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New month means new highlighted authors from Simply Held. June’s authors are James McBride for fiction and Helen Hoang for romance.
Our June fiction author is James McBride. In addition to being an award-winning author, McBride is also a musician and screenwriter. His memoir, The Color of Water, was published in 1996, translated into 16 languages, and sold more than 2.5 million copies. It also spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. The Color of Water is about the author’s upbringing in a family of African-American children born to a white, Jewish mother. McBride has had numerous novels turn into films and television series. He has written for many publications such as The Boston Globe, People Magazine, The Washington Post, Essence, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and National Geographic among others.
As a musician and composer, he has toured as a saxophonist and written songs for many others. He has received awards for his musical talents and been featured on national radio and television across the world. When he does public readings, he is usually accompanied by a band.
McBride studied composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and then received his master’s degree at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2015. Amongst his many awards are several honorary doctorates. McBride writes literary fiction.
McBride’s newest book is The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, which is to be published in August 2023.
Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.
From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them
In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.
As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.
Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.
Our June romance author is Helen Hoang. Hoang is a graduate of Cornell University who left the snow for Southern California. She currently lived in San Diego with her husband, two kids, pet fish, and Belgian Malinois. Hoang read her first romance novel in eighth grade and ever since has been addicted to romance.
In 2016, when she was writing her first book, Hoang was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. She is known for her Kiss Quotient series: The Kiss Quotient (2018), The Bride Test (2019), and The Heart Principle (2021). Hoang writes romance.
Hoang’s newest book is The Heart Principle, book 3 in the Kiss Quotient series. This book was published in August 2021.
Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.
A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.