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Jane Austen

Great American Listening: Our Country’s Top Picks

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PBS has just concluded a national survey and an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels: THE GREAT AMERICAN READ. The final results just released put TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD definitively on top, with four finalists: the Outlander series, the Harry Potter series, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, and the Lord of the Rings series. What strikes me with these favorites is that many of them offer spectacular listening. There is just one recording of MOCKINGBIRD available—a respectful straight-up narration by Sissy Spacek as Scout telling the story. However, for the #2 title, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, we’ve reviewed five unabridged versions, and at least eight are available on Audible. Josephine Bailey’s P & P got an Earphones Award from us,…

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Book Club Guest Blog: “The Witch of Willow Hall”

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It’s a daunting task writing about witches and ghosts and keeping an adult audience captivated with realism and empathy. So I had low expectations for Hester Fox’s The Witch of Willow Hall (Graydon House) but found myself pleasantly surprised. The plot line was so enthralling, I couldn’t put the book down. It read like a Jane Austen book. I found it had so many parallels with Pride and Prejudice – the time period, the innocent  nature of the love story, the use of the prefixes Mr. and Miss to reference young men and women, the dynamic of three sisters struggling to uphold their family’s reputation and win the interest of an eligible bachelor, and most importantly, the eloquent style of writing. The courtship…

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1,000 Books To Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

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If you visit the BookTrib.com website primarily for book discovery, we’re here to tell you about a book that can only be described as the consummate book discovery source. What’s so much fun about 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List (Workman Publishing) is you can start reading it on any of its almost 900 pages, and you don’t even have to finish it to thoroughly enjoy it. Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways! It took author and veteran bookseller James Mustich 14 years to compile and write 1,000 Books, which leads to an obvious question: why only 14 years? Understand up front this was not conceived as a book of the 1,000 Greatest Hits…

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Why Contemporary Novels Can’t Resonate with All

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Is it possible to write about a book you’ve read and didn’t viscerally respond to without discouraging that book’s other potential readers? Is it possible to recognize a book’s many qualities and still say that your experience reading it wasn’t exactly satisfying? I am going to try and do this with Celeste Ng’s novel Little Fires Everywhere (Penguin Press), a book that has been highly praised, both online and in newspapers and has managed also to be a bestseller and seems to be a favorite of many people. Ng is a fine writer. She tells a compelling story, and at the center of Little Fires Everywhere is a provocative moral dilemma. This novel—her second— is, for these reasons, impressive. But as I was reading…

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Amy Meyerson’s Tempest in a California Bookshop

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A romance, a quest, and a literary adventure, Amy Meyerson’s debut novel The Bookshop of Yesterdays (Park Row) introduces a young woman in furious pursuit of the past. Miranda Brooks, named for the heroine of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, is a history teacher who lives in Philadelphia.  She has just moved in with her boyfriend, Jay, who often rubs her the wrong way. But now it’s summer, and they can get to know each other better – until Miranda is called to Los Angeles where her Uncle Billy has died. He has bequeathed to her Prospero Books, a bookstore located in the rapidly gentrifying Silver Lake neighborhood. After the funeral, Miranda, who had not seen her uncle for 16 years,…

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Sarah Morgan on Her New Novel and the Bonds of Sisterhood

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USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan’s upcoming novel How To Keep a Secret (HQN Books) focuses on three generations of women, who are all facing different crises: Nancy knows that she hasn’t been the best mother to her two daughters, Lauren and Jenna, but she can’t bring herself to tell them why; Jenna wants to start a family with her husband, but it’s just not happening, and no matter how big the smile on her face, she’s breaking apart; Lauren’s life is perfect – if you ignore the fact that it’s little more than a house of cards about to fall down; and Lauren’s teenage daughter Mack seems to be a completely different person. Over the course of one hot summer, they’ll…

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Joanna Cantor on Her Debut Novel, Yoga, and Writing About Grief

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This year, we’ve had some pretty standout books that have been published across the genres, but debut author Joanna Cantor’s novel Alternative Remedies For Loss has become one of the most talked about and beloved books, even though it was released just a few weeks ago. Though this is her debut, Cantor’s novel actually tackles some of the hardest things to write about clearly: the contradiction of life in your early 20s, where everything seems to be standing still yet happening too fast and all at once; grief and the feeling of permanent loss; and recovery, acceptance of our lives the way they are. And she manages to do all this effortlessly. Alternative Remedies For Loss focuses on 22-year-old Olivia, who, when…

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Debut Author Julia Sonneborn Talks Jane Austen, First Drafts and Adaptations

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Over the years, there have been some pretty interesting retellings and adaptions of our favorite books. Sometimes they work and other times they don’t, but it’s always fun to read another author’s take on the original work. Now Julia Sonneborn, English professor and debut author, has written our favorite adaptation yet. By The Book is not just a fun, fantastically written read, but it’s also an updated, modern version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.     Anne Corey, an English professor in California working to make tenure, gets the surprise of her life when her ex-boyfriend, Adam, becomes the college’s new president. She knows she should have other, better things on her mind – her aging father, that book deal she’s been trying to get,…

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Early Bird Books: 13 Books Our Favorite Celebrities Love

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Stars—they read like us! We’ll be the first to admit that we love a bit of celebrity gossip—especially when it involves what’s on people’s shelves. Lately, stars like Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson have been hopping on the book club train, selecting titles each month and leading thoughtful reading discussions with their fans. It’s been a great way to highlight the latest debut authors, or bring old, forgotten gems back into the limelight. We’re all about using fame to the benefit of a good book. Below, you’ll find recommendations that come straight from the mouths of our favorite celebrities. From childhood classics to later-in-life discoveries, these are the reads that have made lasting impressions on Academy Award winners, singers, and more. Tom Hanks Blood on…

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Feminists Unite: Literary Costumes Inspired by 6 Badass Women!

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Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s time to finally decide on a costume. We’ve been rolling around ideas for weeks, but still haven’t been able to land on the perfect choice. Not only do we want something clever and fun, but we also want to show off our feminist side by going as a strong female character who inspires and empowers us. Here at Booktrib, we like to turn to books for inspiration. And why not? There are tons of smart, strong women in literature to emulate this year. We’ve wracked our brains to round up some original ideas that we’re sure are going to be the hit of any party. Here they are, 6 of our favorite…

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Friday Flashback: The 10 Best Mr. Darcy’s – From Favorite Films to Books

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We’ve got Mr. Darcy on the brain lately. And who can blame us? Darcy is one of those literary heroes who has transcended the page to become a cultural icon. Stubborn, proud, and hopelessly in love with Elizabeth Bennet, he’s one of our favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice – and one of our favorite book boyfriends in general. This summer marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, so it’s no wonder that Darcy is consuming our thoughts. The author died on July 18, 1817, at age 41, after having written 7 novels that become instant classics and 2 unfinished works that will always leave us wondering, what if?. There’s a reason that Austen is still just as popular 200 years…

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The Books on Bridget Jones’s Imaginary Bookshelf

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It’s hard to fully encapsulate the amazingness that is Bridget Jones’s Diary. Helen Fielding’s book is fantastic, and the movie is even better. (Seriously, come at me). Between the most relatable female heroine ever, the objectively least-crazy-most-sensible-while-still-being-attractive leading man, and quite possibly the greatest, least graceful fight scene in movie history, 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary is my favorite romantic comedy film. It will never be beaten. It will never be surpassed. It is flawless. The sequel was bitterly disappointing. Let’s not talk about it. However, whether we like it or not, Bridget Jones is having a baby. Preliminary reviews for the new film are fairly positive, which I’m taking as a good sign. It’s being directed by the original film’s…

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Remembering Alan Rickman in His Best Literary Film Roles

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It’s been a rough week for art and culture. Alan Rickman, beloved veteran of the stage and screen, passed away early January 14, 2016, just days after the similarly shocking passing of rock god David Bowie. Rickman, whose trademark sonorous voice was scientifically proven to be one of the most perfect voices on the planet, was known for a multitude of film roles, most notably Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Other well-known characters he played include Die Hard’s snarky villain Hans Gruber, Love Actually‘s Harry, who it was just recently revealed, did in fact have an affair with his secretary (boooo!), Galaxy Quest’s sarcastic Shakespearean-trained sci-fi actor Alexander Dane, and ghost-boyfriend Jamie from Truly Madly Deeply. However, some of…

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The Basic Bitch Exists in Books and We Have Five Favorites

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Fall is the season of basic bitches: pumpkin spice everything, infinity scarves, knee-high boots and scented candles that smell like “Autumn Wreath.” A basic bitch devours these things, or at least Instagrams herself with them on the regular: #lovingfall #pumpkins #uggsarewarm. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, let me educate you: a basic bitch is a girl with no real distinct personality, who loves anything that’s popular and paints her life as an endless stream of duck-face selfies while clutching a Starbucks latte. We all know a basic bitch—hell, sometimes we are basic bitches (pumpkin spice just tastes sooo good!). And basic bitches have been around a lot longer than you’d think: they’ve been cropping up in our books for…

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Top 5 Heroines We Want to be our Bestie

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As much as I love my book boyfriends, I also have a soft spot for the ladies. I might not want to make out with them in quite the same way, but I definitely want to hang out, watch Netflix, drink tea and complain about our love lives. You know, typical girls’ night activities. I call these women my book BFFs; those characters I know I’d be best friends with if we were to ever meet in real life. And they were, you know, real. So in honor of those endlessly interesting female characters, here are my top five book besties, in no particular order. Hazel Grace: The Fault in Our Stars, John Green Diagnosed with terminal cancer and placed…

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5 Lines We Loved From Clueless on its 20th Anniversary

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I was 10 years old the first time I watched what has become a cult classic—Clueless—which made stars of Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd. July 19 marks the 20th anniversary of this film based on Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. The first time I watched this saccharine-sweet high school flick, I was instantly obsessed. It seemed like styles from the movie instantly began to infiltrate popular culture: I and every girl I knew had a fuzzy feather pen at school, plaid raged in its 90s glory transformed into schoolgirl skirts and crystal chokers adorned trendy girls’ necks. All of that fabulous lingo we’ve come to know and love spouted by the likes of Cher, Amber, Tai and Dionne was overheard in…

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