How Do You Get Your Life Together When the World Is Falling Apart? Ling Ma’s New Novel, Severance

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At the beginning of Ling Ma’s debut novel, Severance, Candace Chen is too distracted by office politics and her relationship with her boyfriend to focus on the mysterious illness decimating the human population. Then, for a while, she’s in denial. Long after her colleagues become ill and disappear, she continues to show up at the New York publishing house where she works in the division that produces Bibles. When Candace finally faces facts, she must decide what to do next. Suspenseful, darkly funny, and often deeply touching, Severance tells the story of her journey toward an uncertain future. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Three Great Books for the End of Summer

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Picture me writing my novel, head down, fingers flying, type, type, type. I really don’t want to stop, but I need to alert you to three great new books. If you’ve been keeping up with these posts, you know a lot of books annoy me when I’m writing, which raises the question: Why do people keep sending me books? The UPS man came to my house TWICE today, the first time he left two galleys and the second time it was a 700 page manuscript, just dropped on my doorstep without warning. Why? I’ve made it so abundantly clear that I’m trying to write a novel and everything I read tastes like nickels.

Okay, not everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun Guaranteed: 16 Books We Love for Young Readers

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You know what they say: Nothing softens the blow of back-to-school season like a new book. Read the rest of this entry »

Hot Reads for Hot Days: 26 Bookseller Favorites

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When you were little, did you want to grow up and work in an ice-cream parlor so you could eat free ice cream all day? And did your parents tell you not to be silly, because of course you’d get sick of all that ice cream after a while? It’s not like that with books. Here at Parnassus, our booksellers sample the merchandise on our shelves every day and never tire of it. Here are the books we’re enjoying most — and can’t wait to share with you! Read the rest of this entry »

This Book Is On Fire: The Incendiaries

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To fully grasp the magnitude of R.O. Kwon’s debut novel, The Incendiaries, being named the #1 Indie Next pick for August, you first have to understand what the Indie Next List is. Containing just 20 titles each month, it comprises the most highly recommended new books, as nominated by independent booksellers nationwide. Considering how much bookstore staffers read (not to mention how many hundreds of books are published each month), making it into the top 20 really sets a book apart. Kwon has landed not just on the list but in the highest spot — and with her first book, a short, unusual, and entrancing novel about a young couple pulled together by love and apart by religion. Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s Lives on Their Own Terms in Two New Books

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Between them, Glynnis MacNicol and Jo Piazza’s new books have appeared on more must-read lists this summer than we can count — including BuzzFeed, Elle.com, Goop, People, Cosmopolitan, Vulture, Refinery29, InStyle, and Town & Country, just to name a few. While MacNicol’s No One Tells You This is a memoir and Piazza’s Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win is a novel, the two books make for a delightful pairing, as both focus on women pushing back against expectations to create the lives they want. Parnassus Books will host these authors together next Tuesday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. To celebrate this double-header event, we’re offering twice the usual reading experience today on Musing, with excerpts from each. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Times Book Critic Asks: What Happened to Truth?

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When Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani left her post as the chief book critic for The New York Times after 38 years, Vanity Fair declared, “The novelists of the world will sleep a little easier tonight.” It was the end of an era. Readers who had grown up with Kakutani’s book coverage — and whose tastes had evolved under the guidance of her insightful, impassioned (and sometimes brutal) reviews — wondered what she’d do next.

The answer? Write her own book, of course. Read the rest of this entry »