2014 National Book Festival Photo Recap

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Happy Labor Day to my U.S. readers! It’s a holiday for me so I’m going to hang out with the kids and hopefully do some reading. Here’s some photos from this weekend’s National Book Festival. I’ll write a more in depth recap later this week.

Thien-Kim with Lisa See

I met Lisa See, who spoke about her family history and being constantly asked why she felt compelled to write stories about Chinese and Chinese American women. Her grandfather is Chinese–she wrote about her family’s history in On Gold Mountain. She also shared her research on her latest bestseller China Dolls.

Lisa See is funny and very articulate. You should follow her on Twitter! I had fun chatting with her there.

Past Programs from National Book Festival

I had the opportunity to attend the National Book Festival Gala at the Library of Congress as a guest of PBS Kids (I’m a blogger ambassador for them over at I’m Not the Nanny.) I love this display of programs of past book festivals.

Harry Potter Peeps Diorama

I can’t remember who had the Peeps table, but my kids got a kick out of the quidditch match from Harry Peeper (get it? Harry Potter?).

My daughter (and dad) waited over an hour to meet Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series, and to get her book signed. I was really impressed that she actually waited! She also asked Dav Pilkey when the next Captain Underpants book would be out. The answer is: next year.

Did you make it to the National Book Festival?

Feed Your Reader: 29 August 2014

Feed Your Reader at From Left to Write


It’s the start of a 3-day weekend in the States. It’s also the unofficial last weekend of the summer. So I’ve put together our final summer feed your reader list for you. I’m dreaming of books and beaches, but I’ll be at the National Book Festival tomorrow, which is just as good.

I hope you’ll forgive me for featuring a book you can only pre-order, but I want you to pre-order it and clear your calendar when it arrives. I’ve been reading Station Eleven by Emily St. Mandel for the last two days. I’d have finished the novel already if I didn’t have work and my family to take care of. Love, love, love it. I have a hundred pages left and they will go fast. I want to savor the rest of the pages AND finish the novel at the same time.

Set fifteen years after the world collapses from a vicious flu, novel follows a traveling orchestra and Shakespeare troupe. They travel the remnants of the Midwest to perform King Lear and A Midsummer’s Night Dream in abandoned Walmart parking lots.  Some people in the troupe remember what life was like with electricity, airplanes and the internet while the younger ones only hold vague impressions of an ice-cold refrigerator with a light inside. Interspersed with memories of life “before,” Station Eleven is not about a post-apocalyptic world, but more of testimony our society’s desire to survive–Shakespeare and all. On sale September 9, 2014


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was one of my Book Expo America picks. It was released earlier this week–which means I should dig out my galley. I almost forgot!

Set in 17th century, the novel centers around 18-year-old Nella who just arrived in Amsterdam to live with her new husband. Her home is unwelcoming and her husband Johannes works long hours. However, his wedding gift to her is a cabinet sized replica of their home. Nella hires a miniaturist to furnish the replica. Somehow those tiny replicas start to mirror their real-life version in eerie ways. Or is it the other way around? On sale now.

Looking for something a little lighter? Grab a copy of Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Annie, an out of work actress, arrives on an isolated island off the coast of Maine in the middle of a snowstorm.  She is broke and has resorted to staging children’s puppet shows to earn a living. She ends up running into a reclusive horror writer who betrayed her horribly as a teenager. But they’re trapped together in a snowstorm–can they make amends? On sale now.

The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan is based on a true story behind a controversial World War I memorial at Harvard University. Harvard-Radcliffe student Helen is from a prestigious Boston family when she meets Germanpoet Wils Brandl. The two quietly fall in love on the intellectual campus of Harvard. The impending world war makes it harder for Wils to stay in America and soon he’s called to fight–for Germany. Helen must decide what side to take: her country or her love. On sale now.

If you’re looking for a fun beach read, grab a copy of The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. From Left to Write book club members read it earlier this year. We loved it. It’s a great read with fun characters. Right now the Kindle version is on sale for $3.99! You don’t need a Kindle to read it–just download the app to your smartphone or tablet or read it on your computer. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

What are you reading this weekend?

Book Club Discussion: 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas

2AM at Cat's Pajamas FL2W Book Club Banner

After a slightly relaxed summer, we’ve jumped right back in our book club reading. This month we’re discussing  2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajama by Marie-Helene Bertino, a novel about the seemingly unconnected lives in a small Philadelphia neighborhood. Thanks to the The Cat’s Pajamas jazz club, the characters discover how music intertwines their lives and those around […]

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What’s On Your Nightstand: Sonya Cobb

Sonya Cobb (photo credit Pier Nicola D'Amico)

Today we’re visiting Sonya Cobb’s nightstand. Her debut book  The Objects of Her Affection was on last week’s Feed Your Reader and for a good reason. The novel brings readers behind the scenes at an art museum from the eyes of Sophie, who’s really good at stealing paintings. So what does Sonya Cobb read when she’s not writing […]

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2014 National Book Festival Is Almost Here!

2014 National Book Festival Poster

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is this Saturday, August 30. I’ve had a wee bit of a book festival withdrawal since Book Expo America in May. While BEA isn’t a book festival, it has a similar vibe. Who doesn’t love being surrounded by thousands of people who love books? With the festival in […]

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Feed Your Reader Friday: 22 August 2014

Feed Your Reader at From Left to Write

  I’ve put myself on a digital book buying hiatus. Did I just say that? Who am I kidding? I have several ebooks I want to read so I can clear some room on my virtual shelf for all the new fall releases. Take a look at what’s on my reader for the rest of […]

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