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The New Yorker Magazine reads the new memoir from James Patterson, “a man so relentlessly bullish on storytelling seems never to have formulated the story of his own life.”

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From the New Yorker: James Patterson‘s new autobiography adds another title to his enormous stack, but does it deepen the plot?

“Man, do I have stories to tell,” James Patterson writes in his new autobiography, “James Patterson” (Little, Brown). The best-selling author does serve up stories, lots of them; the book is a grab bag of anecdotes, many of which have the tone and the import of a humorous icebreaker in a Rotary Club speech. There was the time that Patterson and a fellow altar boy—Patterson grew up in a devoutly Catholic family—almost got caught with a stash of unconsecrated Communion hosts that his friend had squirrelled away for post-Mass snacking. Or the time that, as a junior in college, he went to a Broadway production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” and the woman seated next to him began stroking his leg, distracting him from the performance. Or the time he and a buddy were caddying for a surly golf pro at a country club in Patterson’s home town of Newburgh, New York, and the buddy stole one of the pro’s balls—while it was in play.

Because Patterson has been selling more books than any other living author for many years now, these tidbits often involve famous actors, politicians, and recording artists. Patterson has almost as many names to drop as he does stories to tell, although the celebrity encounters tend to be less amusing than his boyhood escapades. Serena Williams makes a brief appearance on a plane, whispering to Patterson of the other passengers, “They want my autograph, but I want yours.” Patterson once had a meeting with Tom Cruise, who was “smart and a total pleasure to talk to,” and also “not that short,” although nothing much came of the potential collaboration they discussed. (He relates a similarly anticlimactic meeting with Warren Beatty.) Hugh Jackman and Charlize Theron, Patterson tells us, “both look amazing in real life. Also, they don’t seem full of themselves.”

Read full post on The New Yorker

Stephen King’s #1 bestseller, now a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba! The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

by Stephen King
4.4 stars – 9,664 reviews
Everyday Price: $10.99
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
“An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King’s greatest literary achievement” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.

A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center” (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is “brilliant and fresh…and will leave you panting for more” (Booklist).

It’s Giveaway time! Get a free bonus entry into our weekly raffle and check out The Bishop’s Pawn: A Novel by Steve Berry

The Bishop’s Pawn: A Novel (Cotton Malone Book 13)

by Steve Berry
4.5 stars – 1,483 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

The first case of New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s iconic hero, Cotton Malone.

History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.

Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.

It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces—the Justice Department and the FBI—are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement’s greatest martyr.

Malone’s decision to see it through to the end —— from the raucous bars of Mexico, to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, and ultimately into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself —— not only changes his own life, but the course of history.

Steve Berry always mines the lost riches of history —— in The Bishop’s Pawn he imagines a gripping, provocative thriller about an American icon.

Go to Giveaway Central to enter and to say thank you here is a bonus entry word: pawn

Readers rejoice! Kindle book freebies!

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Surviving the College Admissions Madness

by Kevin Robert Martin
4.3 stars – 23 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Unconventional. Irreverent. Brutal. Entertaining. Unlike any book written about higher education, Surviving the College Admissions Madness is a complete takedown of a deeply flawed and thoroughly broken system. Kevin Robert Martin argues that elite universities do not care about their applicants.

He observes that college admissions is highly undemocratic and dehumanizing. University bureaucracies alienate applicants from their humanity and sense of self.

Reading essay advice books might help you get in, but they won’t help you stay sane. Surviving and even thriving depend on digging deep into your beliefs and understanding your behaviors within the broader context of society. This isn’t another Admissions 101 “how-to to write a killer essay” book or a promise of “six easy steps” for Ivy League acceptance.

Martin provides helpful advice for avoiding application mistakes, building a reasonable college list, minimizing debt, identifying cognitive errors and distortions, and helping applicants reframe their college applications. This book equips readers with the vocabulary, frameworks, and tools to make sense of America’s broken higher education system, starting with the admissions gatekeepers.

Admissions Madness is the first of its kind to integrate applicant psychology with the sociology and economics of higher education. Martin observes that a system of bad incentives in education and society wastes hundreds of millions of hours each admissions cycle. It produces profound suffering for tens of thousands of students each year. He writes for families and high school educators who want a deeper understanding of the truth.

Elite college admissions undermines students whether they’re privileged or marginalized, rich or poor, black or white, rural or urban, first-time freshman or transfer, and domestic or international.

Almost everyone loses, even those who get into their dream schools. Elite universities are neither accountable to nor transparent with the public. Early Decision policies and aggressive recruitment and questionable enrollment management practices monopolize universities’ leverage over families’ well-being. Power disparities between universities and families explain why the admissions process is so stressful and exasperating.

Waitlists, appeals, and deferrals keep students in limbo. Endless essay requirements, recommendations, and interviews benefit the university while wasting applicants’ time and making them lose sleep and their sanity. Holistic review corrupts students’ interests and high school learning environments. Students and families rarely realize that the system doesn’t have to be this way.

Application numbers skyrocket while first-year student class sizes remain the same despite COVID-19 virtual learning disruptions. Elite universities claim to care about diversity and college access, yet they are hypocrites. Admission by holistic review has noble origins in the civil rights movement, but nowadays, it serves as a tool for oppression. Holistic review is arbitrary, capricious, and prone to error and bias. Martin proposes admission by partial lottery as one reform among many.

American meritocracy is a myth. Rather than vehicles for upward mobility, elite universities squeeze out the middle class and contribute to wealth inequality. Universities prioritize generating revenue over a genuine commitment to diversity and access. Understanding these and other inconvenient truths will help students and families survive the college admissions madness.

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Pasta For Two

by Elia Alexander
4.8 stars – 14 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Everyday heroes dealing with love, passion, compassion, forgiveness, and their search for reconciliation.

In every one of its seven short tales, Pasta for Two captures gentle, heart-warming moments of love, loss, and everyday struggles with delicate precision and deep psychological insight. In this collection of soulful stories and novellas, Elia Alexander pits her readers with events that feel both familiar and peculiar, allowing them to share the most intimate world of the heroes and their reactions to the real and the imaginary.

A chance meeting between estranged cousins; a woman knitting magnificent sweaters for a mysterious girl; a mother making a desperate effort to reconnect with her daughter through their mutual love of classical music; a gray jacket that holds a special meaning for a number of people; a new resident threatens to change the routine of an elderly woman in assisted living; a university lecturer struggling to deal with her problematic career and crumbling family life; and in the titular novella, a reclusive introvert expressing his love for his date by making perfect pasta plates.

Odd and charming, gentle and heartwarming, honest and whimsical, Pasta for Two’s stories depict scenes from real life in their messy, confusing, and beautiful form. The dramatic plot seems to be only a background for the subjective ways in which the heroes perceive their life and the lives of others who are significant to them. Each story develops in several explicit and implicit layers of description, inviting the reader to uncover some puzzle and mystery.

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The Beautiful Addiction: Passing Through the Marathon Wall for the 70th Birthday (Younger Than Ever Book 4)

by Dr. Zeev Gilkis
4.5 stars – 40 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

It’s never too late to make dreams come true – even at the age of 70.

At the age of 68 Dr. Zeev Gilkis, a cancer survivor, decided to gift himself an unusual present for his 70th birthday – to run his first full marathon.

In his previous book “Running Back in Time” the author, writing at the time at age 69, told the story of the first half of his journey. Beginning with two injuries and 5 km runs and ending with achieving his interim goal of running a half-marathon.

“The Beautiful Addiction” relates the second part of his journey, through which Zeev gradually increases the distance of his runs from 21km to 42km while sharing his thoughts about life and becoming ageless, all the way to the surprising ending.

This book is about making dreams come true, setting ambitious goals, persistence, performance, achievement, and joy. There is also some life philosophy and of course, a lot of running.

Read and discover that you too can realize your dreams!

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To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable… When The Moon Was Ours: A Novel by Anna-Marie McLemore

YA Book of The Day:

When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel

by Anna-Marie McLemore
4.5 stars – 392 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Winner of the 2016 Tiptree Award!
Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Stonewall Book Award Honor

“McLemore’s second novel is such a lush surprising fable, you half expect birds to fly out of the pages… McLemore uses the supernatural to remind us that the body’s need to speak its truth is primal and profound, and that the connection between two people is no more anyone’s business than why the dish ran away with the spoon.”
–Jeff Giles, New York Times Book Review

Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple “Best YA Novels” lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.

Today’s Book of The Day is sponsored by this week’s Kids’ eBook of The Week:

Kids Book of The Week:

Priscilla the Great

by Sybil Nelson
4.5 stars – 219 reviews
Everyday Price: $4.99
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Hi, I’m Priscilla, an ordinary seventh grader with some extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only do I have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill my family and me! But with the help of my genius best friend, Tai, we’re gonna bring down the evil Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Winner of The Strongest Start Novel competition
A Flamingnet Top Choice Book
Voted Most Hilarious Read of 2010 by Booklopedia

Think “Nancy Drew meets X-Men”… Priscilla The Great by Sybil Nelson

Priscilla The Great

by Sybil Nelson
4.5 stars – 219 reviews
Supports Us with Commissions Earned
FREE with Kindle UnlimitedLearn More
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Hi, I’m Priscilla, an ordinary seventh grader with some extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only do I have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill my family and me! But with the help of my genius best friend, Tai, we’re gonna bring down the evil Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Winner of The Strongest Start Novel competition
A Flamingnet Top Choice Book
Voted Most Hilarious Read of 2010 by Booklopedia

A cognitive psychologist explains why we forget books we read

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From The Guardian: Why do we forget books we’ve read? We ask an expert.

Ever thought about a book you’ve read, and had no recollection of the plot? Or followed a recommendation to watch a TV show, only to find you’ve already seen it? We live in an age of mass content, with TV, books and films consumed at some of the highest levels in recent years. Could this be wreaking havoc with our ability to remember them? I asked Dr Sean Kang, a cognitive psychologist who specialises in memory: why do I keep forgetting the books I’ve read?

I did English at uni and it’s embarrassing how often a former classmate will mention a book I have no recollection of. My theory is it’s because I’m a journalist, and dealing with words all day is doing something to my brain.
Interesting intuition! One of the prominent theories of why we forget is interference. I’m going to assume you have read many other books?

Shucks, Sean, I think that’s the nicest thing any interviewee has said to me! But yes, I’d say so.
You probably read many books before and after the book your classmate is talking about. What happens is, when you’re trying to retrieve a memory of that book, all the information from other books interferes. Probably in your profession there’s even more opportunity for similar information to interfere.

Read full post on The Guardian