If you’ve been asleep for the past few months, which I completely understand, you may have missed that the Donna Tartt Cinematic Universe is kicking off with The Goldfinch. The film opened September 13 in the U.S. If you’re not busy rereading the Dickensian modern masterpiece, check out these other books like The Goldfinch.
If you guessed today, August 15, you’re right!
Go buy yourself a plate of nachos as a prize. Or a French dish… Or tickets to a music festival. Whichever you’d enjoy most.
WHAT A DAY!
Julia Child, in case you don’t know, was a hugely popular and influential chef, cooking show host and author whose career spanned decades and helped change the way Americans cook. She is a household name to this day and her cookbooks continue to inspire home chefs to try their hand at French cuisine.
Ignacio Anaya Garcia worked in the El Moderno restaurant in the Texas-Mexico border town of Piedras Negras in 1943 when a group of American women came in looking for a quick snack. The kitchen was shutting down for the evening (or, depending on which story you hear, hadn’t finished setting up for lunch) and didn’t have any food ready so Ignacio threw together some ingredients and called it “Nachos Especiales.” Nachos were here to stay!
And, as if that wasn’t enough to make today special, today is also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Woodstock music festival!
In honor of everything connected with this special day, here is a short and eclectic list of books for you to enjoy.
Lynn Rymarz performs as cooking aficionado, Julia Child in a one-woman show.
Julia Child discovered her passion for cooking French food in her late thirties after she married Paul Child and moved to Paris in 1948. Hear Julia’s own words as she describes her love of French food and how she became determined to learn how to cook it.
Follow Julia Child’s journey into the French culture, including her visits to the local markets and into her cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu. She will share her struggles and her successes, including her own cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her television show The French Chef. She will tell you herself she never would have had any of this without meeting the love of her life, Paul Child.
The Friends of the Moline Public Library Foundation sponsor the show. The Information Desk phone number is 309-524-2470.
Shaft by Ernest Tidyman
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: Shaft has no prejudices. He’ll kill anyone- black or white. Who is John Shaft? A black Bogart who says the Revolution is a new way to chase chicks…the Mafia is a meatball…and life is going to screw you if you don’t screw it. John Shaft is a private eye. John Shaft is a black man made of muscle and ice.
American Woman by Susan Choi
Movie: American Woman
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: When 25-year-old Jenny Shimada steps out of the Rhinecliff train station in New York’s Hudson Valley, the last person she expects to see is Rob Frazer, a shadowy figure from her previous life. On the lam for an act of violence against the American government, Jenny agrees to take on the job of caring for three younger fugitives whom Frazer has spirited out of California. One of them, the granddaughter of a wealthy newspaper magnate in San Francisco, has become a national celebrity. Kidnapped by a homegrown revolutionary group, Pauline shocked America when she embraced her captors’ ideology, denouncing family and class to enlist in their radical cell.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Movie: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone—skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories—and even scary songs—all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.
The Kitchen by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle
Movie: The Kitchen
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives—Kath, Raven and Angie—decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Movie: The Art of Racing in the Rain
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Movie: Where’d You Go
When it comes out: August 16
What the book is about: Bernadette Fox has vanished. When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.
Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström
Movie: The Informer
When it comes out: August 16
What the book is about: Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.
The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell
Movie: Official Secrets
When it comes out: August 23
What the book is about: British secret service officer Katharine Gun’s only crime was telling the truth, but she paid a steep price when she exposed a U.S.-U.K. spy operation to secure UN authorization for the Iraq invasion. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this book tells the story of the young woman Sean Penn describes as “a hero of the human spirit.”
MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU.
In recognition of the day here are two lists of the best Star Wars novels ever. Yes, two lists, one canon and one that used to be.
MODERN CANON FOR ME, PLEASE!
10. QUEEN’S SHADOW by E. K. Johnston
When Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow.
9. STAR WARS: AFTERMATH by Chuck Wendig
As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding.
8. THRAWN by Timothy Zahn
One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, but Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, author Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.
7. LAST SHOT by Daniel Jose Older
It’s been ten years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando — and all life on Cloud City — will be annihilated.
6. BLOODLINE by Claudia Gray
Now a respected senator of the New Republic, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option.
5. THRAWN: ALLIANCES by Timothy Zahn
On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn.
4. TARKIN by James Luceno
Grand Moff Tarkin, the face of the Empire (at least in 1977 before we met the Emperor), has never had his story told. Until now as author James Luceno brings the legendary character to full, fascinating life.
3. A NEW DAWN by John Jackson Miller
Ever since the Jedi were marked for death and forced to flee Coruscant, Kanan Jarrus has devoted himself to staying alive rather than serving the Force. Wandering the galaxy alone, from one anonymous job to another, he avoids trouble–especially with the Empire–at all costs. So when he discovers a deadly conflict brewing between ruthless Imperial forces and desperate revolutionaries, he’s not about to get caught in the crossfire. Then the brutal death of a friend at the Empire’s hands forces the ex-Jedi to make a choice: bow down to fear, or stand up and fight.
2. AHSOKA by E. K. Johnston
Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….
1. LORDS OF THE SITH by Paul S. Kemp
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.” Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
I DON’T CARE WHAT DISNEY SAYS, GIVE ME OLD SCHOOL!
10. FATE OF THE JEDI series by Aaron Allston, Christie Golden, and Troy Denning
After a violent civil war, and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis — and in need. From all corners, politicians, power brokers, and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order, negotiate differences, and determine the future of their unified worlds. But even more critical, and far more uncertain, is the future of the Jedi.
9. THE COURTSHIP OF PRINCESS LEIA by Dave Wolverton
Seeking rich, powerful allies to bring into the Rebel Alliance and a new home planet for the refugees of her native Alderaan, Princess Leia considers a proposal that could tip the balance of power against the evil Empire. The Hapes Consortium of 63 worlds is ruled by the Queen Mother, who wants Leia to marry her son, the dashing and wealthy Prince Isolder. Han Solo has always dreamed of marrying Leia himself, and now he makes a desperate last gamble to win her back.
8. SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE by Alan Dean Foster
Luke Skywalker expected trouble when he volunteered to follow Princess Leia on her mission to the planet Circarpous. But he discovered that hidden on the planet was the Kaiburr crystal, a mysterious gem that would give the one who possessed it such powers over the Force that he would be all but invincible. In the wrong hands, the crystal could be deadly. So Luke had to find this treasure and find it fast….
7. LEGACY OF THE FORCE series by Troy Denning, Karen Traviss, and Aaron Allston
This is the era of Luke Skywalker’s legacy: the Jedi Master has unified the order into a cohesive group of powerful Jedi Knights. However, as this era begins, planetary interests threaten to disrupt this time of relative peace and Luke is plagued by visions of an approaching darkness.
6. DARK LORD: THE RISE OF DARTH VADER by James Luceno
Throughout the galaxy, it was believed that Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker the Chosen One had died on Coruscant during the siege of the Jedi Temple. And, to some extent, that was true. Anakin was dead. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead . . . and Darth Vader lives.
5. THE OLD REPUBLIC: DECEIVED by Paul S. Kemp
Darth Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace would transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be, but cannot stop, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching.
4. DARTH PLAGUEIS by James Luceno
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It’s a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
3. DARTH BANE trilogy: PATH OF DESTRUCTION, RULE OF TWO, and DYNASTY OF EVIL by Drew Karpyshyn
Once the Sith order teemed with followers. But their rivalries divided them in endless battles for supremacy. Until one Dark Lord at last united the Sith in the quest to enslave the galaxy—and exterminate the Jedi. Yet it would fall to another, far more powerful than the entire Brotherhood of Darkness, to ultimately realize the full potential of the Sith and wield the awesome power of the dark side as never before.
2. THE NEW JEDI ORDER series by multiple authors
Twenty-one years have passed since the heroes of the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star, breaking the power of the Emperor. Since then, the New Republic and the New Jedi Order have valiantly struggled to maintain peace and prosperity among the peoples of the galaxy. But unrest has begun to spread and threatens to destroy the Republic’s tenuous reign.
1. THE THRAWN trilogy: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE, DARK FORCE RISING, and THE LAST COMMAND by Timothy Zahn
It is a time of renewal, five years after the destruction of the Death Star and the defeat of Darth Vader and the Empire. But with the war seemingly won, strains are beginning to show in the Rebel Alliance. New challenges to galactic peace have arisen. And Luke Skywalker hears a voice from his past. A voice with a warning. Beware the dark side….
Going into the final season of Game of Thrones, we know the HBO series is going to end things differently than George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice books, if only because they’ve changed a lot already over the last two seasons. Plus, Martin hasn’t finished writing The Winds of Winter yet, which is only slated to be the second-to-last book in the series. But still, Martin had rough plans for how the book series would end, which he shared with Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss, and their ending will come out before his does. Martin told EW he has “mixed feelings about that,” saying, “Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that.”
Tell It to the Bees by Fiona Shaw
Movie: Tell It to the Bees
When it comes out: May 3
What the book is about: Lydia Weekes is distraught at the break-up of her marriage. When her young son, Charlie, makes friends with the local doctor, Jean Markham, her life is turned upside down. Charlie tells his secrets to no one but the bees, but even he can’t keep his mother’s friendship to himself. The locals don’t like things done differently. As Lydia and the doctor become closer, the rumors start to fly and threaten to shatter Charlie’s world.
The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
Movie: The Professor and the Madman
When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: An extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion by Ed Sanders & The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten by Karlene Faith
Movie: Charlie Says
When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: The Family: The first full-length, chronological account of the Manson clan tracks the case through two decades of turmoil and include revealing information on the highly publicized murder trial of 1970 and 1971, Squeaky Fromme’s attempt to shoot President Gerald Ford, and Manson’s continued leadership of the Satanic underground from behind bars.
The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: At The Age Of Twenty-One, Leslie Van Houten was sentenced to death, along with Charles Manson and his other disciples, for the infamous murder rampage spanning two nights in August 1969. Leslie, who was present at the Rosemary and Leno LaBianca stabbings, serenely accepted her sentence, wishing only that she had better served Manson in carrying out his apocalyptic vision of Helter Skelter. When the United States temporarily suspended its death penalty, her sentence for murder conspiracy was converted to life in prison. Today, at the age of 51, after three trials and with no parole in sight, Leslie has become a remarkable survivor of a living nightmare.
A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Movie: A Dog’s Journey
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: The direct sequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Dog’s Purpose.
Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own.
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Movie: The Sun Is Also a Star
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. Definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica.
Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets about all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store.
Aniara by Harry Martinson
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: Harry Martinson’s Epic Science Fiction Poem, is at once a warning of despair in the time of the nuclear weapons and the looming threat of ecological disaster and perhaps the most complete expression of Martinson’s lifelong project to illustrate man’s attempts to truly see himself and his role in creation.
“Trial by Fire” (The New Yorker) by David Grann
Movie: Trial by Fire
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: When Elizabeth Gilbert approached the prison guard, on a spring day in 1999, and said Cameron Todd Willingham’s name, she was uncertain about what she was doing. A forty-seven-year-old French teacher and playwright from Houston, Gilbert was divorced with two children. She had never visited a prison before. Several weeks earlier, a friend, who worked at an organization that opposed the death penalty, had encouraged her to volunteer as a pen pal for an inmate on death row, and Gilbert had offered her name and address. Not long after, a short letter, written with unsteady penmanship, arrived from Willingham, convicted of setting the fire that killed his three young children. “If you wish to write back, I would be honored to correspond with you,” he said. He also asked if she might visit him. Perhaps out of a writer’s curiosity, or perhaps because she didn’t feel quite herself (she had just been upset by news that her ex-husband was dying of cancer), she agreed. Now she was standing in front of the decrepit penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas—a place that inmates referred to as “the death pit.” Gilbert came to believe that the polite unassuming man Willingham was innocent and would soon set out on a long, frustrating journey to find the truth.