Interview with Tom Liggett, Author of Mozart in the Garden

What can you tell us about your new release, Mozart in the Garden?

Thousands of cookie-cutter homes for high-tech workers rose from the ashes of fruit trees that were bulldozed and burned in what is today’s Silicon Valley. I grew up there, unwanted, neglected—to a promiscuous mother and abusive stepfather.

This is a coming-of-age story about how I survived by doing odd jobs and how serendipity led me to the door of a woman who was a key figure in history: a survivor of the Galveston hurricane (1900) and of the San Francisco earthquake (1906), and who married an architectural icon in early California history, the masterful Carl Wolfe who revived Spanish-style homes in the region. Faye Wolfe had been a prostitute, unwanted, neglected, abused—like me.

Another story-within-a-story also recounts my apprenticeship of sorts with Max Gosseling, a photographer of midcentury California, who produced iconic postcards of the era and how he taught me the fine art of printing with him as a printer’s devil in a cramped, putrid mobile home.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

When I worked as a printer’s devil, setting words one letter at a time, I discovered the precise order of words. Printers, as I learned from Max Gosseling, think paper is a holy object. To leave a smudge on a piece of paper is a profane act. We always washed our hands before printing and after setting the type.

I have been writing since I was sixteen years old and contributed sports stories for my high school newspaper. I am in love with the written word.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx is my favorite book of all time.

In Basin and Range, John McPhee takes a dull subject (geology) and makes it read like a romance novel. It’s magic on paper.

Frank Herbert’s Dune was like a Dvořák symphony. Herbert wrote mediocre books and then composed this stupendous work of science fiction.

Because I am in love with words, Cormac McCarthy in All the Pretty Horses makes love to the English language, and sadly something bad has to happen to everybody. Perhaps I found that as a metaphor for my early years.

When I was thought to be developmentally disabled, as an eight-year-old, Bomba the Jungle Boy changed my world. Gave me validation that I was just smarter than everybody else. After that, I began to read the encyclopedia.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is the most intelligent person I’ve ever heard speak on the radio. I may be witty, but he dwarfs my intellect. I want to know how he coped with seeing more of the world at a glance than most people saw in an entire lifetime. That’s the conundrum of a hyperintelligent person with massive sensory information flying his way.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Writing scratches a mental itch. Writing, for me, is visceral. Even a mundane email or Facebook post gives me solace.

What is a typical day like for you?

Before I tackle the day’s work in my garden—a third of an acre that is the last working farm in downtown San Jose—I write something, whether for ten minutes or forty-five. I feed our animals and cook breakfast for my wife and wash the dishes.

I’m protective of my time in the garden, and I don’t like to be interrupted, so I’ll work at cultivating, planting, pruning, and harvesting as long as I can until I’m tired and can’t work any longer toward evening. I pride myself on my roses, long-stem cut flowers, carnations, melons, strawberries, Asian veggies, lettuce, and stone fruit trees. We grow massive quantities of food, and I give it away to food banks (the Japanese community adores my amazing daikon radishes).

What scene in Mozart in the Garden was your favorite to write?

After a few hours of cutting wood for Faye Wolfe’s ravenous stove to heat her home, or cleaning up the debris in her cactus garden, I would be exhausted and just wanted to get a cheeseburger with my pennies I earned doing her chores. But she would invite me into her historic home (the prototype for California Spanish revival), and we’d sit across from each other at the iron table on hard benches. I was drinking a tall ice water while her drink contained whiskey. Her stories during those precious hours turned out to be unbelievable, yet true. And retelling them for my readers was a privilege and an honor.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Fall down seven times, get up eight is credited to a Japanese author. It embodies my resilience as a child. I was the king of new starts. In childhood with so many moves and leaving gardens and friends, as a teenager changing schools and jobs, and as an adult who worked for the Surgeon General of the Air Force and Apple in its early days, to becoming a cook or doing other menial work, good and bad things always happened in my life.

Tom Liggett is the author of the new book Mozart in the Garden.

Connect with Tom
Author Website

Buy The Book
Mozart in the Garden: Silicon Valley and Me. We Grew Up Together

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post Interview with Tom Liggett, Author of Mozart in the Garden appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 21

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Tom Liggett, Emma Copley Eisenberg, Jim Proser, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 21 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Memoir Books For Your Reading List | January 2020

New Memoir Books For Your Reading List | January 2020

Have you made it to the end of your memoir reading list and in the mood for some interesting new additions? Look no further than these amazing new memoir books from bestselling authors Mae Adams, Tom Liggett, Chuck Palahniuk, Anna Wiener, Colin O’Brady, and Laura McKowen. Enjoy your new books!


Coin for a Dream

by Mae Adams

Release Date: October 1, 2019

The new book from the bestselling author of Precious Silver Chopsticks… In Coin for a Dream, Mae Adams tells a series of short stories from her early years in Korea. You will read about the monks with flapping minds, tofu peddlers, evil spirits, wrestling goblins, deadly dancing shamans, singing lepers of Sorok Island and many others. This is a storybook of this world, the afterworld, traditional tales, and mythology. Mae weaves Korean customs, traditions, religions, and social status in these life stories.

Buy on Amazon

Mozart in the Garden

by Tom Liggett

Release Date: January 3, 2020

Thousands of cookie-cutter homes for high-tech workers sprouted from the funeral pyres of a vanishing way of life as acres of lush fruit trees were destroyed to create today’s Silicon Valley. Tom Liggett was one of the children who grew up in this new suburbia in San Jose, California. He was a neglected and unwanted child of dysfunctional parents, that became friends with the “witch” who lived in the Spanish cottage on the hill. Mozart in the Garden is the story of their unlikely friendship and Tom’s remarkable adventures.

Buy on Amazon

Consider This

by Chuck Palahniuk

Release Date: January 7, 2020

In Consider This, the bestselling author of Fight Club will take readers behind-the-scenes of the writing life. A blend of memoir and insight, Palahniuk shares his stories and advice on what makes writing powerful and what makes for powerful writing. You could call this Palahniuk’s love letter to stories and storytellers.

Buy on Amazon

Uncanny Valley

by Anna Wiener

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Anna wiener was in her mid-twenties when the tech industry was at the height of its idealism. She was stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work. Just like any good millennial. She left her job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. Moving from New York to San Francisco, she landed a job at a big-data startup in the heart of Silicon Valley. There she entered a world of surreal extravagance and dubious success.

Buy on Amazon

The Impossible First

by Colin O’Brady

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Before December 2018, no individual had ever crossed Antarctica alone without support and completely human-powered. Colin O’Brady was determined to do just that, even if ten years earlier, there was doubt if he would ever walk again. From a tragic accident to his triumphant fight back, follow Colin on his quest to unlock his potential and discover what is possible.

Buy on Amazon

We Are the Luckiest

by Laura McKowan

Release Date: January 7, 2020

What could be “lucky” about addiction? Absolutely nothing, though Laura McKowen. When drinking brought her to her knees, she wished for something else to be her issue. She thought the people who were able to drink normally were lucky. But as she entered sobriety and was no longer able to anesthetize her pain and anxiety, she realized she was the lucky one.

Buy on Amazon

The post New Memoir Books For Your Reading List | January 2020 appeared first on NewInBooks.

Interview with Mae Adams, Author of Coin for a Dream

What can you tell us about your new release, Coin for a Dream?

It is a storybook of this world, the afterworld, traditional tales, and mythology my elders told me while I grew up in Korea. You will meet monks with flapping minds, tofu peddlers, evil spirits, wrestling goblins, deadly dancing shamans, singing lepers of Sorok Island, and many others.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

When I was nine years old, I read the “War and Peace” by Tolstoy in Japanese translation.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Sometimes, the story writes by itself.

What is a typical day like for you?

I don’t have typical days.

What scene in Coin for a Dream was your favorite to write?

I threw my valuable coin in the river so that my dream would come true.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Live each day to its fullest.

Mae Adams is the author of the new book Coin for a Dream.

Connect with Mae Adams
Author Website
Facebook

Buy The Book
Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post Interview with Mae Adams, Author of Coin for a Dream appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 14

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Mae Adams, Anna Wiener, Colin O’Brady, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 14 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 7

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Chuck Palahniuk, Laura McKowen, Elizabeth KendallMarsha M. Linehan, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | January 7 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | December 31

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Holly Whitaker, Walter Bernard, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | December 31 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | December 31

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new books from Holly Whitaker, Walter Bernard, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

The post New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | December 31 appeared first on NewInBooks.

Buzziest Books of the Year | 2019

Buzziest Books of the Year | 2019

2019 has been an incredibly exciting year for new novels and we wanted to celebrate by sharing our top ten list for buzziest books of the year! Whether your a fan of mystery, romance, literary fiction, science fiction, or memoir, we think we’ve got a little something for everyone. Sit back and enjoy our picks for the best books of 2019!


The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

Release Date: February 5, 2019

This thriller was an instant #1 New York Times Bestseller from debut author Alex Michaelides…Everything was seemingly perfect for Alicia Berenson. She is a famous painter and married to an in-demand fashion photographer. She lives in a grand house in one of Londons most desirable areas. Then one evening she shoots her husband five times in the face and never speaks another word. Her refusal to talk turns this domestic tragedy into a mystery that captures public attention and casts Alicia into notoriety.

Buy on Amazon

City of Girls

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Release Date: June 4, 2019

The year is 1940 and nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out Vassar College for her poor performance in her freshman year. He parents send her to live with her aunt in Manhattan. Her aunt owns the flamboyant but crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. Here Vivian is introduced to an interesting array of characters. When she makes a mistake that turns into a professional scandal, her world turns upside down.

Buy on Amazon

The Testaments

by Margaret Atwood

Release Date: September 10, 2019

The sequel to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale… Fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale the Republic of Gilead regime maintains its grip on power. But it may be starting to rot from within. Follow three very different women as their lives converge.

Buy on Amazon

The Unhoneymooners

by Christina Lauren

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Olive Torres is always the unlucky twin and her life is almost comically jinxed. To contrast this, her sister Ami is a champion. She even managed to finance her wedding by winning a slew of contests. The only thing worse for Olive than her constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man… her nemesis, Ethan Thomas.

Buy on Amazon

Olive, Again

by Elizabeth Strout

Release Date: October 15, 2019

The new novel from New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout… Olive, Again follows the life of beloved Olive Kitteridge. Olive is struggling to understand not only herself but the lives of everyone around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. “Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith.

Buy on Amazon

The Institute

by Stephen King

Release Date: September 10, 2019

On a quiet suburban street in Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Elis’s parents and he is loaded into a black SUV. In the morning he wakes up at The Institute. He is in a room that looks just like his own but with no windows. Outside his door are other doors, all that have other kids… kids with special talents.

Buy on Amazon

The Water Dancer

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Release Date: September 4, 2019

The new book from the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates… Hiram Walker’s mother was sold away when he was very young, he was robbed of all memory of her. But he was gifted a mysterious power. This power saved his life when he almost drowned in a river years later. Hiram’s brush with death spurs a daring scheme… to escape the only home he has ever known.

Buy on Amazon

Once More We Saw Stars

by Jayson Greene

Release Date: May 14, 2019

The new memoir from Jayson Greene explores the power of love in the face of loss… Two-year-old Greta Greene is sitting with her grandmother on a park bench in Manhattan. Overhead a brick windowsill crumbles and strikes Greta unconscious. Once More We Saw starts with this traumatic moment and the hours leading up to her death. It explores the anguish that Jayson and his wife went through but also dives into a narrative that is more about hope and healing.

Buy on Amazon

Mrs. Everything

by Jennifer Weiner

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Bethie and Jo Kaufmann were born into a world full of promise. They grew up in a perfect 1950’s Detroit house and their roles in the family were clearly defined. Bethe is the pretty and feminine good girl who dreams of a traditional life. While Jo is a tomboy, a bookish rebel that wants to make the world fairer. But things end up looking very different from what they imagined.

Buy on Amazon

The Guardians

by John Grisham

Release Date: October 15, 2019

A young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead in his office. There were no clues, no witnesses, and no one with a motive. But somehow the police came to suspect one of his clients, a young black man, Quincy Miller. He was sent to prison for life. He has spent twenty-two years maintaining his innocence while in prison but no one listens. In a desperate move, he reaches out to Guardian Ministries, a nonprofit run by Cullen Post, an Episcopal minister and lawyer.

Buy on Amazon

The post Buzziest Books of the Year | 2019 appeared first on NewInBooks.

Our Audiobook Playlist For December | 2019

Our Audiobook Playlist For December | 2019

We wanted to share with you some of our favorite audiobooks we’ve been listening to in December. Our playlist includes a little something for everyone from mystery, literary fiction, science fiction, and romance. Grab your headphones and happy listening!


A Day in the Death of Walter Zawislak

by Molly O’Keefe

Release Date: December 13, 2019

If you were given one day to relive at the end of your life, what day would you choose? Walter Zawislak doesn’t want any of it. He doesn’t want a trip down memory lane to revisit a life he wasted. His wife, Rosie, died twenty years ago, and he hasn’t done much living since. If it’s lights out, he just wants some peace and quiet. But Peter, the mysterious man in charge of Walter’s afterlife isn’t listening.

Buy on Amazon

Trace of Evil

by Alice Blanchard

Release Date: December 3, 2019

The first book in A Natalie Lockhart series by Alice Blanchard… Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in Burning Lake, New York. It is an isolated town known for its dark past. Natalie has been tasked with finding nine missing transients that have gone missing over the years. As she dives into the case, she wrestles with the town’s troubled history… and the scars left by her sister’s unsolved murder.

Buy on Amazon

Trying to Score

by Kendall Ryan

Release Date: November 12, 2019

The third book in the Hot Jocks series by New York Times Bestselling Author Kendall Ryan… I knew Teddy King way before he was the hockey player that everyone wants a piece of. He was just a rebellious college co-ed and one of my more energetic study partners. But now the secret is out. One steamy encounter from our college days has surfaced and could cause a major scandal. That’s unless we can work together to stop it.

Buy on Amazon

Starsight

by Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: November 26, 2019

The sequel to Skyward by New York Times Bestselling Author Brandon Sanderson… Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot her entire life. She wants to prove she is a hero like her father. When she made it to the sky, she learned some crushing truths about her father. The rumors about his cowardice are true and he deserted his flight during a battle against Krell.

Buy on Amazon

If You Tell

by Gregg Olsen

Release Date: December 1, 2019

The new true crime story from the New York Times Bestselling Author, Gregg Olsen… The word mom triggers horrific memories for sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek. For years, behind the closed doors of a farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their mother, Shelly, subjected the girls to abuse, torture, and psychic terrors. Throughout everything, the three girls developed a defiant bond that helped them escape the escalating nightmare.

Buy on Amazon

A Christmas Gathering

by Anne Perry

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Although her friends’ country house is beautiful, it is not the place Lady Vespasia wants to spend Christmas with her new husband, Victor Narraway. She would have much preferred a relaxing holiday at home. Especially since Victor, the former head of the London Special Branch, seems to be hiding undercover dealings with the other guests of the estate.

Buy on Amazon

The post Our Audiobook Playlist For December | 2019 appeared first on NewInBooks.