1000 Books to Read Before You Die- with wine!

Join us for a festive evening of wine and apps with author James Mustich as we celebrate the release of his book, 1000 Books to Read Before You Die. Book presentation and discussion, casual conversation  with trivia and a book signing. This is the PERFECT holiday or birthday gift for someone else….or just for yourself!

There is no charge, but registration is suggested- to save a spot or reserve a book click HERE. (Yes, we will serve non- alcoholic beverages).

About the book:

The ultimate book for book lovers: the 1,000 must-read books across genres and eras, each accompanied by a thought-provoking short essay on why the book is so essential. Encompassing fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die moves across cultures and through time to present an eclectic collection of titles, each described with the special enthusiasm readers summon when recommending a book to a friend.

“As the owner of a 90-year-old bookselling institution, I am not easily fazed by 1,000 books, but Mustich’s literary bucket list stopped me in my tracks. His expansive scope is coupled with a delightful wit and a perfect eye for the surprise detail. Never again will you have to wonder what to read next. A book you’ll cherish for a lifetime!” 
–Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor, Strand Book Store

“If you’ve ever doubted that books were the greatest invention of all time, and that they carry within them our collective memories and dreams, as well as any semblance of intelligence we have as a species, pick up James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and start reading.” 
–Ken Burns 

About the author: 

James Mustich began his career in bookselling at an independent book store in Briarcliff Manor, New York, in the early 1980s. In 1986, he co-founded the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader, and was for two decades its guiding force. He subsequently has worked as an editorial and product development executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his wife, Margot, in Connecticut.

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!)

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!

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.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful ForeversBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter – Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” – will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a National Book Award Winner for 2011 and is currently a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for nonfiction.

This Is Not My Hat

Written & illustrated by Jon Klassen

From the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling and award-winning I Want My Hat Back comes a second wry tale.

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened…Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.

Recently named the 2013 winner of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book of the year!

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life – mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone – and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Alex Award, for fiction written with adults with special appeal to a teen audience!

Mentors in the Garden of Life

By Colleen Plimpton

Plants and People and Lessons Learned in the Dirt
Popular garden columnist, lecturer and coach Colleen Plimpton has written a unique gardening memoir filled with funny, sad, touching and memorable stories of her years of digging in the dirt, the many people who nurtured her interest from childhood, and the unexpected life lessons she learned from morning glories, lilacs, potatoes, and even dandelions. Each chapter concludes with a detailed profile of the plant or woodland creature around which the story revolved.

For those of you who love gardening, Colleen Plimpton’s memoir Mentors in the Garden of Life is a book you don’t want to miss. It is a beautifully written story that traces her development as a person into one of America’s foremost gardening experts. Readers will meet stern grandparents, a loving great aunt, and a young uncle, whose death made a deep impression upon his niece. Today, Colleen is a highly-acclaimed author, gardner, columnist, lecturer, and instructor. Her award-winning one-acre ornamental garden has been on numerous tours, and serves as a living classroom laboratory where she teaches composting, composition, color and many other how-to’s of gardening. She volunteers her time and expertise to the local garden club and other non-profit groups. Her articles have appeared in numerous gardening publications.

Mentors in the Garden of Life has received numerous awards, among them:
* 2011 Connecticut Book Award Finalist in the Memoir category
* The 2011 International Book Awards winner, Home: Gardening category
* Best Books 2010 Awards Finalist, Home: Gardening, from USABookNews.com

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