Behind the Book: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

As mentioned in our Cozy Fall Book List, Markus Zusak, bestselling author of The Book Thief, is back after a 13-year break with Bridge of Clay an incredible, sweeping family saga. This is the kind of emotional, moving book you find yourself reading and re-reading. Zusak’s breathtaking story centers around the five Dunbar brothers, who are beholden to only themselves after the death of their mother and abandonment by their father. The brothers are living—fighting, loving and grieving—in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Then, the father who left them walks right back in with a surprising request: Who will build a bridge with him? It is Clay, a boy tormented by a long-buried secret, who accepts. But why is Clay so broken? And why must he fulfill this extraordinary challenge? Read on to discover Zusak’s thoughts on his triumphant return.

ON WRITING BRIDGE OF CLAY

bridgeofclayHow do we sum up a decade of our lives going by, and all that happened in between? For me, the one thing that made things hardest over the last ten years is also what makes the answer to that question pretty easy: I poured a decade into Bridge of Clay.

I originally got the idea more than two decades ago; I was nineteen, or twenty. I stumbled over the thought of a boy building a bridge—but I had a lot of growing up to do, both as a person and a writer—before I was able to write it. I tried, of course. I even finished a version of Bridge of Clay that I didn’t send off to attempt publication. I was a long way from having anything published at that stage—but I knew even then that the version I’d written wasn’t the right one. . . I didn’t know it would be another twenty-three years before I’d get there. Continue reading

Books Authors Read with Marie Lu

Editor’s Note: We are so excited to have Marie Lu at our Flagship Store in Dallas next week! She’ll be joining us Wednesday, April 24 from 7-9 p.m. for a book signing and Q & A; swing by if you can make it. We asked Marie to come up with a list of books she loves — thanks, Marie! We love these books too. — Kristen D. 

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Asking me to make a list of what books I recommend is dangerous. It’s a little like asking me to make a list of all the movies I recommend, or all the foods I love to eat (okay this one would be REALLY dangerous). I picture myself in a room, happily blabbering away to a poor skeleton covered with cobwebs, “And then there’s ALSO this OTHER book…oh and then there’s THIS ONE TOO…” But behold, I’m making a list here! And I’m going to keep the list down to 10 titles! 

1. Ready Player One (by Ernest Cline): This contains so many of my favorite things–action-packed fun, video games, 80s nostalgia, all things geek, and sci-fi. A must read!

2. Code Name Verity (by Elizabeth Wein): Very few books can make me legitimately cry. This is one of them. A heartwrenching tale of friendship’s deep roots.

3. Shadow and Bone, Book 1 of the Grisha Trilogy (by Leigh Bardugo): One of my favorite fantasy series at the moment. The Russia-inspired setting is refreshingly unique, and the heroine Alina is strong and great fun to follow–as are the sexy boys she attracts!

4. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Book 1 of a trilogy (by Rae Carson): Another favorite fantasy series! I absolutely devoured this first book, as well as the next two. Fantastic worldbuilding, fantastic characters. (The final one comes out this summer, so now is a perfect time to get started!)

5. Proxy (by Alex London): Proxy doesn’t come out until this summer, but I had the fortune of reading this early. What a dynamite sci-fi story! It’s a futuristic take on the whipping boy concept, and I absolutely loved all the main characters. You don’t want to miss this.

6. The Night Circus (by Erin Morgenstern): An adult novel that took my breath away with its beautiful, magical circus setting. Truly one of the most unique stories I’ve read in a while.

7. The House of the Scorpion (by Nancy Farmer): This dystopian world chilled me to the bone. Just wow. There’s a reason why it has won every award under the sun. Fantastic.

8. The Thief, Book 1 of The Queen’s Thief series (by Megan Whalen Turner): Can you tell I love fantasy? This story is so brilliant, and by the end I was totally in love with Gen. He’s so awesome.

9. If I Stay (by Gayle Forman): By recommending If I Stay, I am also simultaneously recommending its companion novel, Where She Went. Two beautiful, lyrical, and heartbreaking books about family, love, and loss. You can’t go wrong with Gayle Forman.

10. Unwind (by Neal Shusterman): One of my favorite dystopian tales, and set in another chilling world that echoes issues in our own reality. This kept me on the edge of my seat.

My list could go on and on, of course. I hope you get a chance to pick these books up if you haven’t already! I promise that they will all keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. — Marie 

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Marie Lu is the New York Times Bestselling author of Legend and Prodigy

You may follow her on Twitter at @Marie_Lu.