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This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

Independent booksellers across the country have chosen A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Knopf) as their number-one pick for the June 2020 Indie Next List. A Burning, Majumdar's debut novel, follows three characters in contemporary India who each have different dreams: Jivan wants to rise to the middle class, PT Sir chases political power as his country barrels toward right-wing extremism, and Lovely seeks fame. After Jivan is accused of being connected to a recent terrorist attack, their loosely connected lives become intertwined in ways they never could have imagined, and all three must decide what it means to be complicit.

Playing in the Dark

I was in for something spectacular the moment I began reading The World Doesn't Require You (Liveright, $25.95), the second fiction collection by Rion Amilcar Scott. In the second story, two estranged friends reconnect over a childhood game, a variation of ding-dong ditch referred to by a reclaimed slur. Tyrone is a doctoral candidate, and his thesis speculates about the game's historical significance as a diversion tactic to help the enslaved steal from plantation owners or flee via the Underground Railroad. "While white folks, or even a house slave, answered the front door, there'd be black folk taking bread and hog meat... out the back." At night, they revive the tradition in a bougie white neighborhood--but there are tragic consequences.

Armchair Travel: Sri Lanka

On a recent armchair travel adventure, I visited Sri Lanka, a teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean. Some call it the pearl earring of India, dangling as it does off India's southeastern tip. Formerly known as Ceylon, the island nation's difficult history of colonization was followed by a 25-year-long civil war that ended in 2009.

Cooking Through Quarantine

To cook is to show love--in times of certainty and abundance, and perhaps even more so in times of worry and economy. For many in quarantine, comfort has come via sourdough. If you want to see what everyone's Instagramming about--and scent your house beyond adjectives--join in.

Hundreds of Children Encouraged to Battle it Out at the 2020 Summer Battle of the Books!

WHAT: This summer, the battle of all battles goes LIVE!  The Children’s Trust and all the Miami-Dade Grade Level Reading Partners are looking to crown the next Great Book Warrior.   In an effort to combat summer learning loss, the Summer Battle of the Books hosted by the Miami-Dade Grade Level Reading Campaign and The Children’s Trust encourages both camp teams and individual K-5th grade children and families to join the launch party and download their free preselected eBooks by grade level from the (MDPLS) library, read the books and try the free suggested activities throughout the summer.  Then gather again on July 9th for the virtual field trip which includes the Battle of theBooksfeaturing college and professional athletes, coaches, dancers, Young Talent Big Dreams (YTBD) performers, read-aloud books, and interactive activities.

Meditate on These Books

Have you turned to meditation to relieve some of the stress brought on by the coronavirus? If so, and you want to deepen your practice (or if you haven't but would like to), here are three great books to get you started.

Celebrating Strong Mother Figures

Mother's Day is this weekend and, in whatever form your celebrations might take, we can always turn to books to celebrate those who hold motherly roles in our lives.

Funny Women

Right now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the advice that I am getting over and over is to "stay home" and "calm the f&*k down." First one: Done. Second one: I would if I knew how.

Tending Our (Bookish) Gardens

In this extended work-from-home period, I've been craving time outside: fresh air, a break from screens and the chance to enjoy spring flowers. More recently--though I don't have much outdoor space--I've been delving into gardening books, dreaming of growing my own blooms.

The Fourth Trimester

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I picked up Great with Child(W.W. Norton, $15.95), a collection of letters from poet and author Beth Ann Fennelly (The Tilted World) to her newly pregnant friend. Full of insights large and small about what it means to shift from pregnant person to parent, this book made me realize that while I had spent much of my pregnancy reading about what to expect while pregnant, I was still entirely unsure of what to expect once I actually had a child. I loved science-minded Emily Oster's Expecting Better(Penguin Books, $17), so I quickly purchased her Cribsheet (Penguin Books, $18),which promised the same data-driven exploration of the many parenting decisions I'd face in my child's early years.

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