Byrd’s Books welcomes Garth Stein on Saturday March 21st at Western Connecticut State University’s Ruth Haas Library

garth_stein_1111_1On Saturday March 21st at 6:30p.m., Byrd’s Books hosted New York Times bestselling author Garth Stein in the Ruth Haas Library at Western Connecticut State University with a reading & presentation on his new novel, A Sudden Light. It was flowed by a short question and answer period and book signing.

About the book:

A family confronts long-buried secrets as it struggles for forgiveness and redemption in this breathtaking story set against the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a spellbinding, atmospheric work rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation.

About the author: 

A Sudden Light_2nd_High Res (1)Garth Stein’s newest novel is A Sudden Light, published by Simon and Schuster in September, 2014.  He is the author of three previous novels:  Raven Stole the MoonHow Evan Broke His Head and Other Secretsand The Art of Racing in the Rain.  The Art of Racing in the Rain has sold more than 4 million copies in 35 languages, and spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list.  It has inspired a Young Reader edition as well as a children’s picture book adaptation (2014), a stage adaptation by Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle, and is currently in development with Universal Studios for a major motion picture.

Admission to this event is by reservation only. Please call the store for information and/or to make a reservation. You may also make a reservation by clicking here.

 

To watch the trailer of the book, click here.

 

Pulitzer Prize Winners for 2013!

Just this week, the 2013 recipients of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize were announced, and Byrd’s Books is thrilled to carry a few of the winning and finalist titles! Check out our selection below, and visit this site to read the full list of titles – if we don’t carry one that interests you, we would be more than happy to order it for you!

Orphan Master's SonPulitzer Prize in Fiction: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, “The Orphan Master’s Son” follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother – a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang – and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

Finalists in Fiction: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Black CountPulitzer Prize in Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (a Byrd’s Books staff favorite!)

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave – who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

Pulitzer Finalist in Nonfiction: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (another Byrd’s Books pick!)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and DanteBy Benjamin Alire Saenz (2/21/2013 release date)

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship – the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Recently named the 2013 winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award for excellence in Latino literature! Also named a 2013 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature.

One Cool Friend

One Cool FriendBy Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small

On a momentous visit to the aquarium, Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. It’s just proper enough for a straight-laced boy like him. And when he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad probably thought he meant a stuffed penguin and not a real one…Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale of friendship and wish fulfillment a kid-pleaser from start to finish.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Caldecott Honor award for illustration!

Dodger

DodgerBy Terry Pratchett

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl – not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.

This title was recently announced a 2013 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Honor for excellence in YA literature!

In Darkness

In DarknessBy Nick Lake

Bloomsbury is proud to be the global publisher of In Darkness, a stunning tour-de-force set in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. “Shorty” is a Haitian boy trapped in the ruins of a hospital when the earth explodes around him. Surrounded by lifeless bodies and growing desperately weak from lack of food and water, death seems imminent. Yet as Shorty waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, he becomes aware of another presence, one reaching out to him across two hundred years of history. It is the presence of slave and revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, whose life was marred by violence, and whose own end came in darkness. What unites a child of the slums with the man who would shake a troubled country out of slavery? Is it the darkness they share…or is it hope?

Raw, harrowing, and peopled with vibrant characters, In Darkness is an extraordinary book about the cruelties of man and nature, and the valiant, ongoing struggle for a country’s very survival.

Recently named the 2013 winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature!

Staff note: Due to high demand, there is a limited quantity of this title available at Byrd’s Books and elsewhere.

Bomb: The Race to Build–And Steal–The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

By Steven Sheinkin Bomb

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world’s most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Bomb is a 2012 National Book Awards finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Bomb is a 2012 Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Newbery Honor award!

Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and GloomsBy Laura Amy Schlitz

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller – an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud.

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.

Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack – adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.

As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Newbery Honor award!

The One and Only Ivan

One and Only IvanBy Katherine Applegate

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home – and his own art – through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Recently announced 2013 winner of the Jon Newbery Medal!

Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

BewildermentBy David Ferry

Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry

To read David Ferry’s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry’s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against – and with – his genius for metrical variation. His vocal phrasing thus becomes an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry. Most poets write inside a very narrow range of experience and feeling, whether in free or metered verse. But Ferry’s use of meter tends to enhance the colloquial nature of his writing, while giving him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it’s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption. Ferry’s translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them.

Bewilderment is currently a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.

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