Shine Shine Shine

“Over the moon with a metaphysical spin. Heart-tugging…it is struggling to understand the physical realities of life and the nature of what makes us human….Nicely unpredictable…Extraordinary.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and eighteen-days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.

Now, twenty years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other: a wondrous, strange relationship formed from urgent desire for connection. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital. Their marriage is on the brink of imploding, and they’re at each other’s throats with blame and fear. What exactly has gone wrong?

Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight-the-hell home.

When an accident in space puts the mission in peril, everything Sunny and Maxon have built hangs in the balance. Dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig all come tumbling to the light. And nothing will ever be the same…

A debut of singular power and intelligence, Shine Shine Shine is a unique love story, an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human.

The Good Dream

By Donna VanLiere

From The New York Times bestselling author comes a poignant, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel about an unlikely path to motherhood, and of two lost souls healing each other.

1950 Tennessee, a time and place that straddles the past and present. Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid by the town (though she’s only in her early thirties) and she takes that label with good humor and a grain of salt. Ever since her parents passed away, she has hidden her loneliness behind a fierce independence and a claim of not needing anyone. But her mother’s death hit her harder than anyone suspects and Ivorie wonders if she will be alone forever. When she realizes that someone has been stealing vegetables from her garden – a feral, dirty-faced boy who disappears into the hills – something about him haunts Ivorie. She can’t imagine what would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden. But what she truly can’t imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in the filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills. Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him? As Ivorie steps out of her comfort zone to uncover the answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town–a community that would rather let secrets stay secret. The Good Dream is Donna VanLiere is at her absolute best.

The Red House

By Mark Haddon

An dazzlingly inventive novel about modern family, from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

The set-up of Mark Haddon’s brilliant new novel is simple: Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. The stage is set for seven days of resentment and guilt, a staple of family gatherings the world over.

But because of Haddon’s extraordinary narrative technique, the stories of these eight people are anything but simple. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt. As we come to know each character they become profoundly real to us. We understand them, even as we come to realize they will never fully understand each other, which is the tragicomedy of every family.

The Red House is a literary tour-de-force that illuminates the puzzle of family in a profoundly empathetic manner — a novel sure to entrance the millions of readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Cures for Hunger

By Deni Y. Béchard

“As the motor’s vibrations cradled me, I tried to envision my life. I saw the red lines of highways on the map, stretched between cities like threads of torn cloth. I imagined a book that could hold it all together, plains and mountain ranges, dust-drab towns beyond interstates, and somewhere on the far edges, the valley in British Columbia and those nights in Virginia when I snuck out and stalked the highway, trying to fathom where I belonged on this threadbare continent.”

As a child growing up in rural British Columbia, Deni Béchard had no idea that his family was extraordinary. With a father prone to racing trains and brawling, and a mother with interest in health food and the otherworldly, Deni finds pleasure in typical boyish activities: fishing for salmon with his father, and reading with his mother.

Assigned to complete a family tree in school, Deni begins to wonder why he doesn’t know more about his father’s side of the family. His mother is from Pittsburgh, and there is a vague sense that his father is from Quebec, but why the mystery? When his mother leaves Deni’s father and decamps with her three children to Virginia, his curiosity only grows. Who is this man, why do the police seem so interested in him, and why is his mother so afraid of him? And when his mother begrudgingly tells Deni that his father was once a bank robber, his imagination is set on fire. Boyish rebelliousness soon gives way to fantasies of a life of crime, and a deep drive for experience leads him to a number of adventures, hitching to Memphis and stealing a motorcycle; fighting classmates and kissing girls.

Before long, young Deni is imagining himself as a character in one of his father’s stories, or in the novels he devours greedily. At once attracted and repelled, Deni can’t escape the sense that his father’s life holds the key to understanding himself, and to making sense of his own passions, aversions, and motivations. Eventually he moves back to British Columbia, only to find himself snared in the controlling impulses of his mysterious father, and increasingly obsessed by his father’s own muted recollections of the Quebecois childhood he’d fled long ago.

At once an extraordinary family story and a highly unconventional portrait of the artist as a young man, Cures for Hunger is a singular, deeply affecting memoir, by one of the most acclaimed young writers in the world today.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

By Anna Quindlen

In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead–and celebrating it all–as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.

As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about:

Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”

Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’ ”

Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”

Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”

Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

Darth Vader and Son

By Jeffrey Brown

What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if “Luke, I am your father” was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad?

In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other – except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown’s delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star (“Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!”), and the special bond shared between any father and son.

Words Get in the Way

By Nan Rossiter

From the author of The Gin & Chowder Club comes an exquisitely heartfelt and uplifting novel that explores the infinite reach of a mother’s love—and the gift of second chances…

The modest ranch house where Callie Wyeth grew up looks just as she remembers it—right down to the well-worn sheets in the linen closet. But in the years since Callie lived here, almost everything else has changed. Her father, once indomitable, is in poor health. And Callie is a single mother with a beautiful little boy, Henry, who has just been diagnosed with autism.

Returning to this quiet New Hampshire community seems the best thing to do, for both her father and her son’s sake. Even if it means facing Linden Finch, the one she loved and left for reasons she’s sure he’ll never forgive. Linden is stunned that Callie is back—and that she has a son. Yet in the warm, funny relationship that develops between Henry and Linden’s menagerie of rescued farm animals, Callie begins to find hope. Not just that her son might break through the wall of silence separating him from the world, but that she too can make a new start amid the places and people that have never left her heart…

Byrd’s Books will be hosting a special author event with Nan Rossiter on Sunday, June 3rd! Visit the event page for details.

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