Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on debut author Julie Summers. Julie decided to write a memoir in the hope that it will help people. She is a survivor who turned her life around and is now helping others.

 

When asked how she wanted to be introduced, she said she would like to be introduced as a “survivor of my life. A Happy survivor!”

 

My first question to you, Julie, is, how can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

You can follow my work by visiting my website, https://offmykneesthebook.com

 

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from your book?

 

I would expect readers to see a clear-eyed memoir that faces sexual abuse, drug addiction, incarceration, and the suicide of my only child.

 

 

 

What kind of research went into writing From Skid Row to Sunset Boulevard?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

 

The research was my life. I lived through every event and learned the hard lessons.

 

 

 

What was the inspiration for From Skid Row to Sunset Boulevard?

 

My inspiration came from people who knew of the books contents before it was finished. They encouraged me.

 

 

 

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out From Skid Row to Sunset Boulevard?  How did you overcome that challenge?

 

The biggest challenge was me. I had to face myself. I overcame that challenge through introspection and prayer.

 

 

 

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

 

I loved the main characters. My mother, my son, and a man named Aris Anagnos who lifted me into a world I could only dream of.  I did not hate anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]?  How did you overcome that challenge?

 

The biggest challenge was me. I had to face myself. I overcame that challenge through introspection and prayer.

 

 

 

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?

 

I loved the main characters. My mother, my son, and a man named Aris Anagnos who lifted me into a world I could only dream of.  I did not hate anyone.

 

 

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

 

My favorite part was finding out I can write!  My greatest lesson was to just do it.

 

 

 

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

 

I would encourage other writers to join local groups to share their writing. I did not do this due to Covid. I would also encourage them to join their local writing associations.

 

 

 

What question do you wish interviewers would ask you, and what would the answer be?

 

I would like interviewers to ask about those parts of the book they are interested in. My answers would follow.

 

 

 

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

 

My passion when not writing is working on solving the homeless problem in Los Angeles through the organization I am involved with-People Assisting The Homeless (PATH)

 

 

 

What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?

 

Writing related hobbies are reading other books.

 

 

 

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

 

My writing space is a nice room where I live. It has views of the surrounding trees and greenery.

 

 

 

What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?

 

I am always underestimated.

 

 

 

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

 

I did most of the writing during covid, there was no physical adventure. during writing it. 

 

 

 

While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

 

Perfect silence.

 

 

 

Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work.  Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?

 

Although I dog sit for friends’ dogs, I do not have a pet at this time.

 

 

 

What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?

 

The most challenging part is the first step. Writing.

 

 

 

Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?

 

Yes, the Writers and Publishers Network. Kathleen Kaiser, and Pedernales Publishing, Jose Ramirez

 

 

 

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer our questions, Julie. And good luck with your book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many Young Adult and Middle Grade series of books. She talks about her latest series, including her latest book, Greystone Secrets #3: The Messengers in this interview, along with talking about some of her other books and her writing in general. Young Adult and Middle Grade readers might enjoy hearing from the author of some of their favorite books. This video was first published on May 7, 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on fantasy author and poet Brandon Ying Kit Boey.

 

Brandon, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?

 

My name is Brandon Ying Kit Boey. I write speculative novels which frequently feature aspects of Asian cosmology, fantasy, and locales. I also write poetry, and my work is often described as a more literary and lyrical style.

 

 

 

Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) 

 

My website is www.BrandonYingKitBoey.com. My novel, KARMA OF THE SUN can be found at Annie’s Book Stop and all awesome booksellers!

 

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness? 

 

You can follow me and my work through Instagram: @BoeyBooks and Twitter: @BrandonYKBoey. Feel free also to sign up for updates and drop me a line at my website at http://www.BrandonYKBoey.com!

 

 

 

What kind of research went into writing this book?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

 

 I came across a lot of eastern religious texts and other sources that formed the foundation of so much of the mythos in Karma of the Sun. For example, I ended up using verses from The Lotus Sutra and the Pali Canon in the epigraphs. The Lotus Sutra is a book in the Tibetan Buddhist canon from the 1st century CE, which contains a lot of very beautiful stories and allegories about the path to enlightenment. The Pali Canon is an even older collection of texts believed to be from 29 BCE, including a sermon attributed to the Buddha about the earth’s apocalyptic fate due to seven suns that cause progressive ruin until the planet is destroyed, which of course is the backdrop of this novel.

 

 

 

What was the inspiration for KARMA OF THE SUN? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book? 

 

The story came from an initial picture I had one day of a teenage boy heading toward a hollowed-out mountain city that had grown into its shape through natural forces, sort of a primordial temple and sanctuary in an otherwise adulterated world. As I began writing the story, it reminded me of the stories of Mount Meru, Shambhala, and the real Mount Kailash. At the same time, I became more acquainted with Eastern eschatological traditions, which formed the perfect overlay and background to the story. The result was a story of the end of the world that takes place where a Tibetan would see it—a last civilization protected by the fortress walls of the Himalayas, until the end comes for them too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books? 

 

It’s kind of interesting that post-apocalyptic stories like KARMA OF THE SUN are as popular as they are. What is it that draws readers or viewers to such a dismal subject? My theory is that there is something cathartic about imagining the end, to think about what it would be like for ourselves. In a way, we will all face our own apocalypse. Are we prepared for it? In a post-apocalyptic story where you strip away the trappings of the world, what we’re left with are the things that matter the most. I think we sense that such a situation would be a refining process and we would see who we really are underneath the clutter and noise of the world. In these stories about death, we may find an epiphany about life. The trick is how we carry that revelation with us even before the end.

 

 

 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

 

For me, being a writer is about time—the ability to live in and make sense of the moment. It helps me understand and exist in harmony with change. Writing is a way of capturing something that feels so fleeting, a way of dealing the trauma of change and loss.

 

 

 

How important has the New England setting been to your writing? 

 

I love New England, and it has been an integral part of my writing. There’s something beautiful and calming and refreshing about its changing seasons. I was born in California and spent a lot of time growing up in places that were warm year-round, like Texas, Singapore, and Taiwan. They were wonderful in their own right. But for me, the changing seasons mirror a cyclicality that I feel attuned to, and it helps my creativity. Plus, what can be better for the creative psyche than an overcast New England Fall day, or a crisp, clear night at the start of winter?

 

 

 

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing? 

 

I used to be pretty particular about my physical writing space. But as a function of a busy work and family life, I’ve learned to have to write in situations that aren’t always the ideal. In my last job, I used to travel a lot, and at first it was distracting when trying to get into the right mindset, but then I found that I developed an ability to carry the story with me independent of the physical surroundings. Now my writing is more defined by time than the physical space. That’s not say that I wouldn’t love to write in a study with a library of books and a cozy fireplace.

 

 

 

While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!  

 

Great question! I’ve done both, depending on the situation. Music is such a powerful way to get into the mindset when it comes to worldbuilding. Early on in KARMA OF THE SUN, I found it helpful in establishing the mystical and stark tone of the post-apocalyptic Himalayan landscape. As the drafting progressed, however, I found it more helpful to have the music off so that I could listen to the sound of the words, which have a rhythm and music of their own.

 

 

 

Brandon, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

 

 

 

This week there are many non-fiction books being unpacked at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester (as well as some Fiction books), but I thought that the non-fiction books needed to be given a bit of a plug. Included in this week’s selection. We have several humorous books, a few biographical (or autobiographical) books, a book related to music, one related to television, and another containing incredible photography. Have fun!

 

 

 

HUMOR:

 

 

 

A HARD KICK IN THE NUTS: WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM A LIFETIME OF TERRIBLE DECISIONS by Stephen Steve-O Glover with David Peisner  

 

 

Stephen “Steve-O” Glover—social media icon, comedy-touring stalwart, and star of Jackass—delivers a hilarious and practical guide to recovery, relationships, career, and how to keep thriving long after you should be dead.

 

 

 

 

IS THERE BACON IN HEAVEN by Ali Hassan

 

 

For fans of Russell Peters, Trevor Noah, and Mark Critch comes a hilarious debut memoir about family, pursuing our passions, and figuring out who we are, by stand-up comedian and popular CBC host, Ali Hassan.

 

 

In this heartfelt and funny memoir, based on his hit stand-up comedy, Hassan shares his lifelong journey to becoming a “cultural Muslim”—learning to walk the line of embracing his heritage while following his passions and being true to himself. From failing to learn Arabic—or much of anything—in Sunday school and visiting family in Pakistan who mocked him relentlessly, to discovering the wonders of pepperoni as a teenager and being a celebrity judge at Ribfest, he finds himself in compromising situations that challenge his beliefs and identity.

 

 

Now, as a father of four, he has to answer his children’s questions and try to explain his point of view. But he can’t just “give them” an identity as a cultural Muslim. Sharing his story is the next best thing.

 

 

 

 

SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS by Allie Brosh

 

 

Allie Brosh—beloved author and artist of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller Hyperbole and a Half—returns with a long-awaited collection of “hilarious and slyly poignant” (People), autobiographical, illustrated essays.

 

 

Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life. “No one sums up the hilarity, devastation, and bizarreness of life quite like comic artist and blogger Allie Brosh” (NPR).

 

 

This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features all-new material with more than 1,600 pieces of art. Solutions and Other Problems marks the return of a beloved American humorist who has “the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian” (Bill Gates).

 

 

 

 

BIOGRAPHIES/MEMOIRS

 

 

 

GOD, FAMILY, COUNTRY: A MEMOIR by Craig Morgan

 

 

Country music icon, army veteran, father, outdoorsman—Craig Morgan shares all aspects of his life, revealing stories even his most avid fans don’t know.

 

 

Written with Jim DeFelice, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller American Sniper.

 

 

 

 

STAY TRUE: A MEMOIR by Hsu Hsu

 

 

From the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art.

 

 

In the eyes of eighteen-year-old Hua Hsu, the problem with Ken—with his passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity—is that he is exactly like everyone else. The only thing Hua and Ken have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn’t seem to have a place for either of them.

 

 

But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become friends, a friendship built on late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet.

 

 

Determined to hold on to all that was left of one of his closest friends—his memories—Hua turned to writing. Stay True is the book he’s been working on ever since. A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.

 

 

 

 

TELEVISION:

 

 

 

LIVE WIRE: LONG-WINDED SHORT STORIES by Kelly Ripa 

 

 

A sharp, funny, and honest collection of real-life stories from Kelly Ripa, showing the many dimensions and crackling wit of the beloved daytime talk show host.

 

 

 

 

MUSIC:

 

 

 

THE SPORTY ONE: MY LIFE AS A SPICE GIRL by Mel Chisholm 

 

 

An intimate memoir from international pop star Melanie Chisholm–better known as Mel C. or Sporty Spice–chronicling her trajectory from small-town girl to overnight icon as part of the Spice Girls.

 

 

 

 

ART/PHOTOGRAPHY:

 

 

THE WEST WING AND BEYOND: WHAT I SAW INSIDE THE PRESIDENCY by Pete Souza

 

 

Go behind the scenes of the West Wing—into the Oval Office and Situation Room, aboard Air Force One, and beyond—with #1 bestselling author and former presidential photographer Pete Souza.

 

 

Pete Souza has spent more time in the Oval Office than almost any person in history. During the Obama administration alone, Souza was inside the presidential bubble for more than 25,000 hours and made nearly 2 million photographs. The result is an unprecedented view of how our democracy really works.

 

 

 

The West Wing and Beyond takes you behind the scenes of consequential moments and traditions with the people who define our nation’s highest office—from the senior White House staff to the Oval Office valets. It delivers new insights into the role of the Secret Service, the seriousness of decisive meetings in the West Wing, and even some fun moments aboard Air Force One.

 

 

Brimming with gorgeous photographs paired with fascinating storytelling, The West Wing and Beyond offers a one-of-a-kind look into the personalities, intrigues, and fascinating details that comprise the modern presidency. It is an essential book for every citizen who believes in American democracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

 

 

Tamora Pierce (Tammy) writes fantasy books for young adults. This interview with Tammy shows a lot about her as a writer and how she became a writer in the first place. She discusses her newest book, Tempests & Slaughter, and talks a bit about what is coming next. A warning, though: Part of the video could not be edited out when we lost audio, so there are a few minutes of “can you hear me now” questions! Apologies for a corrupt file. This video is also appropriate for Young adults and those who read her books! This video was first aired on May 6, 2021.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Roy Thomas

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on middle grade author Debbi Michiko Florence. Debbi Michiko Florence is the author of middle grade novels Keep It Together, Keiko Carter, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and New England Book Award finalist and Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai, starred review from Kirkus, Amazon Best Books, and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Her newest novel is Sweet and Sour . She is also the author of three chapter books series including Jasmine Toguchi (JLG selections, the Amelia Bloomer and CCBC Choices lists, and a Cybils Award winner) and co-authored a picture book biography, Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites which received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist.

 

A former classroom teacher, Debbi has spoken on panels at conferences and book festivals, taught writing workshops for children and adults, and loves doing author visits at schools and libraries. She is on the faculty of The Highlights Foundation.

 

Before becoming a full-time writer, Debbi was a raptor rehabilitator, outdoor educator, and a zoo educator. A third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in California, Debbi now lives in Connecticut with her husband, rescue dog, and bunny where she writes in her studio, The Word Nest. She enjoys running and hiking, and loves to travel with her husband and daughter. Her favorite foods are sushi, ramen, and chocolate.

 

Debbie, my first question to you is, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

 

I always encourage people to buy from their local independent bookstore. I love indie bookstores! To keep up with my latest books, best place to check is my website: https://debbimichikoflorence.com/books/

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

Website: https://debbimichikoflorence.com/books/

 

Twitter: @DebbiMichiko

 

Instagram: @debbi_michiko_florence

 

Instagram: @jasminetoguchi

 

 

What was the inspiration for Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

 

As you may know, the first two Jasmine Toguchi books in the chapter book series, Mochi Queen and Super Sleuth, published in 2017. I was inspired to write Mochi Queen after reading a newspaper article about a multi-generational Japanese American family that got together every New Year’s to make mochi (a Japanese chewy sweet treat) the traditional way. I knew that traditionally, there was a man’s job (pounding the sweet rice into mochi) and a woman’s job (rolling the mochi into shapes). I wondered what would happen if a girl in a family that adhered to tradition wanted to pound mochi. That’s how I came to write the chapter book Mochi Queen and how eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi was “born.” I wrote four books for the series that came out between 2017 and 2018. After that, I switched to writing middle grade novels. A couple of years ago, I came up with an idea for a new set of Jasmine Toguchi books – Jasmine and her family travel to Japan on summer vacation. Each book takes them to a different part of Japan. Brave Explorer has Jasmine embarking with great excitement to Tokyo where she discovers that things are a little different in Japan than in California. And her older sister, Sophie, is being grumpy! Will Jasmine have the great adventure she hopes for?

 

I always knew I wanted to write more Jasmine Toguchi books – I adore Jasmine and her spirited sense of adventure! I had spent many childhood summers and adult vacations visiting Japan and I wanted to share some of those memories and experiences through Jasmine. I’m thrilled to get to work with my editor and the team at FSGBYR/Macmillan again!

 

 

 

 

 

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

 

Chapter book readers are the best! These are newly independent readers, usually between the ages of 6 – 9, and there’s nothing like the feeling of pride, success, and joy of reading an entire book yourself, alone, for the first time. And because of this, these readers are extremely loyal and enthusiastic. I get the best reader mail from readers who fall in love with Jasmine Toguchi. Jasmine is an eight-year-old Japanese American girl living in Los Angeles, and all readers can relate to her sense of fun, her loyalty to her family and friends, and her love of making messes and climbing trees.

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

There are four new books of the Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series coming out between October 2022 and 2023. Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer (Oct 18) and Jasmine Toguchi Peace-Maker (March 2023) are both available for pre-order.

 

Just released in September is my newest middle grade novel, Sweet and Sour (Scholastic), and coming in January 2023 is another middle grade, This Is How I Roll (Scholastic) about a girl named Sana Mikami whose father is a famous sushi chef, and all she wants to do is learn how to cook like him, but when she feels like he’s discouraging her, she and a very cute boy start a food vlog in secret.

 

 

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

 

To be honest, I am usually writing or reading most of the time. They bring me the most joy! But I am also an animal lover, I have had so many pets, and used to work as a raptor rehabilitator and as an educator at a zoo (my degree is in zoology). I have a rescue dog named Kiku and a rabbit named Aki and both keep me company in my writing studio. My other passion is food – eating it. My husband, Bob Florence, does all the cooking. He, myself, and chef James Wayman are co-founders and partners of Moromi, a company that makes small batch, handcrafted soy sauce, miso, and hot sauce.

 

 

Thanks so much, Debbi, for taking the time to answer our questions.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello everyone. As Autumn begins, and the weather cools, passions heat up. This week there are many books about love, romance, hardships, and heart adorning our shelves. We also do have a new R.A. Salvatore fantasy, one mystery, one literary fiction book and one Neil DeGrasse Tyson science book. Enjoy!

 

ROMANCES:

 

DRUNK ON LOVE by Jasmine Guillory

 

An intoxicating and sparkling new romance by New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory.

 

Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until the winery’s newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects.

 

Set against a lush backdrop of Napa Valley wine country, nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love—even if it means changing all your plans.

 

 

KISS CURSE: A NOVEL by Erin Sterling

 

A Paperback Original—Also Available as a Hardcover Library Edition

 

Welcome to Spooky Season!! The follow-up to Erin Sterling’s New York Times bestselling hit The Ex Hex features fan favorite Gwyn and the spine-tinglingly handsome Wells Penhallow as they battle a new band of witches and their own magical chemistry.

 

Wells and Gwyn are determined to put aside their feelings, but when a new coven arrives in town they must work together to figure out how to restore Gwyn’s magic before it’s too late.

 

 

THE VIPER by J.R. Ward (Paranormal Romance)

 

In this newest Prison Camp installment, #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward pens a heart-wrenching tale of love and betrayal in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world…

 

 

WHEN IN ROME by Sarah Adams

 

A burnt-out pop star stranded in small-town Kentucky can’t help falling for her unlikely knight in shining armor—the notoriously grumpy owner of the local pie shop—in this charming slice of romance from the author of the TikTok sensation The Cheat Sheet.

 

 

DREAMLAND: A NOVEL by Nicholas Sparks

 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wish comes a poignant love story about risking everything for a dream—and whether it’s possible to leave the past behind.

 

Colby Mills once felt destined for a musical career, until tragedy grounded his aspirations. Now the head of a small family farm in North Carolina, he spontaneously takes a gig playing at a bar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, seeking a rare break from his duties at home. But when he meets Morgan Lee, his world is turned upside-down, making him wonder if the responsibilities he has shouldered need dictate his life forever. The daughter of affluent Chicago doctors, Morgan has graduated from a prestigious college music program with the ambition to move to Nashville and become a star. Romantically and musically, she and Colby complete each other in a way that neither has ever known. While they are falling headlong in love, Beverly is on a heart-pounding journey of another kind. Fleeing an abusive husband with her six-year-old son, she is trying to piece together a life for them in a small town far off the beaten track. With money running out and danger seemingly around every corner, she makes a desperate decision that will rewrite everything she knows to be true. In the course of a single unforgettable week, two young people will navigate the exhilarating heights and heartbreak of first love. Hundreds of miles away, Beverly will put her love for her young son to the test. And fate will draw all three people together in a web of life-altering connections . . . forcing each to wonder whether the dream of a better life can ever survive the weight of the past.

 

 

 

FICTION:

 

HUMOR:

 

LESS IS LOST by Andrew Sean Greer

 

In the follow-up to the “bedazzling, bewitching, and be-wonderful” (New York Times​) best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning Less: A Novel, the awkward and lovable Arthur Less returns in an unforgettable road trip across America.

 

For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.

 

With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning, must-read breakout book, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.

 

 

LITERATURE:

 

LUCY BY THE SEA by Elizabeth Strout (Fiction/literature)

 

From Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout comes a poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a former couple in lockdown together—and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.

 

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout once again turns her exquisitely-tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, this time following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton and Oh William! through the early days of the pandemic.

 

 

MYSTERY:

 

THE BULLET THAT MISSED: A THURSDAY MURDER CLUB MYSTERY by Richard Osman

 

A new mystery is afoot in the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series from million-copy bestselling author Richard Osman. It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case—their favorite kind–leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed. Suddenly the cold case has become red hot.

 

While Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim chase down the clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

 

From an upmarket spa to a prison cell complete with espresso machine to a luxury penthouse high in the sky, this third adventure of the Thursday Murder Club is full of the cleverness, intrigue, and irresistible charm that readers have come to expect from Richard Osman’s bestselling series.

 

 

 

FANTASY:

 

THE DAO OF DRIZZT by R.A. Salvatore

 

For over thirty years, Drizzt Do’Urden has been one of the most important characters in fantasy literature. Throughout his novels, Drizzt has written down his thoughts about life and love, the nature of good and evil, the joys (and frustrations) of family, and so much more. Bound together for the first time, the collected wisdom and philosophy of Drizzt will be a beautifully packaged gift book—complete with an introduction by bestselling fantasy author Evan Winter—for his biggest fans and readers wanting to learn about this iconic figure.

 

Growing up in the chaos of Menzoberranzan, one young drow elf tries to make sense of the conflict between the traditions he must serve and the protestations of his own conscience. To lay bare the injustices he sees and to strengthen his own resolve to follow the ethical call of his heart, Drizzt Do’Urden is both an agent of action and self-reflection.

 

These, his writings, become critical to his salvation, the way in which he makes sense of a world that to him makes little sense at all. The power of his writings, of his meditation, of his inward determination will carry him forward, forcing upon him decisions that others would consider noble, perhaps, but surely foolhardy…impossible even. But to Drizzt, the choices are true and right, so there can be no other course.

 

These journal entries, then, show the struggle between tradition and truth, where the courage to choose right over wrong climbs the many obstacles of societal expectations and entrenched power—if nowhere else, then in the heart of an idealist. They were written to help Drizzt understand himself. But the universal truths will resonate with readers throughout the Realms.

 

 

 

NON-FICTION:

 

SCIENCE:

 

STARRY MESSENGER: COSMIC PERSPECTIVES ON CIVILIZATION by Neil DeGrasse Tyson (Science)

 

Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.

 

In a time when our political and cultural perspectives feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment—a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science.  After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life’s priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society, or civilization remains untouched.

 

With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

 

 

Carole Boston Weatherford is a poet, and writes non-fiction and some fiction books for children and Young Adults. Most of her books are about some event or person in history, many of the people African-Americans. Her latest book, UNSPEAKABLE: THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE is about the massacre of hundreds of African-Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. Her other new book, DREAMS FOR A DAUGHTER was written for her own daughter. Carole speaks about her writing life and her books. This video was originally published on May 5, 2021.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Carey Sheffield

 

 

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on thriller author Steve Berry. Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of twenty-two novels.  His books have been translated into 41 languages with over 25,000,000 copies in 52 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists. Somewhere in the world, every thirty seconds, one of his novels is sold.

 

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers’ workshops. To date, 3,500 students have attended those workshops with over $1.5 million dollars raised.

 

Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve its spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors are the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed by International Thriller Writers for his philanthropic work. He has been chosen both the Florida and Georgia Writer of the Year. He’s also an emeritus member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board. In 2010, a NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

 

Steve was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of nearly 6,000 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.

 

 

 

Ok, Steve, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

 

My books are in bookstores, both physical locations and e-websites, across the globe.  At present they appear in 52 countries and 41 languages worldwide. 

 

 

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

 

Everything is at www.steveberry.org

 

 

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from The Omega Factor?

 

I look for subject matters others have not touched, those real historical tidbits that are usually found in the footnotes of a book.  Aspects of history that are relatively unknown but, hopefully, readers will want to know more about.  I especially do not want to plow a field that others have already worked.  I want something fresh and different.  I realized early on that a lot of people are learning their history from novels like mine.  That’s not necessarily a good thing since a novel, by definition, is not real.  But I try to keep my stories about 90% accurate to reality, tripping up only 10% for entertainment value since, after all, that’s my main goal — to entertain the reader.  I also place a writers note in the back of each book that I spend a lot of time developing.  There I explain what’s real and what’s not, so there’ll be no misunderstandings.  That note reflects the research that goes into each story.  For me that’s an 18 month process with each novel.  Research consumes the lion’s share of my time.  It’s important to get it right.   My latest release, The Omega Factor, follows this pattern.  There, the reader will learn about the most stolen, vandalized, and damaged work of art in history — the Ghent altarpiece.  

 

 

 

 

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

 

Cotton Malone will return February 21, 2023 with The Last Kingdom.  That will be the 17th book in the series.  But don’t be put off by that.  The books do not have to be read in order.  You’re free to skip around.  On July 11, 2023, Luke Daniels from the Cotton Malone adventures, gets his own series starting with The Ninth Man.  There will be two more Luke Daniels thrillers, one in 2024 and another in 2025.  Cotton Malone will also return in 2024 with a new story.  Lots of books coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

 

Fifteen years ago I was on a book tour in Spain where I spent two days in a hotel being interviewed by reporters.   Interestingly, nearly all of the questioners posed a similar inquiry:  What’s it like not to write serious fiction?  

 

I admit, at first I was thrown by the question.  But I answered it with an inquiry of my own.  How many times have you seen a person reading War and Peace on an airplane?  None of the reporters answered me, so I offered the answer for them.  None.  Then I asked a second question.  How many times have you seen someone reading a thriller on an airplane?  Of course, the answer was obvious.  Many.  I followed up these two questions with a statement.  ‘I doubt that Tolstoy could have written a commercial thriller.  And I, of course, cannot write War and Peace.  But that doesn’t make either one of us better than the other, it simply makes us different.’

 

It’s true, thrillers will never win the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, or the Nobel Prize for Literature.  By and large thrillers will not change the face of world literature.  Great analyses will not be written about them, and rarely are they favorably viewed by any of the major book review outlets. 

 

That too doesn’t make them bad.

 

It simply makes them different.

 

Thrillers perform one simple task.  They entertain.  For a short while they allow a reader to escape their world, forget their troubles, and just have a good time.  A few months ago I received an e-mail from a reader.  He’d gone through a difficult divorce, then was involved in a car accident.  While recuperating he read not only all of my Cotton Malone series, but some other writer’s thriller series too.  He wanted me to know that my stories helped him through a difficult time.  They allowed him to relax.  He said without them his recovery period would have been unbearable.  

 

So what have I learned?

 

It’s okay to not write serious fiction.

 

 

Steve, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW ARRIVALS THURSDAY – THRILLERS AND THE WEATHER WILL GIVE YOU THE CHILLS

Hello, folks, this week we have some interesting non-fiction books, several really chilling thrillers, (I’m not kidding about that!), and a few new novels in several different series. So, sit back with one of these books, relax, and enjoy!

 

 

NON-FICTION:

 

MEMOIR:

 

LIKE A ROLLING STONE: A MEMOIR by Jann S. Wenner

 

Rolling Stone founder, co-editor, and publisher Jann Wenner offers a “touchingly honest” and “wonderfully deep” memoir from the beating heart of classic rock and roll (Bruce Springsteen).

 

Jann Wenner has been called by his peers “the greatest editor of his generation.”

 

His deeply personal memoir vividly describes and brings you inside the music, the politics, and the lifestyle of a generation, an epoch of cultural change that swept America and beyond. He takes us into the life and work of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. From Jerry Garcia to the Dalai Lama, Aretha Franklin to Greta Thunberg, the people Wenner chose to be seen and heard in the pages of Rolling Stone tried to change American culture, values, and morality.

 

Like a Rolling Stone is a beautifully written portrait of one man’s life, and the life of his generation.

 

 

 

SELF-HELP:

 

YOU OWE YOU: IGNITE YOUR POWER, YOUR PURPOSE, AND YOUR WHY by Eric Thomas  ((self-help)

 

You owe it to yourself to recognize your gifts, your power, and your place in the world, no matter your story or your struggle, and Eric Thomas—celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders—has the blueprint to get you there.

 

 

FICTION:

 

THRILLERS:

 

BLOWBACK by James Patterson, Brendan DuBois  (thriller)

 

A brilliant American president is also a psychopath. He has his finger on the red button. And he’s about to start a world war with our most dangerous enemy. Put your finger on the order button. Push it to read James Patterson’s best and scariest novel yet.

 

“Pure Patterson… Blowback asks us to imagine what would happen if a narcissistic psychopath were elected to the White House [and] to experience the terror of the world hanging in the balance at a moment when only a handful of determined patriots can save us.” –Ron Charles, Washington Post

 

 

OATH OF LOYALTY by Vince Flynn, Kyle Mills  (THRILLER)

 

Mitch Rapp confronts a very different kind of killer in the explosive new thriller in Vince Flynn’s #1 New York Times bestselling series, written by Kyle Mills.

 

With President Anthony Cook convinced that Mitch Rapp poses a mortal threat to him, CIA Director Irene Kennedy is forced to construct a truce between the two men. The terms are simple: Rapp agrees to leave the country and stay in plain sight for as long as Cook controls the White House. In exchange, the administration agrees not to make any moves against him.

 

This fragile détente holds until Cook’s power-hungry security adviser convinces him that Rapp has no intention of honoring their agreement. In an effort to put him on the defensive, they leak the true identity of his partner, Claudia Gould. As Rapp races to neutralize the enemies organizing against her, he discovers that a new generation of assassins is on her trail. A killer known to intelligence agencies only as Legion.

 

 

IMPOSTER by Bradeigh Godfrey (psych thriller)

 

Two sisters, a lifetime of secrets

Lilian and Rosie were once the closest of sisters, but the untimely death of their parents pulled them apart. Now, three years on, Rosie has reached out to her big sister, asking to meet. Driving on an icy road in the middle of a snowstorm, Rosie admits that she has something important to tell Lilian—a secret she describes as a matter of life and death. But before she has a chance to tell Lilian, a car careens into theirs, with devastating consequences.

 

Lilian survives unscathed, but Rosie is left with a traumatic brain injury, unable to communicate. Lilian is convinced that someone deliberately rammed Rosie’s car. But why? As Lilian begins to explore her sister’s past, she uncovers disturbing secrets that make her question if she ever really knew Rosie.

 

The closer Lilian comes to the truth, the more danger she and Rosie find themselves in. But Lilian is certain of one thing: she abandoned her little sister once before and will never do so again. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

 

 

MYSTERY:

 

MARPLE: TWELVE NEW MYSTERIES by Agatha Christie and all authors below (mystery)

 

A brand-new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Mystery’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

 

This collection of a dozen original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.

 

Naomi Alderman

Leigh Bardugo

Alyssa Cole

Lucy Foley

Elly Griffiths

Natalie Haynes

Jean Kwok

Val McDermid

Karen M. McManus

Dreda Say Mitchell

Kate Mosse

Ruth Ware

 

 

COMING OF AGE FICTION:

 

LESSONS: A NOVEL by Ian McEwan   (fiction – coming of age)

 

From the best-selling author of Atonement and Saturday comes the epic and intimate story of one man’s life across generations and historical upheavals. From the Suez Crisis to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall to the current pandemic, Roland Baines sometimes rides with the tide of history, but more often struggles against it.

 

Haunted by lost opportunities, Roland seeks solace through every possible means—music, literature, friends, sex, politics, and, finally, love cut tragically short, then love ultimately redeemed. His journey raises important questions for us all. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without causing damage to others? How do global events beyond our control shape our lives and our memories? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past?

 

Epic, mesmerizing, and deeply humane, Lessons is a chronicle for our times—a powerful meditation on history and humanity through the prism of one man’s lifetime.

 

 

SPECULATIVE FICTION:

 

TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE/FANTASY:

 

GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon (time travel romance/fiction)

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Diana Gabaldon returns with the newest novel in the epic Outlander series.

The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .

 

Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.

 

 It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.

 

Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family.

 

Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own.

 

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before.

 

 

SCIENCE FICTION:

 

NONA THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir

 

The Locked Tomb returns with a third volume, bringing all the chaotic sapphic skeleton action that has made the series a bestseller.

 

Tamsyn Muir’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Locked Tomb Series continues with Nona …the Ninth?

 

Her city is under siege.

The zombies are coming back.

And all Nona wants is a birthday party.

 

 

SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCE:

 

BARBARIAN MINE by Ruby Dixon  (SF Romance)

 

The fourth novel in the international publishing phenomenon the Ice Planet Barbarians series, now in a special print edition with bonus materials and an exclusive epilogue!

 

Series Overview: Women from Earth are stranded on an alien planet, and find love with the aliens there.

 

 

 

 

 

As always, thanks for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

 

 

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