For all the happy campers . . .
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"I Loved Every Minute I Spent Reading
Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade"

Heather Abel's novel, The Optimistic Decade, captures a place (a summer camp in Colorado) and a time (the 1990s) with insight, wisdom, and humor. And it has captured the attention and affection of readers and reviewers, who are loving this big and bold, thoughtful and delightful debut.

● "A perceptive writer whose astute observations keep the book funny and light even under the weight of its Big Ideas." —The New York Times

● "I loved every minute I spent reading Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade, a sharply rendered portrait of the United States in 1990 . . . An exuberant and nonjudgmental examination of the unique conflicts of the era." —Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed Books Editor

● "Funny and ruefully astute." —People

● "A fresh and savvy first novel." —

Click here to start reading The Optimistic Decade>>

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For All the Happy Campers (and all the not-a-campers, too)

With the back-to-the-land, utopia-aspiring camp Llamalo being so central to The Optimistic Decade, Heather Abel also has written a couple of wonderful essays about her own camp experiences, including an encounter with Jane Fonda that helped her learn to forget and an encounter with a rattlesnake that helped her learn to lie/become a novelist.
Here's a photo of Heather with Jane Fonda. Heather's the one in the blue headband in the center. Jane is the one in the back who is, you know, Jane Fonda.
A 19th-Century Horror Story Was Unfolding. . .

Damnation Island by Stacy Horn: In the 19th century, New York City's Blackwell's Island was conceived as the most modern and humane way to handle the poor, sick, and criminal. Instead, it was like something out of a Dickens novel.

In fact, Charles Dickens himself once visited this site of a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals and called it “a lounging, listless madhouse.”

Stacy Horn pored over city records, newspaper articles, and archival reports to bring this stunning, largely forgotten tale to new life. If you're a fan of Erik Larson—or the second season of the TV show American Horror Story—you'll be riveted by this book.

Click here for more about Damnation Island>>

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The Story of a Crime

Love and Death in the Sunshine State by Cutter Wood: Nine years ago, when then-grad-student Cutter Wood learned that the owner of a Florida motel where he had stayed was missing, he found himself drawn into her case—to say the least. "The story had infected me to the core. It was like it had rewritten my code," Cutter told CrimeReads.

Three men were named persons of interest in Sabine Musil-Buehler's case:
her husband, her boyfriend, and the man who stole her car. Then her motel was set on fire, her boyfriend fled the county, and detectives began digging on the beach.

Driven by his own need to understand how a relationship could spin out in such a fatal fashion, Cutter carries the investigation beyond the facts of the case (and his endless hours of jailhouse interviews with Sabine's boyfriend, Bill) and into his own life. The result is Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime, a story of misguided love, writerly naiveté, and the dark and often humorous conflicts at the heart of every relationship.

You will find yourself drawn into this "fascinating exploration of love and loss, told amid swaying palm trees and seedy motels," as Entertainment Weekly put it.

Click here to start reading Love and Death in the Sunshine State>>

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"I Love This Book, and for It, I Love Silas House"

That's what Dorothy Allison, the wonderful author of Bastard Out of Carolina, had to say about Southernmost, the novel coming June 5 from Silas House. And she is not alone in her praise for this stunning novel about the limits of belief and the infinite ways to love. Here are just a few of the raves:

● "He is that rare stylist on whose descriptions— incantations, really—one wishes to linger . . . As with Jesmyn Ward’s recent Sing Unburied Sing, what begins as a domestic drama soon veers, unexpectedly, into a road novel . . . It’s a white-knuckle morality play . . . At its heart, though, Southernmost is a novel about interior landscapes—the knot of fears, convictions, beliefs, regrets, and love tangled within us all." –Jonathan Miles, Garden & Gun

● "This beautifully crafted novel brims with a spirit of hopeful humanity." —Charles Frazier

● "A treasure." —Adriana Trigiani

"Southernmost holds a special meaning for America right now, with relevance even beyond its memorable story."
Lee Smith

Read a preview of Southernmost>>
The weather is warming up and that means it's paperback season. We've got a bevy of new award-winning, page-turning modern classics for you.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This is the exquisite debut novel by the literary superstar and bestselling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists. From her family's privileged, tyrannical home in Enugu, Nigeria, to her relatives' vibrant, cultured life in the country, fifteen-year-old Kambili navigates the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom. 
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin: The bestselling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry captures the tenor of the #MeToo movement in a novel that’s smart, political, empowering, and most of all, entertaining.

This takedown of slut-shaming and our society's double standards arrives in a book the Chicago Tribune hailed as "brilliant and hilarious . . . It has a heart. And a spine. It’s exactly . . . what we need more of right now."

The Leavers by Lisa Ko: The literary world has embraced this National Book Award finalist. Ann Patchett calls this award-winning debut “required reading . . . essential for our times,” and Barbara Kingsolver hailed it as “courageous.” Told in the voices of Deming and his mother, Polly, and set in New York and China, this is a powerful and moving novel of borders, exile, and belonging that “defies expectations,” as the New York Times said.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones: From the New York Times bestselling author of An American Marriage comes this breathtaking story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s.

"Tayari Jones has written a novel filled with characters I’ll never forget. This is a book I’ll read more than once,"  Judy Blume said.

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Have You Read An American Marriage

Speaking of Tayari Jones, her New York Times bestseller and Oprah's Book Club pick, An American Marriage continues to find new fans every day. There are almost 13,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads and more than 3,000 Instagram posts about it, including this one from TV star and avid reader Debra Messing (yes, Grace!):

"I stayed up until 445am to finish this book. It's THAT good."

You don't necessarily have to stay up that late, but we do think you'll be THAT engrossed in this stunning novel about race, loyalty, and a love that endures.

Click here to start reading An American Marriage>>

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