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  2. Is there a more classic story than man vs. nature? I think we all know how much fun a good survival story can be. It awakens our most basic instincts as human beings, as animals. Watching a character fight for their life against the terrifying vicissitudes of an inhospitable wilderness will get anyone's empathy-neurons firing. But only if done well. I don't know about you, but I've plodded through enough snooze-fest survivalist yarns to be suspicious of the genre. One can't just plant a dude in the wild and watch him survive. A writer can pour all the blood, guts, lions, and qu
  3. Today
  4. I know my first novel sucked. I'll listen to this some more and add something more intelligent later. Thanks for the invite, you guys! Cool place here.
  5. Yesterday
  6. Hello Michael, My answers to these prompts are below. If any ought to be reformed, please just let me know. Thank you. FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement. Evelyn seeks to defy the leader of a group of zealots and gain the power to save those she loves. SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, and the ways they react to the world about them. To be joined with a magical aspect is the goal of every citizen in this story. When Evelyn fails to do so, she
  7. Stabby, a stout, churlish, teal-colored unicorn, stars in this collection of stand-alone cartoons, paneled strips, reimagined tarot cards, and funny re-imaginings of iconic images, such as Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring featuring Stabby with a bloody horn and an eye dangling from his ear. Starting with the “Stabginnings” and a darker rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” the tone is set as readers see Stabby through a series of job fails such as balloon seller ruining the merchandise or team-building coach whose horn proves deathly in trust falls. A dejected looking Stabby walks
  8. Change isn’t easy, especially for a young girl named Lily who must move—without parents—from the city across Iowa to Gram’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The reason for Lily’s move is not explained, but all her things are packed in Gram’s car for the daylong journey. When Gram first suggests finding “ten beautiful things along the way,” Lily sees “nothing beautiful.” But soon Lily gasps at the “very moment…the sun [breaks] over the long horizon.” Beautiful thing No. 1. Lechuga’s emotion-laden cameos of Lily in the back seat capture the child’s grief and anxiety, described as “complaints
  9. The title of Lambert’s novel is ironic: The prodigal son returning to the fold here is Jeremy Eldritch, a middle-aged gay British expat living in Paris who writes “soft-core romantic porn” under a nom de plume and who has recently ended a complicated love affair with a Parisian man. When Jeremy’s older sister, Rachel, calls to tell him their father, their sole remaining parent, is dying, Jeremy reluctantly returns to the family home in England. There, he must deal with Rachel’s contempt for his life in France and with the unexpected presence of two South Asian caretakers overseeing his father’
  10. When a local sheriff investigates the illegal activity of relic hunters in an abandoned, middle-of-nowhere New Mexico gold-mining town called High Lonesome, he discovers a mummified corpse and a fabulous cross of gold. The discovery is on federal land, so the FBI gets involved. Special Agent Corrie Swanson would have liked a juicier assignment than checking out some old bones in the high desert, but she has a degree in forensic anthropology, and she’s a rookie. She persuades a reluctant Dr. Nora Kelly, senior curator at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, to help puzzle out what happened to
  11. Friedman recaps his 44-year career as a neurosurgeon, including a long tenure as the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Florida, in loose, episodic chapters full of reminiscences, medical lore, case studies, policy briefs, and philosophical musings. Among the grab bag are his recollections of confusion, anxiety, and sleep deprivation as a resident; detailed descriptions of surgical procedures; a poignant elegy on his mother’s decline and death from a brain tumor; explanations of his groundbreaking research into using electrical monitoring of neural activity to guid
  12. The text is written in the second person, with accompanying illustrations depicting the speaker as a small child addressing a new baby: “Welcome to Earth. There’s a lot of strange stuff going on out there, but here are some of the things I’ve worked out so far.” The voice comes across as that of an adult, however, or perhaps like an adult’s impression of a precocious child. While that tone detracts from the picture book’s overall success, the sentiments are true, and the art eminently engaging. Realistic, black-and-white pencil drawings of the children (who have pale skin) contrast with vivid,
  13. Pheby Delores Brown, the novel’s narrator, was born on a Virginia plantation to its owner, Jacob Bell, and Ruth, one of the women enslaved there. As a child, Pheby was sheltered from much of the harshness of slavery, even taught to play the piano and to read, although the latter is against the law. Pheby is almost 18—the age at which Jacob has promised to free her—when the book opens in 1850. But Jacob has married a younger wife, Delphina, who resents Ruth and Pheby bitterly. When Jacob takes Ruth on a trip, Delphina sells Pheby to a slave trader. Roped into a coffle with dozens of other ensla
  14. Top Parker may have the poisoned gift, but he’s still only 14 in 1969—much too young to be sneaking around the Starlite Club with his cousin Pepper, her Choctaw boyfriend, Mark, Curtis Parker, and Curtis' girlfriend, Sheila Cunningham, while R.B. Parker, another cousin, is rolling the bones inside. In R.B.’s hands, the dice are red-hot, but his lucky streak doesn’t last long enough to get him through the night: He ends up in a creek in his wrecked ’47 Chevy pickup—drowned, according to county coroner Tony Roth. The suspicions of Top’s grandfather Constable Ned Parker and Top’s uncle, Lamar Co
  15. When Mia’s parents get divorced, she feels angry and sad about splitting her time between them. She misses doing things with her mom and cat when she is with her dad and misses doing things with her dad and dog when she is with her mom. Her grandfather gives her a notebook, showing her the ones he’s filled, and explains to her that keeping a journal can be a wonderful coping mechanism; it allows you to revisit your feelings and memories as much as you’d like. As Mia writes in her notebook, her anger and sadness dissipate—but don’t disappear entirely—and she learns how to manage both of her new
  16. The renovations to seaside Maine’s Oyster Cove Guesthouse hit a bump when the two resident cats, Nero and Marlowe, start wailing something terrible. Josie Waters is sure the cats can't have found another body: She hasn’t even served her guests breakfast. But when carpenter Ed O’Hara calls her to the wall demolition, sure enough, there’s a skeleton inside. Her background training as a medical examiner tells Josie that the skeleton is very, very old and nothing to be afraid of, unless of course it affects her business. Suddenly the town is abuzz with rumors that the skeleton is that of town patr
  17. Kate is thrilled that Bubbie is taking her and her little brother, Nate, to British Columbia’s Granville Island Public Market to shop for Rosh Hashanah—especially since Bubbie has a surprise! But when Bubbie’s surprise turns out to be her new scooter, Kate is disappointed. She misses “the Bubbie she used to have. That Bubbie danced and took them to climate marches.” But as they navigate the crowded market, the scooter with its tooting horn proves handy, enabling Bubbie to carry heavy groceries and comfort a fussy Nate. Bubbie can even fly a kite in the park, where a girl using a manual wheelch
  18. Born in East Baltimore somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, little William Webb suffered from spinal tuberculosis, a condition that was exacerbated when he experienced a fall. After an operation, his doctor recommended the family get him a drum set as a means of physical therapy. As that was financially out of reach, William used spoons and pots and pans, eventually buying himself a set of drumsticks and then a full drum kit from his newsboy income. He walked with a hunch and never grew taller than 4-foot-1, but that didn’t stop him from drumming. Punctuating her account with ample o
  19. Goldman explores the lives and works of modern Jewish scientists, artists, composers, and writers, putting them in the context of the war, persecution, and migration to America, which shaped their lives and the larger Western culture in which they were rooted. She probes Einstein’s love of Mozart’s music; the kvetching vigor of the Hebrews as they journey out of Egypt in the book of Exodus; the restless, questioning mindset of Jewish scientists who helped develop the atom bomb; the love-hate relationship of painters Marc Chagall and Mark Rothko with the soulful yet blighted Russian homeland th
  20. “Our most economically distressed neighbors pay too much to keep their households afloat, and they have been willfully ignored as others move into the clean energy future.” So writes Baker, who gained experience early in her legal career in energy project finance. Along the way, she learned that energy development favors those with political and economic power while even “clean” energy projects are often undertaken at the expense of the less powerful: the people of a small town in southern Mexico, for example, who were being displaced by a wind farm. Baker insists on a course that incorporates
  21. It’s inarguable that humankind faces overwhelming challenges, from Covid-19 to climate change, that seemingly resist solutions. Schuller, a winner of the Margaret Mead Award and the Anthropology in Media Award, deconstructs several problem areas that look a little different when seen through a different lens. For instance, he counsels the development of “radical empathy,” which demands that we see the other as being something other than an enemy or someone to loathe or fear. The author argues that “we are all queer to someone else” and “that it might just be our way of life that is strange, th
  22. It’s two years after the American Revolution of 1817, and Kip, the first nonhuman sorcerer, has founded a college for sorcery in East Georgia. Money is tight, however, and Kip and his colleagues don’t know if they’ll be able to keep the school open. Kip is one of the Calatians—a historically marginalized group of humanlike animals—and his school serves the local Calatian community. He suspects that some humans in the newly formed American government would be happy if the school failed. Along with his partner, Alice, and his friends Emily Carswell and Malcolm O’Brien, Kip sets off for the Inter
  23. Before heading the FBI, Comey was a U.S. attorney, a defense attorney in private practice, and a federal prosecutor. Much of this book, a fairly unremarkable follow-up to A Higher Loyalty (2018), centers on the juicier cases he pursued. In pre–9/11 New York, he took a special interest in the Mafia, going after members of the Gambino family. Of Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, Comey writes, “The guy may have killed nineteen people and devoted his life to a savage criminal organization, but…Gravano’s guilty plea and cooperation meant the feds were finally going to get [John] Gotti.” The cops-
  24. Though Saunders is known mainly as an inventive, award-winning writer—of novels, short stories, cultural criticism—he has also taught creative writing at Syracuse since 1997. “Some of the best moments of my life…have been spent teaching that Russian class,” he writes. This is the book version of that class, illuminating seven stories by the masters: three by Chekhov, two by Tolstoy, and one each by Turgenev and Gogol. All stories are included in full, and readers need not be familiar with Russian literature to find this plan richly rewarding. Opening with Chekhov’s “The Cart,” Saunders shows j
  25. Despite his status as the family’s renegade, suave Sydney artist Rowland Sinclair is tapped by his starchy elder brother, Wilfred, to go to Shanghai to handle international wool negotiations for Sinclair Holdings. Intrigued by the city’s vibrancy and turmoil, Rowland’s friends—poet Milton Isaacs, artist Clyde Watson Jones, and sculptress and model Edna Higgins—accompany him and take up residence in the posh Cathay Hotel. Gentill opens each chapter with a short news item from the time, adding welcome context to the story by describing the dangerous encroachment of Japan, the threat of Communism
  26. As longtime journalist at the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee, Morain brings deep familiarity with California politics to an admiring, yet balanced, biography of Harris (b. 1964). As has become well known, Harris is the biracial daughter of immigrants: Her Indian mother became a breast cancer researcher; her Jamaican father was a respected economist. The author traces Harris’ career in California, from Alameda County deputy district attorney to U.S. senator to vice president–elect. From the first, Morain writes, she exhibited traits that he calls “Kamala’s way”—“energetic, willing to take
  27. Last week
  28. Name: Mikaela Kemsley Novel: Gods of the Fallen Genre and Comparables: Gods of the Fallen is a young adult fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Katy Rose Pool’s There Will Come a Darkness and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. Hook line: After being abducted and abused by a bloodthirsty theocracy, a young woman escapes into the arctic, where she awakens a newfound, dangerous magic in a tribe of outcasts to defend herself, her best friend, and her people. Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Alora has spent her life trapped in a seminary, studying to become a Diviner for the C
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