by Rana Asfour
'Death is Hard Work' by Syrian author Khaled Khalifa is a satirical novel set in a war-ravaged Syria, that meditates on death and dying, love and revenge in a place where fear has become everyone's sole true enemy. The English-language translation will be released by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, on February 12, 2019
'The shame and the silence they had lived through for years were exacting a price, and everyone would pay it, executioners and victims alike'. - 'Death is Hard Work' by Khaled Khalifa
by Rana Asfour
The latest Sarah Jessica Parker imprint for Hogarth (SJP Hogarth) is to be released into the book universe today.
'The Golden Child' by Claire Adam is a psychological novel set in Trinidad following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices about scarcity, loyalty, and love.
Early positive reviews such as that by Jennifer Clement, author of 'Gun Love' described it as 'a stunning novel written with force and beauty ... that stands tall beside icons of her tradition like V.S. Naipaul.'
Julie Myerson, author of 'The Stopped Heart' found it 'utterly convincing, horrifying and, ultimately, intensely moving.' She continued, 'it’s almost impossible to believe this small masterpiece is a first novel. Adam is a true and rare talent. I’m in awe.'
However, although Kirkus found it to be a 'fascinating' novel, it found it 'failed to stick its landing'.
by Rana Asfour
Here's a list of books that I'm looking forward to this week. I'll update along the week in case something else catches my eye. Enjoy!
“You can be beautiful, even more beautiful than before.” This is the seductive promise of Dr. Nzinga’s clinic, where anyone can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization will liberate you from the confines of being born in a black body—if you can afford it.
In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?
This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. At its center is a father who just wants his son to thrive in a broken world. Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s work evokes the clear vision of Ralph Ellison, the dizzying menace of Franz Kafka, and the crackling prose of Vladimir Nabokov. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.
Readers and critics alike raved over USA Today bestselling author Sally Thorne’s smash hit debut, 'The Hating Game', which has sold in over 20 countries. Now she’s back with an unforgettable romantic comedy about a woman who finally has a shot at her long time crush—if she dares.
Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
This next hilarious romance includes a special PS section with two Happily Ever Afters—one for this novel featuring Darcy and Tom and the other, an epilogue featuring fan favorites Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman from 'The Hating Game'!
A powerful and thought-provoking YA debut from New York Times bestselling author Laura Moriarty.
Imagine a United States in which registries and detainment camps for Muslim-Americans are a reality. Fifteen-year-old Sarah-Mary Williams of Hannibal, Missouri, lives in this world, and though she has strong opinions on almost everything, she isn’t concerned with the internments because she doesn’t know any Muslims. She assumes that everything she reads and sees in the news is true, and that these plans are better for everyone’s safety.
But when she happens upon Sadaf, a Muslim fugitive determined to reach freedom in Canada, Sarah-Mary at first believes she must turn her in. But Sadaf challenges Sarah-Mary’s perceptions of right and wrong, and instead Sarah-Mary decides, with growing conviction, to do all she can to help Sadaf escape.
The two set off on a desperate journey, hitchhiking through the heart of an America that is at times courageous and kind, but always full of tension and danger for anyone deemed suspicious.
'Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House' by Cliff Sims - Published Jan 30 - Thomas Dunn Books
After standing at Donald Trump’s side on Election Night, Cliff Sims joined him in the West Wing as Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Message Strategy.
He soon found himself pulled into the President’s inner circle as a confidante, an errand boy, an advisor, a punching bag, and a friend. Sometimes all in the same conversation.
As a result, Sims gained unprecedented access to the President, sitting in on private meetings with key Congressional officials, world leaders, and top White House advisors. He saw how Trump handled the challenges of the office, and he learned from Trump himself how he saw the world.
For five hundred days, Sims also witnessed first-hand the infighting and leaking, the anger, joy, and recriminations. He had a role in some of the President’s biggest successes, and he shared the blame for some of his administration’s worst disasters. He gained key, often surprising insights into the players of the Trump West Wing, from Jared Kushner and John Kelly to Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.
He even helped Trump craft his enemies list, knowing who was loyal and who was not.
And he took notes. Hundreds of pages of notes. In real-time.
Sims stood with the President in the eye of the storm raging around him, and now he tells the story that no one else has written―because no one else could. The story of what it was really like in the West Wing as a member of the President’s team. The story of power and palace intrigue, backstabbing and bold victories, as well as painful moral compromises, occasionally with yourself.
by Rana Asfour
First they gave us weekly serialised short stories in our mailbox and now Penguin Random House's cleverest people are launching 'The Write Advice', a monthly blog post that offers all writers who are looking for guidance, perspective and real advice a 'behind the curtain look' at how established Random House authors get the work done. Make sure to subscribe to their free newsletter so you won't miss a single one.
Their promise is that 'whether it’s workshopping with others, making a detailed outline, or just showing up at your desk consistently, you’re sure to learn a few helpful and inspiring things about writing'.
Check out their first post by Penguin Random House author Chanel Cleeton who talks magic red pen, writing, revision and a lot more. Click HERE to start.
by Rana Asfour
Here's a quick look at the books that hit the shelves today and that BookFabulous is adding to its 'To Read' list for 2019
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.
The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.
At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.
'Maid' explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path. Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line.
Katharine Smyth was a student at Oxford when she first read Virginia Woolf’s modernist masterpiece 'To the Lighthouse' in the comfort of an English sitting room, and in the companionable silence she shared with her father. After his death—a calamity that claimed her favourite person—she returned to that beloved novel as a way of wrestling with his memory and understanding her own grief.
Smyth’s story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf’s Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss, and homecoming. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of 'To the Lighthouse', and her artful adaptation of its groundbreaking structure, Smyth guides us toward a new vision of Woolf’s most demanding and rewarding novel—and crafts an elegant reminder of literature’s ability to clarify and console.
Braiding memoir, literary criticism, and biography, 'All the Lives We Ever Lived' is a wholly original debut: a love letter from a daughter to her father, and from a reader to her most cherished author.
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.
As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think...
‘The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear And Love In The Modern Middle East’ by Adam Valen Levinson - Review
by Rana Asfour
By Rana Asfour
by Rana Asfour
by Rana Asfour