Saturday Soundtrack: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

SS HeaderThis week, we have the pleasure of having Adele Griffin, award-winning author who just released The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, one of the most unique and most brilliant books I’ve ever read. You truly can’t see how gorgeous this book is until you pick it up in the store. It’s an art piece in itself. When I asked Adele if she would like to share some of the music that inspired her new book, she didn’t hesitate to say “yes.” Listen to the songs and read what Adele has to say about each one. Take it away, Adele!

THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE is a novel about a troubled, brilliant young New York artist, now deceased. I told it as an oral history, fully illustrated with full-page art, plus photos, magazine and newspaper clippings, sketches, and candid snaps of Addison’s life. When I am actually writing, I can’t listen to music with lyrics because they get too deep in my head. But a lot of writing is not-writing, and I like listening to music when I think through a book– maybe while I’m walking my dog or on yet another coffee run.

At some point in revisions I heard the song Chandelier by Sia, which is one of those uncanny book-meets-playlist moments. Anyone who reads it will know. People are starting to send it to me so I want to give it a nod.

Addison was a gorgeous It girl, but she was also dark and complicated. I moved between voices I enjoyed, usually female, like Ellie Goulding or Florence and the Machine—whose voice is so Addison-y themed. I especially loved dreamy haunted Heavy in Your Arms.

Sometimes I listened to this strange song by Daniel Johnston, who is a big force of inspiration for me. Johnston is a songwriter and an artist. The recording of The Story of an Artist has been covered by M. Ward to sound really beautiful here:

but I love it most this way:

the weight of his lyrics: we don’t really like what you do / we don’t think anyone ever will/we think you have a problem / and this problem’s made you ill is so different when sung by Johnston himself, with all of his pain in them. Johnston’s fragile mental health is well-documented in the film: THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, and I can feel the echo of that movie’s impact in Addison’s own character. The book released on August 12 and is in stores everywhere. Soho Press will have lots of “mini-documentary” footage coming soon. Keep up with everything Addison and find more clues at www.iamaddisonstone.com. Hope you enjoy!

sadaddy

An exclusive photo of Addison not printed in the book.

Johnston

An original piece of art by Daniel Johnston that I owns myself.

Big thank you to Adele Griffin for sharing a few songs of inspiration and a look behind the scenes at her process. I insist everyone go to their local bookshop and pick up a copy of this book and see how gorgeous it is. You won’t want to put it down!

What are some songs that inspire you when being creative?

Picture This: Big Cities, Little Beaches, and Kids of All Sizes

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
9/2/14 | $16.99

Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy—like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter—a friend.

At some point, everyone feels a bit like little Elliot. Lost. Different. Helpless. But little Elliot loves living in such a big city even with all of its challenges because of the little things he finds. Even when others don’t notice him, he is able to find a friend who does. This beautifully illustrated story may be little but it has a BIG heart!

The Storm Whale by Benji Davis
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
9/30/14 | $16.99

Every day, in a house by the sea, a little boy watches his father leave for a long day’s work. The boy is lonely, until one night, a storm brings a very unexpected change.

This is a heartwarming story of the bond between the father and a son.

The first thing you’ll notice about this book is the stunning artwork by Davies. While simple in form, the structure gives way to wonderful detail in every corner of this book. On top of that, the story is a lovely tale of growing up, friendships, and the ability to let things go. To be honest, I just really want to frame pages from this book to hang on my walls.

Little Humans by Brandon Stanton
Farrar Straus Giroux
10/7/14 | $17.99

Little humans are brave and bold, creative and curious, stylish and sweet. They love their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and their friends. Each little human is perfectly unique. Just like you!

Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the wildly popular blog “Humans of New York.” He is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Humans of New York. To create Little Humans, he used some of his favorite children’s photos from the blog, in addition to all-new exclusive portraits. The result is a hip, heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.

After gaining widespread popularity for his blog and now book Humans of New York, photographer Brandon Stanton is back with a book for the little city dwellers. With beautiful photos of kids big and small, this story is one motivating children to do things bigger than themselves, to be strong, brave, smart, and playful. This is one book perfect for kids of all ages this holiday season.

Review: Amity by Micol Ostow + Giveaway

For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror.

Connor’s family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she’s recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor’s nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren’t there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.

If you’re one of those readers who is a bit on edge about the idea of jumping into horror, let this book be a sign. Horror is back. The past few years have seen a new surge of frightfully terrifying horror novels and this one can be counted among the best of them. And I hope that we’ll be seeing plenty more in the mainstream soon!

Amity may be a new take on the true events of the Amityville Horror most know about but believe me, this book (and house) has a story of their own and they’re ready to tell it. Relive the horror like never before. You will feel this house in your bones before you finish this book and it may haunt you.

One of the most interesting things I found about this book was the perspective in which it’s told in. Now, I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t because that’s the magic of it. But the POV tells two different stories within the house that are ten years apart. Two different characters experiencing nearly the same horrors weaving them together though they’ve never met themselves. It was a seamless transition from past to present every few chapters and one that I think the reader will find extremely unique and powerful.

If you’re looking for a light read to cap off the summer, I don’t suggest this book to you. But if you’re looking for a killer novel that will scare the pants off of you (you can handle it), then this is one book that you absolutely cannot miss.

Amity will be available in stores everywhere August 26, 2014.

micolostowAbout the author:

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror. I turns out, writing a ghost story is almost more terrifying than reading one. (In a good way.) Her novel family was called a “Favorite Book of 2011” by Liz Burns at School Library Journal, and her illustrated novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. In her spare time, Ostow blogs with the National Book Award-winning literacy initiative readergirlz.com. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, her (utterly fearless) daughter, and a finicky French bulldog named Bridget Jones. Visit her online at www.micolostow.com or follow her on Twitter.

The next stop on the blog tour is Good Books and Good Wine with a guest post and giveaway.
To keep up with the rest of the tour, click here.

Giveaway:

Enter the form below for a chance to win a finished copy of Amity! The giveaway is for US/Canada only.

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Video: Lois Lowry’s Endorsement for The Giver

giverheaderLast week, I was given the chance to see the adaptation of The Giver a bit early to be able to share my thoughts and tell others to go see the movie. For those fans who seem apprehensive about seeing The Giver in theaters, check out author Lois Lowry’s glowing endorsement for it!

The Giver is now in theaters across the country. Go see it and let us know what you thought!

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla Top
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

It’s not a secret that all of us have been waiting a long time for Isla. A long time. Despite the long wait and all the hype surrounding the book, Isla more than lived up to my expectations. In fact, she surpassed them.

Taking place in my relatively new hometown of New York, and the series’ beloved Paris, the scale of this book feels larger than the others in the series, simply because it covers more distance. But the locations themselves play less of a character in this book, and for good reason. While our two previous heroines of the series  Anna and Lola — know very much where they are and where they are going, Isla does not.

Isla is facing the choices and questions every senior in high school faces: what do I want to do with the rest of my life? What happens if you don’t know? Does my life still have value and do I as a person still have worth even though I haven’t claimed my place in the world? How exactly do I figure out who I am? Isla grapples with these things through the highs and lows of new love, the pressures of family and school, and what the rest of the world thinks of her.

While Anna and Lola stole my heart, I identified with Isla and her struggles on a whole other level. I sat down with the book, only intending to read a few chapters and read the whole book in one sitting. I finished at four in the morning, blown away by what I had just read and filled with happiness.

This book has everything fans will want and expect in the ending. Breathtaking romance, beautiful cities, heartbreak, wonder, and closure, all blended together with Stephanie Perkins’ characteristic wit and charm. If you love the series, then this is definitely the book you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?

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