Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy
Sue Monk Kidd - The Secret Life of Bees
SELECTED BY Good Morning America's "READ THIS!" BOOK CLUB Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine femal power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
Philip Roth - The Dying Animal
David Kepesh is white haired and over sixty, an eminent TV culture critic and star lecturer at a New York college, when he meets Consuela Castillo, a decorous, well-mannered student of twenty-four, the daughter of wealthy Cuban exiles, who promptly puts his life into erotic disorder and haunts him for the next eight years. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960's freed him from his wife and child, Kepesh has experimented with living what he calls an emancipated manhood beyond the reach of family or a mate. Over the years, he had refined that exuberant decade of protest and licence into an orderly way of life in which he is both unimpeded in the world of Eros and studiously devoted to his aesthetic pursuits. But the youth and beauty of this newly hatched woman - a masterpiece, as Kepesh describes Consuela, of 'volupté' - undo him completely. His worldliness, his confidence, his reason desert him, and on the brink of old age, a maddening sexual possessiveness transports him to the depths of deforming jealousy. The lighthearted erotic tale with which he began evolves into a poignant, tragic story of love and loss.
Michael J. Fox - Lucky Man
The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made Michael J Fox a star in the Spin City television series and Back to the Future films make Lucky Man a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir. Yes, he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illness that led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes, he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he was diagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he then cheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson's life in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and of course very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe she just wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that one was, 'Ah... nope.'") From a Canadian, working-class background, Fox has an unusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; his description of the tabloid feeding-frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to Tracy Pollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact. He is frank but not maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that getting sober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, witty autobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox on screen: he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed about liking him. --Wendy Smith
Jodi Picoult - Salem Falls
When Jack St. Bride arrives in the small town of Salem Falls, all he wants is to escape his past. He's spent the last eight months in jail, after being falsely accused of having an affair with an underage student at the school where he taught. In Salem Falls, he gets a job as a dishwasher at a local diner and tentatively begins a romance with the diner's owner, Addie, who is still mourning the death of her young daughter, born after Addie was raped in high school by three drunk boys. As she and Jack fall in love, they both see hope for the future. But their newfound love is threatened when the residents of Salem Falls learn of Jack's conviction and begin harassing him. When, predictably, a teenage girl accuses Jack of raping her, he finds himself back in jail, fighting a serious charge and the town's prejudice. Addie wrestles with her doubts and memories of her own rape, but she believes in Jack and goes on a quest of her own to find out the truth about Jack's initial conviction, even as the Salem Falls trial opens.
Charlaine Harris - Dead in the Family
If you think your family relationships are complicated, think again: you haven't seen anything like the ones in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric's vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric's 'brother' in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie's tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton. In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.
Brandon Mull - Fablehaven
For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely! Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite . . . Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischevious satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.
Courtney Summers - This Is Not a Test
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?
Janet Evanovich - High Five
High fives all around! The New York Times bestselling author of FOUR TO SCORE puts Stephanie Plum, America's favorite bounty hunter, back behind the wheel in her fifth high-octane thriller. What's Stephanie up to now? * Her Uncle Fred has disappeared. * A body turns up in a garbage bag. * She's got a nasty bookie following her around town. * Grandma Mazur has her hands on the stun gun. * Stephanie can't keep a car for more than forty-eight hours. * Two men are trying to get her into bed. * She has nothing to wear to the Mafia wedding. * And there's an angry little man (don't call him a dwarf!) who won't leave her apartment. Bail jumping in Trenton is down to small potatoes. Stephanie's only open case is a small bond for a small violation, committed by a small person who raises Stephanie's frustration level in big ways. So short of money and long on bills, Stephanie comes up with a plan --diversify! Signing on as an intern with entrepreneurial Super Bounty Hunter Ranger, Stephanie ventures into Ranger's mostly morally correct and marginally legal operations. None of this makes vice cop Joe Morelli a happy man. The cop in him can't help but wonder as to the source of Stephanie's expensive new cars. And the rest of him, the man who's been friend and lover to Stephanie, can't help but wonder if there's more to the partnership than meets the eye. The internship is downgraded to second priority when Uncle Fred goes missing. Even though Grandma Mazur is sure he was abducted by aliens, Stephanie sets out to look for Fred. He's a perfectly average senior citizen, and he's disappeared without a trace while running errands. He's left his ten-year-old Pontiac station wagon locked up nice and neat in the Grand Union parking lot, the cleaning is carefully arranged on the back seat, and his wife is at home, waiting for him to return with the bread and the milk and the olive loaf bologna. Locked in the top drawer of his desk are photos of a body, dismembered and stuffed into a garbage bag. And locked away in the computer files of a another average citizen are the clues that will lead Stephanie to Fred. Criminally original and stone brilliant, this Intermediate Bounty Hunting Survival Manual is blockbuster entertainment.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter (Oxford Bookworms)
Scarlet is the colour of sin, and the letter 'A' stands for 'Adultery'. In the 1600s, in Boston, Massachusetts, love was allowed only between a husband and a wife. A child born outside marriage was a child of sin. Hester Prynne must wear the scarlet letter on her dress for the rest of her life. How can she ever escape from this public shame? What will happen to her child, growing up in the shadow of the scarlet letter? The future holds no joy for Hester Prynne. And what will happen to her sinful lover - the father of her child?
Robin Benway - The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June
_I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself._ Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose? April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other. Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
Colleen Hoover - Point of Retreat
Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart. Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.
Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
The most anticipated publication of the decade, The Lost Symbol is the stunning new thriller featuring Robert Langdon. Six years in the writing, it is Dan Brown's extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book's narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action.
John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany
Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend's mother. Owen doesn't believe in accidents; he believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.
Jeff Lindsay - Dexter in the Dark
Dexter Morgan is busy planning his wedding to Rita to complete his nice-guy disguise. But when a student is found burnt, molested and headless - seemingly sacrificed to an ancient god - and Dex is brought in as forensic analyst to help investigate, he realises he could be dealing with someone a whole lot more sinister than he is. Soon it seems the dark passenger in Dexter's head has gone into hiding. And when something creeps out your friendly neighbourhood serial killer, you know it's serious... As Halpern and Dexter are stalked by death, it looks like it's getting personal - especially as Dex now has a family to protect. Gradually, Dexter realises his stepchildren might share his extracurricular interest in death. Could he help them target their bloodlust, just as he steers his own? But to do that, Dex must cope with a certain mutilated sergeant from his past, and more importantly... stay alive ...
Jeff Lindsay - Dexter is Delicious
America's most-read, most-watched, and most beloved serial killer - Dexter Morgan - is back. After selling more than one million copies and inspiring the wildly popular #1 Showtime series and top-rated crime drama on pay-cable television, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Lindsay returns with his most hilarious, macabre, and purely entertaining novel yet. Dexter Morgan has always lived a happy homicidal life. He keeps his dark urges in check by adhering to one steadfast rule . . . he only kills very bad people. But now Dexter is experiencing some major life changes - don't we all? - and they're mostly wrapped up in the eight-pound curiosity that is his newborn daughter. Family bliss is cut short, however, when Dexter is summoned to investigate the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl who has been running with a bizarre group of goths who fancy themselves to be vampires. As Dexter gets closer to the truth of what happened to the missing girl, he realizes they are not really vampires so much as cannibals. And, most disturbing . . . these people have decided they would really like to eat Dexter. Jeff Lindsay's bestselling, dark, ironic, and oftentimes laugh-out-loud hilarious novels about the lovable serial killer with no soul (but a redeeming desire to kill only people who deserve it) have gained a legion of fans and assumed a place in our culture.
Patricia Cornwell - Book of the Dead
The "book of the dead" is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to have a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace-not only personally and professionally, but geographically. Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues-including Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy-offer expert crime-scene investigation and autopsies to communities that lack local access to competent death investigation and modern technology. It seems like an ideal situation, until the new battles start-with local politicians, with entrenched interests, with someone whose covert attempts at sabotage are clearly meant to run her out of town. And that's even before the murders and other violent deaths begin. A young man from a well-known family jumps off a water tower. A woman is found ritualistically murdered in her multi-million-dollar beach home. The body of an abused young boy is discovered dumped in a desolate marsh. Meanwhile, in distant New England, problems with a prominent patient at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital begin to hint at interconnections that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones that face her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names-and the pen may be poised to write her own. The first name in forensics. The last name in suspense. Once again, Patricia Cornwell proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.
Mark Twain - Taming the Bicycle
American life comes under the scrutiny of Mark Twain's wit in this delightful collection of short stories. Here, he comments on politics, education, the media, religion, and literature. The true subject of Twain's satire and burlesque is that strangest of all animals, the human being. In his novels, travel narratives, stories, essays, and sketches, Twain exposes such a variety of human foibles that one is left either laughing at the folly of human enterprise, blushing with shame at human behavior, or cursing the gods that would create such a silly animal. Twain does all three, often at the same time.
Mark Twain - Nick Bullard - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Oxford Bookworms)
Tom Sawyer does not like school. He does not like work, and he never wants to get out of bed in the morning. But he likes swimming and fishing, and having adventures with his friends. And he has a lot of adventures. One night, he and his friend Huck Finn go to the graveyard to look for ghosts. They don't see any ghosts that night. They see something worse than a ghost - much, much worse.
Jennifer Weiner - Certain Girls
Readers fell in love with Cannie Shapiro, the smart, sharp-tongued, bighearted heroine of Good in Bed who found her happy ending after her mother came out of the closet, her father fell out of her life, and her ex-boyfriend started chronicling their ex-sex life in the pages of a national magazine. Now Cannie's back. After her debut novel - a fictionalized (and highly sexualized) version of her life - became an overnight bestseller, she dropped out of the public eye and turned to writing science fiction under a pseudonym. She's happily married to the tall, charming diet doctor Peter Krushelevansky and has settled into a life that she finds wonderfully predictable - knitting in the front row of her daughter Joy's drama rehearsals, volunteering at the library, and taking over-forty yoga classes with her best friend Samantha. As preparations for Joy's bat mitzvah begin, everything seems right in Cannie's world. Then Joy discovers the novel Cannie wrote years before and suddenly finds herself faced with what she thinks is the truth about her own conception - the story her mother hid from her all her life. When Peter surprises his wife by saying he wants to have a baby, the family is forced to reconsider its history, its future, and what it means to be truly happy. Radiantly funny and disarmingly tender, with Weiner's whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story about love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.