Recommended Reading 2015

As I do every year at this time, I present a curated list of books I read during the year, presenting few that I think truly stand out and are worthy of your time and energy.

This year, I heartily recommend you read:

  • Adrift by Paul Griffin
  • Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon
  • Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli
  • The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller
  • I Am the Traitor by Allen Zadoff
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • A Prayer for the City by Buzz Bissinger




Your Chance to Get Adrift

AdriftI have been proselytizing for Paul Griffin’s Adrift for a while now. I told you it was great. I pointed out its first starred review. I even insisted you watch an interview with Griffin himself.

Well, here I am again, this time telling you that Paul Griffin will be speaking on a panel at Books of Wonder on July 29 (the day after Adrift goes on sale!) with fellow authors Daniel Jose Older and Adam Silvera. The topic? “Only in New York.”

Three authors talking about stories set in the Big Apple. Seems like a good time to me!

Be there — July 29 at 6pm at Books of Wonder. Buy a copy, get it signed, make yourself a little happier.

Here’s a link to the event page. Now you have no excuse! Be there!

Paul Griffin Talks about Adrift

Adrift by Paul GriffinSo, I’ve been telling you all about Adrift, Paul Griffin’s amazing new novel, for a while now. Well, here’s your opportunity to hear about it from the horse’s mouth, courtesy of a special online preview.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to embed the video here, so you’ll need to do the hard work of clicking on the screenshot below, choosing the “Teen” video, and then scrubbing ahead to 6:19. Paul’s editor introduces him and then you can hear about the book from the man himself!


Remember, you can preorder Adrift now:

But Seriously: Buy This Book

AdriftLast week, I implored you to preorder Adrift by Paul Griffin. Well, just now Publishers Weekly has joined the chorus, giving the book a coveted star in its review:

In a terrifying survival story in which past traumas are as visceral and intense as present circumstances, five teenagers try to stay alive after becoming lost off the Atlantic coast. Raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in Queens, friends Matt and John are working in Montauk, N.Y., for the summer when they meet 17-year-old Driana Gonzaga, her Brazilian cousin Estefania, and Estefania’s boyfriend, João. After Estefania attempts some daring night surfing, the other teenagers attempt to rescue her in a small, ill-equipped boat; engine problems soon strand them. Griffin (Burning Blue) gives his characters just enough know-how to keep them from being completely helpless, but the situation is clearly beyond their control. Police emails and other communications provide brief respites from the rapidly degrading situation on the boat. Profound moments such as when Matt realizes that the “cruel” sun “was just being what it was. A mindless, merciless star that would shine on whatever got in its way” will haunt readers as much as the lethal injuries, worsening weather, class friction, and psychological instability the teenagers face.

Preorder Adrift now:

Do Yourself a Favor: Buy this Book

AdriftHey, everyone. I don’t do a lot of hard selling on the BLog or anywhere else, for that matter, but I’m breaking that unwritten rule to encourage you — no, to beseech you — to buy this book.

Those of you who listen to my podcast or have seen me speak publicly have heard me sing the praises of Paul Griffin. Paul is an author of truly prodigious talents, and if you seek proof that we live in an unjust universe, the fact that he is not bigger then Rowling and King combined should suffice. Paul’s books are full of heart and passion and vivid, poetic language in service of tough stories and brutal honesty.

Yeah, Paul’s a friend of mine, so maybe Lyga’s just doing his buddy a solid, right? Nah. I was a fan of Paul’s before he and I became friends. Fan first. I’m still a fan. The only difference is that now I can call him up and tell him how damn brilliant he is.

Adrift will hit your bookstores in July, but you can preorder it now. I urge you to do so. Let’s make this book a hit before it even comes out.

If you’d like to sample some of Paul’s work right away, he has four other wonderful novels that you can find at the usual places…