Review: The Novel Cure + Giveaway

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud & Suan Elderkin

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud & Suan Elderkin

Books are the cure for almost anything that ails us. Need to escape the stress of everyday life? Pick up a romance book or a thriller. Need a good cry? Pick up a drama.

What if you have an ailment and unsure of the literary cure? Reach for The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin! The authors call this process bibliotherapy, the prescribing of fiction for life’s ailments. 

It’s the WebMD for book lovers. Unlike WebMD or Dr. Google, you won’t have to worry you’ve got some incurable disease.

Alphabetized by illness (or mood), the apothecary is the perfect reference guide when you’re unsure what to read next.

For example, if you’re suffering from Failure to Seize the Day, you should pick up a copy of A Month in the Country by JL Carr or The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

Got a Hangover? You’ll want to read The LIttle White Car by Danuta de Rhodes.

Reading Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is sure to heal a Broken Spirit.

If you have a book lover on your list and unsure what to get them, then put a copy of The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You under the tree! What book lover won’t love a book about books? The paperback version releases on December 30, but the hardcover is currently available.

GIVEAWAY: Thanks to Penguin Press, I have TWO copies to giveaway to two lucky readers. Enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below. (US addresses only)

Have you entered our giveaway for Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands? It ends soon!

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Review: Everything I Never Told You

You might have seen Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You on many best books of 2014 lists. There’s a reason for it. It’s damned good. In fact, I’m adding it to my list of top books read in 2014 (coming soon).

I received a copy of Everything I Never Told You as part of the Ford Audiobook Club on Goodreads (it’s free to join!), but about 30 minutes in, I knew I needed to actually see and read the words. I have a habit of drifting off during audiobooks and didn’t want to miss a single world of Ng’s book. Here’s how the book opens:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

Whoa, right?

Set in the 1970s in a small Ohio town, the novel revolves around an interracial Chinese-Caucasian family, a rare combination for not just the small town, but for the 1970s. Lydia is her parents’ favorite, quite possibly because of her long jet black hair and the blue eyes. Blue eyes she inherited from her mother. Marilyn, who was never able to accomplish her dream of becoming a doctor, is determined to turn Lydia into one. She’s so determined in fact, that Marilyn almost ignores her other two children, Nathan and Hannah. James, who was ostracized as a child for being Chinese American, only wishes for his children to fit in and belong.

Lydia was the family’s nucleus, but with a death, everyone’s orbit is disrupted. The Lee family quickly tumbles into chaos. As each person attempts to deal with their grief, we discover each person’s secrets. They can no longer play the role they’ve been assigned. Underneath the happy family facade are dreams deferred. And the loneliness that emcompasses each of them. Will the Lee family learn to survive without Lydia or will their secrets destroy their bond?

This novel is incredibly multilayered. The pacing is perfect as each layer is peeled back to reveal the characters’ pasts and their secrets. Each character felt so real and alive in my head as I read the novel. My heart ached for Marilyn and how lost she felt when Lydia died. Marilyn had lost her only purpose in life-to keep Lydia from becoming a homemaker like she was.

What first drew me into Ng’s novel is that it’s about a biracial family. As the mother of biracial children, I want to see more depictions of families similar to mine in the books I read. Ng didn’t glamourize or dramatize interracial families. She depicted them as an American family who struggled with their pasts and their desires while trying to achieve the American dream.

I highly recommend Everything I Never Told Youeither in print or audiobook. It’s perfect for your book club. You won’t run out of topics to discuss in this book.

Have you read this novel yet? What did you think of it?



Review: Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands + Giveaway

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands Review

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands Review

Armchair adventurers, you want this book.

Unassuming at first glance, the Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will by Judith Schalansky is a delight to read. As I read it, I imagine myself as a cranky, old lady recounting tales of gorgeous islands that no one should ever step foot on.

Schalansky’s atlas illustrates islands as far north as Bear Island (Norway) and south as Deception Island (Antarctica), but what brings the islands to live are its histories. Each tiny continent (as she refers to them) possess tales of rare animals and lost explorers. Stories of scientists and castaways.

Make sure you don’t skip right to the maps, but dive into the Preface, titled “Paradise Is An Island. So Is Hell.”  As child trapped in her world by the Berlin Wall, the only traveling she able to do was via her fingers in her atlas. Thus began her love affair with maps, topography and, of course, islands.

Paradise is an island from Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands Review

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands would make a terrific gift for anyone who wishes to travel to exotic places without the facing the dangers of remote tropical (or frozen) islands. It’s small size makes it ideal as a stocking stuffer.

Giveaway: Win 1 of 2 copies of Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. If you’re reading this via email, just click through to the website! (U.S. addresses only, no PO Boxes)

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Book Club Discussion: The Mill River Redemption

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Those of us who have brothers or sisters have experienced the joys of sibling rivalry, but the sisters in our December book club selection  The Mill River Redemption haven’t spoken to each other in years. Today From Left to Write members are discussing Darcie Chan’s novel set in charming Mill River:

Did you read The Mill River RedemptionShare your thoughts in the comments below. We’re hosting a Q&A with Darcie Chan next week. Submit your question and it must just end up in our Q&A!

Make sure you enter to win a copy of The Mill River Redemption. Giveaway ends tomorrow! The novel and its The New York Times bestseller companion The Mill River Recluse make a terrific holiday gift!

Learn more about Darcie at her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

December Book Club: The Mill River Redemption + Giveaway

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Mill River Redemption Book Club FL2W

Since we coming upon a 4-day weekend for our Thanksgiving holiday, why not get a jumpstart on December? Our December book club selection is the perfect for curling up on the couch with a hot cup of chocolate or tea. From Left to Write book club members are reading The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan.

I think you’ll be charmed by the residents at Mill River, just like I was. Meet Josie and her daughters:

Josie DiSanti is starting over. Recently widowed, she has fled her New York City home with her two young daughters—spirited Rose and shy Emily—in tow. She takes refuge in Mill River, Vermont, to live with her only remaining relative, Ivy Collard, the local bookstore owner and a woman Josie barely knows. There, the young mother and her girls build a new life for themselves—until a shocking tragedy tears the sisters apart.

Years later, Josie’s still-estranged daughters return to the quiet town for the reading of their mother’s will, which stipulates that they must work together to locate a hidden key to a safe-deposit box containing their inheritance. Even from the great beyond, it seems Josie will do anything to bring about her daughters’ reconciliation. Having no choice but to go along with their mother’s final wishes, Rose and Emily move back to Mill River for the summer to begin the search—discovering that, in the close-knit community known for magic and miracles, an even greater treasure awaits them.

After you read The Mill River Redemption, make sure you read more about how Mill River began in The New York Times bestseller The Mill River RecluseWe’ll be back in a few weeks with a Q&A with Darcie. In the meantime, pick up your copy of The Mill River Redemption and join From Left to Write members on December 2 to discuss the novel.

The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

More about the author: Darcie Chan is the author of The Mill River Recluse, a debut novel that became a word-of-mouth e-book sensation. With nearly 700,000 copies sold, The Mill River Recluse appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists for 30 weeks and became a heartwarming favorite of readers across the country.

Darcie was born in Wisconsin and grew up in the small towns of Brandon, Wisconsin, La Junta and Cheraw, Colorado, and Paoli, Indiana. Thanks to loving and supportive parents who are both educators, she learned to read and write at an early age. She has two younger sisters, with whom she is very close. 
Currently, Darcie lives just north of New York City with her husband and son. 

Learn more about Darcie at her website. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Giveaway: One lucky reader will win a copy of The Mill River RedemptionEnter using the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. addresses only). If you’re reading this in your email, click through to enter the giveaway!

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Book Club Discussion: J by Howard Jacobson

J Howard Jacobson Book Club Banner FL2W

J Howard Jacobson Book Club Banner FL2W
Today we’re discussing our second November book club selection J by Howard Jacobson. This multi-layered dystopian novel is set in the near future in a world that has been rocked by something apocalyptic that is only referred to as “WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED.” Both slow to trust others, Ailinn and Kevern seemed to have found each other in their greatest hour of need.

What do From Left to Write members have to say about this Booker Man Prize finalist? Head over to their sites to read our book club discussion of by Howard Jacobson:

If you haven’t read yet, check out an excerpt.

Have you read any of Howard Jacobson’s other works?