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Smart Reads

Smart Reads: Get Lost in the World of the Graphic Novel

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Back in the day growing up meant you could read books without pictures. Now some of the smartest books not only have pictures, they’re the hybrid children of literature and comic books called graphic novels. These illustrated gems can go places where no print novel is able to tread—adding cinematic wonder and visual pacing and tone to a complex narrative. There’s a huge variety out there in every genre, but we’ve picked a few of our recent favorites for this Smart Reads column that are sure to make you a fan of the art form. Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandre Franc (SelfMadeHero, May 10, 2016) “Uncovering some of the hard truths…

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Smart Reads: 6 Memoirs That Examine the Author’s Own History

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We love history here at BookTrib, which is why we featured 5 Fascinating Books that Shed a Fresh Light on History in February. But when we sat down to plan our Women’s History Month Smart Reads, we decided to take a slightly different angle. We wanted to feature women who are telling contemporary stories about their own lives. So here are six memoirs that explore family dynamics, grief and loss, redemption, reinvention, violence and peace, and that enduring thing called love. Red Eggs and Good Luck: A Memoir by Angela Lam (She Writes Press; October 6, 2015) “Red Eggs and Good Luck is the kind of honest, beautifully written memoir that will have you staying up way too late turning…

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Smart Reads: 4 Cookbooks Dedicated to Sustainable Eating

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Farewell, chunky soups. Adios, crockpot chili. Arrivederci, baked pasta. It’s 70 degrees in New England and I’ve got a hankering for something spring-y. As much as I love those hearty, cozy and  comforting, cold-weather meals and the way they make the house smell like every happy memory from childhood, it’s time for something light, bright, clean and green. Warmer temperatures make me want to indulge in those shimmering jewels newly emerging from the farm. Fortunately, we have the scoop on the newest books of the season—including a sneak preview of a couple of gems out in May. So get ready to savor these delectable cookbooks that will snap you out of the winter doldrums. The Plantiful Table: Easy, From-the-Farm Recipes…

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Smart Reads: 5 Fascinating Books that Shed a Fresh Light on History

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For some reason, late winter is the most historical time of the year. President’s Day. Martin Luther King Day. Black History Month. Women’s History Month. Maybe it’s because we need some really smart reads to tide us over until the daffodils bloom. If history, or fiction-driven retellings based on history, is your jam, we’ve got just the thing. Here are five fascinating books that will make you wish for a snow storm to give you a day off so you can curl up and read. Max Baer & The Star of David by Jay Neugeboren (Mandel Vilar Press; February 11, 2016) “Neugeboren has never been better than in this lush, joyful novel—as erotic and mysterious as The Song of Songs…

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Smart Reads: 5 Beautiful Books That Offer a Visual Feast

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By now our readers are aware of how much we love the holidays—and how much we love sharing our favorite books to give as gifts. But our suggestions wouldn’t be complete without those gorgeous coffee table books that sweep you away with their luscious photos and fascinating stories. Their spectacular covers are the literary equivalent of “You had me at ‘hello’.” Here are some of the most visually sumptuous and smartest reads for your holiday giving. The Sartorialist: X by Scott Schuman (Penguin; October 27, 2015) Nowadays it seems like everyone and her sister have a fashion blog, but Scott Schuman started it all 10 years ago with his photos captured on sidewalks of New York City street style. The…

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Smart Reads: Real Life Heroes, Villains and Monsters

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Villains and monsters are so much more frightening in the world of non-fiction. While we can reassure ourselves that the horrors of fiction aren’t real and sleep with the lights on, the comfort in non-fiction lies in the books themselves. By shining a light on the darkest hearts we lessen their hold upon us. At the same time, heroes are burnished in the spotlight’s glow, reminding us that good can ultimately prevail. This week we have five Smart Reads about the heroes, villains and monsters who have walked among us: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Random House, October 27, 2015) “Rarely do women have the opportunity to travel as Steinem has done—living a life full of radical…

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Smart Reads: 7 Scrumptious New Cookbooks for You to Savor

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Here at the BookTrib office, the cookbooks arrive in the mail about mid-morning—just in time to start our stomachs rumbling. We can’t help but be inspired to kick up our cooking game as we flip through the gorgeous photos and mouth-watering recipes. This week we have cookbooks that serve up the kind of food many of us grew up with—red velvet cake and fried chicken from Savannah, bisque and jambalya from the Big Easy, garlic-and-pepper infused pastrami from Jewish delis, and porchetta and lasagne just like your nonna used to make. And to top it all off—a cookbook from the restaurant that has all the celebrity chefs raving. Hungry yet? This is Camino by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain with Chris…

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Smart Reads: 3 Books for Banned Books Week

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We’re closing out Banned Books Week (September 27-October 3) by honoring three of the most challenged and banned books in 2014 as this week’s Smart Reads. Even though our right to read anything we like is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the American Constitution, there have always been members of the community who take exception to the content of certain books. Reasons for banning books have varied. Most frequently cited are offensive language, sexually explicit content, violence, controversial issues (a highly subjective term) and being unsuitable for its targeted age group. But as any book loving parent knows, much of this depends on the individual reader. And what budding adolescent hasn’t read a forbidden adult novel under the covers…

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Smart Reads: 4 Books to Inspire Awe, Insight and Laughter

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School is back in session and we’re craving the sort of books that fill us with awe and inspiration. As the days cool down we want to curl up with a steaming mug and a book that gives us a feast for thought. We’ve got four great books that are brimming with insight, humor and fresh ideas. Check out the grades next to each book to see how we rank our selections in this new column for nonfiction books called Smart Reads. The Road to Character by David Brooks (Random House, April 2015) “[The Road to Character is] a hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story. . . . In the age of the selfie, Brooks wishes to exhort us back to…

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