"By writing, I was able to tolerate remembering": A Conversation with Sonali Deraniyagala

Sonali Deraniyagala's memoir, Wave, a Spring '13 selection, is an impossible book to forget.  She discusses how what started as writing for herself (at her therapist's suggestion) turned into writing a memoir, her fear of details, and how being out in the wilderness, in "vast and wild places" has helped her, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

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"A Voice Inside Nagged": A Guest Post from Dina Nayeri

While A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (Discover, Spring '13) is Dina Nayeri's first novel, writing isn't her first career, as she explains in this guest post for the Discover blog.

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Regret is a Waste of Time: A Conversation with Domenica Ruta

Domenica Ruta, author of the critically-acclaimed memoir With or Without You (Spring '13) discusses the books that inspired her as a child (though she wanted to be a figure skater/surgeon, not a writer, at the time), the differences between writing fiction and memoir, and "the alchemy of art " with Discover Great New Writers.

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The Past Won Over the Present: A Guest Post by Kate Southwood

Kate Southwood, author of Spring '13 selection Falling to Earth, tells readers why she chose to set her debut novel in the 1920s in a guest post for the Discover blog.

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The Story Came to Me Whole, As All Stories Do: A Conversation with Taiye Selasi

"The story came to me "whole," as all stories do...A crushing heartbreak, a six-month writer's block, and a rather impulsive move to Rome later, I finished a novel that told a story I already knew, had always known." Taiye Selasi, author of the spectacular Ghana Must Go (Discover Spring '13), discusses the books and music that inspire her, what fiction can do that essays cannot, and why she's so drawn to travelers' tales with Discover Great New Writers.

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I Got Caught Up in the Atmosphere & the Language: A Conversation with Kate Atkinson

Tess Taylor interviews Kate Atkinson, author of the newest B&N Recommends selection, Life After Life (on sale 4/2/13) as well as the book group favorite, Behind the Scenes at the Museum and the Jackson Brodie series of novels.  Her fans include our booksellers as well as bestselling authors Gillian Flynn and Stephen King.

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What to Read? Amanda Coplin Recommends

Amanda Coplin, author of The Orchardist  (fiction winner, 2012 Discover Awards), tell us about the three books she frequently recommends: Here's her list, with her "Just read it! You won't be sorry!" pick, a devastating novel about identity from Virginia Woolf, and a "deeply intelligent, generous, and kind" collection of essays about the art of writing (and more).

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What to Read? Cheryl Strayed Recommends

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild  (nonfiction winner, 2012 Discover Awards), tells us about the books she's  frequently recommending these days, and here's her take on two memoirs -- one that "provides much needed dimension and insight into the national conversation about immigration," and another from a writer she describes as "daring, blunt, distinctive" -- and two collections of oral histories that make her feel "altered for the better every time [she] read[s] them."

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What to Read? Karen Thompson Walker Recommends

Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles (2rd place, fiction, 2012 Discover Awards), tells us about the three books she frequently recommends, including a "wise and intimate" memoir  about female friendship, a melancholic novel translated from the Chinese, and a "foolproof" recommendation.    

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What to Read? Katherine Boo Recommends

Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2rd place, nonfiction, 2012 Discover Awards), tells us about the three books she frequently recommends, including a May publication she can't wait to discuss with other readers, landmark work of narrative nonfiction set in the Bronx, and the novel that made her ask, "How can a short, biting book manage to contain so much of the world?"

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What to Read? Eowyn Ivey Recommends

Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child (3rd place, fiction, 2012 Discover Awards), tells us about the three books she's recommending these days  -- including a novel that had her "gasping in horror and laughing out loud," a book that made her "reflect on how we can push the edges of form," and a poetry collection kept close to her desk at home.

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What to Read? Kristen Iversen Recommends

Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden (3rd place, nonfiction, 2012 Discover Awards), recommends three modern classics  -- including the book that made her want to be a writer, storytelling with "remarkable muscle and flexibility", and one that gave Iversen the "raw courage" needed to tell the story that became Full Body Burden.

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I View Readers as Participants: Mohsin Hamid on Writing in the Second Person

We've been serious fans of Mohsin Hamid's work since his debut novel, Mothsmoke, was selected for the Discover Great New Writers program in 2000.  His second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, was a 2007 B&N Recommends selection, and is now a film by Mira Nair, staring Keifer Sutherland, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Riz Ahmed.  Like The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Hamid’s third novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, (out on March 5th) is written with the immediate intimacy and underlying urgency of the second person POV -- a device not often seen in modern literature (and not often done well when it is).  We asked Mohsin what drew him back to the second person perspective, and this is what he told Discover Great New Writers.

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Who Was Nellie Bly Again? A Guest Post by Matthew Goodman

We knew we had a hit on our hands as soon as the first reads of Matthew Goodman’s Eighty Days came in. "Rollicking, fast-paced, enlightening, cinematic," said the Discover selection committee readers. "We think Erik Larson fans will want to give this a whirl."  Matthew Goodman tells the story behind his new book, a Spring '13 Discover pick, in a guest post on the Discover blog.

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Drugstore Inspiration: A Guest Post by Dennis Mahoney

In Dennis Mahoney's debut, Fellow Mortals, a carelessly discarded match ignites a raging fire that destroys a neighborhood and changes the victims' lives in very different ways. In precise, clean prose, this soulful and compassionate debut limns the boundary between atonement and forgiveness, and is a terrific book group pick. 

Dennis not only explains how he found the story that became Fellow Mortals, but also riffs on the unreliable nature of inspiration, and why writers need a toolbox and a muse, among other things, in a guest post for the Discover Blog.

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Everything Offered in the Land of the Living: A Conversation with Ashok Rajamani

Ashok Ramajani's memoir, The Day My Brain Exploded (A Spring '13 pick) is the astonishingly true (and shockingly funny) story of what happened after the author suffered a massive, near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 25.  He discusses the continuing, daily consquences of his traumatic brain injury, why he chose to structure the book as he did, and how his sense of humor helps him survive, among other things with Disccover Great New Writers.

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The Problem Has to be Addressed First: A Conversation with Jonathan M. Katz

"With lucidity and great humanity, Jonathan Katz has written THE book on Haiti's devastating earthquake and its bungled reconstruction. For anyone who wants to know why the 'international community' can't fix anything anymore, but who still hope to find solutions to global problems, this book is a must-read." -- Bestselling author Jon Lee Anderson (Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and The Fall of Baghdad) on Spring '13 Discover pick The Big Truck That Went By

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Get Out of the Way of the Material: Stuart Nadler and Emma Straub in Conversation

Stuart Nadler’s Wise Men (Spring ’13) and Emma Straub’s Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures (Fall ’12) are both  stellar reads, thought-provoking and entertaining in equal measure, easy to recommend.  Good stories, well told, as some say. Both Emma and Stuart have gone from story collections with contemporary settings to ambitious, compulsively readable historical novels about class and identity. Why make the switch from present to past, short to long? They answer that question, discuss the importance of story as well as the perils of the internet -- and more -- in conversation on the Discover blog.

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I was a Little Afraid of the Medium: A Conversation with Lisa O'Donnell

The Discover selection committee readers are absolutely mad for Lisa O'Donnell's smashing debut, The Death of Bees, and the young Doyle sisters, left to their own devices and wanting nothing more to keep the outside world at bay. O'Donnell discusses how she found the story she wanted to tell in The Death of Bees, using humor to make readers pay attention, and hearing Scotland in everything she writes, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

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Does Seeing Your Roommate Weep Help Dry Your Own Tears? A Conversation with Wiley Cash

It’s sometimes hard to remember that A Land More Kind Than Home (Discover, Summer '12) is actually a first novel, but spend more than a couple of minutes talking with the down-to-earth and very funny Wiley Cash, and, well, it’s no surprise that his storytelling is mature and thoughtful. So here's Wiley on learning how to tell stories and handle literary rejections, what the characters he creates teach him about normal people, and answering an age-old question: Does seeing your roommate weep help dry your own tears?  Interview by Michael Jauchen for the Discover Blog.

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Where I Saw Tragedy, I Also Saw the Absurd: David Abrams and Alex Gilvarry in Conversation

Funny is powerful stuff in literature, but easy to botch.  So funny done well – funny with a soul, the potent, arm-whack-you-have-to-hear-this, new-image-tattooed-on-the-back-of-the-brain kind of funny, provocative funny -- always gets the attention of the Discover selection committee readers. David Abrams (Fobbit) and Alex Gilvarry (From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant) have created darkly comic novels, easily read as companion pieces, that compelled our readers to think long and hard about war and death, race and human rights. Here are David and Alex discussing what they learned at the movies, the literature of war, and satire’s reverberations, among other things, on the Discover blog.

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Announcing Our Spring 2013 Discover Great New Writers Selections

We're terrifically excited about our Spring  2013 Discover Great New Writers list, 14 titles carefully chosen from hundreds of submissions. By turns exhilarating and heartbreaking, lyrical and thought-provoking, these are the amazing true stories, the unforgettable memoirs laced with unexpected humor, and the dazzling novels that the Discover selection committee members can't stop talking about.

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Don’t You Wanna’ Cuddle Up With My Iguana?: A Guest Post by Diana Wagman

Winner Parker is having a very, very bad day in Diana Wagman's audacious novel, The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets (Discover, Holiday 2012). Locked inside a sweltering house in an LA 'burb with an enormous iguana, Winnie's trying to figure out why she's been taken before her kidnapper goes completely off the rails. Here, Diana takes readers behind the scenes in a guest post for the Discover blog.

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Dan Josefson Recommends 3 Great Reads

The Discover selection committee readers weren't alone in their praise for Dan Josefson's debut novel, That's Not a Feeling (Holiday '12) -- We asked Dan about three books he frequently recommends, and this is what he said...

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What We Do in Their Wake: A Guest Post by Jonathan Katz

Jonathan M. Katz's first book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster is what the Discover submission committee  calls "1 AM reading"- an incredibly compelling narrative worth staying up all night to finish.  We're turning our first post of the new year over to the former AP correspondent who was the only full-time American Reporter on the ground when an earthquake devestated Haiti in January, 2010.

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"Detroit is an opera, it’s Mount Everest" A Conversation with Mark Binelli

Mark Binelli, author of Holiday '12 Discover pick Detroit City is the Place to Be -- an incisive and  wryly comic exploration of an American City left for dead -- discusses what he found when he moved back home to  Detroit and what the city really needs, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

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"None of Us Give or Receive a Perfect Love": A Q&A with Ayana Mathis

We're not the only readers who fell in love with Ayana Mathis's terrific debut The Twelves Tribes of Hattie --this sweeping story of quiet heroism and imperfect family love is the second pick of Oprah’s Book club 2.0®. In this exclusive Q&A with Discover Great New Writers, Ayana discusses the profound changes brought by The Great Migration, what it feels like to be alone in a crowd, and her "hard to love" character, Hattie Shepard.

 

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"I Thought I Knew You": A Conversation with Gregory Martin

Cheryl Strayed calls Gregory Martin's memoir,  Stories for Boys, "moving, brave, and unforgettable."  Martin discusses when memoirs go wrong, the unravelling of secret lives, writing about family (and how much children need to be told), among other things with Discover Great New Writers.

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"I threw Away the Clowns..and Started Over." A Q&A with Diana Wagman

Diana Wagman, author of Holiday 2012 pick The Care & Feeding of Exotic Pets discusses starting over, being drawn to stories of endurance and survival, and finding liberation and inspiration as a writer in Los Angeles - among other things - with Discover Great New Writers.

 

 

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"I Needed to at Least Try to Depict the Spider at the Center of the Web": A Q&A with Dan Josefson

Dan Josefson, author of the Fall 2012 pick That's Not a Feeling, discusses his debut novel and more with Discover Great New Writers.

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April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.