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Love and Treasure and coffeeThis week Love and Treasure, the terrific new novel by Ayelet Waldman, is the Waterstones Book Club choice. Which means you can head over to the Waterstones blog and read the first chapter (just click here) or find out where Ayelet found the inspiration for her book in this exclusive feature (click here).

 

Find out more below or visit the book page on our website here.

 

Love and treasure PB WATERSTONES‘AN AMBITIOUS, PERCEPTIVE NOVEL’ GUARDIAN
‘A WONDERFULLY IMAGINATIVE WRITER’ WASHINGTON POST

A fugitive train loaded with the plunder of a doomed people. A dazzling jewelled pendant in the form of a stylized peacock. And three men – an American infantry captain in World War II, an Israeli-born dealer in art stolen by the Nazis, and a pioneering psychiatrist in fin-de-siecle Budapest – who find their carefully-wrought lives turned upside-down by three fierce women, each locked in a struggle against her own history and the history of our times. And at the centre of Love and Treasure, nested like a photograph hidden in a locket, a mystery: where does the worth of a people and its treasures truly lie? What is the value of a gift, when giver and recipient have been lost – of a love offering when the beloved is no more?

In an intricately constructed narrative that is by turns funny and tragic, thrilling and harrowing, with all the expertise and narrative drive that readers have come to expect from her work, Waldman traces the unlikely journey, from 1914 Budapest to post-war Salzburg to present-day New York, of the peacock pendant whose significance changes – token of friendship, love-offering, unlucky talisman – with the changes of fortune undergone by her characters as they find themselves caught up in the BookClub_roundel_blueebb and flow of modern European history.

Spanning continents and a hundred years of turbulent history, encompassing war and revolution, the history of art, feminism and psychoanalysis, depicting the range of human feeling from the darkness of a shattered Europe to the ordinary heartbreaks of a contemporary New York woman, Love and Treasure marks the full maturity of a remarkable writer.

 

…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

 

Later this

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Ayelet Waldman recently celebrated the publication of Love and Treasure at New York’s beloved Strand bookstore, along with her husband Michael Chabon. Love and Treasure was released here in the UK on April 10th and here are just a few of the fantastic reviews the novel has received so far:

‘An ambitious, perceptive novel.’ —Guardian

‘Waldman is a wonderfully imaginative writer…  a tense and romantic story that never seems polemical or overdetermined… a marvelous panorama of early 20th-century attitudes about women… Moving.’ Ron Charles, Washington Post

‘With Love and Treasure, [Waldman] has carefully crafted a work that measures memory against oblivion, value against wealth, and legacy against possession.‘—O Magazine

You can find out more about Ayelet on her Facebook page or by following her on Twitter. In the meantime, here’s a picture taken at the Strand Bookstore launch:

Ayelet Waldman and her husband Michael Chabon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the first day of the New Year, we bring you the words of Two Roads author Lea Carpenter about family, loss and hope. Have a great 2014, filled with love and light.

Christmas is about family; this is my little one, looking like a snowflake.

Christmas is also about loss. Mark Strand’s poem catches family and loss and hope, too. It has been on my desk through many blizzards.

 

A Piece Of The Storm

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,

A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room

And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up

From your book, saw it the moment it landed.

That’s all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking

To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,

A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that

Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,

Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,

That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:

“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.”

Lea Carpenter’s debut novel, Eleven Days, was published this year and will be available in paperback in spring 2014.

Lea Carpenter's Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

No Two

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Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations, we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories.

Every year, for more than 100 years, the women and girls in my mother’s family gathered in early December to make Plum Pudding for Christmas. Starting a few years ago, the men and boys were included too – at the instigation of my mother and a cousin who has been key in keeping the ritual ongoing. It’s great fun to see everyone in the family before the holiday madness sets in; and there’s plenty of alcohol on hand (also a new feature, I gather). But it’s also powerful to participate in a chain that remains unbroken, stretching back generations. Here is the pre-steamed pudding mixture in all its gloppy glory. One secret: get the butcher to chop the suet.

Will Schwalbe is the author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club and he’s the founder of the cookery website cookstr.com.

Will Schwalbe's Christmas

 

 

 

…the beautiful cover for Ayelet Waldman‘s LOVE AND TREASURE. Published in April 2014.

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

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We received proofs of the book today and we took a little video to show you all how beautiful they look: see it here.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEA 2012: A Spotty Alphabet

 

 

Author’s note – yes I know it’s 2013, but I just came across this article I wrote for BookBrunch, the industry news service. I’m just back from this year’s show (my 21st) and it’s still valid – mineral water is now $5 a bottle, people are still wandering helplessly looking for events (possibly from last year) and the queues for the loo are still serpentine. But actually, it’s genuinely about the buzz and IT’S NEW YORK.

From New York, Lisa Highton, Publisher of Two Roads at Hodder & Stoughton, offers a personal reflection from her twentieth BookExpo.

This year, BookExpo is about conferencing and events as much as the trade fair. While the exhibition space has shrunk, the lower level of the Javits is buzzing with people eager to go digital and learn new stuff. Also buzzing with people trying to find their way to lost meeting rooms. Signage people, signage.

All About the Reader
We are reaching out to them – a lot.

Author Events
Possibly because I had three authors at BEA, I have a new respect for what author signings on this scale can do. A great set-up for an author – either debut or established. Packs of ever-patient, smiling publicists organising events and signings for authors. Many are called but few are chosen, so a BEA invitation is a privilege.

BEA’s Greatest Hits
The non-changing location of BookExpo prompted vets to reminisce about previous BEAs, as we still like to call them, which used to take us all over the States. Now we are forever in New York, which of course is never a bad thing. But see Javits. Anaheim – very bad, just one huge car park and no food. Las Vegas – historic, a rotting Cesar’s Palace hotel, equal parts Rat Pack DNA and Miss Havisham. New Orleans – excellent, despite subsequent acute pneumonia from ending up in bar at 4am in swamp. Los Angeles – rubbernecking. Bizarre encounter of British publishing and Playboy Mansion – the grimy grotto never to be forgotten. Chicago – uplifting. We were all much improved by Chicago walking tours and Frank Lloyd Wright. Washington – capitol.

Breakfasts
With booksellers, sell-out ticketed events, and now broadcast live; breakfasts with librarians, influencers. Breakfasts: I don’t do breakfasts but thanks to technology I could watch great authors in the luxury of my own PJs. www.livestream.com/authorbreakfasts From Barbara Kingsolver to Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon. All brilliant. (Photo: Kingsolver with, left to right, Jo Nesbo, Junot Diaz, and Stephen Colbert. By SteveKagan.com)

Buzz words
Discoverability, of course, is outstripping curating. Reaching the Reader is the theme. Neil Young will be putting this to music and releasing on his newly announced tour.

Editors Buzz Panel
Editoridol.

Favourite Quotes
Barbara Kingsolver – author breakfast talking about physical form of books and how people resist change: “We complain, we get over it and what endures is story.” Bookseller proudly waving her signed copy of Naomi Wolf’s new book (Vagina): “Naomi Wolf signed my Vagina!” Bookseller in mile-long queue for Rachel Ray’s Burger Matters: “Of course I’m a vegetarian.” J R Moehringer’s new book on criminal Willie Sutton… who was asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money was.”

Galleys & Giveaways
See Tote Bags. Hottest galleys: Tigers in Red Weather/Harold Fry.

Gimmicks
While we’re all very professional now, it was nice to see out-of-work actors and models dressed up as angels/devils/tomatoes giving away Things (see Tote Bags)

Happiness
Seeing books I acquired with a good shot at US success. No names, no pack drill.

Javits
Under scaffolding. A good thing. Attendants with the paddles saying “May I Help You?” They can’t. Dizzying prices – a small bottle of water is $3.65 and a cappuccino $6. Really? Call the pricing commission.

Parties
Yes, they’re still going, although few are now open to all, but a special nod to my group’s 175th Birthday Party for Little, Brown. An old-style gracious party for the great and the good – cast-list included Tom Wolfe, Michael Connelly, Donna Tartt, among many others. And a call-out for Janklow & Nesbit cupcakes at theirs.

Perk
While things are tight in their market, right now the US has more of this with the possible exception of those Brazilians.

Remorse
Seeing books I turned down set for US success. No names, no pack drill.

Signings
Signings signings signings (I want to buy shares in Sharpies). Cocktail parties, dinners… Wind up an author and let them go make their book work. There’s a charming democracy to this. Everyone works hard in less-than-glam surroundings, from Peter Carey to a first-time novelist. While many signed copies undoubtedly end up being sold, the majority of requests are genuine and it’s a real opportunity to connect with the author and for the author to connect with people who can help make their book work. Cannot be cynical about this process and not even trying.
(above, Will Schwalbe)

The Hot Ticket
Neil Young and Patti Smith. Without a doubt. Couldn’t get in.

Tote Bags
What will we do with all of these? Be buried in them?

US Trade Paperbacks
The nicest, best-produced paperback format in the world. There, I’ve

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Oh the irony of discussing digital in a concrete bunker, get broadband people, get broadband.

Nancy Horan was featured in the Book Expo America Daily edition of Publishers Weekly and luckily we had an insider in New York ready to bring back evidence (thanks Lisa!). Read the interview below and head over to our Facebook page to see pics of Nancy signing advance readers copies of Under the Wide and Starry Sky.

NANCY HORAN

Follows Her Heart

by Genevieve Valentine

 

In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson was on a train to California in pursuit of Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, 10 years his senior and married, with whom he’d fallen in love. For Nancy Horan, the journey sparked her curiosity; her curiosity sparked a new novel.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky (Two Roads, January 2014) uses letters, diaries, and essays to chart a complicated love story.

He was from an upper-class Scottish family, she was almost like a Henry James character, a very independent woman – self-made, pre-feminist, she explains.

Horan began ‘an exploration of an amazing pair of people.’ The relationship spanned two decades and three continents, and left plenty of material. ‘ Stevenson alone, eight volumes of letters!’ she says, laughing. But Horan’s careful process (the book was five years in the making) relies on the historical context the documents provide.

That’s what really draws me to a story. I like it if there’s an engaging series of events and a change in the characters. I begin by doing research, but it continues all the way through, and it’s absolutely the case with this story. I know where it’s going, I have a general idea of what they’re doing in a given year and what their lives were like, but during that process there’s so much to read and so much to learn.

It doesn’t all find a place (‘Chapters will bite the dust,’ she explains pragmatically), but the background ‘enriches the whole process.’

Horan is no stranger to reconstructing historical figures: her 2007 blockbuster debut, Loving Frank, took Fran Lloyd Wright’s mistress, Mamah Borthwick Cheney, from historical footnote to heroine of a novel about identity and the

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public eye. That approac brought Osbourne’s voice to the fore in Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Though their stories differ, Horan sees both women in conversation within the genre of historical fiction.

You find they were up against challenges that we don’t necessarily face any more. In particular, the issue of divorce was alive for both of those women, and a very hard obstacle to overcome.

Despite being well-regarded among his contemporaries, Stevenson’s writing fell out of favor in the 20th century. However he’s enjoying a critical renaissance, and Horan hopes that readers might come back to Stevenson’s work with a new eye.

But historical and literary significance aside, she considers the novel a personal journey.

I hope that people are as engaged and captivated by these people as I was.

The End of Your Life Book Club book club read E. M. Forster's Howards End (Will Schwalbe)

After a few months spent on hiatus, the book club gathered once more to discuss the E. M. Forster classic novel Howards End. The meeting was timed with the release of the paperback edition of Will’s The End of Your Life Book Club and although he couldn’t be with us in the Two Roads headquarters, he managed to join in from New York, talking about the book with Lisa, who is in the Big Apple herself: a true transatlantic book club experience!

 

The End of Your Life Book Club book club read E. M. Forster's Howards End (Will Schwalbe)

Will reading HOWARDS END in New York

Surprisingly perhaps, not many people had read Howards End before or even seen the film. The book is about three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings Margaret, Tibby, and Helen; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. It explores the underlying class warfare involving these three distinct groups and the source of their conflict – Howards End, a house in the countryside which ultimately becomes a symbol of conflict within British society.

For such an apparently heavy subject, the novel is incredibly engaging (and obviously beautifully written). We found ourselves drawn to some of the most obvious themes (the now famous line ‘Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. was the focus of much discussion) and we were particularly intrigued by the relationship between the highly idealistic Margaret and Henry, the pragmatic defender of social conventions. How could such different characters end up becoming husband and wife?

But most of our conversation revolved around the timeliness of the novel. When it was first published in 1910, E. M. Forster’s book dealt with some of the most profound issues of British society: the relationship between ownership and power, and the huge gap between different social statuses. Most people in the club agreed that Howards End still feels incredibly ‘of the time’ today – class still being a subject worth writing about in these troubled times – but also wondered if Forster would pick a different subject matter (race perhaps?) were he alive today.

The End of Your Life Book Club book club read E. M. Forster's Howards End (Will Schwalbe)

Zadie’s Smith ON BEAUTY

The discussion turned towards more recent books when someone brought up Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, the Orange Prize-winning novel which is an homage to Forster’s classic. We started talking about the modern ‘reinterpretations’ of the classics, not only in literature but also in films (we spent quite a bit of time analysing how cult film Clueless relates to Emma, the Jane Austen book it is loosely based on): do they introduce the classics to new audiences and ensure their survival? Or is it just a way to exploit some of the greatest works of the past?

In the end we went back to Howards End and we agreed

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to a good 3 out of 4 score. And then we rewarded ourselves with some well deserved cake (check out more pics on Facebook):

The End of Your Life Book Club book club read E. M. Forster's Howards End (Will Schwalbe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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