“I thought, ‘Oh, you know what? Let me try one of the Oprah Book Clubs.’ The first book that caught my eye was Song of Solomon, so I just picked it up and took it home. I was just blown away by how powerful it was, and I just started writing. The moment I finished it, I just started writing. I think it was because I’d never read about the African-American experience, and I never—her writing was so special—and I thought, what is it like to write?” —Imbolo Mbue shares her writer’s origin story with Oprah Winfrey, at Oprah’s Book Club. Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, joined the ranks of Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections as Oprah’s latest book-club pick.

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“I’ve been promising people all day that I was going to be reading under a full moon on Courtney Love’s birthday, but I forgot that the sun never goes down in the Pacific Northwest.” —Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, at the Tin House Summer Workshop at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The opening night reading, which also featured Margot Livesey and Saeed Jones, was held at 8 p.m. in a sunlit amphitheater.

 

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“I believe the world turns according to unclear or ambiguous principles. So it’s inevitable that the things that take place in this world are  all  iHye-Young Pyunnherently mysterious and, to some extent, suspenseful.” —Hye-Young Pyun, author of The Hole (out in English this month), on the role suspense plays in her fiction, in the New Yorker.

 

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“With the amount of unease and uncertainty in the world right now, there’s something really nice about knowing that you’re opening up a book that is going to have a happy ending.” —Leah Koch, co-owner of the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California—the country’s first romance-only bookstore—in a video by the LA Times. Koch and her sister, Bea Koch, opened the “safe space” for romance lovers after raising more than $90,000 in a Kickstarter campaign.

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“We’re not surrounded by animals anymore. We’re surrounded by technology.” —Chris Ferrie, physicist, mathematician, and author of the Baby University series (General Relativity for Babies, Optical Physics for Babies, etc.), on why he started writing science and math board books for the teething set, at NPR.

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Louise Penny Sigrid Estrada “If I got lucky enough that the books were published and became a series, I didn’t want to grow weary of my main character. So I decided I would create a man I would marry.” —Louise Penny, on Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the beloved protagonist of her 12-book, New York Timesbestselling mystery series, on CBS Sunday Morning.

Megan Labrise writes “Field Notes” and features for Kirkus Reviews and is the co-host of the Kirkus podcast, Fully Booked. Photo at left of Louise Penny is by Sigrid Estrada.