2017 Texas Teen Book Festival Keynotes

The Texas Teen Book Festival has announced its 2017 keynote authors!

“TTBF 2017 is shaping up to be amazing!” says Festival Director Shawn Mauser. “I could hardly keep the keynote news to myself. Connecting teens with authors they love is the core of what we do. We’re thrilled to give Texas teens the opportunity to meet these exciting, inspiring writers.”

Head to the Texas Teen Book Festival site to check out this year’s fabulous keynote authors!

Join us at St. Edward’s University on October 7 for another jam-packed day of all things YA. The Texas Teen Book Festival is, as always, free and open to the public. Stay tuned to #TTBF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute news and announcements about this year’s Fest. Sign up for the TTBF mailing list to have all of the latest information delivered straight to your inbox.

This is only the beginning. So much more big news to come! We can’t wait for October 7!

From the Lit Director Desk: What I’m Reading

IMG_9937I’ve been to some very cold places this year in the name of books. 

 

The beginning of February saw me return from one book conference in time to promptly turn around and fly out to another book conference. I had just enough time to empty my suitcase of one load of books and make room for another. (Pity me, I know. Play the world’s smallest violins. My dishes were dirty for weeks! The cat did not learn how to do laundry in my absence!)

The great thing about flying in airplanes is that I’m too terrified to look out the window (the ground is so far away) or into the faces of my fellow passengers (which one of these people will be the one to fix the mask over my face when this steel machine goes down???) so I keep my head down and read. And drink tiny little bottles of airplane wine. And hope for the best. I read quite a lot this month. Here are a few of the books that stood out to me. There have been tons of great new books to read and 2017 has barely begun. Get to a bookstore! Browse around! There are good books afoot!

 

right way to be

The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability
edited by Sheila Black, Michael Northen and Annabelle Hayse

Available now! // Cinco Puntos Press

I’m so grateful to Cinco Puntos Press for sending this beautiful anthology my way. Twenty-seven writers present stories about “disability” in all ways the word can be defined. This is the first time – the first time – that short fiction by writers with disabilities, featuring disabled characters, has been anthologized. In addition to unfolding underrepresented perspectives, this book is just chock full of beautiful, lyrical writing. I am mesmerized, story to story. I’m a fan of anthologies in general and love being able to flip between a panoply of voices and styles between two covers. I’m thrilled to have this collection on my shelf.

 

kintu

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
On sale May 16 // Transit Books

I’ve just begun this sweeping story of family, inheritance and history by Ugandan novelist and short story writer Makumbi. Longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Debut African Fiction, Transit Books is publishing this debut novel in the US in May. Moving through time, it follows the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan across generations. I’m really getting into the layers of Kintu Kidda’s journey and family life early on in the book, in the section set in 1750 in Buddu Province, Buganda. The tension of ritual, of tradition adhered to, subverted and manipulated, runs through Kintu’s large family and underscores the violent political turmoil incited by the region’s royalty. The ways in which the characters are bound to one another by blood, tradition, social norms, expectation, love and friendship create a rich and engaging emotional plot. There’s a lot more of this story to come, which is amazing, because Makumbi has already packed so much into the first 100 pages. This book already feels like several novels in one.

 

we are never meeting

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby
On sale May 30 // Vintage

Hallelujah, all praise be, our year is saved thanks to Samantha Irby. This collection of ab-so-lute-ly hilarious essays reads like a long, wine-laced night with the good friend with whom you can discuss all of your totally honest and unpopular opinions about sex, life, love, mental health, aging, family, money, work, and being alive in a seriously less-than-perfect world. Irby is by turns irascible and endearing, self-deprecating and self-assured. In fashioning herself as an anti-hero with a penchant for cheap and dirty meals, doomed relationships and a happy life of cranky spinsterhood, Irby cracks sharp jokes with one hand while revealing poignant emotional vulnerability with the other. I don’t know whether or not it’s a good idea to glean dating advice from this book, but, I have to say, I have found her stories of romance and relationship-building both informative and reassuring. (Date someone who is the opposite of you, that person will know how to pack real road trip snacks; I will remember this advice forever.) If you’re shy and prefer to avoid attention in public, do not read this book outside of your home. You will laugh out loud, a lot, and people will look at you. I also do not recommend attempting to read this book at the gym. Especially don’t try to read the essay about exercising while you are trying to exercise. Take it from me: you cannot laugh this hard and elliptical at the same time. Samantha Irby is also the author of the essay collection Meaty and writes this blog over here.

 

goodbye vitamin

Goodbye Vitamin: A Novel by Rachel Khong
On Sale July 11 // Henry Holt and Co.

I ate this book right up. Yes, it has a tremendous cover, a cover that, at thirty-almost-six years old, intimidated me just a smidge. Am I hip enough to read this book?! Embrace the lemons, my friends, and get to page one, because you’ll forget yourself and be hooked straight away. This book is all humor and big, big heart. Told in dated entries that begin on December 26, it’s the story of Ruth Young, a thirty year old woman recovering from major heartbreak in her parents’ home, where she stays on after Christmas to help her mother manage her father’s rapidly developing Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s and broken hearts sound like a hoot, I know, but I promise, Khong delivers the hard stuff of heartache and health in memorable characters and tender, hilarious situations. This book has some of that oddball Miranda July dark humor I enjoy, with notes of Palahniuk’s ‘broken humans in extreme but somehow functioning and believable circumstances’ style, along with some deadpan emotional lines that punched me right in my Amy Hempel heart. As Ruth comes to terms with her parents’ marriage, her relationship with her father and family, and her own messy emotions, the story lifts right off the page and soars with hope. Khong was executive editor of Lucky Peach and is also the author of All About Eggs: Everything We Know About the World’s Most Important Food. This book will be called the perfect summer read, because it comes out in July, but, I promise, you’ll love it any time of year.

 

abandon-me separation-kitamura dear-friend

New Books On Shelves Now That I Really Enjoyed:

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker
A Separation
 by Katie Kitamura
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
Why I Am Not A Feminist by Jessica Crispin
Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

 

exit-west all-grown-up sorry to disrupt the peace

Books to Look for in March: 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace : A Novel by Patty Yumi Cottrell
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hanna Tinti

The 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival!

TTBF 2017 Date Enews Announcement

The Texas Teen Book Festival has announced its 2017 date! Mark your calendars now for another awesome celebration of YA authors, books, reading, writing, and the wonderful YA community we have here in Texas.

Head to the #TTBF website for full details of when and where to be. Be sure to sign up for the #TTBF enewsletter while you’re there to stay up to the minute with #TTBF news as it hits.

Want to keep up with #TTBF YA love every day? Follow the Texas Teen Book Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2017 Texas Book Festival Dates!

save-the-date

Mark Your Calendar for the 2017 Texas Book Festival!

Join us on the Texas State Capitol grounds in downtown Austin for the 22nd annual Texas Book Festival on November 4-5, 2017!

2016 was a record-setting year for the Texas Book Festival. We welcomed 300 authors and 50,000 attendees in our biggest celebration of books, literacy and the culture of ideas in the Festival’s history. Thank you for being a part of a memorable Festival Weekend!

We’re now hard at work making plans for another tremendous Festival. This means we’re reading a ton of new books. Be sure to keep up with us for reading recommendations and book news all year long on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We can’t wait to see you in Austin November 4-5

P. S. Book submissions for the 2017 Festival are open! Check out all of the submission guidelines and instructions.

New Books to Check Out in May

A new month means a fresh crop of books on bookstore shelves. Here are a few we’re adding to our To-Be-Read pile this month.

 

the after party

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani (May 17)

DiSclafani is the author of the well-received, book club-ready novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (I will spend the rest of my book career attempting to spell Yonahlossee right on the first try and failing every. single. time.) This new novel is set in Houston in the late 1950s and tells the story of two socialites and good friends in their mid-twenties; one who has it all, the husband and house and adorable kid, and one who has everything else – the attention of any man she wants, the freedom to do as she pleases, and the eyes of Houston society upon her.  There’s glitz, glamour, money and the obsessive, escalating tension between two friends whose relationship has evolved in unforeseen ways.

 

how to be a texan

How To Be A Texan: The Manual by Andrea Valdez (May 3)

With more and more people moving to Texas every day, we are in dire need of a guide to hand the Austin hipster in the pearl snap shirt and clean new cowboy boots who’s still struggling to spell y’all. (It’s okay, it’s okay, Texas wants you anyway.) Andrea Valdez is keeping our roots real by offering step-by-step instructions for how to fly the Texas flag; pronounce Burnet, Bowie, New Braunfels and Waxahachie; choose a belt buckle; get Big Hair; and so much more. This is not a tongue-in-cheek guide, but rather an earnest encyclopedia of how to live in and understand the Lone Star State. (Think Dangerous Book for Girls/Boys, but with instructions for how tailgate and wrangle a rattlesnake.) Of course, you don’t have to be a transplant to enjoy this book. Native Texans will get a kick out of this clear, concise guide, as well. (And we won’t tell anyone if you learn a thing or two yourself.)

 

in the country we love

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3)

Diane Guerrerro may be familiar to you from her role on the hit show Orange is the New Black. Before she was an actress, she was a fourteen year old girl who arrived home from school one day to discover her family gone. While she was in class, her parents and brother – undocumented immigrants – had been arrested and deported. In her new memoir, Guerrero, who was born in the U. S. and stayed in the country to continue her education, recounts a shocking story that’s all too familiar to the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. You can listen to her read an excerpt from the book via Entertainment Weekly.

 

eleven hours

Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens (May 3)

This absorbing, slender new literary novel demands to be read in a single sitting. Clear an afternoon and pick up this story of two women; a mother in labor and the hospital nurse who tends to her. Moving back and forth between their perspectives chapter by chapter, Erens reveals the deeper and deeper turns in their personal stories and psychologies. Lore, in labor and alone, comes to terms with the relationships that brought her to this moment. Meanwhile, Franckline, holding memories of the family who exiled her in Haiti, moves with the knowledge of her own delicate pregnancy. Absorbing, riveting and beautiful, this is a novel to read and pass on to friends.

 

imagine me gone

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (May 3)

From Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Adam Haslett comes a novel that has received a tremendous amount of pre-pub buzz. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said, “Haslett’s latest is a sprawling, ambitious epic about a family bound not only by familial love, but by that sense of impending emergency that hovers around Michael, who has inherited his father John’s abiding depression and anxiety….This is a book that tenderly and luminously deals with mental illness and with the life of the mind….In Michael, Haslett has created a most memorable character. This is a hypnotic and haunting novel.” Check out a Poets & Writers podcast interview with Adam right over here. 

 

 

mongrels

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (May 10)

Texas native (and Texas Book Festival alum) Stephen Graham Jones returns with a dark novel about an adolescent boy raised by an aunt and uncle who live on the fringes of society, and with good reason – they’re werewolves. Jones wrote a great post about his fascination with writing werewolves and shares how this novel was, in its way, a long time coming.

 

And for the kiddos…..

ogbbackyard

Our Great Big Backyard by Laura and Jenna Bush (May 10)

Just in time for road trip season, a delightful new picture book for reluctant young outdoor adventurers, penned by Festival co-founder Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna, and illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers.  Jane is looking forward to spending her summer plugged into computer games, YouTube videos and movies. When her parents announce a road trip to national parks instead, Jane is more than a little dismayed. As she discovers the wonders of the Everglades and Big Bend National Park, however, Jane’s outlook begins to change. This book commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

 

There’s plenty more to come this month, including new novels by Don DeLilloRichard Russo, and Louise Erdrich; a funny new debut you’ll want to check out: The Assistants by Camille Perri; and a novel that’s getting a lot of bookseller buzz, set in a version of England where evildoers are recognized by tell-tale emissions of smoke, Smoke by Dan Vyleta. Happy reading!