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AUTHOR’S BIO

Catherine Chung was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Writing has been her life-long passion, but as an undergraduate she indulged in a brief, one-sided affair with mathematics at the University of Chicago followed by a few years in Santa Monica working at a think tank by the sea.

Eventually she attended Cornell University for her MFA, and since then she and her books have been given shelter and encouragement from The MacDowell Colony, Jentel, Hedgebrook, SFAI, Camargo, The University of Leipzig, VCCA, UCross, Yaddo, Civitella Ranieri, The Jerome Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. Her brother, Heesoo Chung, has also given her a bed and fed her lots of ice cream at criticał times.

She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Director’s Visitorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She was a Granta New Voice, and won an Honorable Mention for the PEN/Hemingway Award with her first novel, Forgotten Country, which was a Booklist, Bookpage, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012. She has published work in The New York Times, The Rumpus, and Granta, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2019 The Tenth Muse
2012 Forgotten Country

KIRKUS REVIEW

A mathematician with a Chinese immigrant mother and a white American father recounts her life among geniuses and the search for her true identity.

“I suppose I should warn you,” says Katherine, the narrator of Chung’s (Forgotten Country, 2012) elegant novel, “that I tell a story like a woman: looping into myself, interrupting.” Katherine’s womanhood weighs heavily on her, first as a young math prodigy and then later as one of the only female graduate students at MIT in the early 1960s. Despite being surrounded by men who either dismiss her outright or want to use her astonishing intelligence for their own gains, Katherine never loses her ambition to have an academic career and to solve the Riemann hypothesis, one of the greatest mysteries in math. Though she befriends some of history’s most famous scientists and mathematicians—Chung weaves numerous historical figures into her fictional world—Katherine’s feeling of otherness is deepened by a mystery at her life’s core: Her parents are not who she thought they were, and she has only a few stories from her father, a World War II veteran, and a German notebook full of equations to help her solve the mystery of her parentage. Their real identities, buried somewhere in the gaps left after the Nazis ravaged Europe during the war, may help Katherine understand not only the riddle of who she really is, but perhaps even some of the largest mysteries of nature and the universe. Chung’s novel, with its formality and clean chronology, seems a throwback to another time, like a perfectly tailored tuxedo. But that’s perfect for a memorable character like Katherine, whose belief in what she has to offer the world, and in her place in the lineage of women “who chose a different path,” never wavers.

A powerful and virtuosically researched story about the mysteries of the head and the heart.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is narrated by Cassandra Campbell and is 9 hrs and 13 mins.

Watch Catherine Chung discuss her her book The Tenth Muse YouTube.







AUTHOR’S BIO

Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35,” and in 2015 she was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. She currently lives in Pearl River, New York with her husband and their two sons. She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and Ask Again, Yes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2019 Ask Again, Yes
2013 Fever
2009 The Walking People

KIRKUS REVIEW

Neighboring families in a New York commuter suburb are entwined, root and branch, through work, their children, and a tragedy of profound consequence.

Displaying impressive reach in this third—and possibly breakout—novel, Keane (Fever, 2013, etc.) delivers an epic of domestic emotional turmoil. Its twin families are united initially through the careers of Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, who meet as unmarried rookies in the New York City police academy. Later, now with partners, they move into adjacent homes in the safe-seeming small town of Gillam, where Francis’ wife, Lena, gives birth to three daughters, Sara, Natalie, and Kate. Brian’s wife, Anne, whose temperament is increasingly mercurial, loses her first child but then has a boy, Peter. Friendship between Peter and Kate is cemented from the outset, and as teenagers, the couple’s affections intensify. But on the night Peter tells Kate he thinks they will marry one day, Anne’s mental disturbance and violence reach a climax, one that inflicts terrible, indelible damage and drives Peter and Kate apart. Narrated from multiple perspectives, in compassionate but cool tones, Keane’s story embraces family lives in all their muted, ordinary, yet seismic shades. The Gleesons offer solidity and an assumption that marriage will endure, no matter the tests. The Stanhopes, however, are seamed with inherited fault lines, and Peter will not emerge unscathed from his upbringing. Keane offers empathy and the long view, across a larger spectrum of issues than is at first apparent, pursuing her story for decades while adhering to Anne’s observation “that the beginning of one’s life mattered the most, that life was top-heavy that way.” Tender and patient, the novel avoids excessive sweetness while planting itself deep in the soil of commitment and attachment.

Graceful and mature. A solidly satisfying, immersive read.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is narrated by Molly Pope and is 12 hrs and 42 mins

Watch Bookreporter Talks To: Mary Beth Keane about her book Ask Again, Yes YouTube.







AUTHOR’S BIO

Delia was born in southern Georgia in 1949, and grew up riding horses in the woods around Thomasville. Her mother, also an outside-girl, encouraged Delia to explore far into the oak forests, saying “Go way out yonder where the crawdads sing.” Her mother taught her how to hike without stepping on rattle snakes, and most important not to be afraid of critters of any kind. Delia went on to spend most of her life in or near true wilderness, and since childhood has thought of Nature as a true companion. One of her best friends.

Delia’s strong bonds with the families of a small town and her close relationships with girlfriends have stayed with her all her life. Her novel is dedicated to three friends she has cherished since second grade. These close relationships and Delia’s intimate connections with Nature have influenced her studies and writing.

Even at this early age, Delia loved writing. In the sixth grade of her small grammar school, she won first place in a writing competition, and felt sure this meant she would one day be a writer.

Since her family spent some of every summer in the mountains of North Carolina, Delia has a special attachment to the wild and beautiful places of that state. Where the Crawdads Sing is based in the lush Carolina coastal marsh.

By the time she started university, she had decided to pursue a career in science, instead of literature. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California in Davis.

She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2018 Where the Crawdads Sing
2007 Secrets of the Savanna with Mark Owens
1993 The Eye of the Elephant with Mark Owens

REVIEW by Rhapsody in Books

Catherine Danielle Clark, known as Kya to her family, and as “The Marsh Girl” to the people of Barkley Cove, North Carolina, is abandoned by her family as a very young girl. She is able to survive with very little assistance from the adult world because of her remarkable resourcefulness. She ”finances” her relatively primitive life style primarily by collecting and selling mussels and smoked fish to the local version of a convenience store. Yet, she remains extremely shy, avoiding contact with other humans as much as possible, not even attending school despite the (half-hearted) efforts of local truant officer.

Just before reaching puberty, she meets Tate, a young man who has seen her fishing and collecting mussels. Tate teaches Kya how to read, and she turns into a voracious seeker of knowledge. Kya’s and Tate’s relationship turns romantic, though not sexual, but Tate abandons her to attend the University of North Carolina.

The early chapters of the book alternate between Kya’s youth in the 1950s and early 60s and the investigation of the mysterious death of Chase Andrews, a local former high school football star, in 1970. We later learn that Kya met Chase and became his lover on the rebound after Tate abandoned her.

The local sheriff develops a rather far-fetched theory of how Kya might have killed Chase, and the final chapters deal with the presumption of guilt about Kya. This presumption is buttressed by the town’s prejudice against the “Marsh Girl.” I can’t tell you how that ends, but the denouement is exciting and satisfying.

The book has received rave reviews, and I can see why. Delia Owens has created a collection of well-wrought characters. Kya in particular is very sympathetic, if a little implausible. The author is very effective in describing a believable fictional universe in coastal North Carolina in the area around Barkley Cove. The novel itself is an interesting melding of a coming of age novella with a murder mystery and a legal procedural tale. Highly recommended!

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is narrated by Cassandra Campbell and is 12 hrs and 12 mins.

Watch Delia Owens Interview On the Background for Her Latest Book Where the Crawdads Sing YouTube.







AUTHOR’S BIO

Celeste Ng is the author of two novels, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere.

Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You (2014), was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. It has been translated into over two dozen languages.

Celeste’s second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, was published by Penguin Press in September 2017, and is a New York Times bestseller, Amazon’s #2 best book and best fiction book of 2017, and was named a best book of the year by over 25 publications. It was also the winner of the Goodreads Readers Choice Award 2017 in Fiction, and will soon be published abroad in more than 20 countries.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, One Story, The Guardian, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2014 Everything I Never Told You
2017 Little Fires Everywhere

KIRKUS REVIEW

This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright.

It’s not for nothing that Ng (Everything I Never Told You, 2014) begins her second novel, about the events leading to the burning of the home of an outwardly perfect-seeming family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997, with two epigraphs about the planned community itself—attesting to its ability to provide its residents with “protection forever against…unwelcome change” and “a rather happy life” in Utopia. But unwelcome change is precisely what disrupts the Richardson family’s rather happy life, when Mia, a charismatic, somewhat mysterious artist, and her smart, shy 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move to town and become tenants in a rental house Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents. Mia and Pearl live a markedly different life from the Richardsons, an affluent couple and their four high school–age children—making art instead of money (apart from what little they need to get by); rooted in each other rather than a particular place (packing up what fits in their battered VW and moving on when “the bug” hits); and assembling a hodgepodge home from creatively repurposed, scavenged castoffs and love rather than gathering around them the symbols of a successful life in the American suburbs (a big house, a large family, gleaming appliances, chic clothes, many cars). What really sets Mia and Pearl apart and sets in motion the events leading to the “little fires everywhere” that will consume the Richardsons’ secure, stable world, however, is the way they hew to their own rules. In a place like Shaker Heights, a town built on plans and rules, and for a family like the Richardsons, who have structured their lives according to them, disdain for conformity acts as an accelerant, setting fire to the dormant sparks within them. The ultimate effect is cataclysmic. As in Everything I Never Told You, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to see—and reveal—a story from different perspectives. The characters she creates here are wonderfully appealing, and watching their paths connect—like little trails of flame leading inexorably toward one another to create a big inferno—is mesmerizing, casting into new light ideas about creativity and consumerism, parenthood and privilege.

With her second novel, Ng further proves she’s a sensitive, insightful writer with a striking ability to illuminate life in America.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is narrated by Jennifer Lim and is 11 hrs and 27 mins.

Watch Celeste Ng Interview On the Background for Her Latest Book Little Fires Everywhere YouTube.







AUTHOR’S BIO

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979, and was raised as a Strict Baptist. Having studied English at Anglia Ruskin University she worked as a civil servant before studying for an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Writing and the Gothic at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2004 she won the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Award for travel writing.

In January 2013 she was Writer-in-Residence at Gladstone’s Library. Here she completed the final draft of her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood, which was published by Serpent’s Tail in June 2014 to international critical acclaim. It won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award 2014, and was longlisted for the 2014 Guardian First Book Award and nominated for the 2014 Folio Prize. In January and February 2016 Sarah was the UNESCO City of Literature Writer-in-Residence in Prague.
Her second novel, The Essex Serpent, was published by Serpent’s Tail in May 2016. It was a number one bestseller in hardback, and was named Waterstones Book of the Year 2016. It was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2017, and was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017, the Wellcome Book Prize, the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and the New Angle Prize for Literature. It was broadcast on Radio 4 as a Book at Bedtime in April 2017, and was chosen for the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2017.

Sarah has spoken at a number of institutions including Gladstone’s Library, the Centre of Theological Inquiry at Princeton, and the Anglo-American University in Prague, on subjects including theology, the history and status of friendship in literature, the Gothic, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Her essays have been published in the Guardian and the Spectator, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Financial Times.

She currently lives in Norwich, Her third novel, Melmoth, was published in October 2018.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2014 After Me Comes the Flood
2016 The Essex Serpent
2018 Melmoth

KIRKUS REVIEW

Haunted by past misdeeds, a self-exiled English translator encounters the uncanny in snow-covered Prague.

Helen Franklin doesn’t deserve joy, so she arranges her own “rituals of discomfort: the uncovered mattress, the unheated room, the bitter tea,” the modern-day equivalents of wearing a hair shirt. When one of her few friends, the scholar Karel Pražan, stops her on the street to share his discovery of a strange manuscript, Helen begins to suspect her past has caught up with her at last. The manuscript contains tales from many sources, and they all detail horrors in various degrees: a young Austrian boy who gets his neighbors sent to concentration camps during World War II, a 16th-century Protestant in Tudor England striving to retain her faith in the face of persecution, a 19th-century Turkish bureaucrat responsible for writing a memo used to justify the detention of Armenian families. In each of these tales lurks the spectral figure of Melmoth, a witness “cursed to wander the earth without home or respite, until Christ comes again.” But why does steady, practical Helen Franklin feel Melmoth’s “cold gaze passing at the nape of her neck”—and what misdeeds from her past have pushed her to the brink of exhaustion? While Helen’s friends—the sharp, wry Thea, a former barrister, the cranky landlord Albína, and the saintly Adaya—worry, the beseeching hand of Melmoth grows ever closer. In rich, lyrical prose, Perry (The Essex Serpent, 2017, etc.) weaves history and myth, human frailty and compassion, into an affecting gothic morality tale for 2018. Like David Mitchell and Sarah Waters, Perry is changing what a modern-day ghost story can look like, challenging her readers to confront the realities of worldwide suffering from which fiction is so often an escape.

A chilling novel about confronting our complicity in past atrocities—and retaining the strength and moral courage to strive for the future.

THE AUDIOBOOK

The audio book is narrated by Jan Cramer and is 10 hrs and 39 mins.

Watch Sarah Perry On the Inspiration for Her New Book Melmoth YouTube.



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