Quote for the Day: December 3rd, 2021

The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain: Book One) by Lloyd Alexander

Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.

Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain: Book One)

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 2nd, 2021

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.

John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: December 1st, 2021

To the Reader by James Merrill

Each day, hot off the press from Moon & Son,
“Knowing of your continued interest,”
Here’s a new book — well, actually the updated
Edition of their one all-time best-seller —
To find last night’s place in, and forge ahead.
If certain scenes and situations (“work,”
As the jacket has it, “of a blazingly
Original voice”) make you look up from your page
— But this is life, is truth, is me! — too many
Smack of self-plagiarism. Terror and tryst,
Vow and verbena, done before, to death,
In earlier chapters, under different names …
And what about those characters? No true
Creator would just let them fade from view
Or be snuffed out, like people. Yet is there room
(In the pinch of pages under your right thumb)
To bring them back so late into their own? —
Granted their own can tell itself from yours.
You’d like to think a structure will emerge,
If only a kind of Joycean squirrel run
Returning us all neatly to page 1,
But the inconsistencies of plot and style
Lead you to fear that, for this author, fiction
Aims at the cheap effect, “stranger than fiction,”
As people once thought life — no, truth, was. Strange …
Anyhow, your final thought tonight,
Before you kiss my picture and turn the light out,
Is of a more exemplary life begun
Tomorrow, truer, harder to get right.

© 1990 James Merrill. “To the Reader” was originally published in the November 1990 – Spring 1990 issue of The Yale Review. James Merrill (1926-1995) was one of the most celebrated poets of his generation. During his lifetime, he published eleven collections of poetry as well as plays, novels, a memoir, and the trilogy The Changing Light at Sandover.

One of the things I love most about James Merrill, other than the fact that he was a wholly original and inimitable poet, was that he was openly gay in most of his circles. For someone born in 1926 to live so openly and so unashamedly despite the stigma and prejudice he no doubt dealt with on a daily basis is incredible to me. It’s truly a shame that he is not discussed more outside of the queer literati because he changed the landscape of American poetry for everyone that came after him, queer or not.

Do you have a favorite poem of James Merrill’s or even a favorite collection? Before reading today’s post, had you heard of him? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: December 1st, 2021

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook) by Ijeoma Oluo

History is very kind to the memory of mediocre white men.

Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (Audiobook)

I’ve been listening to Mediocre on audiobook and I’ll probably be sharing many more quotes from it in the coming days. In it, Oluo flips the predominant narrative of American exceptionalism to one of American mediocrity. Throughout the history of the United States, indeed since its inception as a nation, white men have leveraged and solidified their status as members of the dominant social group (as opposed to other skills and talents they may possess) to shore up generational wealth, consolidate political power, and oppress minorities.

It’s apparent when one looks through the historical record that many white men were given status and power not because they earned it, but simply because of the fact that they were white men. Meanwhile, women, BIPOC, and queer people were pushed further and further into the margins so that their [white men’s] power and influence could be concentrated even more than it already was.

Have any of you read this book yet? If you haven’t and are planning to, make sure you have a pen and paper handy or something else you can take notes on. It’s an incredible read.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: November 30th, 2021

Poem by Lucy Ives

This isn’t a great poem.
I’m not writing this to write a great poem.
I am writing this because I am one person.
I am only one.
I have a face and a front of my face.
I have two shoulders and two hips.
I’m living.
I live.
So what can I do with my face if it can’t see that person’s face?
What do I tell my eyes to see?
How do I let them know that when they see that face it is that person’s wish that they not know it?
How do I tell them we have to go back into the world where no one knows us and we don’t know anyone?
How do I tell them to stay there?
There is nothing for them to see.
How do I tell my hands they will never touch that person’s hands?
How do I tell my ears that when that person says my name it is only a word?
How do I tell my lips to make that person’s name another word so I can say it?
How do I tell my neck that person cannot see it?
How do I tell my hair that person cannot pull it?
It is my hair.
It is my head.
How do I tell my teeth they will never strike that person’s teeth?
How do I tell my thighs it does not matter what they do?
They are the tops of my legs.
They will fall apart.
How do I tell my back it must never wait for that person?
That person will not hold me.
That person does not know where I am, does not think of me.
Does not know I have exhausted every argument against him.
That person does not know I no longer love freedom.
That person does not know what it means when I ask for forgiveness.
That person does not know I beg the world to let me change.
That person cannot see my face.
Knows a woman with my name and she is a woman.
Does not know the word I hide behind my words.
Does not know this face.
Does not know this is my face.
Says my name and looks at this person.
How do I tell my feet to stand here?
How do I tell my eyes to see?
How do I tell the voice under my voice to keep on speaking?
How do I tell my mouth to speak?

© 2015 Lucy Ives. Today’s poem originally appeared on the Poetry Foundation’s website as part of PoetryNow, a partnership between WFMT Radio Network and the Poetry Foundation. You can listen to an audio recitation of “Poem” by Lucy Ives here.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 30th, 2021

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Hot Off the Presses: New Book Releases for November 30th, 2021

Ever since I started working in a bookstore, Tuesdays have been my favorite day of the week because that’s when most new releases hit shelves. Now, that’s not a strict rule. For example, James Patterson’s titles almost always come out on Mondays. I guess when you’re the world’s highest-paid author you can grease the wheels a little for a tad more exclusivity than your peers are afforded.

Featured below are eight new titles (with links for purchase included, of course) that are sure to bring loads of delight over the holiday season. If you’re looking for gift ideas, there’s a little something for everyone here: romance, mystery, science fiction, business, personal growth, and more.

Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Page Count: 336

Synopsis: Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

Bonus

Check out the free downloadable pdf Book Club Kit available on Jodi Picoult’s website.

Girls of Fate and Fury (Girls of Paper and Fire, #3) (James Patterson Presents) by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Fate and Fury (Girls of Paper and Fire, #3) (James Patterson Presents) by Natasha Ngan

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Page Count: 437

Synopsis: “Don’t struggle, Lei-zhi. It’s time to take you back to the Hidden Palace. You’re going home.

The final pages of Girls of Storm and Shadow brought a jaw-dropping conclusion that had the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in uncertainty. But one thing was certain – the Hidden Palace was the last place that Lei would ever consider home. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls would plague her forever. She could not be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren. The last Lei saw of the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death. With the two girls torn apart and each in terrorizing peril, will they find each other again or have their destinies diverged forever?

Girls of Fate and Fury is the epic conclusion to the “glittering” and “adrenaline-soaked” series by Natasha Ngan, hailed as “a stunning, new talent” for her “beautiful, lush, lyrical” writing.

Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown, Ph.D., MSW

Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown, Ph.D., MSW

Publisher: Random House

Page Count: 336

Synopsis: In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.

Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown’s singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power, it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice.

Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success by Gary Vaynerchuk

Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success by Gary Vaynerchuk

Publisher: Harper Business

Page Count: 224

Synopsis: In his sixth business book, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and investor Gary Vaynerchuk explores the twelve essential emotional skills that are integral to his life—and business—success and provides today’s (and tomorrow’s) leaders with critical tools to acquire and develop these traits.

For decades, leaders have relied on “hard” skills to make smart decisions, while dismissing the importance of emotional intelligence. Soft skills like self-awareness and curiosity aren’t quantifiable; they can’t be measured on a spreadsheet and aren’t taught in B-schools or emphasized in institutions. We’ve been taught that emotional intelligence is a “nice to have” in business, not a requirement. But soft skills can actually accelerate business success, Gary Vaynerchuk argues. For analytical minds, it’s challenging to understand how to get “better” at being self-aware, curious, or empathetic—or even why it’s important to try.

In this wise and practical book, Gary explores the 12 human ingredients that have led to his success and happiness and provides exercises to help you develop these traits yourself. He also shares what the “half” is—that emotional ingredient of leadership he’s weakest at and makes the most effort to improve. Working through the ideas and exercises in the book, he teaches you how to discover your own “halves” and offers insight on how to strengthen them. 

Gary’s secret to success is using these twelve traits in varying mixtures, depending on the situation. But how do we know when to balance patience with ambition? Humility with conviction? Gary provides real-life examples involving common business scenarios to show you how to use them together for optimum results. 

This iconoclastic book will help you refine your ingredients and improve your leadership capabilities. When implemented in the proper situation, these ingredients can help leaders land promotions, retain core employees, move faster than competitors, win the loyalty of customers, and build successful organizations that last.

Gentleman Seeks Bride: A Hazards of Dukes Novel by Megan Frampton

Gentleman Seeks Bride: A Hazards of Dukes Novel by Megan Frampton

Publisher: Avon

Page Count: 362

Synopsis: It’s a well-known fact that when a man is in search of a bride, a good dowry is never a hindrance.

Thomas Sharpe is handsome, well-bred, and desperately in need of a wealthy bride. His father has lost their income, his sister needs looking after, and so to save them all from a life of poverty he travels to London in search of an heiress.

Enter Lady Jane Capel. After her fiancé ended their engagement two years ago, Jane boldly left her parents’ home and moved in with her half-brother Percy. What does one more scandal matter to a family with such a curious reputation? Jane is independent, but not as well versed in life—and love—as she wants. 

The two of them strike a deal: Thomas will show her all there is to know about the world —and intimacy—and Jane will help him find a bride. But the more time they spend together and the closer they get, the two of them soon realize that things aren’t so simple when it comes to men and women…

Nanny Dearest: A Novel by Flora Collins

Nanny Dearest: A Novel by Flora Collins

Publisher: MIRA

Page Count: 336

Synopsis: In this compulsively readable novel of domestic suspense, a young woman takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny, until she starts to uncover secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.

Sue Keller is lost. When her father dies suddenly, she’s orphaned in her mid-twenties, her mother already long gone. Then Sue meets Annie. It’s been twenty years, but Annie could never forget that face. She was Sue’s live-in nanny at their big house upstate, and she loved Sue like she was her own. 

Craving connection and mothering, Sue is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue starts to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure—or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care. 

Told in alternating points of views—Annie in the mid-’90s and Sue in the present day—this taut novel of suspense will keep readers turning the pages right up to the shocking end.

Bonus

Check out my recent post The Nefarious Nannies Reading List to find readalikes for Flora Collins’s new novel.

Leviathan Falls: The Final Volume in The Expanse by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Falls: The Final Volume in The Expanse by James S.A. Corey

Publisher: Orbit

Page Count: 528

Synopsis: The Laconian Empire has fallen, setting the thirteen hundred solar systems free from the rule of Winston Duarte. But the ancient enemy that killed the gate builders is awake, and the war against our universe has begun again.

In the dead system of Adro, Elvi Okoye leads a desperate scientific mission to understand what the gate builders were and what destroyed them, even if it means compromising herself and the half-alien children who bear the weight of her investigation. Through the wide-flung systems of humanity, Colonel Aliana Tanaka hunts for Duarte’s missing daughter. . . and the shattered emperor himself. And on the Rocinante, James Holden and his crew struggle to build a future for humanity out of the shards and ruins of all that has come before.

As nearly unimaginable forces prepare to annihilate all human life, Holden and a group of unlikely allies discover a last, desperate chance to unite all of humanity, with the promise of a vast galactic civilization free from wars, factions, lies, and secrets if they win.

But the price of victory may be worse than the cost of defeat.

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Page Count: 336

Synopsis: From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly—and fatally—wrong.

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out from working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again.

So when the three unexpectedly run into each other, they decide to avoid their problems by ditching. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say. . .

. . . until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school—and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse. It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common…like a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.

Could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

Note: All synopses in the preceding post came from their respective publishers.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Picture Book Review: Unicorn Day by Diana Murray (Words) and Luke Flowers (Pictures)

Unicorn Day by Diana Murray (Words) and Luke Flowers (Pictures)

Review

Note: I did not receive any compensation from either the publisher or the author(s) to read and review the book discussed below. As of the time of the writing of this review, I do not belong to any affiliate programs which compensate me for sales arising from links included on this page or on any page created and maintained by The Voracious Bibliophile. Links are provided as a courtesy to the author(s) to help them continue producing their works. I am not responsible for the content and/or claims contained on sites linked away from The Voracious Bibliophile and the inclusion of such links do not imply endorsement on my part.

Bright and rambunctious with clever wordplay to encourage kids and their adults to sing along, with Unicorn Day you can’t go wrong!

This book has some of the best illustrations I’ve ever seen in a picture book. Bright and rambunctious with clever wordplay to encourage kids and their adults to sing along, with Unicorn Day you can’t go wrong! You see what I mean? It’s infectious. Another thing I loved about this book is the way it encourages tolerance and acceptance of those who are different.

During the celebrations, a horse masquerading as a unicorn is discovered when their horn falls off, and the horse starts to leave in shame. It really tugs at your heartstrings, especially if you’ve ever been ostracized yourself. The unicorns, not wanting to lose a friend, help their new friend reattach their horn and the celebration continues, adding non-hooved friends along the way to celebrate everyone’s individuality and uniqueness. Unicorn Day is for everyone!

Would it be too much for me to sing along with the unicorns, proclaiming proudly, “I’m on the right track, baby, I was horn this way.”

Also, it did not escape my notice that one of the unicorns featured on the book’s cover has a rainbow horn that looks not-too-subtly like a Pride flag. Would it be too much for me to sing along with the unicorns, proclaiming proudly, “I’m on the right track, baby, I was horn this way.” You see what I did there?

Unicorn Day was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in June 2019 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: November 29th, 2021

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010 by Adrienne Rich

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve by Adrienne Rich

Saw you walking barefoot
taking a long look
at the new moon's eyelid

later spread
sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair
asleep but not oblivious
of the unslept unsleeping
elsewhere

Tonight I think
no poetry
will serve

Syntax of rendition:

verb pilots the plane
adverb modifies action

verb force-feeds noun
submerges the subject
noun is choking
verb disgraced goes on doing

now diagram the sentence


2007

© 2011 Adrienne Rich. Today’s poem is taken from Rich’s collection Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010, which was published by W.W. Norton in 2011 and was nominated for the National Book Award for Poetry.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: November 29th, 2021

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

My love for this book dwindled with its increased popularity. I don’t know why that happened even though I know I’m not the only one to experience it, that fateful lessening. It had, of course, nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with the fact that when I first read it, it felt like this delicious secret shared only between myself and the author. Even the author was an afterthought, as if the book had materialized fully-formed from the ether. Once every other lovelorn teenager went gaga over it, it fell in my esteem. If the masses also saw it the way I did, could it really be that special?

There’s an impulse that exists when you love something or someone to both keep that love to yourself and to proclaim it loudly from the rooftops.

I guess the answer is both yes and no. There’s an impulse that exists when you love something or someone to both keep that love to yourself and to proclaim it loudly from the rooftops. Sometimes these impulses, opposite though they may be, exist in tandem. Dichotomous and fretful, they war with one another. Do I whisper or do I scream? Do I hold on or simply let go?

It is possible to have your own relationship with a work of art that is separate from the rest of the world.

Now, after several years of living, I can see that I was wrong to let anything interfere with my own experience. It is possible to have your own relationship with a work of art that is separate from the rest of the world. It is not easy, mind you. Only possible. And I’m glad I came across today’s quote because it reminded me of when I first read The Fault in Our Stars sitting in a lawn chair in Kroger and ignoring the rest of the world. I made it through about 40 pages before my parents found me and told me it was time to leave. I bought the book and brought it home with me, anxious to soak in more. Those were good times.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.