Posts By Ron Morris

Book Riot’s Deals of the Day for January 20th, 2018

Grab our limited edition ISBN Thinking of You t-shirt while you can. Order by 1/26 if you want one, because after that, they are gone.


Today’s Featured Deals

 

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara for $1.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

 

 by Neil Gaiman for $2.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

 

In Case You Missed Yesterday’s Most Popular Deal

 

Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston for $2.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

 

Previous daily deals that are still active (as of this writing at least). Get ’em while they’re hot.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner for $1.99.

Infomocracy by Malka Older for $1.99.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black for $2.99.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Clare North for $2.99.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan for $2.99.

The Best of Us by Joyce Maynard for $2.99.

In the Woods by Tana French for $2.99.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer for $1.99.

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson for $2.99.

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam for $1.99.

Pages for Her by Sylvia Brownrigg for $3.99.

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy.

Shrill by Lindy West for $2.99.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson for $1.99.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper for $1.99.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes for $1.99.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman for $2.99.

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley for $2.99.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman for $1.99.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes for $1.99.

The Little Book of Mindfulness by Patrizia Collard for $1.99.

Bitch Planet, Vol 1 for $3.99.

Monstress, Vol 1 by Liu & Takeda for $3.99

Paper Girls, Vol 1. by Vaughn, Chiang, & Wilson for $3.99.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1 for $3.99

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin for $9.99

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith for $0.99

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for $4.99

Help! I’m Drowning In My TBR Pile

It’s a well-established fact that I am a serial book adopter. I hoard books like Smaug hoards gold. This is a habit I can neither deny nor excuse. I’ve always been one to hang on to things, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say I have close to 60 books on my bookshelves at home that I need to read. These are books that, over the years, I’ve either bought myself, received as gifts, are still “on loan” from friends (not only am I a book hoarder, but a book kidnapper), or discovered on the stoops and sidewalks of Brooklyn (They sit there, as tantalizing and ripe as apples, begging to be plucked. I always pluck them).

On my Kindle, it’s a similar problem. I haven’t done the math yet (I’m too scared), but I’d say I probably have at least another 30 or so ebooks that I’ve mindlessly bought over the years on a $2 whim. When an interesting Kindle Daily Deal comes across my path, I rationalize the decision of buying it by asking myself, “If I had $2 in my pocket right now, would I buy this book I’ve always wanted to read but have never gotten around to?” The answer is always a resounding yes. I tell myself that I’ll get around to reading it…eventually.

Usually, I’d argue that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being surrounded by books. But I think there is a problem if I keep stacking up books I keep meaning to read but I’m not getting around to. Some of my TBR pile I’ve had for years. And that list is slowly but surely getting longer.

I’m also someone who constantly gets seduced in by whatever new or exciting book is recently coming out, usurping my current collection. Who wants to read The Brothers Karamazov when the new John Green is coming out?

This is me in a nutshell:

But of course, I can’t get rid of The Brothers Karamazov, because what if I’m finally in the mood to read it?

80 unread books, for me, equates to nearly two years of reading material at my relatively glacial place. (I was so proud to have read 45 books in 2017, a personal record, until I saw that my BookRiot colleagues on average read 95). And that would be if I only ever read exclusively books that I already owned. Making matters worse, some of those unread tomes are massive history books and biographies (looking at you, Autobiography of Mark Twain), which always take longer than your average novel.

I have never been, and have always wanted to be, the kind of person that can just casually finish a book and go to the library or bookstore for a new one. I’d love to be able to start a new book right away, guilt-free. That sound like a really great life. But in order to get there, I need to either read or release all the books I’m currently hoarding.

And I want to get there. So I made my wife a promise this year: no new books in the home for one year. I’ve unsubscribed from all Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, and yes, even Book Riot newsletters. I can read nothing new suggested by friends. No best-ofs from this year. No trendsetters. No Fire and Fury. Whatever is this year’s “the next Harry Potter” or “the next Gone Girl” will have to wait.

The prospect of actually reading all the books I already own feels a little overwhelming, to be honest with you. I have toyed with the idea of getting rid of all my unread books and starting fresh. But what’s much more likely to happen is that I’ll release some, give others back, and read the rest. It will be hard, but ultimately worth it. I just need to commit to the books I already have.

Take the 2018 British Books Challenge!

I usually try to stay away from taking part in too many reading challenges. Just keeping up with my own Goodreads challenge is stressful enough.

This year, that all changed. I was made aware of a great challenge aimed at reading and reviewing books by British authors, the British Books Challenge!

The challenge is hosted by Chelley Toy whose award-winning blog, Tales of Yesterday, is full of great reviews, author interview and more.

British Books Challenge

The goal of the British Books Challenge is to read at least 12 books by British authors throughout the year. The books can be as old or as new as you like.

Signing up is simple, Chelley has created a form at her site here.

When you review a book, you can submit your review link to her site for a chance to win monthly prizes!

She also has a great list of recommended British reads available at the sign up page.

If you’d like to share you on social media, you can track the challenge using #BritishBooksChallenge18.

If you’re seeking further reading recommendations (listen for the blatant self promotion alarm), I’ve got a lot of reviews of British MG & YA authors at my site, The Portable Magic Dispenser. I’ve got authors from all over the world on there but there is a ton of UK stuff on there.

Of course, if you’re looking for other reading challenges, look no further than Book Riot’s own Read Harder Challenge or their 50 DIY Reading Challenges list. They have some amazing opportunities to discover new literature and share them with new people.

I hope to see you online taking part in the British Books Challenge and others this year, happy reading!

Misleading Titles: Fiction That Sounds Like Nonfiction

There are lots of misleading titles out there. Some of them are particularly misleading because they don’t sound like the title of a work of fiction at all. Instead, confused bookstore and library patrons are left wondering if the book has been mis-shelved. Why else would a book offering tips and tricks to the ambitiously frugal interstellar traveler be shelved next to Watership Down (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)? Or why would an instructional guide for fledgling, Wiccan crime scene clean up specialists share shelf space with the novels of Zora Neale Hurston (The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston)? The answer is simple: Nothing has been shelved incorrectly, those titles are actually fiction that just sounds like its nonfiction. Misleading titles, indeed. Here are some more examples:

Book Cover for Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohimil HrabalDancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal

What it’s not: Instructions on how to krump for the AARP crowd.

What it is: The story of an elderly man reminiscing about the “good old days” in Prague. The narrator tells his tale to a group of sunbathing women who remind him of former lovers. The narrator also speaks in a single, unbroken sentence for the duration of the novel.

Book cover for How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin HamidHow to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

What it’s not: A guide to making it big in the Asian  stock market game. (I can only assume “rising Asia” means China and India, because they’re BRICS countries.)

What it is: A love story that disguises itself as a  parody of the get-rich-quick self-help book genre. The unnamed protagonist works his way from an impoverished farm boy to a corporate tycoon dealing in the commodity of water, but his heart still longs for his lost love.

Book cover for How to Stop Time by Matt HaigHow to Stop Time by Matt Haig

What it’s not: An instruction manual for creating your very own Time-Turner or stasis machine.

What it is: The story of near-immortal Tom Hazard who, after centuries of exploits, longs for nothing more than to settle down and live a “normal” life. When he falls for a charming teacher, he breaks the one rule of the secret society that protects people like him: Never fall in love. Is his new love strong enough to survive?

Book cover for How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart HemmingsHow to Party With an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings

What it’s not: A guide to rave culture for new parents.

What it is: The story of Mele, a single mother. Facing the imminent wedding of her daughter’s father to the fiancee she never knew he had until she told him she was pregnant, Mele joins the San Francisco Mommy Club and enters their cookbook contest. In the process, she discovers her tribe and herself again.

Book cover for The Mehlis Report by Rabee JaberThe Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber

What it’s not: The actual Mehlis Report issued by U.N. appointed German judge Detlev Mehlisto in 2005.

What it is: A thrilling fictionalized account of the events following the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri told from the point of view of Beirut architect Saman Yarid and his deceased sister Josephine. This book has been called the Lebanese Ulysses (as in Joyce not Homer).

Book cover for How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

What it’s not: Tips and tricks for becoming the next cast member of the Real Housewives franchise.

What it is: The story of Shoko, the Japanese wife of an American GI, and her adult daughter Sue, a divorced single mother. When Shoko can’t make a long-anticipated return trip to Japan to reconcile with her brother she sends Sue in her place. What Sue learns about herself and her mother during the journey is touching, honest, heartfelt stuff.

Book cover for instructions for a heatwave by Maggie O'farrellInstructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

What it’s not: Sadly, not advice on how to stay cool when the mercury rises.

What it is: A family drama set primarily in London during the record-breaking heatwave of 1976. The story follows Greta Riordan in the wake of her husbands abrupt, and bank-account clearing, exodus. Greta calls her adult children – Michael Francis, Monica, and Aoife – home for the first time in years. The secrets they’ve all been hiding won’t remain that way for long.

book cover for How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina WaclawiakHow to Get into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak

What it’s not: Advice on how to sweet talk the burly bouncer at an exclusive nightclub into letting you inside.

What it is: The story of Anya, a single woman living alone in Los Angeles’ Russian community. She’s struggling to find a way to maintain her Polish heritage with her new life; a new life that has her craving acceptance into the glamorous Russian club scene. Anya sees Lev, a local gangster as her ticket in, so sets out to win a place by his side.

Book cover for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan EvisonThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

What it’s not: A modern guide to being a caretaker for your loved ones.

What it is: A charming, funny, often crass story of Ben, a middle-aged man down on his luck and looking for a new start, and Trev, a teenager with Duchenne muscular dystrophy with a major chip on his shoulder. As caregiver and client bond with each other they undertake an epic road trip to visit Trev’s dying father during which various hijinks ensue.

Book cover for How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles YuHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

What it’s not: A guide to living in the worlds of your favorite science fiction authors.

What it is: The story of (fictional) Charles Yu who is a time travel technician. Basically, Charles is responsible for saving people from themselves as the occupants of his universe, Minor Universe 31, travel back in time on a daily basis in an effort to alter the past. In his spare time, Charles attempts to locate his missing father, the man who invented time travel.

Book cover for How To Behave in a Crowd by Camille BordasHow to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas

What it’s not: Helpful advice for awkward introverts struggling to be comfortable when they’re not alone.

What it is: The story of Isidore Mazal, a eleven-year-old french schoolboy and youngest of six siblings. Isidore is the only unremarkable member in his family of serious overachievers. Isidore’s under-the-radar talent for observation becomes an asset, however, in the wake of a family tragedy. This coming of age tale is a fantastic debut from Bordas.

Book Cover for How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by Christopher BoucherHow to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by Christopher Boucher

What it’s not: A manual for keeping your VW’s heart beating. Because your Beetle shouldn’t have any biomechanical parts.

What it is: A trippy – fitting since it’s based on the cult classic 1969 hippie handbook of the same name by John Muir and Tosh Gregg – analogy-filled story of fatherly love. The protagonist is a single father trying to cope with raising a kid struggling with the sudden loss of their mother. The fact that his kid is also a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle with a literal heart adds another layer of complication.

How to Build a Girl coverHow to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

What it’s not: An instruction manual for building a human girl, as a companion or as a child.

What it is: “Imagine The Bell Jar – written by Rizzo from Grease.” Moran’s debut novel follows fourteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan as she copes with epic public humiliation by reinventing herself as Dolly Wilde. Dolly is a music-reviewing, cigarette smoking, hard-drinking, lady sex adventurer determined to become the next incarnation of the Brontës, just with a less depressing life. Dolly/Johanna soon learns that you can’t build a life from insubstantial things.

book cover for a manual for cleaning women by Lucia BerlinA Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

What it’s not: Tips for getting grout to sparkle, de-hairing a pet-lover’s sofa, or cleaning an oven with ease.

What it is: A compilation of Lucia Berlin’s short stories. Berlin is a modern-day Raymond Carver. Her stories are aggressive and gritty, yet surprisingly humorous. This is a look at America like you’ve never read before.

 

Book cover for The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina HenríquezThe Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

What it’s not: An encyclopedia of all unknown Americans.

What it is: Fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera’s family has left their comfortable existence in Mexico for America in order to seek medical treatment for Maribel. Maribel’s new neighbor, Mayor Toro, and she embark on a star-crossed love affair that has profound repercussions for her entire family.

Book cover for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina LewyckaA Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

What it’s not: A reference book on John Deeres written in an eastern European language.

What it is: A really funny story about feuding sisters who must set aside their animosity to thwart their widowed father’s plans to remarry a gold-digging woman from the old country with a serious taste for Western extravagances.

 

Book cover for The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarloThe Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

What it’s not: A how-to for failed flyers.

What it is: The tale of Mattie Wallace, broke, homeless, and now with child. When news of a possible inheritance reaches her, she makes the pilgrimage from Florida to Oklahoma to her mother’s hometown, a place she’s never been before. What Mattie learns about her mother’s mysterious past might just change the course of Mattie’s life for the better, but first she must untangle the mystery of how her talented and happy mother became the broken woman Mattie knew.

book cover of an arsonist's guide to writers' homes in new england by Brock ClarkeAn Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke

What it’s not: Stephen King’s worst nightmare.

What it is: The story of Sam Pulsifer. Sam may have accidentally burned down Emily Dickinson’s home, killing two people in the process, ten years ago. Sam has served his time in prison and is trying to rebuild his life on the outside. Sam definitely isn’t responsible for the string of literary-minded arson cases currently sweeping New England . But with his track record, how can he prove his innocence?

Book cover for The Kidney Hypothetical Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days by Lisa YeeThe Kidney Hypothetical Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days by Lisa Yee

What it’s not: An interesting anatomy theorem or a guide to self-destruction.

What it is: A pretty charming story about the best named character in YA: Higgs Boson Bing. Higgs learns the hard way that if your high school girlfriend asks you, hypothetically, if you would give up a kidney for her, you should say yes. Higgs’ golden life rapidly unravels as he copes with sudden singleness, the reality that his peers and teachers didn’t love him as much as he thought, the fact that Harvard may have made a mistake in accepting him, and the struggle of trying to meet the bar his deceased brother set. Can a girl named Monarch help him find himself again?

Book cover for The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa BankThe Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

What it’s not: A guide to outdoor pursuits for adolescent females.

What it is: A charming short story collection for the modern woman. All of the stories center around Jane Rosenal, a twenty-something in the publishing industry, as she struggles to find and maintain love.

 

book cover for A Lady's Guide to Selling Out by Sally FransonA Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

What it’s not: Instructions for women wishing to join the current presidential administration.

What it is: A novel that has been described as “Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada” starring a former English major turned ad-agency grunt named Casey Pendergast. Casey is charged with a new, top-secret project designed to bring literary authors and corporations together. It’s perfect her. But will her soul survive what her best friend calls “selling out”?

Book cover for The Cheese Stealer's Handbook by Shoshaku Jushaku

The Cheese Stealer’s Handbook by Shoshaku Jushaku

What it’s not: Self-help for ambitious, yet struggling mice.

What it is: A darkly humorous and, at times, painfully real fictional memoir about a drug- and alcohol-addicted narrator struggling to cope with life and love while hoping to write his novel. It’s weird and strange and no one is quite sure how fictional it all is.

book cover for How to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capo CrucetHow to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capó Crucet

What it’s not: Tips on how to escape south Florida.

What it is: An award winning short story collection that does “for Miami what Edward P. Jones does for Washington, D.C., and what James Joyce did for Dublin”. The stories in this collection pull from Capó Crucet’s personal experiences as a Cuban-American woman growing up in Hialeah, a predominately Hispanic working-class suburb of Miami.

 

book cover for The Intern's Handbook by Shane KuhnThe Intern’s Handbook by Shane Kuhn

What it’s not: Helpful advice for entry-level, hopefully-paid interns in Corporate America.

What it is: A really fun twist on the spy genre featuring John Lago as the an intern at a large New York law firm. Except he’s not really an intern, he works for HR, Inc., a guild of assassins disguised as an intern-placement agency. At the ripe age of 25, Lago is facing forced retirement due to the fact that interns stop being invisible and start being noticeable the older they are. He decides to record his final job for posterity and future recruits. Of course, nothing goes according to plan.

book cover for A Guide to Being Born by Ramona AusubelA Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel

What it’s not: In-utero self help.

What it is: One of my favorite reads from 2014 and a brilliant short story collection. All eleven of the stories dwell on the theme of life. Specifically the stages of that lead up to birth – from the parents’ and infants point of view.

 

 

Book cover for A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas DraysonA Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

What it’s not: Something to help you prepare for you bird-watching trip to Kenya.

What it is: The charming take of the widower Mr. Malik, the object of his secret love, Rose Mbikwa, and his newly resurfaced schoolyard nemesis,  Harry Khan. To help decide who gets the privilege of escorting Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball, the men compete to see who can identify the most bird species in a week’s time.

Book cover for The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Menna van PraagThe Lost Art of Letter Writing by Menna van Praag

What it’s not: An instructional guide for people looking to revive the art of snail mail.

What it is: The story of Clara Cohen, a stationary store owner in Cambridge who stumbles across a hidden cache of wartime love letters. The letters lead Clara on a magical journey of self-discovery.

 

 

Book cover of The Manual of Detection by Jedidiah BerryThe Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

What it’s not: A how-to guide for Sherlock wannabes.

What it is: A fantastical novel The New Yorker described as “the kind of mannered fantasy that might result if Wes Anderson were to adapt Kafka.” Following Charles Unwin, an unfortunate clerk at a prestigious detective agency as he is promoted and charged with solving the murder of one of the agency’s brightest detectives, this story is two parts noir and one part magical-realism.

Book cover for The Young Widower's Handbook by Tom McAllisterThe Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister

What it’s not: A guide to coping with gut-wrenching grief.

What it is: A novel that addresses the gut-wrenching grief of losing your soulmate. Hunter Cady’s wife Kaitlyn was his world and her unexpected death shattered him. We get to join him on his journey of healing as he literally journeys the world to fulfill Kaitlyn’s unfulfilled dream of traveling.

Book cover of A brief history of Seven Killings by Marlon JamesA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

What it’s not: A history lesson on seven random deaths.

What it is: A fictionalized account the attack on Bob Marley on December 3rd, 1976. James uses the event as a jumping point to dig into the volatile time in Jamaica that was the 1970s and 1980s. He also examines a hypothetical explanation for what happened to the seven unnamed gunmen.

What other examples can you think of?

The Books About the Holocaust That Changed My Life

I have always fancied myself an amateur World War II historian. I have been fascinated with that war since I was a child and my grandfather, a WWII veteran himself, would sit me down as a kid and willingly tell me stories about his time in the Pacific. But despite my fascination with the war itself, it was the Holocaust that I gravitated toward. The sadness, torture, horror, and unbelievable loss of life during the Holocaust is something I can never understand. To think something so outrageous could have happened only seventy plus years ago is surreal.

Every year, the library system I am employed at hosts  “The Holocaust: Learn and Remember” during the month of January since January 27th is observed as “International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” This got me thinking about the best books about the Holocaust that I ever read. There are too many to list so I will narrow it down to the ones that I feel changed my life. In no particular order, here is the list as follows:

Maus Book CoverThe Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

This is not only one of the greatest graphic novels ever written, but it is also one of the most important and influential Holocaust books ever published. This book about the Holocaust tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe. This book is chilling and will completely knock your boots off. The author (son of Vladek) creatively and artistically tells the story in the form of cartoon. The Nazis are portrayed as cats and the Jews are portrayed as mice. This book about survival had me feeling all sorts of ways. I was angry, sad, and confused as I turned each page. The sad part is that the author also details his perplexing relationship with his father. Here is a man who is telling his father’s story, a story of death and tragedy, yet, he does not have the best relationship with him. His father lived through quite possibly the worst tragedy the world has ever seen and we see them arguing quite often as the book unfolds. The Nazi’s cruelty and heartless ideology is something you will never forget after reading this one. If you have not read a book about the Holocaust yet, this is a great one to start with.

Night Book CoverNight by Elie Wiesel

Of course this one is on my list. Aside from Maus, this is one of the greatest books about the Holocaust you will find. Night delivers an autobiographical account of Elie Wiesel’s survival in one of the deadliest camps of the Holocaust: Auschwitz. This book was tough to read because Wiesel details just what life was like under Nazi rule in a camp that was filled with people who were undoubtedly being exterminated by the thousands on a daily basis. Tough decisions by the Jews themselves were made and surviving by any means necessary is what it came down to. Wiesel does not hold back in this book as he gave the world what it needed to hear about the Holocaust. Those who denied what happened in those death camps cannot deny the truth Wiesel penned. This book changed the way I thought about the Holocaust because it provides a small glimpse of what life was like for Jews like Wiesel. His mother and younger sister were immediately murdered when they arrived at Auschwitz, so he and his father needed to survive by doing whatever it took to somehow make it back home. This one is an absolute must read.

Boy 30529: A Memoir by Felix Weinberg

Felix Weinberg somehow survived five concentration camps. He was imprisoned by Nazis in 1939 and miraculously survived until 1945 when he and others were liberated at Buchenwald. Only a very small percentage of Jews who were sent to concentration camps survived the war. The fact that Felix survived five is an absolute miracle. He also survived a death march that was supposed to have killed every Jew, but with sheer will and determination, he survived. His family was not so lucky, however. His mother and brother were murdered and Felix was all alone. This memoir is the ultimate survivor’s tale. How could one young boy have survived all of this on his own? This question is answered in this book, but the details of his survival are definitely not for the faint of heart. Despite death knocking on his door numerous times, Felix was liberated at Buchenwald concentration camp and was later reunited with his father. Amazingly, Felix went on to become a well-respected physicist. This story is amazing because it is one of the last survivor’s tales of Jews who were imprisoned in concentration camps. Those who survived are well into their ’80s and ’90s so this book is definitely special.

All But My Life Book CoverAll But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissman Klein

This book was also an amazing read. It details the life of Gerda Weissman, a young Polish Jew whose family was separated and sent to labor camps. Gerda’s uncle had actually sent her family a telegram warning them to leave Poland because the Nazis would invade. As much as the family wanted to leave, they could not due to Gerda’s father suffering a heart attack. He could not travel so the family had no choice but to stay. Eventually the Nazis did invade and Gerda’s family would forever be changed. Gerda suffered at the hands of the Nazis for six agonizing years while she had no family with her to provide any sort of comfort. She was separated from her mother, her father was executed at another death camp, and her brother was sent to fight for the German army. Throughout her harrowing experience in labor camps, Gerda became friends with many other Jews. Unfortunately, almost none of Gerda’s friends survived. Finally in 1945, Gerda and others were liberated in Czechoslovakia by the United States Army. The only positive thing that came out of this ordeal for Gerda was that her future husband, Lieutenant Kurt Klein, was part of the U.S. Army that helped liberate Gerda. This book was unique in that it details how Gerda and the people she was imprisoned with created a loving community within the confines of the camp.

These books about the Holocaust changed my life and the way I viewed the Holocaust. I say changed my life because these people suffered through a tragedy that we will likely never see again in our lifetime. My life will never be that bad. I told myself that when I felt like complaining about my life, I would remind myself that others throughout history had it much worse. I recommend you read these books about the Holocaust because they are truly great and eye-opening.

What do you think are the best books about the Holocaust? 

Book Riot’s Deals of the Day for January 19th, 2018

The Deals of the Day are sponsored today by Balls by Chris Edwards:


Today’s Featured Deals

Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston for $2.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner for $1.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

 

In Case You Missed Yesterday’s Most Popular Deal

 

Annhiliation by Jeff VanderMeer for $3.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:

 

Previous daily deals that are still active (as of this writing at least). Get ’em while they’re hot.

Infomocracy by Malka Older for $1.99.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black for $2.99.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Clare North for $2.99.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan for $2.99.

The Best of Us by Joyce Maynard for $2.99.

In the Woods by Tana French for $2.99.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer for $1.99.

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson for $2.99.

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam for $1.99.

Pages for Her by Sylvia Brownrigg for $3.99.

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy.

Shrill by Lindy West for $2.99.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson for $1.99.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper for $1.99.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes for $1.99.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman for $2.99.

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley for $2.99.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman for $1.99.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes for $1.99.

The Little Book of Mindfulness by Patrizia Collard for $1.99.

Bitch Planet, Vol 1 for $3.99.

Monstress, Vol 1 by Liu & Takeda for $3.99

Paper Girls, Vol 1. by Vaughn, Chiang, & Wilson for $3.99.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1 for $3.99

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin for $9.99

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith for $0.99

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for $4.99

Action Item: Bilingual Books for English Language Learners

Between the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the White House and the recent uptick in ICE raids, the United States probably doesn’t feel like a particularly friendly place for recent immigrants.

With that in mind, this week’s classrooms in need all serve largely immigrant populations, and all of them specifically serve students who are learning English as a second—or third or fourth or fifth—language:

I Know the Arabic Word, but What About English? in Brooklyn, NY:

Imagine trying to describe how you felt the first time you saw the Statue of Liberty or trying to describe how marshmallows feel and taste. Now try explaining these things in a language you are just beginning to learn! This is a challenge my students experience each day.

Reaching Out to the Bilingual Community! in Paterson, NJ:

In our community, the bilingual students miss out on many projects and activities due to the lack of resources in Spanish. I would like to have my students exploring some of Dr. Seuss books in Spanish during our school celebration for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. I’m requesting copies of El Lorax, El Gato Ensombrerado, and Huevos verdes con jamon. With these books my students will have the opportunity to explore Dr. Seuss in their native language!

Culturally Responsive Novels for a Culturally Diverse Classroom in Portland, OR:

My students are English language learners. They are high school students and need access to books that are at their reading levels. As students develop their English language proficiency, they need to read books and respond to books daily to build their vocabulary, automaticity, and fluency. These books will give students an opportunity to engage in small group discussions about books they are reading together, write about the books they are reading, and build a rich vocabulary that comes from the act of reading.

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As always, a lot of us giving a little each ends up being…a lot? In other words, $1,000 looks like a lot of money to raise, but spread between 1,000 people, not so much!

And if you can’t donate, boosting is a huge help as well!

3 Essay Anthologies That Aren’t About Writing

I love reading essays by writers I know and love (and writers I’ve never heard of). It’s fascinating to get to spend a few pages inside a writer’s own head, rather than with their characters, or to read the prose of a writer whom I primarily know through their poetry. I also love reading about writing itself—there’s something comforting about seeing my own struggles and frustrations with the art reflected on the page, in the words of published authors. But though I love a good anthology of “Writers on Writing,” it’s the books with (hypothetical) titles like “Writers on Baseball,” “Writers on Climate Change,” or “Writers on Their Favorite Childhood Games” that really catch my eye.

Writers, after all, are whole people, with varied lives and interests. When they offer up their thoughts and opinions on everything from nature to fashion to pop music to cooking—in the form of beautiful and thought-provoking essays, I count it as a gift.

Here are three incredible essay anthologies I’ve enjoyed recently, in which a whopping total of 51 writers share their insight on three very different topics: race, rereading books, and not having kids.

Selfish Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids

Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum

Essays (and nonfiction books of all kinds) about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood are not hard to find. It is hard to find the opposite: books about people who have chosen not to have kids. Being childless by choice, especially for women, is still looked upon with concern, confusion, and sometimes outright hostility. In these brilliant, moving, funny, and thoughtful essays, sixteen writers delve right into that taboo. With honesty and heart, they discuss their reasons for choosing not to have children. What I love most about this collection is the wide diversity of experience these writers represent. Some of them agonized over the decision; some knew since childhood that they did not want to be parents. Some of the essays are deeply personal; others explore the cultural idea that motherhood=womanhood, and how this is damaging for everyone. As someone who has always felt ambivalent toward motherhood, the kinship and familiarity I felt reading these essays was a refreshing change. I could not put this book down.

Rereadings by Anne FadimanRereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love, edited by Anne Fadiman

I fell in love Ex Libris, Anne Faidman’s ode to books, when I first read it in high school. Rereadings, in which an array of adult writers reread books they loved as children or teens, is just as lovely. The essays vary widely—some leaning more toward literary criticism and some toward more personal narrative—but all of them capture the profundity of the impact certain books can have on our lives. Whether discussing Pride and Prejudice or the lyrics on the back of Sgt. Pepper, these essays are all delightful, insightful, and moving in their own way. This is a book about reading, but more than that, it’s a book about how we change over the course of our lives, using books as lens to track and explore those changes.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward

With essays from such literary giants as Claudia Rankine and Edwidge Danticat (among many others), this is a must-read anthology for everyone striving to understand America’s past and present. Conceived as a response to Baldwin’s classic 1963 The Fire Next Time, these moving and powerful essays explore race and racism through the varying perspectives and experiences of their authors. As a whole, the collection speaks both to the trauma caused by American racism and to the possibility of a more hopeful future. I found myself copying down copious passages as I was reading it; it’s one of those books that I’ve come back to again and again.

12 Books to Gift a Child on National Reading Day

January 23rd is National Reading Day, an annual event that celebrates reading and encourages young children to read. Schools, parents, literary programs, and libraries across the United States are helping Pre-K to third grade students build the foundation needed to become lifelong readers. You too can join the festivities by sharing the book that sparked your love for reading with the special child in your life. If you’re drawing a blank on a good book to share, Book Riot is here to offer a few suggestions.

Bring these books along when it’s time to visit grandma and grandpa! They pull double duty of getting kids reading while strengthening the bond between grandparent and grandchild during story time.

I Love Saturdays y Domingos Book CoverI love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada and Elivia Savadier (Illustrator)

The weekends are great for this little girl because she gets to experience both sides of her family’s culture. On Saturdays she eats pancakes, plays with Grandma’s owl collection, and listens to Grandpa’s stories. On los Domingos, she eats huevos rancheros and learns about Abuelita’s heritage and Abuelito’s life on a Mexican ranch.

 

What Do Grandmas Do Best/What Do Grandpas Do Best by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Lynn (Illustrator)

Grandmas and grandpas can do lots of things like play hide-and-seek, paint pictures, take walks, plan picnics, make hats, build sandcastles, and sing lullabies, but what they do best is give lots of love to their grandchildren.

Full Full Full of Love Book CoverFull, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke and Paul Howard (Illustrator)

For Jay Jay, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s is as full as full can be with hugs, kisses, tasty dishes, happy faces, and lots and lots of love.

 

Dear Juno by Soyung Pak and Susan Kathleen Hartung (Illustrator)

Juno’s grandmother writes in Korean and Juno writes in drawings, but that doesn’t mean they can’t exchange letters. From the photo his grandmother sends, Juno can tell she has a new cat. From the picture he draws, Juno’s grandmother can tell he wants her to visit.

 

If you have a little explorer on your hands who prefers gazing at the stars, spending time with animals, or observing nature over diving nose-deep in a book, then meet them halfway with these books that will surely entice their curious minds.

The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring Book CoverThe Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring by Lucille Clifton and Brinton Turkle (Illustrator)

Best friends King Shabazz and Tony Polito are on the hunt for “Spring around the corner.” How far are they willing to go to find Spring? Will they know when they have found it?

 

The Good Luck Cat by Joy Harjo and Paul Lee (Illustrator)

Good things happen to the people who pet Woogie, but as Woogie gets into mishap after mishap, everyone starts to worry that Woogie has run out of luck.

Hedgie Blasts Off! By Jan Brett

Hedgie wants more than anything to be an astronaut and travel into space. He gets his chance when the Big Sparkler starts to sputter and fade, disappointing the alien tourists.

Ada Twist Scientist Book CoverAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts (Illustrator)

Ada has boundless imagination and curiosity. When her house fills with a horrific smell, Ada knows it is up to her to find the source. In the name of scientific discover, she goes on a fact-finding mission and conducts experiments, and learns that questions may do not always lead to answers, but to more questions.

 

These books are for the children who love spending their time in a fantasy world full of magic, fiery dragons, superheroes or wherever their creative minds take them. Help them take their imaginations to the next level.

Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She would rather live with her pets, but she must find a husband, as ordered by her parents.

Raising Dragons Book CoverRaising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen and Elise Primavera (Illustrator)

When a dragon hatches on the farm, a young girl finds a best friend. At first her parents are wary, but it’s not long before they are welcoming the baby dragon into their family. However, it turns out this dragon may not be cut out for farm life.

 

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

While a witch and her cat fly through the sky on a broomstick, the wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow, and even her wand. Luckily, three animals find and return the missing items. As a reward, they want a ride on the broom.

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero Book CoverTen Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti

An instruction manual for aspiring superheroes that follows Captain Magma and his sidekick, Lava Boy, on their heroic adventures.

 

 

 

The ideas don’t stop here! Check out:

5 Children’s Books About Refugees

100 Must Read Children’s Books Set in New York City

5 of the Best Children’s Books About Disabilities

15 Children’s Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

10 Black Princess Books to Celebrate the Royal Engagement

6 Great Children’s Books About Blended Families

45 Short Poems to Sneak More Poetry Into Your Life

The first negative review I ever got was for a poem I published in my college lit mag. Titled “In a Booth at the Waffle House,” it was a throwback to Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro,” and it was about Waffle House chocolate pie, and I was seriously proud of it. Two lines and a title. That’s not easy to do! And while I have lots of love for long poems, there is a special place for the tight economy of short poems. Short poems get us where we’re going quickly, and because there’s no room for meandering, every word weighs a ton. And a short poem puts us in touch with poetry—a shot, a quick snack, an amuse bouche to amp up our poetic reading lives. So for your enjoyment, here’s a list of great short poems.

short poems | Book Riot

But wait! What makes a short poem short? For my purposes here, there are super short poems (fewer than 10 lines) and short-ish poems (10–15 lines). And because poetry exists beyond the page nowadays, taking on visual or spoken word or both, I have a few examples of those for you to enjoy as well. Obviously, this is not a complete list of all the great poems—let alone all the great short poems—but it’s a fine place for us to start. (And don’t worry. My Waffle House poem isn’t one of them.)

Super short poems (fewer than 10 lines)

Margaret Atwood “You Fit Into Me”

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Ezra Pound “In a Station of the Metro”

Anais Nin “Risk”

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

Edna St. Vincent Millay “First Fig”

Emily Dickinson “It’s All I Have to Bring Today”

Henry David Thoreau “My life has been the poem I would have writ”

My life has been the poem I would have writ
But I could not both live and utter it.

William Carlos Williams “Red Wheelbarrow”

Stephen Crane “I Stood Upon a High Place”

Maya Angelous “Awakening in New York”

Curtains forcing their will
against the wind,
children sleep,
exchanging dreams with
seraphim. The city
drags itself awake on
subway straps; and
I, an alarm, awake as a
rumor of war
lie stretching into dawn
unasked and unheeded.

Sylvia Plath “Metaphors”

Robert Frost “The Rose Family”

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose –
But were always a rose.

Anne Sexton “The Black Art”

Joy Harjo “Invisible Fish”

Rita Dove “Happenstance”

Lucille Clifton “My Mama moved among the days”

Short-ish poems (10-15 lines)

Danez Smith “The 17 Year-Old & the Gay Bar”

this gin-heavy heaven, blessed ground to think gay & mean we. /
bless the fake id & the bouncer who knew /
this need to be needed, to belong, to know how /
a man taste full on vodka & free of sin. i know not which god to pray to. /
i look to christ, i look to every mouth on the dance floor, i order /
a whiskey coke, name it the blood of my new savior. he is just. /
he begs me to dance, to marvel men with the /
                                                                                   dash /
of hips i brought, he deems my mouth in some stranger’s mouth necessary. /
bless that man’s mouth, the song we sway sloppy to, the beat, the bridge, the length /
of his hand on my thigh & back & i know not which country i am of. /
i want to live on his tongue, build a home of gospel & gayety /
i want to raise a city behind his teeth for all boys of choirs & closets to refuge in. /
i want my new god to look at the mecca i built him & call it damn good /
or maybe i’m just tipsy & free for the first time, willing to worship anything i can taste. /

 

Jeanine Gailey “Okay, Ophelia”

Natasha Tretheway “Housekeeping”

We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard. Late afternoon, we draw
the blinds to cool the rooms, drive the bugs
out. My mother irons, singing, lost in reverie.
I mark the pages of a mail-order catalog,
listen for passing cars. All day we watch
for the mail, some news from a distant place.

 

Naomi Shihab Nye “300 Goats”

Billy Collins “Introduction to Poetry”

Jacqueline Woodson “Church”

On Sundays, the preacher gives everyone a chance
to repent their sins. Miss Edna makes me go
to church. She wears a bright hat
I wear my suit. Babies dress in lace.
Girls my age, some pretty, some not so
pretty. Old ladies and men nodding.
Miss Edna every now and then throwing her hand
in the air. Saying Yes, Lord and Preach!
I sneak a pen from my back pocket,
bend down low like I dropped something.
The chorus marches up behind the preacher
clapping and humming and getting ready to sing.
I write the word HOPE on my hand.

 

Mary Oliver “Sleeping in the Forest”

Karina Borowicz “September Tomatoes”

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.

 

William Shakespeare “Sonnet 116:  Let me not to the marriage of true minds”

Chen Chen “Self-Portrait as So Much Potential”

Dreaming of one day being as fearless as a mango.
As friendly as a tomato. Merciless to chin & shirtfront.
Realizing I hate the word “sip.”
But that’s all I do.
I drink. So slowly.
& say I’m tasting it. When I’m just bad at taking in liquid.
I’m no mango or tomato. I’m a rusty yawn in a rumored year. I’m an arctic attic.
Come able & ampersand in the slippery polar clutter.
I am not the heterosexual neat freak my mother raised me to be.
I am a gay sipper, & my mother has placed what’s left of her hope on my brothers.
She wants them to gulp up the world, spit out solid degrees, responsible grandchildren ready to gobble.
They will be better than mangoes, my brothers.
Though I have trouble imagining what that could be.
Flying mangoes, perhaps. Flying mango-tomato hybrids. Beautiful sons.

 

Jacqueline Woodson “on paper”

Pablo Neruda “One Hundred Love Sonnets:  XVII”

Maggie Smith “Good Bones”

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

 

Francisco Aragón “Lunch Break”

Robert Frost “Dust of Snow”

Ross Gay “A Small Needful Fact”

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

Natasha Tretheway “Miscegenation”

Lia Purpura “Resolution”

There’s the thing I shouldn’t do
and yet, and now I have
the rest of the day to
make up for, not
undo, that can’t be done
but next time,
think more calmly,
breathe, say here’s a new
morning, morning,
morning,

(though why would that
work, it isn’t even
hidden, hear it in there,
more, more,
more?)

Lucille Clifton “blessing the boats”

Nikki Giovanni “BLK History Month”

If Black History Month is not
viable then wind does not
carry the seeds and drop them
on fertile ground
rain does not
dampen the land
and encourage the seeds
to root
sun does not
warm the earth
and kiss the seedlings
and tell them plain:
You’re As Good As Anybody Else
You’ve Got A Place Here, Too

 

Adrienne Rich “A Mark of Resistance”

Langston Hughes “Harlem”

Wendell Berry “The Peace of Wild Things”

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

instagram short poems

rupi kaur

when i think of the ancestors. i think of each person in the lineage who had to live and survive for me to be here today. how all of them are inside me. how that makes me powerful. and capable. and an empire of infinite inner strength. ? page 201 from #thesunandherflowers

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Christine Jewel

soft hearts. and sugar. and the stirring into something better. 〰what a bitter earth needs more of . . . . . #womenwhowrite #writersofinstagram #poetsofinstagram #poetsociety

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atticus poetry

Burn The Bridges! #atticus #poetry #loveherwild

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nayyirah waheed

poem. from salt. by nayyirah waheed. . . . . . . . #salt #nejma #literature #nayyirahwaheed

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maybe just read the poems to me? okay.

Lee Mokobe 

T. Miller 

Hollie McNish