What To Read?

Dear Readers,


This past weekend, I moderated a panel featuring Discover Great New Writers alumni Andre Dubus III, Wendy McClure and Alicia Oltuski.


(Dubus's novel The House of Sand and Fog was a Discover Great New Writers selection in 1999 -- before going on to be a finalist for the National Book Award and an Oprah book club pick -- but we focused on his most recent book, the memoir Townie, which will be available in paperback on 2/6/12. )


Three memoirs about very different topics, but with elements in common: Great writing, incredible characters, and a tremendous sense of place, one that goes beyond physical setting. 


So here are the books these Discover alumni raved about from the stage when I asked them, "Who have you discovered lately?"


Dubus: Open City by Teju Cole, recently named a finalist for the 2011 NBCC Award for fiction.

McClure: Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

Oltuski: The Adults by Allison Espach, a Discover selection in 2011, and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a finalist for the 2010 Discover Great New Writers Award.


[Jennifer Haigh, author of Faith and Mrs. Kimble, among others); Allison Groff , author of Arcadia and The Monsters of Templeton; and Erin Duffy, author of Bond Girl, were on another panel at the same event earlier in the day, and were awfully good company over the weekend.]


Cheers, Miwa




Miwa Messer

Miwa Messer is the Director of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, which was established in 1990 to highlight works of exceptional literary quality that might otherwise be overlooked in a crowded book marketplace.  Titles chosen for the program are handpicked by a select group of our booksellers four times a year.  Click here for  submission guidelines.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.