Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Sentence: Inland by Tea Obreht


Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.

It all went softly enough at first, the little man and the bronc lifting velvet purls of dust.
Inland by Tea Obreht


Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Freebie: Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz


Congratulations to Barbara Theroux, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie contest: Who Says You’re Dead? by Jacob M. Appel.

This week’s giveaway is for the forthcoming memoir Ordinary Girls by Jacquira Díaz. The book, due for release at the end of October, has already been building buzz and gathering praise. To wit:

“A powerful memoir, heart-wrenching, inspiring, thoroughly engrossing, reminiscent of Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and more recently Tara Westover’s Educated. Through one family’s story, we learn about challenges of poverty, migration, uprootedness, addiction, sexism, racism--but also about the triumphant, spirited storyteller who survives to tell the tale. Jaquira Díaz is our contemporary Scheherazade, telling stories to keep herself alive and whole, and us her readers mesmerized and wanting more. And we get it: there is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime.”
       —Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies

and

“Díaz blazes a bold path from the depths of the heart and guts of girls up through their fiercely beautiful throats into unstoppable song. Ordinary Girls risks dipping into family fractures, identity traumas, and the strained lines between cultures with language so fierce in places I bit my tongue, so tender in places I felt humming in my skin. Sometimes the repressed, oppressed girl, against all odds, goes back to get her own body and voice. This book will save lives.”
       —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

Keep scrolling for more about the book and how to enter the contest (and possibly save your own life)...
While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope, to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be. Reminiscent of Tara Westover’s Educated, Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club, and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, Jaquira Díaz’s memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history—and reads as electrically as a novel.

If you’d like a chance at winning Ordinary Girls, simply e-mail your name and mailing address to


Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please (or, two if you share the postsee below). Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Sept. 19, at which time I’ll draw the winning names. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Sept. 20. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your e-mail address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book). P.S. Since I’m downsizing my own book collection, I’ll occasionally toss an extra book into package. If you aren’t interested in reading the extra “Freebie,” please consider donating it to your local little free library.

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Sentence: Great Books by David Denby


Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.


Walking home from midtown Manhattan, I am drawn haplessly to a bookstore…where I will buy two or three books, which then, often enough, sit on my shelves for years, unread or partly read, until finally, trying to look something up, I will pull one or another out, bewildered that I have it. I like to own them: I had grown into a book-buyer, but not always a book-reader; a boon to the book trade, perhaps, but not a boon to myself.

Great Books by David Denby

Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday Freebie: Who Says You’re Dead? by Jacob M. Appel


Congratulations to Tisa Houck, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie contest: Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart.

This week’s giveaway is for Who Says You’re Dead? by Jacob M. Appel. Subtitled Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned, Appel’s new book is sure to tantalize those who have a vested interest in bioethicsin other words, all of us. Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams, called it “An original, compelling, and provocative exploration of ethical issues in our society, with thoughtful and balanced commentary. I have not seen anything like it.” Keep scrolling for more about the book and how to enter the contest...


Drawing upon the author’s two decades teaching medical ethics, as well as his work as a practicing psychiatrist, this profound and addictive little book offers up challenging ethical dilemmas and asks readers, What would you do?
       * A daughter gets tested to see if she’s a match to donate a kidney to her father. The test reveals that she is not the man’s biological daughter. Should the doctor tell the father? Or the daughter?
       * A deaf couple prefers a deaf baby. Should they be allowed to use medical technology to ensure they have a child who can’t hear?
       * Who should get custody of an embryo created through IVF when a couple divorces?
       * Or, when you or a loved one is on life support, Who says you’re dead?
In short, engaging scenarios, Dr. Appel takes on hot-button issues that many of us will confront: genetic screening, sexuality, privacy, doctor-patient confidentiality. He unpacks each hypothetical with a brief reflection drawing from science, philosophy, and history, explaining how others have approached these controversies in real-world cases. Who Says You’re Dead? is designed to defy easy answers and to stimulate thought and even debate among professionals and armchair ethicists alike.

If you’d like a chance at winning Who Says You’re Dead?, simply e-mail your name and mailing address to


Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please (or, two if you share the postsee below). Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Sept. 12, at which time I’ll draw the winning names. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Sept. 13. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your e-mail address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book). P.S. Since I’m downsizing my own book collection, I’ll occasionally toss an extra book into package. If you aren’t interested in reading the extra “Freebie,” please consider donating it to your local little free library.

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Sentence: The Witch Elm by Tana French


Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.


My G and T tasted novel and starry, I could feel every individual bubble popping on my tongue.

The Witch Elm by Tana French