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Book Review: THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow

Book Review: THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow

September 16, 2014 – 10:39 pm | One Comment

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Charlotte Alton may seem like a well-bred London socialite, but her alter ego, Karla, operates in the shadows, gathering information that …

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Book Giveaway: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

September 8, 2014 – 8:43 pm | 7 Comments

If you’re a big reader and frequent a lot of bookish sites, you may not have been able to avoid hearing about one of the buzziest books this year—Matthew Thomas’s debut novel, We Are Not Ourselves. The author supposedly received a huge advance and the book has garnered raves from many publications, including The New York Times and Publishers Weekly.

And now you have a chance to win a hardcover copy here.

First, the official description:

we are not ourselvesBorn in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.

Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.

Epic in scope, heroic in character, masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction.

To enter, leave a comment answering this question: What does your version of the American Dream look like?

Giveaway ends next Tuesday, September 16, 9 p.m. PST. US addresses only, please, per the publisher’s request. Winner will be randomly selected and have 48 hours after notification to claim prize before an alternate winner is chosen. Good luck!

Movie Review: THE GIVER

August 14, 2014 – 8:38 pm |
Movie Review: THE GIVER

The Giver, adapted from Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel, opens in black and white, with best friends Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush), and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) living in a dystopian community free of strife. Every …

Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

July 16, 2014 – 7:55 pm | 4 Comments
Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) examines the different shapes of families and the widening gap between rich people and those who …

Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

July 13, 2014 – 8:31 pm |
Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

TV writer Georgie McCool finally gets a shot at writing her dream show. The problem: She needs to stay in L.A. and work on it over Christmas. Georgie’s husband Neal decides to take their young …

Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

July 7, 2014 – 9:57 pm | 11 Comments
Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

On the July Nerdy Special List posted last week, one of the recommendations was Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life, the finale to her Book of Souls trilogy. I now have a giveaway of that book (out July 15), …

Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

June 30, 2014 – 6:00 pm | 9 Comments
Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

The good people at Simon & Schuster are letting me give away two copies of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Wayfaring Stranger, which comes out July 15. Here’s the book description from the author’s website:
From …

Book Review: MAMBO IN CHINATOWN by Jean Kwok

June 22, 2014 – 4:56 pm | 2 Comments
Book Review: MAMBO IN CHINATOWN by Jean Kwok

In Jean Kwok’s follow-up to Girl in Translation, twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong starts out as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Chinatown, where her father is a noodle maker. She has an eleven-year-old sister, Lisa, and …

Book Review: THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD by Michael Koryta

June 12, 2014 – 7:23 pm |
Book Review: THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD by Michael Koryta

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
At the start of Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, 13-year-old Jace Wilson tries to conquer his fear of heights by …

Book Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

June 9, 2014 – 9:55 pm |
Book Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Like her previous historical novels (Overseas and A Hundred Summers), Beatriz Williams’s The Secret Life of Violet Grant alternates between time …

Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

June 7, 2014 – 12:21 am | 3 Comments
Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

Movie-studio execs must’ve thought releasing a sad teenage romance and a big sci-fi action thriller on the same weekend meant they were targeting different audiences, but I don’t belong to any one group so I …

Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

June 5, 2014 – 7:11 pm | 7 Comments
Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

When Penguin Books acquired US rights to Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair last year, it announced the book was the publisher’s biggest acquisition in history.
Why so much money for a debut …

Nerdy Special List June 2014

June 4, 2014 – 10:34 pm | 5 Comments
Nerdy Special List June 2014

How can it be June already? This year is flying by so fast, I can almost hear Christmas music.
But before we get there, we still have summer and summer books. Jen of Jen’s Book Thoughts …

Book Review: CLOSED DOORS by Lisa O’Donnell

June 1, 2014 – 5:33 pm | One Comment
Book Review: CLOSED DOORS by Lisa O’Donnell

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission. 
Lisa O’Donnell follows up her award-winning The Death of Bees with Closed Doors, another novel featuring a young narrator. Michael Murray, age 11, lives …

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