Category Lea Carpenter

…yes, authors are just like us: they too look forward to the summer to finally read the books that have been sitting on their bedside table for weeks.

Now Two Roads has an exclusive (!) look at what some of our writers are reading this summer

Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This (out now)

Bret Anthony Johnston’s summer reading pile

 

I tend to read in the morning before starting a day’s work and then again in the evening before bed, and I tend to read from a different book in each session. Fiction usually comes first, and I’m excited about the fiction I’m reading now or soon to read. Rene Steinke’s forthcoming novel Friendswood, Lea Carpenter’s novel Eleven Days (find out more here), some Chekhov stories, and a collection of strange and beautiful fiction called Nature Stories by Jules Renard. The Renard book might serve as something as bridge between my current fiction and nonfiction tastes, as I’m reading a lot about animals right now. One of the things I’m currently working on is a weird, nonlinear short story involving horses, and this book on horse psychology continues to prove invaluable to me in countless ways. Future projects may include the mythical (or is it?) chupacbra and the siege in Waco, Texas in 1993. This summer I’ve also been spending time with Emily Rapp’s heart-rending memoir The Still Point of the Turning World (find out more here). As for the book on iPhones, well, let’s just say I’ve recently gotten my first one and the transition hasn’t been easy or smooth. That book will probably be the most helpful, and it’s the one I’m looking forward to the least. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

 

Jamie Kornegay, author of Soil (spring 2015)

Jamie Kornegay’s summer reading pile

As a full-time bookseller, my reading tends toward the new and upcoming – a merchant must test his wares, after all – and hence my summer stack is a blend of some of this season’s best, including startling debuts from Smith Henderson and a Mississippi friend, Lisa Howorth, as well as stories from the fiercely talented John Brandon, and what must surely be James Lee Burke’s masterpiece; and forthcoming fall titles, including one of my favorite writers, Richard Flanagan, whose new novel I’m currently loving, along with the reliably strange Michel Faber, history from Hampton Sides, and one of the U.S. South’s most popular writers, Rick Bragg, on one of the South’s most notorious rock-n-rollers. Sandwiched in the middle is something for the writer…

 

Sally Magnusson, author of Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything (out now)

Sally Magnusson’s summer reading pile

 

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month I’ll be hosting the James Tait Black prize-giving ceremony at the Edinburgh Book Festival, so my holiday in Tuscany is a great time to devour the shortlist. The biographies were a bit large for my suitcase but the four novels are just right. Have just finished Jim Crace’s Harvest – a stunning read. The bottom two books are background reading for programmes I’m doing on the First World War.

 

 

Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner (spring 2015)

Carrie Snyder’s summer reading pile

 

Here’s the tour, from bottom to top, starting with the books I keep meaning to read, and do delve into on occasion, but have yet to finish: two library books, The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, volume 1, and The Girl and the Game: A History of Women’s Sport in Canada (which I’ve already read, ages ago, but figure I should brush up on again in advance of my book coming out). Next is Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. I did intend to become a better person this summer. I regret to say I’ve stalled on step two. But I did read all through Matilda, by Roald Dahl, with my two youngest (ages 6 and 8). We loved it, although did note that Dahl seems to have a strong animus for the imposing female athlete, who is the villain in the piece. I whipped through Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, kept staying up late to read, which is what summer really should be for. Yes, that’s my own Girl Runner, the American uncorrected proof, which I confess I started reading the evening it arrived and just kept on. It’s homework, though. I’ve got a lot of readings booked this fall and I need to find and rehearse sections that would make for good drama. Just above is Anita Lahey’s essay collection The Mystery Shopping Cart, only available in Canada, and a very Canadian book of literary critique. Finally, the book I’m currently marching through: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the second in the series; I loved the first, but am finding this one a little less moving, with its focus so far on raising small children while trying to find time to write, which is basically my life and has been for the past 13 years. This is hardly an original observation, but I keep wondering if anyone would be interested had a woman written it instead.

 

Aylet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure (out now)

Ayelet Waldman’s summer reading pile

 

This summer is all about the French Riviera and Hollywood in the 1940s. I have begun work on

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my new novel and by far the most exciting part of that is delving into a new area of research. Research is my joy. It’s the actual writing part that kicks my ass.

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this month the people behind the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction launched a wonderful campaign to get readers to share the one book, written by a female author, that has had the most impact on their life. Called #thisbook, the call to arms has seen many familiar faces involved, from journalist Grace Dent to author Joanna Trollope and Olympic medalist Katherine Grainger, and you can find out more on their website: thisbook.com.

To celebrate the Baileys Prize, awarded later tonight, we’ve asked some of our Two Roads authors to share their favourite book written by a female author. See their picks below…

I read To Kill A Mockingbird in school, like most of us. Emotionally, it struck chords, even as its larger themes – racism, justice, courage – were likely lost on me, as larger themes often are when we encounter them via assignment, not experience. Years later, when my father died, a federal judge gave a eulogy comparing him to Atticus Finch. I’d never made that connection, though the links were there: my father fought for social justice. He wasn’t afraid to do the right thing, even courting controversy. He took a role in civil rights. That judge ended that eulogy by riffing on a line from Lee’s novel: “Stand up; a great man is passing.” It’s what’s said to Jean Louise (Scout) as her father exits the courtroom. “Stand up; your father is passing”. And so she stands. She probably stands for reasons it will take her a long time to understand, though the reader knows immediately: that day will be one of the most meaningful of that little girl’s life.

We may not choose our experiences. In a way, though, we play a critical editorial role in our memories. We may not choose what we read the first time we read something but once a book becomes part of our sense of ourselves, click: a match is struck; something’s illuminated. I had that experience with To Kill A Mockingbird. I had that experience with Scout.

Lea Carpenter graduated from Princeton and has an MBA from Harvard. She was one of the original editors at Francis Ford Coppola’s literary magazine, Zoetrope, and later served as Deputy Publisher for The Paris Review. Her debut novel, Eleven Days, was longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction 2014. She lives in New York with her husband and their two sons.

Not long ago, an Advanced Readers Copy of a novel called Half the Kingdom by Lore Segal arrived at my door. Over my morning cup of Earl Grey, I somewhat lackadaisically opened it. My expectations were not high. I’d never heard of this “Lore,” and the publisher was not one of the major houses. I assumed the novelist was yet another young graduate of an MFA program. And then I read the first two sentences:

‘The doctors, nurses, and patients in the overcrowded, too-brightly lit Emergency Room turned toward the commotion. It was the very old woman, thrashing about her with improbably strength and agility. “You do not,” she shouted, “you do not tell me to relax. I will not relax.” ‘

Two hours later, as I turned the last page (it’s a short book and I’m a fast reader), I lay back, stunned. The novel was masterful. Concise and incisive. The prose assured and confident. The subject matter complex, transcendent of genre. Mordant and wise, and terribly sad without being maudlin. There was no way this book was written by a twenty-three year old.

A quick Google search revealed the depth of my ignorance and my hubris in imagining I knew anything at all about who really matters in contemporary American fiction. Lore Segal is not 23. She is 86 years old. Her previous novel, Shakespeare’s Kitchen, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Within a week I had not only read that book, but two others, Her First American, and Other People’s Houses. How could it be that I had missed the work of Lore Segal until now? Please, I beseech you, if you suffer from the same literary deficit as I, do yourself the favor of remedying it right now.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and TreasureRed Hook Road and the New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Vogue, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. She and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California, with their four children.

Any book by a woman about a woman’s fight with life compels me to dive into the story. For years I believed I was bad at it, this living of life, because each day felt like a big bruiser out to knock me down. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan tells of a woman following her husband into the wilderness, trusting and loyal, strong and determined to make good. Just like me.  Gradually the work load and the loneliness and the deprivations take their toll, until something breaks. Just like me. And, in reading how she rises from the depths of despair into a new light, I also found strength. Without books like Mudbound, I’m not sure I would have found that strength. I read and read, to realise I was not alone, yes, but more, to feed my own hungry soul and to find the guts to keep going.  Mudbound, and other great stories, were and are my daily bread.

Judy Fairbairns has lived on her Scottish island with her husband since 1978. Married now for 40 years, she has five children, all grown up – one of whom runs the whale watching business she and her husband started. Island Wife, a memoir about living on a remote Scottish island, is her first book. She paints, takes wild walks and is working on a novel.

Have you wondered what writers like to read when they go on holiday?

Research material for their next book?

The classics?

Nothing at all?

Well, we have the answer: we asked a few of our own authors to share their summer reading piles and to explain why they picked those books in particular. Take a look!

Judy Fairbairns, author of Island Wife: Living on the Edge of the Wild

I like variety when I read a pile of books. All these

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are about man’s relationship to something or someone and that, for me is the fascination of life.

Judy Fairbairns summer reading pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lea Carpenter, author of Eleven Days

Anna is enough on her own, but the others offer balance. And each of the others is also riveting.

Lea Carpenter summer reading pile

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Kirsty Wark, author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

I like the way books accumulate. I think of them as a treat in store rather than a daunting task – though the Su Doku has stuck in there for a while now: my game plan for burnishing my brain cells isn’t really working. I will add to and subtract from the pile over the summer.

Kirsty Wark author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle summer reading pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book

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Club

The Watch Tower is part of a series called ‘Text Classics’. It’s a great series of books from a terrific Australian publisher. Everyone has been talking about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration Trilogy’ gave me some of my best reading ever – so of course I can’t wait to read her new one, Toby’s Room. I heard William Dalrymple speak and he was captivating. And this is such an important piece of history. I started The Stranger’s Child and was so enthralled that I actually made myself stop for a while so that I could save it for a perfect summer day. Leigh Newman’s memoir goes between Alaska and New York, portraying a remarkable childhood. And The Orchardist is a bookseller favorite – I kept seeing it on ‘staff recommends’ shelves.

Of course I’ll pick up lots more along the way. And I’ve already raced through some wonderful books.

Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club summer reading book pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Everyone!

We’ve almost got to the end of Monday here in sunny (!) London and it’s time to celebrate with one of our ‘Monday Blues Remedy’ blog posts. Lots of updates from our authors this week…

BESTSELLER NEWS

Until I Say Good-Bye OUT NOW!

Susan’s book is out now and it has been very warmly welcomed by readers all over the world. It became an instant NYT bestseller , entering the Hardcover Non-Fiction chart at #3:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan met with hundreds of readers at her local Barnes & Noble and signed over 400 copies with her thumbprint:


And publicity is going extremely well in the UK too. Susan’s story was featured on the cover of Guardian Family, complete with a beautiful shot of Susan and a touching interview with her husband John (you can read it in full here: http://goo.gl/Wlf3G)

 

 

As always her her Facebook page is the best place to keep up with all things Susan: click and like!

 

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald OUT THIS THURSDAY!

Therese’s book was published in the US last week and it instantly became a bestseller hitting the NYT, USA Today, NPR lists among others:

 

 

 

 

 

The Sunday Telegraph run a wonderful piece by Therese on Zelda, ‘Rehabilitating Zelda‘ which went viral and was picked up by the New Yorker and the Daily Mail. Reviews are pouring in and readers are just loving this book:

‘Finely researched, entertaining and very plausible.’ Vogue UK

‘A thrilling read.’ Stylist.co.uk

‘In

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her new novel Z, Fowler draws a compellingly complete portrait of that other Paris (and New York and St. Paul and Long Island) wife: mother, painter, writer, flapper, feminist Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.’ USA Today

A gorgeously rendered piece of literary entertainment, not a biography but rather a love story set in the Jazz Age.’ New York Daily News

Zips along addictively and exposes the dark side of artistic ambition.’ EW

Z is a fictional account of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life – giving voice to the determined, intelligent and vibrant woman who struggled to find her identity in the shadow of her husband, whose demons challenged them both with heartbreaking consequences. An unforgettable read’ Australian Woman’s Weekly

And look out for reviews and features in the Sunday Times Culture, Spectator, Stylist and Irish Tatler.

In the meantime our Australian and New Zealand friends are going literally crazy for the book:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Still Point of the Turning World OUT THIS THURSDAY!

Emily’s book is also officially a NYT bestseller and the reviews are simply outstanding. We’ll let them do the talking:

‘A brilliant study of the wages of mortal love’ The New York Times Book Review

‘A radiant book steeped in deep feelings’ Los Angeles Times

Rapp combines an essayist’s willingness to lay herself bare on the page, a theologian’s search to plumb the mysteries of life and a poet’s precision’ San Francisco Chronicle

‘Rapp has written a beautiful and passionate elegy for her son, a book that offers deep wisdom for any reader.’ Boston Globe

 

2014 PREVIEW

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (March 2014)

We are publishing Kirsty’s literary debut next year, but in the meantime take a look at the glamorous spread in the Guardian Weekend magazine:. Sadly, she had to give the clothes back.

 

 

AND SINCE YOU’VE SURVIVED MONDAY…

…you now need a good, refreshing, tall glass of one of these fab ‘literary beers’: http://flavorwire.com/382387/10-delicious-literary-beers-to-drink-while-reading

Cheers and until next time!

Fede

Hey folks!

It’s Monday again and it’s our duty to help you kick-start the week in the best possible way. First piece of good news: you survived Valentine’s Day! Woo-hoo!

 

 

 

 

 

And now for some Two Roads-related news…

BOOK NEWS!

The Stockholm Octavo – OUT IN PAPERBACK!

Last week we published the paperback edition of Karen Engelmann’s brilliant novel. Our new Tumblr. blog is now live and filled with lots of interesting facts on the art of the Octavo.

Do visit and follow us on the @OctavoHandbook Twitter account. More pics, videos and extracts from the Octavo Handbook to come in the next few days: read carefully and who knows, you might even be able to create your own Octavo!

Doodlemum (out on February 28th)

Add a reminder to your iPhone calendar people: Doodlemum is coming to a newsstand near you! On March 2nd our favourite mum/artist/author will be the focus of the Day in the Life of feature in Guardian Family. The article feature Doodlemum’s pictures and an interview by Patrick Barkham.

Also: happy half term!

 

 

Until I Say Good-Bye (out on March 14th)

Finished copies are here and they look stunning. Take a look and keep up with Susan on her Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (out April 11th)

More pre-publication love for Z this week! First there was this Shelf Awareness email including a readers’ guide and an interview with Therese. Plus USA Today run a online and print story on novels about the women behind famous men, featuring Z alongside such cherished books as The Paris Wife and our own Loving Frank  (credited with starting the famous men/forgotten women genre). Read it here and see a picture of the print edition on Therese’s Facebook page.

 

Eleven Days (out June 20th)

Proofs for Lea’s book are happening (get ready for a giveaway) and excitement is building.. We now have quotes from Kevin PowersBen Fountain and a new one from Alexandra Styron, author of the bestselling memoir Reading My Father:

Every soldier was, once, someone’s child. With this ineluctable truth at her story’s core, Lea Carpenter has crafted a beautiful, and original, work of art. Eleven Days manages to be both a meditation on courage and a gripping read. Scholarly and stylish, displaying a capacious mind and even greater heart. A magnificent debut.

 

ONE MORE THING…

IT’S OUR BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK!

Stay tuned for a big giveaway coming very soon…

“Mmmh I wonder if they sell espresso here”

One month. Thirty days.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to change your life in unexpected, quite dramatic ways. Right before Christmas I was standing in front of my desk in an office tower in the outskirts of Milan, looking at the space where I had worked for the past 16 months and that I had just finished cleaning out. It was my last day at Rizzoli before the holidays. My last day before moving to London for my new job as Editorial Assistant at Two Roads.

And now I am in a different, taller office tower, in the centre of a different, larger city, at the heart of a different, foreign country. The first few days at Two Roads have been positively crazy, filled with gargantuan tasks: how do you work a touch screen elevator without constantly ending up on the wrong floor? How can you suppress your craving for espressos and learn to like filter coffee? (this one’s easy: you simply can’t. I drink tea now) How do you pretend you know the name of that colleague you’ve been introduced to on your first day and is now in the lift with you? (smile, say “Hello” with a thick Italian accent, smile some more).

But despite all of this – new job, new colleagues, new life – I feel right at home, proud to be part of the Two Roads family and happy to be back in London, a city I first fell in love with while studying here two years ago. And after all there is one thing that hasn’t changed: I still get to read books, lots of them! They might be new submissions, or backlist titles I have to get acquainted with, or new books coming out in the next few months. It doesn’t really matter: I am most happy when sitting on the couch in my new flat, sipping espresso and reading. Just reading.

Of course it helps when the book is incredibly good. Take Eleven Days, the debut novel by Lea Carpenter we are publishing in June. It’s a fantastic story of mother and son, separated by distance and time but connected by a bond that is impossible to break. It’s a glorious first novel, written with grace and compassion, a book that has made me laugh, cry, think and has reminded me why I love working in publishing. You can find out more about Lea and her work here on the Two Roads website.

 

I think that will do as an introduction, but from now on I’ll be contributing regularly to the blog so look out for updates regarding life in the Two Roads office and the adventures of an Italian expat in London.

For daily news and pics follow me on twitter @Due_Strade (google-translate it and you’ll get it!).

Alla prossima…

Fede

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