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Book Recommendations

Just the Right Book: Chloe Benjamin on ‘The Immortalists’

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If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? This is the premise of Chloe Benjamin’s second novel The Immortalists, which was hailed “2018’s First Must-Read” by Entertainment Weekly. Just the Right Book Podcast caught up with the self-proclaimed “midwest convert” right before her book tour and she dished on an array of topics including religion, ballet, magic and her latest novel which may be coming to the small screen. Benjamin even tells Roxanne whether she would choose to know the date of her death if she could. And stay tuned after the conversation with Chloe to hear the latest book recommendations from Lori Fazio, the COO of RJ Julia in Madison, CT. Books in…

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Books are the New Superheroes: Reading is the Antidote to Holiday Stress

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Barnes and Noble recently did an independent survey on reading habits, and it turns out that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest reading day of the year! Many of us leaf through the pages of our favorite novels over the Thanksgiving holiday season to relax. Reading also makes traveling better, with over 75% of the American population finishing one book, magazine, or other literary publication over the holiday travels. If you thought reading couldn’t possibly get any better after all that, the survey also revealed that one-in-four Americans will bring along a book to avoid awkward family situations. We’ve all been there (let’s be honest here, folks), but admittedly, bringing along a book for that exact purpose might be a new…

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TED Talk: Safwat Saleem Urges You to Find Your Voice — Plus, a Helpful Book List

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Finding a voice to fit your identity is never easy. However, artist, designer and animator Safwat Saleem, had a particularly difficult time, struggling with anxiety about his childhood stutter. In this thought-provoking, heartfelt and adorably animated talk from TED 2016, Saleem describes how he overcame his struggle to incorporate his voice into his artwork, not only through childhood, but in the face of rude YouTube commenters who ridiculed his Pakistani accent as an adult. Instead of letting ill-mannered commenters keep him from using his own voice in his work, Saleem rather unpacks the reasons behind those comments: differing definitions of “normality” that lead to preconceived notions. Saleem resolves to use his art to challenge those preconceived notions, which is about…

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All in the Family: 3 Books that Explore the Ties that Bind

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There’s no getting around it—as we build toward the holidays we’re going to have to spend at least some time with family. To put it all in perspective we have three books about families in emotional crisis. There’s nothing like peeking at someone else’s family drama to appreciate your own family. This week’s recommendations are brought to us by Jill Miner, owner of Saturn Booksellers, a popular independent bookstore that has won the Michigan Retailer of the Year Award for small businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce’s Golden Pineapple Award for Best Customer Service. The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro (Algonquin Books, November 3, 2015) “During Roosevelt’s WPA program, artists were put to work creating large-scale pieces for public spaces.…

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Unique Writing: 3 Books That Offer Fresh Forms of Prose

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Tired of the same old, narrative style? This week we offer three books that dive deeper and offer fresh prose styles, thanks to recommendations from our friends at City Lights Books in San Francisco. These books brilliantly employ unique methods of writing to bring their stories to life. One of the country’s largest independent bookstores and publishers, City Lights also has the distinction of being the nation’s first all-paperback store. It’s been five decades since the Beatnicks discovered Jack Kerouac at this book lover’s landmark, which is why the store masthead reads, “A Literary Meetingplace Since 1953.” This week’s selections are: Counternarratives by John Keene (New Directions, 2015) Bookseller Tân Khánh Cao says: “If I had to read one book…

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More Than They Seem: 3 Books That Explore Backstory

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We love to imagine backstories for our favorite fictitious characters as we wonder, what from their past made them the way they are?  Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee recommended three books that explore “Backstory: We Are More Than We Seem.” This week’s selections were chose by Parnassus’ Social Media Director Mary Laura Philpott, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and the Huffington Post and is the founder of the online magazine MUSING. Parnassus opened in 2011 when author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes realized that bookstores were disappearing from Nashville, a city with a rich cultural tradition. “I have no interest in retail…but I also have no interest in living in a city…

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3 Shelfies from Chappaqua Library about First love and Sentimentality

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Summer is a time for romance and adventure. You’re undoubtedly having your own memorable experiences during these fleeting warm-weather months (carpe diem, no?) and to enhance that experience, why not back it up with several amazing books? Why not turn the pages of a riveting novel where themes like young love, magic, mystery and historical suspense transport you to another world? For this week’s Shelfie Picks, we turn to Chappaqua Public Library, a library in the suburbs an hour north of New York City. Chappaqua counts certain former White House residents among their neighbors. From independent book stores to great libraries, we support champions of great books and Chappaqua was nice enough to participate. Reference Librarian Vicki Fuqua recommended three…

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Shelfie Picks: Strand Book Store’s New Contemporary Classics

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Sure, there’s plenty of light summer reading. We went to McLean and Eakin for wonderful summer lovin’ picks, turned to Skylight Books for summer adventures with coming-of-age twists, and even chatted with Elin Hilderbrand, the “Queen of the Summer Novel.” But just occasionally, those lazy summer days inspire deeper thought and encourage us to delve into untested waters. We want to turn the pages of a book that, while still accessible and enjoyable, makes us think and question. That’s what inspiring literary works do, right? A few excellent literary fiction novels have arrived this summer and to help us select three that go above and beyond, we headed to Strand Book Store, “New York City’s legendary home of 18 miles of books.”…

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Shelfies from The Booksmith Brings Out our Inner Explorer

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In our lives, we must all take a journey. The exploration of ourselves and our world is precisely what makes life worth living. A rich tapestry of personal and geographical discovery molds us into the individuals we become, and ultimately allows us to amass valuable memories. That is why we’re honoring Space Exploration Day and offering three new books that encourage us to be adventurous in both mind and body. On July 20, 1969, man walked on the moon; where will your adventure take you? For added inspiration, we turned to The Booksmith, one of the country’s best independent bookstores located on Haight Street in the heart of San Francisco. A 39-year-old establishment “with a focus on unusual literary fiction and…

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Rethinking Narcissism: Self-Pride Can Be Healthy

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If you’re a “narcissist,”  you’re a bad person. This appears to be the general consensus. Being someone with a degree in psychology, I’ve always wondered about the term myself, and why everyone is so fast to apply the label. And it’s getting worse. These days, you’re a “narcissist” if you allude to any personal achievement, or if you name-dropped at a party, or even if you simply showed up wearing nicer clothes. Due to this disturbing phenomenon, my wonder has increased to concern. How big is the gap between narcissism and simple self-confidence and are those who hiss the term “narcissist” even aware of that gap? Are we too close to thinking narcissism and positive words like “esteem” and “confidence”…

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Shelfies with Skylight Books: Summer Adventures with a Coming-of-Age Twist

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Ah, summer. There’s just something about the warmer days that invoke feelings of love and adventure. It’s a season that makes us all feel young again; with that wistful, melancholy irony, we look back at our developing years during the carefree days of summer. We all wish we’d had wisdom beyond our years, the foresight to appreciate those days as they were happening. “If only I could go back…” we dreamily inform the waves. But at your side are several books that take you away and perhaps, take you back. That’s because Skylight Books has graciously provided you with three brand new, wonderfully inspired titles that will keep the pages turning while the sun rises high over a picturesque beach.…

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5 Audiobooks Perfect for Your Long Summer Drives

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audiobooks in the car

As you pull out of the driveway, everyone is excited. You’re heading out for one of those meticulously planned, ideally memorable vacations that you’ll talk about for years. You will return refreshed and energized, carrying smartphones and digital cameras chock full of memories. This vacation will go down in history as one of the greatest ever! But you have to get there first. Once you hit the highway, everyone in the car starts to realize that many hours must pass before the memories can begin. Well, good memories, at any rate. Who enjoys memories from an eight-hour car ride? Amidst all the planning, you’ve overlooked the critical travel element, which is all too common. Don’t despair, though; there’s a cure for the…

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Shelfies Inspired by ThrillerFest and Comic-Con, Thanks to Mysterious Galaxy

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With ThrillerFest and Comic-Con landing on the same weekend, this week’s Shelfie Picks were a no-brainer: We needed some fantastic sci-fi, fantasy, and general thriller novels to recommend. If you’re traveling to either of the aforementioned events this weekend, or you plan to travel elsewhere this summer, you need some thrilling diversions. Who wants to stare at the back of an airplane seat for hours? The train has some old-world charm but eventually, it tries to put you to sleep. And heaven forbid if you’re traveling by bus; then you really need something to take you to another world. Enter three new novels by some of the genre’s most respected and successful authors. These picks come courtesy of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, an…

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Aliza Licht’s “Leave Your Mark” Says: Turn Yourself into a Bestseller

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In this always-connected, always-plugged-in world, your personal brand is more critical than ever. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I know a little something about personal branding. The term may sound modern – and of course, the practice and philosophy of personal branding changes with the times – but in fact, it’s an age-old truism: You’ve got to self-promote. You’ve got to get yourself out there. My grandfather was a self-employed electrician. In those days, there was no social media. No Internet, no cell phones, no instant communication outside of the telephone. Even so, there were business cards and the all-important reputation, fueled mostly by word-of-mouth. How do people know you? What do they know about you? Over time, people came to…

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Independence Day Shelfies from Written Words Bookstore: Honoring our roots

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When you’re firing up the barbecue on Saturday, dismissing everyone’s advice and recommendations because you are the grill master, you should take some time to consider. The meat needs proper time to cook, anyway. Perhaps you could cast a reflective eye on the holiday in question, and wonder about this country’s history. If you’re a novice when it comes to your American past, have no fear: This week’s Shelfie Picks consist of entertaining, accessible reads that will put you in touch with your roots. We went to Written Words Bookstore (please note their new address in Shelton, CT!) for these Independence Day recommendations and owner Dorothy Broder was nice enough to deliver three absolute winners. Here they are: 1. The War That…

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Summer lovin’ Shelfie Picks from McLean and Eakin Booksellers

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They say spring is the time when a young man’s fancy turns to love. If that’s the case, what happens in summer? Oh, we’re not talking about the standard trashy romance. We’re talking about great stories that just so happen to feature a compelling romance, which makes for perfect summer reading. To satisfy our desire for such fun, captivating books, we went to McLean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan. The store opened in 1992 and it was the setting for a future romance: That’s where two employees met and eventually became husband and wife. In a further twist of fate, they ended up owning the store. Now, Matthew Norcross and his wife Jessilynn cater to book lovers on the…

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