultures Clash in Ayobami Adebayo’s Debut, ‘Stay With Me’

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Stay With Me is a story about a Nigerian young couple, Yejide and Akin, who married for love as they faced the challenges of infertility. In their culture, having children is expected, and they are desperate to become parents. Yejide’s mother died when she gave birth so she hopes her feelings of belonging to no one will be rectified once she has a baby. Akin’s mother is relentless and goes behind her daughter-in-law’s back to present other women to her son so he can become a father. The couple had agreed polygamy was not for them but the mother persisted and they unwillingly accepted another wife. Desperation to become pregnant leads Yejide, a modern, working woman, to superstition and ritual and…

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Familial Relationships Gone Awry in ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie

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An emotional and timely novel, Home Fire is a compelling story about Muslim families in crisis. Isma is the responsible older sister of twins Aneeka and Parvaiz. Their mother and grandmother have passed away and the twins are now 18 years old, so Isma, having previously put her ambitions on the back burner to look after her siblings, is leaving her home in London to travel to America for a work opportunity. Aneeka is beautiful and intelligent and will be studying law in London, and Parvaiz vacates the country on a quest to learn about his father, a known Jihadist, who fought in Chechnya and Afghanistan. In the US, Isma meets Eamonn, the son of a British politician who has a…

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Art Imitates Life: A Book Talk with author Alisyn Camerota

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Hilarous and smart, Alisyn Camerota gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at how politics and journalism interact in the newsroom.  Inspired by real-life experience on network television, this charming, this debut novel, Amanda Wakes Up, follows an ambitious cable news journalist, Amanda Gallo, as she struggles with the concept of unbiased reporting, always being available to report breaking news and remaining professional and respected in the workplace. On the home front, Amanda also finds herself managing her mother’s expectations along with challenging boyfriend issues.  As an anchor at FAIR News, Amanda sees things heat up during the election season when the political candidates have air time.  If you follow politics and watch the news, you will thoroughly enjoy this humorous story that…

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Author Fiona Davis Shares the Secrets to Her Writing Success

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Last year, author Fiona Davis published her wonderful debut, The Dollhouse, rich in history about the Barbizon Hotel in NYC. Keeping with iconic Manhattan landmarks, her fabulous new release, The Address is set in alternating timelines; in the late 1800s during the building of the Dakota, the architecturally stunning residence on the upper west side of Manhattan: Sara, a housekeeper at a fancy London hotel meets Theo, the talented NYC architect. He takes a job at the newly built Dakota, and craziness ensues. Their budding relationship remains hidden from his wife and children as they bond, it turns passionate and a crime is committed. In 1985, fresh out of rehab and penniless, designer Bailey, a descendant of the wealthy Dakota architect,…

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Science and Humor Explode in Weike Wang’s ‘Chemistry’

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the book Chemistry! Author Weike Wang’s unnamed narrator, a Chinese-American Ph.D. student, lives with her redheaded boyfriend behind her traditional parents’ backs. Despite the high expectations for their daughter to become a chemist, she is unable to be successful in her research, losing interest in her male dominated field and having difficulty making decisions regarding her career and her relationship. The boyfriend proposed but she is just not feeling it enough to say yes, yet she doesn’t immediately say no. Caught in ambiguity, with nonscientific questions of the heart on her mind, and confusion about her future hanging in the balance, she searches inside herself to understand who she is, flaws and…

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Sybil’s List: Publishers Weekly Book Reviewer Sybil Steinberg’s List of Reads

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We love a good booklist to peek our interest and inspire us to read more. Westport Connecticut resident Sybil Steinberg, contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly puts together a list of her favorites several times a year and recently she presented her July 2017 picks to a standing room only crowd at the Westport Library. I had a chance to catch up with Sybil and ask her a few questions… BookTrib: Your list of recommendations is so long, what is your favorite genre and how much do you read? Steinberg: Books are my passion. I read three or four books a week. I try to keep a balance between fiction and nonfiction. I’m an avid…

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NY Times Editor Pamela Paul’s ‘My Life with Bob’ is a Treat for Book Lovers

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I received multiple copies of My Life with Bob as a gift for my birthday; evidently several people believed I would enjoy it and of course, they were right! As a reader, what’s not to like about a book about someone who loves books. Author Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review kept a record of everything she read in her Book of Books (Bob) for almost 30 years. Her memoir takes us along her life journey with the list of everything she read along the way from her teen years to adulthood. This journal, Bob, is synonymous with her, representing a diary with hopes and dreams, the good, the bad and the ugly. The books she…

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