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Archives - December 2014

Who actually reads THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY anymore, much less as a measles-ridden 10-year-old? Kim Wright, that's who! Though, as she tells us in her Holiday Author Blog post, little Kim didn't have much of a choice in the matter. She was itchy, sore and desperate for entertainment, turning begrudgingly to her aunt's Homeric Christmas gift. Luckily, the difficult reading proved worthwhile --- Kim has grown up seeing the epic underpinnings in so many stories, including her own novels, LOVE IN MID AIR and THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ (the latter of which will be available in paperback on December 30th).
Although Walter Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins mystery series --- the latest, ROSE GOLD, has Easy facing off against a revolutionary ex-boxer --- he has written books in pretty much every genre in between, from science fiction to nonfiction. His versatility is astounding, so it comes as no surprise that his love of storytelling was cultivated at a young age, when he received what seemed like a lifetime supply of clothbound volumes of fairy tales for Christmas.  
December 24, 2014

Priya Parmar: A Christmas Memory

Posted by emily
Priya Parmar’s latest novel, VANESSA AND HER SISTER, is already topping the 2015 recommended reading lists. Set in the exhilarating days of prewar London, it tells the extraordinary tale of two gifted artists: Vanessa Bell and her sister, Virginia Woolf. But literary pursuits did not always come easy to Priya; as a young girl, she struggled to read. Here, she recounts the panic she felt each Christmas when she was presented with new books, as well as the wondrous relief at finally learning the notes.  
Charles Blackstone, managing editor of Bookslut, is known for his experimental and avant-garde fiction. His most recent work, VINTAGE ATTRACTION, is the semi-autobiographical story of academia, celebrity and fine wine culture. Though Charles is now a respected figure in the literary world, he is not ashamed to admit that he was not much of a reader before the age of 15. It was at this time that he discovered Bret Easton Ellis' THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, a novel that gave Charles just the push he the guts to pursue his own "vintage attraction."  
Aline Ohanesian’s great-grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and her history inspired Aline’s first novel, ORHAN'S INHERITANCE. It’s a tale that moves back and forth in time --- between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s --- of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience and the hidden stories that can haunt a family for generations. Here, Aline recalls her mixed feelings about her family’s decidedly un-American holiday traditions, and how a gift from a polite Midwestern interloper, of all people, sparked her love of books.  
New York Times bestselling author Michael Spradlin is a master of adventure stories, with fan-favorites that include the Killer Species series and the Youngest Templar trilogy. His upcoming middle-grade novel, INTO THE KILLING SEAS, is about two boys who stow away on the U.S.S. Indianapolis during World War II, and will be in stores July 2015. Though his talent is clearly far from ordinary, Michael maintains that he had a mostly normal childhood, full of G.I. Joes and Matchbox cars. Still, his mother's love of books made an impact early on --- with a little help from Santa.   
Carine McCandless --- beloved sister of literary icon Chris McCandless, whose life story captured the hearts of millions of people around the world --- played a vital role in the success of INTO THE WILD, the internationally bestselling book written by Jon Krakauer. THE WILD TRUTH is her deeply personal account of the events that led up to Chris’ departure and her own search for redemption in its aftermath. Here, Carine shares another touching story of a bond between siblings, a magical Christmas past, and a classic children’s story whose sweetness long outlasted the Grinch.
Not only is Brenda Novak a bestselling, award-winning author, she’s also a first-rate fundraiser. Her latest book, THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS, is the seventh in her popular Whiskey Creek series and brings us back to the small Gold Country town just in time for some Christmas magic. In her Holiday Author Blog, Brenda shares a lesson she learned from her son when he was only six years old: Magic can be anywhere, so long as we choose to see it.  
Caroline L. Arnold has been a technology leader on Wall Street for more than a decade, leading software development teams as large as 500 technologists. It’s a good thing, then, that she knows a thing or two about goal-oriented behavior. Her book SMALL MOVE, BIG CHANGE is all about how creating and sticking to “microresolutions” are the key to personal success. Here, Caroline talks about the book that changed her entire perception of cause and effect --- and the way history is driven by the actions of individuals, not impersonal, abstract forces. It’s a timely lesson we could all bear to learn as the new year fast approaches!
Debut author Scott Cheshire boasts an impressive resume. In addition to his job as interview editor at the Tottenville Review, he teaches writing at the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, and his work has been published in Slice, AGNI, Guernica and the Picador anthology THE BOOK OF MEN. HIGH AS THE HORSES' BRIDLES is his vivid first novel about a father and son divided by a dangerous prophecy. It was published just this summer, and here Scott describes another first: the first time he celebrated Christmas at the not-so-tender age of 32.