Articles on this Page
- 05/01/14--07:30: _May Deals: $1.99 Eb...
- 05/01/14--08:45: _Reporting on Mother...
- 05/01/14--10:00: _Jewish American Her...
- 05/04/14--00:52: _Tweetstakes: Rosema...
- 05/05/14--05:00: _Teachers Are Heroes...
- 05/05/14--12:46: _Military Monday: An...
- 05/06/14--08:00: _Depression Awarenes...
- 05/07/14--06:15: _Five of the Creepie...
- 05/08/14--06:00: _The Carnival Killer...
- 05/09/14--12:14: _Madre, sólo hay una
- 05/11/14--08:00: _A Mother's Day Trib...
- 05/12/14--06:05: _Samuel R. Delany Na...
- 05/13/14--08:00: _Who Was Agrippa? Je...
- 05/14/14--06:02: _Four Ideas That Wou...
- 05/14/14--12:00: _Title...
- 05/14/14--13:50: _Retro Reads May Sel...
- 05/15/14--06:00: _Spotlight on: James...
- 05/16/14--05:00: _Introducing Our Boo...
- 05/20/14--12:58: _History Comes Alive...
- 05/21/14--06:02: _The Family That Gee...
- 05/01/14--07:30: May Deals: $1.99 Ebook Sale
- 05/01/14--10:00: Jewish American Heritage Month: Great Literature on Sale from $1.99
- 05/04/14--00:52: Tweetstakes: Rosemary’s Baby
- 05/05/14--05:00: Teachers Are Heroes: 5 Fictional Teachers Who Rock
- 05/06/14--08:00: Depression Awareness Week: 8 Quotes from Darkness Visible
- 05/09/14--12:14: Madre, sólo hay una
- 05/11/14--08:00: A Mother's Day Tribute to Cynthia Freeman from Her Son
- 05/14/14--06:02: Four Ideas That Would Make Amazing Steampunk Stories
- 05/14/14--12:00: Title...
- 05/14/14--13:50: Retro Reads May Selection: No Quarter Asked by Janet Dailey
- 05/15/14--06:00: Spotlight on: James Neal Harvey's Dark Thrillers
- 05/16/14--05:00: Introducing Our Book Club Guide and Recommendations Series
- 05/20/14--12:58: History Comes Alive in Nine Novels
Five excellent ebooks are on sale for $1.99 from participating retailers throughout the month of May. Whether you’re a budding chef, a mystery junkie, or a fiction fanatic, there’s an ebook here for you. Click on each cover to learn more!
From the author of the bestselling Jason Bourne novels comes the thrilling tale of ninjutsu master Nicholas Linnear. Yearning for the life he led in Japan, Linnear abruptly quits his advertising job. He meets a striking beauty named Justine and is beginning to fall in love when something chilling draws him back into his past: the corpse of a coworker, murdered by a Japanese throwing star. There is a ninja loose in New York City, and as the body count rises, it becomes clear that people close to Linnear are being targeted. Only he has the skill to stop a twisted killer with a personal vendetta. Buy The Ninjafrom , the , , or .
by and Mark Victor Hansen
Whether you’re discovering Chicken Soup for the first time or are a long time fan, this volume will inspire you to be a better person, reach for your highest potential, share your love, and embrace the world around you. Whenever you wish to gain perspective, inspire a friend, or teach a child, you’ll find just the right story in this heartwarming treasury. Buy Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit from , the , Barnesandnoble.com, , or .
In eleven ripping short stories, the mystery genre’s greatest sleuth shows his chops. In this incomparable collection, Ellery Queen tangles with a violent book thief, an assassin who targets acrobats, and New York’s only cleanly shaven bearded lady. Criminals everywhere fear him, whether they work in mansions or back alleys. No mystery is too difficult for the man with the golden brain. Buy The Adventures of Ellery Queenfrom , the , , , or .
Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything—who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David—or “Hank”—and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of—Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Buy Being Henry Davidfrom , the , , , or .
This summer, live in the season by shopping at farmers’ markets and gathering the very freshest vegetables from your own garden. The way the Canal House cooks prepare food couldn’t be simpler—slicing big, juicy tomatoes for lunch, preserving tomatoes for later; cooking corn into succotash; and turning ripe summer fruit into jams, jellies, and cobblers. The sixty-seven triple-tested recipes are delicious and completely doable for the novice and experienced cook alike.Buy Canal House Cooking Volume Nº 4from , the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, , or .
The below is excerpted from Joyce Maynard’s Domestic Affairs, on sale for $1.99 through Mother’s Day. An unforgettable collection of essays on the everyday thrills and challenges of marriage and motherhood, from one of America’s best-loved memoirists, it makes for a wonderful gift for any mother in your life.
I was a newspaper reporter in New York City once, and I wrote about fires and elevator operators’ strikes and dog shows and murders. It was a pretty exciting line of work for a young single woman who’d grown up in a small New Hampshire town. I loved having a job that allowed me to earn my living doing what I like best anyway, which is observing life and asking questions. But I knew from the first that it was no life for a married woman with young children, and so when I met the man I wanted to marry and with whom I wanted to raise children, I quit my job and left the city. We moved back to my home state of New Hampshire, to this two-hundred-year-old farmhouse at the end of a dirt road with no neighbors in sight, five miles outside of a small town with no stop light or movie theater, no elevator operators’ strikes or, for that matter, elevators. Steve, my husband, is a painter, who sometimes paints canvases and sometimes houses. He built himself a studio; I got pregnant. At first it was enough simply to be together in our new home, and having a baby.
But when, after the first idyllic months up here, the reality began to hit us that we’d both have to do something about earning a living, I fell into despair. Truthfully, I guess I also missed the excitement and adventure of my former career in this new life of mine, in which the big news of the day might be the ripening of our first tomato or a trip to the town dump. I was a reporter without a story—and where once I could always hop on the subway and find one, now I was seven months pregnant, with the snow piled so high I couldn’t see out my kitchen windows and our only car buried deep in the drifts.
I made bold plans that as soon as our baby was born I’d get right back to business as usual, and from a tip I’d picked up I even got myself an assignment to do a story about houses of prostitution in midtown Manhattan. Six weeks after her birth, I strapped Audrey into the infant seat beside me and drove to New York to conduct my research. I made phone calls to an underworld character who could be reached only between three and four A.M. I even made it to one East Side town house, whose shades were all drawn—where, I was told, there was a woman who would talk to me round about the same hour of night, if I’d meet her at a certain corner.
Only Audrey didn’t cooperate: She needed to be nursed when I was supposed to be taking notes. She cried in the background while I attempted to carry on my interview with the underworld character. The problem wasn’t confined to Audrey, either. I realized, once I left my hearth and home, that by my hearth, in my home, was really where I wanted to be with this new child of mine. By day two of work on my assignment I knew the whole thing was impossible. Not simply this particular project, but also the notion that having a baby would change nothing in my life but the number of exemptions on our income tax return. Walking down a particularly fashionable section of downtown the day before returning home, with my empty notebook and Audrey strapped on my chest in her corduroy front pack, I saw a chic-looking woman stare at us, stop, and then do a double take. “Oh,” she said, seeing that I’d observed her. “I was just surprised to see you had a real baby in there. At first I thought it was just an accessory.”
I had a real baby all right. And I had learned something from my ridiculous, impossible attempt at combining investigative reporting with mothering a newborn. Having a child changes everything. If I was still going to write, I’d do better to acknowledge and adapt to my child’s existence than to pretend she wasn’t there.
So I made my child and my home my new beat. I set up my typewriter on my kitchen table and I began reporting on my own life and the little dramas that happened in the sandbox and the supermarket, and discovered that there was in fact plenty of action to be found without having to venture past the end of our driveway. Over the years there have been more characters added to the scene (Audrey’s two brothers, plenty of friends, and strangers passing through). A few summers back, Steve built a little house for me to work in, out behind our own bigger one and his studio, so I no longer work surrounded, as I used to, by the smells of dinner cooking and the sight of laundry in need of sorting. But my situation remains in many ways the same: My mind is always on the home front. I could get on a plane to New York City, by myself, and write about the goings-on of the big world beyond our little town a little more easily these days than I could have nine years ago. But the fact is, the adventure that occupies me now is making a home, making a marriage work, trying to have a career. And central among them all: the difficult, exhausting, humbling, and endlessly gratifying business of raising children, of ensuring the health of both body and soul.
For nine years now, I have been reporting on and ruminating about domestic affairs. This book is the result: nine years’ worth of stories and reflections on the things I care about and think about, the things that move my heart. Finally, though, this is not a book about me or about my children. Because the reason for telling these stories, I have come to believe, is not that they’re so rare and amazing—headline material—but that they’re not. In my newspaper days I wrote chiefly about isolated events and extraordinary phenomena. Now I document ordinary daily life. And I think one of the chief pleasures in doing that comes from the knowledge that what’s going on here is not unique or rare. What I went through this morning to get my son’s sneakers on and my daughter’s hair braided was probably the same thing a million other mothers were going through at exactly the same moment. And while it’s often said that parenthood—motherhood, anyway—is a pretty isolating experience (and it’s true, I have never felt so lonely as I used to sometimes, home alone with a new baby), the opposite can also be said. Having children is one way of feeling a connection with the human race, and all the other inhabitants of this planet, who—however else their lives may differ from your own—are doing precisely the same thing you are.
For the last seven years, the month of May has been celebrated in the United States as Jewish American Heritage Month to honor Jewish life in America.
“Jewish Americans’ impact on our nation predates even America’s founding, 360 years ago when a group of immigrants, twenty-three impoverished Jews arrived by ship in September 1654, to New York City, then known as New Amsterdam,” according to the Jewish American Heritage Coalition.
This year’s theme honors the one-hundredth anniversary of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization.
Open Road Media is proud to publish a number of ebooks with Jewish themes—from bestselling classics like Laura Z. Hobson’s Gentleman’s Agreement to powerful new fiction like Mary Glickman’s Marching to Zion.
This month only, we are offering eleven ebooks—from a wide variety of eras, genres, and writers—on sale for $1.99 and $2.99. Read below to learn more about each offering, and check out more great ebooks for Jewish American Heritage Month here.
Havenby Ruth Gruber: The powerful story of a top-secret mission to rescue one thousand European refugees in the midst of the Second World War.
Marching to Zionby Mary Glickman: The tempestuous, tragic love story of a beautiful Jewish immigrant and a charismatic black man during the early twentieth century.
Beyond the Paleby Elana Dykewomon: Winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Ferro-Grumley Award: A beautiful novel about the strength of love and personal perseverance during the political fervor of the Progressive Era.
The Living Endby Stanley Elkin: Elkin’s darkly comic novel of the afterlife—the story of one man’s redemptive journey to hell and back.
Gentleman’s Agreementby Laura Z. Hobson: A landmark novel that ranked number one on the New York Times bestseller list for five months straight, Gentleman’s Agreement speaks to the pervasive nature of prejudice after World War II—an issue just as relevant today as when the book was first published.
A World Full of Strangersby Cynthia Freeman: The turbulent story of a family whose destiny is shaped by a man who turns his back on his Jewish heritage in order to build a prosperous life in post–World War II America.
The Jews: Story of a Peopleby Howard Fast: A vivid and eminently readable story of Jewish history covering four thousand years, and including extensive illustrations and historical photographs.
Judithby Lawrence Durrell: A breathtaking novel of passion and politics, set in the hotbed of Palestine in the 1940s, by a master of twentieth-century fiction.
O My America!by Johanna Kaplan: A delightfully funny and moving novel about the singular life of a cantankerous Jewish American writer and anarchist troublemaker, as remembered by his daughter.
The Glatstein Chroniclesby Jacob Glatstein: Insightful reportage of the year after Hitler came to power, a reflection by a leading intellectual on contemporary culture and events, and the closest thing we have to a memoir by the boy from Lublin, Poland, who became one of the finest poets of the twentieth century.
The Last King of the Jewsby Jean-Claude Lattès: The first-ever portrait of a man forgotten by history: Agrippa, the last king of the Jews.
Read it before you see it! NBC is premiering the new TV movie of “Rosemary’s Baby,” starring Zoe Saldana on May 11th and May 15th. Enter for a chance to win a copy of Rosemary’s http://www.openroadmedia.com/rosemarys-babyBabyby Ira Levin as part of our Tweetstakes.
To learn more about ebook news and deals, follow @OpenRoadMedia.
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Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with heroic educators from five classic novels. Get inspired by quotes from Mr. Chips, Miss Brodie, and the rest of the men and women who stand up in front of classrooms and change lives every day. Click on the covers below for more information.
Open Road Media officially launches our partnership with Charlie Foxtrot Books this week. Charlie Foxtrot Books is a new publisher with the aim to “Publish stories inspired by heroes . . . simple.”
Charlie Foxtrot’s debut title is How Can You Mend This Purple Heart by T. L. Gould. In this riveting first novel, author T. L. Gould draws upon his experience recovering in a military hospital to create a plain-truth, no-holds-barred narrative stark in its simplicity, detail, and humor. How Can You Mend This Purple Heart is a tribute to all the combat-wounded veterans of past and present conflicts.
Founding Member John M. Del Vecchio, the celebrated author of The 13th Valley, describes the origin and purpose of the publisher: “Charlie Foxtrot Books (CFB) was conceived in the mountainous jungles of Vietnam and in the skies over Africa and the Middle East. CFB’s mission is to bring to readers heroic, poignant and thrilling stories; truthful stories, stories which set the record straight. We will leave it to others to seek out and tell the stories of the worst of the American military. Without whitewash, we will tell the stories of the best, of the inspiring—stories that accurately portray the guts and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. We hope the reader of a CFB book, after finishing a work, will desire to emulate the heroes who have inspired us. And we want to let our service men and women know they are appreciated, not forgotten, and not dehumanized or relegated to being anecdotal cannon fodder for the evening news.”
Look for more information on other upcoming titles from Charlie Foxtrot Books soon.
May is Mental Health Month, and this week is National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week.
In 1989, the writer William Styron became one of the first celebrities to publicly acknowledge his battle with depression, in a magazine article that would, the following year, be extended into the memoir Darkness Visible. People suffering from depression around the world appreciated Styron’s act, and many wrote to him to say so. His description of his experience spoke to people in a profound and deep way, and over the following decade, the author of Sophie’s Choice and other bestselling novels became an advocate for and prominent face of the depression awareness movement.
This week, we’d like to share some of the most resonant passages in Darkness Visible, based on highlights from ebook readers. Perhaps one or more of these will resonate with you, too:
On what depression is: “Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self—to the mediating intellect—as to verge close to being beyond description.”
On the origins of his own depression: “Loss in all of its manifestations is the touchstone of depression. . . . I would gradually be persuaded that devastating loss in childhood figured as a probable genesis of my own disorder; meanwhile, as I monitored my retrograde condition, I felt loss at every hand. . . . One dreads the loss of all things, all people close and dear. There is an acute fear of abandonment. Being alone in the house, even for a moment, caused me exquisite panic and trepidation.”
On how depression feels: “In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come—not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”
On the struggle: “In the absence of hope we must still struggle to survive, and so we do—by the skin of our teeth.”
On the manifestations of depression: “Of the many dreadful manifestations of the disease, both physical and psychological, a sense of self-hatred—or, put less categorically, a failure of self-esteem—is one of the most universally experienced symptoms, and I had suffered more and more from a general feeling of worthlessness as the malady had progressed.”
On the physical side of depression:“The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.”
On educating others: “The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne. The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain. Through the healing process of time—and through medical intervention or hospitalization in many cases—most people survive depression, which may be its only blessing; but to the tragic legion who are compelled to destroy themselves there should be no more reproof attached than to the victims of terminal cancer.”
On recovery: To quote Dante, as Styron does at the end of Darkness Visible, “And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.”
To further explore the memoir, download the book club guide for Darkness Visible here.
What is it about the Pacific Northwest? From Seattle’s famous Underground—the network of tunnels once used as opium dens and Prohibition-era speakeasies—to the numerous haunted bars, tunnels, and cemeteries of Portland, the rainy towns in this part of the country just have that extra something: undeniable spookiness.
In honor of the World Horror Convention kicking off in Portland tomorrow, we’re taking a look at some of the eeriest places in and around the city. These spots will get you in the mood for the macabre.
1. The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park
2. Stark Street
The Stark Street Ferry used to bring coffins across the Willamette for funerals. Perhaps that’s why ghost hunters spot floating shapes there.
3. Old Town Pizza
4. Shanghai Tunnels
Underground passageways built beneath Chinatown in Portland, these tunnels connected hotels and restaurants to the docks and were used as delivery routes. Some claim that sailors were “shanghaied,” or kidnapped and press-ganged into service, through these tunnels.
5. Lone Fir Cemetery
Ready for some haunting reads to take to these spooky spots? Take a look at the genre’s most terrifying titles—some from the very beginnings of horror.
And for the movie buffs out there, check out the gripping behind-the-scenes story of a cult classic, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.
There has been Yet Another Death in Venice, but this time, it isn’t Gustav von Aschenbach searching through the canals. Instead, it’s Simon Bognor—Tim Heald’s unlikely PI, who is tasked with finding a murderer in disguise. Sounds simple enough, save for two little things: Bognor is long past his prime (if he ever had one), and it’s Carnival season. If the killer is wearing a costume—well, so is everyone else.
The victim: Irving Silverburger, an aspiring film mogul who had come to Venice flush with cash from his latest insipid blockbuster. While cruising down the canal in a vaporetto, Silverburger is shot with a crossbow, fired by a harlequin who promptly disappears into the masquerade.
The detective: Simon Bognor, a special investigator for the British Board of Trade with an affinity for good food and an aversion to hard work. Bognor has a bad attitude, a portly frame, ill-tailored clothes, and no experience with danger in the field. He has also managed to stumble backwards into knighthood.
Yet Another Death in Venice is the latest installment in Tim Heald’s Simon Bognor Mysteries, wherein a man who would much rather stay behind his desk is tossed again and again into England’s (and in this case, Europe’s) strangest cases. Once more, Bognor must rally his reserves. An ancient city at festival time awaits, and it holds more mysteries than just the identities behind the masks.
Madre, sólo hay una
Cuando llega mi cumpleaños, siempre pienso que, ese día, se debería homenajear a mi madre, no a mí. Ese día ella dio a luz, ella me había llevado nueve meses en su barriga, ella me había concebido. Lo curioso es que, lo que más ilusión le hace a mi madre, es celebrar mi aniversario. Me relajo y pienso… ¡tenemos el día de la madre para homenajearla a ella!
Este domingo será el día de la madre y, desde Open Road Español, queremos recordar a Grazia Deledda, escritora italiana que en 1926 ganó el Premio Nobel de Literatura y, según el jurado, se lo mereció por “sus escritos inspirados en el idealismo, que con claridad plástica retratan la vida en su isla natal, y que con profundidad y empatía tratan de los problemas humanos de todos”. Fue la segunda mujer de la historia en ganar este premio y, hasta la fecha, han sido sólo trece. Sus retratos de madres son incomparables.
En la obra Cenizas, escrita en 1904, conocemos a Olí, madre de Anania, un niño ilegítimo. Después de una infancia dura en los montes de Cerdeña (tierra natal de la autora), Olí decide dejar a su hijo con su padre quién, presumiblemente, podrá darle una vida mejor. Es enorme el sufrimiento que esto le debe causar.
En la obra La madre, de 1920, conocemos a una madre carcomida por un sentimiento contradictorio: su hijo, párraco del pueblo, tiene relaciones clandestinas con una mujer. Al descubrirlo, la madre, por un lado, le reprocha a su hijo sus actos, pero por el otro, desea protegerlo y que no lo descubran. Como todos los personajes de esta autora, la madre tiene vivencias extremas de amor y de dolor, además de un fuerte vínculo con la tierra y los paisajes que la rodean.
Como dice el dicho, “Madre sólo hay una”, y el vínculo que las une a sus hijos es también único. Grazia Deledda lo ha retratado magistralmente.
¡Feliz día de la madre!
Open Road Español
El próximo 13 de mayo tendremos a la venta ocho obras de Grazia Deledda. Como siempre, en ebook y en español.
Sheldon Freeman Feinberg is the son of author Cynthia Freeman, who wrote such novels as Come Pour the Wine, No Time for Tears, and The Last Princess. To date, her works have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide.
Throughout the year, we celebrate many special days. For me, Mother’s Day is the one I cherish most. When I was a boy, I remember coming home from school and seeing my mother typing away. I asked her, “Mom, what are you writing, the Bible?” Her stories became amazing bestsellers, but that didn’t change who she was. Sweet, loving, caring, and with only a homeschool education, she conceived story lines that captured the imaginations of her readers. A vivid memory I cherish is from a night when my mother and I went to dinner, along with the other precious lady in my life—my wife. Conversation centered on the usual topics—work, the kids, weekend plans—and I noticed my mother staring at me. I asked her why she was looking at me that way. A moment passed and then she said, “Darling,”—she loved calling everyone “darling”—“I’ve known you much longer than your father has.” I wondered, “Did I miss something?” Looking at my wife, who just smiled, I thought they both must know something that I didn’t know, so I asked, “Tell me, how much longer than Dad have you known me?” My mother replied, “Ten months, two weeks, five days and ten hours.” Well, while my dad was involved in bringing me into the world, it was my mother who carried me, and that in itself is amazing! Yes, Mother’s Day is a good time to reflect and celebrate.
One night I sat down at my computer—not a typewriter—and composed a special poem to my mother who, in my eyes, wasn’t just one in a million, but one of a kind. She was my guiding light. She was my star, and she still is.
If you look up at the moon at night it looks back at you so bright.
Then the clouds cover its face and you realize this is my place.
But as time passes by, you know some day the moon will go away,
Not to be seen for another day.
Is the moon a star seen from afar, or are the stars
Part of the night the moon shares with delight?
Every night comes and every night goes,
For we hold in our hands most of what we know.
So take life as it is and hold it tight.
Hold it close with all your might.
To “The Last Princess,” a happy Mother’s Day with love,
Sheldon Freeman Feinberg
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award honors lifetime achievement, and Delany is excited, humbled, and a bit bemused, to be so named. “You don’t walk around saying, ‘Well, I’m Grand Master . . .’” he says, smiling. “Although you’re tempted sometimes!”
Check out our interactive infographic of Open Road Media's Nebula-award winners, nominees, and Grand Masters, where you can get to know Samuel R. Delany—“the most remarkable prose stylist to have emerged from the culture of American science fiction,” according to William Gibson—and his peers, such as Octavia E. Butler and Robert Silverberg, whose groundbreaking achievements have paved the road for all SF writers.
Open Road Media is proud to publish over a dozen Nebula Award winners, nominees, and Grand Masters, spanning the award’s forty-nine-year history.
Agrippa the First, a contemporary of Jesus Christ, was, after King David and King Solomon, the greatest sovereign, yet he was also the most unknown. I asked myself why this was so. Was he lost to history because of his scandalous life? He loved women and money with unbridled passion. Does a king have the right to a life of luxury and sensual pleasure? Or was it because he was a friend of four great Roman emperors—Augustus, Tiberias, Caligula, and Claudius—and Jewish history has always blasted Rome? Or perhaps a grandson of the much-hated Herod the Great (who killed his own son) could not have been tolerated by the Jews? But Agrippa was a man of peace, and the Jews of Judea and the diaspora were never happier than under his reign. Historians aren’t very interested in periods during which nations aren’t miserable.
Since my childhood in Nice, France, I’ve never stopped reading the Bible, but I always read it like a child, fascinated by the adventures of these kings and soldiers, these men and women of flesh and blood. The Bible is composed of one thousand stories, one thousand dramas; it is the story of humanity, and it is, without a doubt, the best story ever written. Agrippa is recorded in this long history, and though it, he lives on.
Steampunk is cropping up all over the mainstream. From the new Sherlock Holmes movies to an episode of Portlandia to the forthcoming TV series Penny Dreadful, the fanciful subgenre and subculture is making itself known.
In honor of this weekend’s Steampunk World Fair, we asked authors what steampunk gadget or setting they would love to see in fiction. Their answers have us taking to our airships and pulling out our spyglasses in search of awesome stories.
Wait, what is steampunk?
In short, it’s a genre of storytelling and costuming that imagines a world where the steam-powered technology of Victorian England remained in use, and petroleum and electric power never overtook it. Stories can be set in twentieth-century Britain, or the far future and on other planets. Think goggles, watches, gears, trains, airships, hoopskirts, and mechanical gadgets.
A lost planet, a crazy genius’s lighthouse, and mystery islands: Ian R. MacLeod shares his steampunk story ideas
“The first is the hypothetical planet Vulcan, which was inferred through precise calculations of the movement of the planet Mercury around the sun in the 1840s, and continued to be assumed to exist by many astronomers, and was even observed by some of them, until Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and the concept of the curvature of space gave a 20th century explanation to Mercury’s slightly odd orbit. I like to think it’s still out there somewhere, spinning around a coal-fired sun in an entirely Newtonian universe.
“The second is a ‘nautiscope,’ a kind of farseeing lighthouse which was devised for seeing ships approaching from beyond the horizon by a Frenchman named Bottineau, and demonstrated with some apparent success in the late 1700s on the island of Mauritius. He may have been using mirage effects or cloud changes or the behaviour of seabirds, or he may have been a complete, but rather lucky, charlatan. For whatever reason, the ships generally came into view when and where he said they would.
“The third are the Auroras, a group of one of the many imaginary islands which came and went on maps [in] the early times of modern navigation, and were only finally sunk (or whatever else happens to imaginary islands) with the advent of satellite mapping. As with the planet Vulcan, I’d like to think the Auroras are still out there somewhere off the coast of South America. With a name that beautiful, they really should exist.”
Magical goggles: Kate Elliott dreams up a steampunk device
“While I remain a fan of the airship as the most iconic visual of steampunk, I think I would most like a pair of brass goggles that have the power to see into the aetherical plane. However, if one defines steampunk as purely science-based, then I suppose I am already venturing into an alternate fantasy history version of steampunk.”
That’s all right, Ms. Elliott. I, for one, find the fantasy bent of steampunk part of what makes it so fun.
What do you think?
Share your steampunk idea or gadget in the comments below!
Read some steampunk
The Labyrinth Gate by Kate Elliott
The Light Ages by Ian R. MacLeod
Female Writers and Magical Realism
Although magical realism has become a hallmark of Latin American culture, aspects of the style are found in literature from around the world. When discussing pillars of the genre, some common names are thrown around—like Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Salman Rushdie—but there is little focus on the women writers. Despite the lack of recognition, many female authors brilliantly utilize this style in their work. Here are four writers who have mastered magical realism from a distinctly female perspective.
Author and poet Nancy Willard brings the otherworldly to small-town Michigan in Things Invisible to See. On the eve of World War II, Ben Harkissian faces Death—a physical manifestation in a three-piece suit—in a baseball game that will determine the lives and fates of those he loves most. As is typical in Willard’s use of magical realism, she seeks to release our preconceived notions that separate the real from the fantastical. Though Ben’s life is disrupted by an event that would normally only exist in his dreams, it becomes tangible enough for him to take action against it.
Francine Prose takes a slightly different approach, prodding readers to question what is real and what is imagined. Bigfoot Dreams centers on the career of tabloid journalist Vera Perl. With her job on the line, Vera must sacrifice her reputation and admit that one of her stories is made up—or is it? Prose takes our modern obsession with mythology and makes us question the limits of possibility.
Breaking away from the usual devices, Rosario Ferré’s Eccentric Neighborhoodsrelies on subtle magic instead of the fantastical imagery that is associated with many Latin American writers. Elvira Vernet tells the story of her two families coming together, and they become symbols of the evolution of modern Puerto Rico. The stream-of-consciousness narration style lends a dreamy quality to the intense events occurring throughout the novel. Elvira’s narrative allows family mythology, which may or may not be factual, to be treated as truth.
In Various Miracles, Carol Shields experiments with a whole spectrum of enchanted elements—from the subtle peculiarities of life to the obviously extraordinary. Throughout each story, the titular “miracles” serve as ways for the characters to self-actualize. The alternate reality allows them refuge from whatever problems they are facing in the story. Like Willard, Shields uses magical realism to give her characters agency in a seemingly uncontrollable world when the reality of their chaotic environment becomes unbearable.
The work of these four female authors shows the variety magical realism can take outside the traditional pillars of the genre. Not only do they represent the many voices in both male and female culture, they redefine how the genre can be utilized outside of the conventionally Latin American perspective.
Spring is in full bloom, and we are so excited to announce that our romance list is undergoing a serious spring renewal. As you may have heard, we —a deal that brought more than two hundred fifty new romance ebooks into the Open Road catalog. You know what that means, Retro Readers: nearly endless choices for this month’s romance pick!
While it took some time for us to whittle down the list of great options and select just one, we decided to go with a clear fan favorite from . Dailey’s first book, and our May Retro Reads selection, No Quarter Asked, was originally published in 1974, followed by approximately ninety more novels over the course of her career.
follows Stacy, a young woman whose father’s passing causes her to seek refuge in a secluded cabin in Texas to collect herself and plan her next move. But when arrogant rancher Cord Harris urges her to go back to the city, her resolve to stay only grows—along with her reluctant attraction to Cord, whom she initially hated. With a heavy dose of Dailey’s lauded romantic charm and adventure, we think No Quarter Asked is perfectly suited to bring us into the summer season.
Check back throughout the month for updates from our Retro Readers on this month’s pick and find us on Goodreads in the Retro Readers Group. Or, sign up for our romance newsletter and we’ll send you a monthly roundup of everything romance at Open Road, including Retro Reads updates and info on new releases, bonus content, giveaways, special offers, and more. Interested in downloading a review copy of No Quarter Asked? Request one here on NetGalley.
It’s about time, too. The Big Hit is Harvey’s first thriller in over fifteen years, the last being Dead Game—the gripping conclusion to Harvey’s Ben Tolliver Mysteries. Tolliver won’t be returning in this next novel, but a new era calls for a new face. His name is Jeb Barker and he’s an NYPD homicide detective. A starlet is murdered in her hotel room, and Barker is not convinced of the story suggested by the artfully staged crime scene. Tracking the killer leads him on a cross-country manhunt until finally, under the bright California sun, the New York cop faces off against the darkness within an overconfident hit man’s heart.Looks like it’s time to catch up on the backlist of an author whose writing Publishers Weekly praises as “bright and remarkably clean, no small feat given the gruesome nature of much of the action.” And here’s another piece of good news: six of those novels—including the ones starring Ben Tolliver—are now available as ebooks! Find them listed below.
Ben Tolliver returns in Painted Ladies, in which a high-end escort is found strangled in Midtown, her face and body coated with grotesque makeup. The murder becomes even more baffling when it’s revealed that the victim is not just another call girl but the daughter of a millionaire. As the father gets involved, Tolliver’s investigation threatens to erupt into a circus where the main attraction is a killer who paints women like clowns.
This thriller takes a turn toward the paranormal when a pretty teenager is beheaded in her bedroom while her parents sleep. Her death awakens memories of a Braddock, New York, legend—the town’s eighteenth-century executioner, who is rumored to return periodically, seeking payment in blood. Across town, a woman finds that she can see through the headsman’s eyes, and Jud MacElroy, Braddock’s young chief of police, must use every piece of intel he can get to put a stop to something that seems straight out of hell.
A commandeering retired senator tasks his children with derailing an SEC investigation into the family finances, then shortly thereafter, drops dead mid-coitus. Ben Tolliver picks up on the red flag—but Tolliver’s plan to make Cunningham’s lover his chief witness falls through when she dies of an apparent suicide. As public pressure mounts to find Cunningham’s killer, Tolliver grapples with a family for whom lying is second nature—and murder may come easily as well.
A beautiful woman strides into a jewelry store, and after admiring their finest diamond, she shoots everyone in the shop before killing herself. Mental Case follows Ben Tolliver as he tries to make sense of the scene. Digging into the killer’s troubled past, he unearths a disturbed doctor whose experiments go far beyond ethical science, and a conspiracy that has the power to destroy Tolliver’s mind, body, and soul.
The last installment of the Ben Tolliver Mysteries, Dead Game presents Tolliver with his greatest challenge yet: exonerating himself from a murder charge. Razek is a brilliant and disturbed serial killer, and after his latest kill, he thinks it would be fun to frame the detective for the crime. Against all the planted evidence and the odds, Tolliver will have to learn to beat a madman at his own game if he wants to stay out of jail and avenge the deaths of Razek’s victims.
Best Short Story Picks for Book Club Discussions
Welcome to our new series on book clubs. At the beginning of every month (and possibly more often), we’ll present top recommendations for your club, as well as tips on how to shape your discussion and fun extra stuff to keep the conversation going—like our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, for starters! Many of the staff here belong to our own book clubs, and Open Road even has its own employee reading group. We love nothing more than book talk. So tune in, and read on!
Many book clubs choose novels for their discussions, but hectic schedules often call for something that requires less reading time. So we turned to short stories for our first recommendations. We love short stories because, like poems and songs, a great amount of meaning can be found in these small packages, and it’s sometimes easier to see the author’s intent and the overall themes. The best stories will let you get carried away in discussion. For busy readers, focus on just a few representative works from the book. Pick three stories, and spend a little time talking about each one and how they relate. Did the stories have the same imagery weaving through them? Was the tone similar, or did the voice change completely from one story to the next? In Carol Shields’s collection The Orange Fish, the motif of the color orange is evident throughout. But dig deeper, and you’ll notice that the theme of survival shows up again and again.
Here are ten of our best short story collections for book club discussions, all value-priced this month. See how the nimble-ness of reading short stories breathes some new life into your book club!
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
You may know Sherman Alexie for his National Book Award–winning children’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, or for his incredible adult fiction. If you haven’t read his short stories yet, you’re in for a treat. The twenty-four linked tales in Alexie’s debut collection paint an unforgettable portrait of life on and around the Spokane Indian Reservation.
Selected Stories by Andre Dubus
This book is widely regarded as one of the strongest collections by one of the best American short story writers of the twentieth century. In Selected Stories, Dubus’s characters are depicted in all their imperfection, but with the author’s requisite tenderness and compassion. After all, they are human just as we are human—and their fates are not so unlike our own.
In Love & Trouble by Alice Walker
From the iconic author of The Color Purple come these unforgettable stories of women traveling with the weight of broken dreams, with doubt and regret, with memories of lost loves, and with lovers who have their own hard pasts. From the South and the North, rich and poor, the characters that inhabit Alice Walker’s stories are all seeking a measure of self-fulfillment.
A Model World by Michael Chabon
This dazzling story collection from Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon reveals lives anchored in fantasy but disrupted by surprising realities, where characters hold tight to private dreams even as their closest relationships crumble.
Short Stories by Irwin Shaw
Among these sixty-three stories are iconic works such as “The Eighty-Yard Run,” a tale of an American dream crippled on Black Monday, and “Main Currents in American Thought,” in which a hack radio copywriter is tormented by the glitz of show business.
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting
We love the title of this collection and you’ll love Nutting’s darkly hilarious debut collection, featuring misfit women and girls in every stratum of society, who are investigated through the lens of various ill-fated jobs.
First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey
Set in the 1950s, Harold Brodkey’s collection centers on a Jewish family that has recently lost its patriarch. Through the eyes of a son, a sister, and a mother—each one struggling to find a foothold in both family and society—these stories explore class prejudice, obsessive love, and the tragic foibles and emotional truths of being human.
The Orange Fish by Carol Shields
Readers of The Stone Diaries will enjoy these twelve stories by Carol Shields, which are infused with passion, longing, regret, and transformation. Like the ageless orange fish of the title story, each tale is filled with the wonder and magic of everyday life.
Stealing the Fire by Jane Ciabattari
These stories explore the aftershocks of life changes—the loss of a father, a husband, an unborn child, an all-consuming job—and the illuminations that make hope possible. Set in Central America, Montreal, New York, California, and Vancouver, these haunting stories throb with the joys and pains of real life.
The Collected Stories of Hortense CalisherThe short pieces in this collection chart the author’s best-loved themes of mindful consciousness and social worlds, including the chilling, Jamesian “The Scream on Fifty-Seventh Street,” in which a New York widow hears a scream late one night, and the nearly novella-length “The Summer Rebellion.”
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” —Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton was certainly on to something: knowing what has happened in the past helps us understand where we are now, and where we’re going. But what if you’re like me, and prefer imaginative stories to staid histories? Point yourself toward these excellent novels, all wonderful yarns but with the added benefit of being based on real historical events. It’s like eating something delicious that’s also good for you.
From medieval England to Revolution-era America to a small Soviet Union republic in the 1950s, the settings of these historical novels offer a chance to get acquainted with another time through engaging storytelling. Here they are, in chronological order. Pack your suitcases and let’s go!Spartacus by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Setting: Rome, 73 BC
The story of the gladiator who led a slave revolt in Rome, told by a masterful Scottish author who had his own fascinating life story. The book starts with a bang from the first sentence, and keeps going.
The Time of the Wolf by James Wilde
Setting: medieval England
This rousing account rescues Hereward, one of England’s forgotten heroes, from the brutal and bloody mists of medieval history and brings him to life.
The Schoolmaster’s Daughter by John Smolens
Setting: the American Revolution
Set in Boston in 1775, this story of espionage, love, and occupation is based on the courageous acts of Abigail Lovell and her brothers, James and Benjamin, during the first year of the American Revolution.
The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page
Setting: the Arctic, nineteenth century
It is 1845, and researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the now-extinct Great Auk. This extraordinarily compelling historical novel of obsession, passion, and ghosts is filled with characters who are not what they seem.
Scent of Sicilyby Emanuela E. Abbadessa
Setting: nineteenth century Italy
Young Luigi arrives in Sicily seeking his fortune, and instead finds his voice as a fine tenor. His journey takes him to Capo Scirocco, in a passionate novel inspired by the author’s family history, which she relates here.
The Winegrowers of Chantegrêle by Jean-Paul Malaval
Setting: nineteenth century France
War and fortune tore two families apart . . . and an indomitable love brought them together. Jean-Paul Malaval spins a beautiful story, and has a real sense of terroir, which he discusses in this video.
Ask Alice by D. J. Taylor
Setting: early twentieth-century United States and England
This literary tour de force takes us from the American frontier to the decadent carousing of the bright young people of London’s Jazz Age.
The First of July by Elizabeth Speller
Setting: World War I–era Europe
In this novel of the tragedies of war, paths cross, dreams are shattered, and futures are altered as the hours pass during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The lives of four men are affected ever after by the events of July 1, 1916.
The Birobidzhan Affair by Marek Halter
Setting: the Soviet Union, twentieth century
Following a fascinating heroine from Stalinist Russia to the United States during the McCarthy era, this thrilling story of love and espionage shows readers two worlds rocked by political turmoil.
Happy Geek Pride Day! May 25 marks the international celebration of all things geek—from gaming to math to really epic soundtracks—and of course, the people who love them. Are you deeply invested in a topic purely for its own sake? Then you’re probably a geek—if you didn’t proudly self-identify as one already. Congratulations!
Here at Open Road, we’re obviously book people. But we geeks are an intellectually curious bunch, and our myriad interests cannot be contained in one category. So on this very special occasion, we’ve asked some of our authors and staff to share photos of themselves in all their enthusiastic, esoteric glory. Fly your geek flag high with us!
So where do you think we each fall on the Geek-o-Meter?
Alex reconnects with her prehistoric kin.
Fantasy author Mindy Klasky—and a stuffed lamb—grin with glee at the World Fantasy Convention.
By day, mild-mannered Stuart works in publishing. By night, heeeeeee’s Merchandising Manager Man! Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na . . .
Science fiction and fantasy author Steven R. Boyett proudly rocked the long hair in the eighties. He even cast his younger self in one of his books. That’s pretty geeky.
“The man with his back to Niko looked like some Sunset Boulevard glamrocker throwback. Longhaired and strongjawed and skinny. Black boots with silver caps and heels and chains and everything but chrome exhaust pipes. Once upon a time Niko had looked like this guy’s second cousin.” —From Mortality Bridge
Stacy wears her gold medal proudly, but not as proudly as that coach wears his hairpiece.
They say a good book can keep you warm. Megan took this very literally. (Ha!)
Science fiction author Marianne de Pierres escorts Cthulhu at a convention.
Now that Kat S. has offed all the warring families of Westeros, she’s won the Game of Thrones!
Science fiction author Sean Williams steals Darth Vader's mask.
That one unfortunate time Kat L. closet-cosplayed a Power Ranger . . .
Want more geekiness? Check out our science fiction and fantasy authors posing for last year's Geek Pride Day on SF Signal!