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The Bird that Inspired Mozart


Did you know that a starling influenced one of the greatest classical composers in history? Read an excerpt from Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt about how this bird came into Mozart’s life.



Pet birds and family portraits were both symbols of social rank. Starlings were common, native birds that any peasant could pluck from a nest. It says a great deal that the status-conscious Mozart chose a starling for his pet—it means that he didn’t want just a bird, he wanted this bird.

Where does all of this put Star in the Mozarthaus? For Mozart, there could be only one answer: Where the music was. Where Star could be watched, twitted to, flirted with. Where he could join the music, pester the maestro, pluck at the violin strings, pull at the quill pen, rip the ink bottle. The Mozarts, always, made their own music, their own bohemian life. The elegy that Mozart composed for Star when he died shows such a keen understanding of the starling personality, such a personal knowing of his bird, that the two must have shared each other’s company day to day. “He was not naughty, quite / But gay and bright.” The little yellow statue of Star in the Mozarthaus should go in the study.



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The Pig Who Plotted to Steal Some Penne


You know the saying, “Pigs are smarter than dogs or cats”? The truth is, it goes way beyond that. Read below for an excerpt from Esther the Wonder Pig on how this savvy pig came up with a plan to steal some food.



Esther is ridiculously intelligent and one hell of a manipulator. If you had to describe her in two words, you couldn’t go wrong with smart . . . and opportunistic. When Esther realized that stealing food got her in trouble, she didn’t stop stealing food. Instead, she devised a whole new method of larceny that made it easier for her to get away clean: She’d do it in steps. Esther’s schemes were brilliant: International jewel thieves could learn something from Esther.

The first time we realized she was up to something, we were sitting in the living room watching TV. I heard some rustling, so I peeked over to see what she was doing. I watched as she opened a cupboard, then turned around and walked out of the room. I was intrigued, so I sat and watched. A few minutes later, she went back into the kitchen, so I got up and walked around, being careful not to follow her but making sure I could get a glimpse of what she was up to. By the time I got to the kitchen, she had pulled out a basket of food, but she didn’t take it with her—she was leaving the room as I entered. I figured she had seen me coming and escaped before being caught. I put the basket back in the cupboard, closed the door, and went back to my chair.

About ten minutes later, I heard a noise again. I looked over and sure enough, the cupboard was open, and Esther was leaving the room again. I called Derek over, and we both sat where we could see everything. Esther waited patiently, then came back into the kitchen, pulled out the very same basket, and left the room again—still empty-handed, or empty-hooved, or whatever.

After about fifteen minutes, Esther returned, as nonchalant as could be. She just ambled into the kitchen as though she didn’t have a care in the world and then . . . BOOM! She snagged a bag of pasta from the basket, spun around, and hauled ass down the hallway.

Had our pig just executed a three-phase plot to steal some penne?



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5 Books About Internet Famous Dogs


You’ve seen them all over the Internet. On Facebook and Instagram. Now you get to have these 5 Internet famous dogs right in your very home.





Norbert’s Little Lessons for a Big Life by Julie Steines and Virginia Freyermuth

Norbert, the Internet’s cutest and most popular therapy dog, shares the lessons he’s learned from being a three-pound hero and philanthropist, demonstrating that you don’t need to be big to make a big difference in the world.


Tuna Melts My Heart: The Underdog with the Overbite by Courtney Dasher

From Southern California castaway to Hollywood heartbreaker, Tuna the Chiweenie has won the adoration of millions. Now the charming and unconventional pooch has his own book, filled with more than a hundred all-new photographs and witty commentary to give fans an intimate and hilarious look at the Internet’s most prized pup.


Doug the Pug: The King of Pop Culture by Brittni Vega

Doug the Pug is the king of pop culture. More than seven million adoring fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat can’t get enough of him. Doug spreads love everywhere he goes, and now with his literary debut, he’s coming to living rooms around the world.


Harlow & Sage (and Indiana): A True Story About Best Friends by Claire Belton

Written in the wise and witty voice of Harlow the Weimaraner, Harlow and Sage (and Indiana) is richly illustrated with more than 125 stunning images of the highly photogenic pups who have taken social media by storm. This is a tale about the bond among three dogs, connected by deep love and unparalleled friendship.

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Little, Brown School & Library at SLJ Teen Live 2018




















2018 Beach Reads for Your End of Summer Vacation


The sun, the sand, the sound of the waves—is there anything better than relaxing on the beach with a great book? Here are 6 beach reads we recommend for your end of summer vacation.




Related: The best mystery & thriller beach reads from our friends at Novel Suspects.


Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot contributor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Steinbeck and Millay. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.


Top 5 Boston Breweries and Taprooms

Sam Adams may be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, but it’s hardly the only one to define this city as a great destination for beer-lovers. On your next hop through Beantown, check out one of these 5 breweries and taprooms for a refreshing pint.

distillery barrel in Boston
Harpoon brews their craft beers directly from the Seaport. Photo © Cameron Sperance.

Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall

306 Northern Ave., 617-456-2322; Sun.-Wed. 11am-7pm, Thurs.-Sat. 11am-11pm
Since opening their European-style beer hall in 2013, this Seaport brewery has quickly become a local craft favorite. Head to the industrial edge of the neighborhood for a guided tour as well as samples of all that Harpoon produces. The beer hall has 20 Harpoon brews on tap and features homemade pretzels and dipping sauces to pair with its lineup of IPAs and seasonal offerings. They also have an awesome Keg Yard that’s open in the summer, with lawn games and movie nights.

Tip Tap Room

138 Cambridge Street, 857-350-3344; Mon.-Fri. 11:30am-2am, Sat.-Sun. 10:30am-2am
If you wander far enough over the incline, you’ll find one of Boston’s top craft beer bars on the back side of Beacon Hill. Tip Tap Room features more than 35 rotating beers on draught, ranging from sour to fruity to local IPAs. For the hungry, chef Brian Poe offers a variety of “tips” like chicken, beef, and tofu to go with whatever you order on “tap.” Weekends are usually packed at the bar, so grab a seat early!

five horses tavern sign
Craft beer lovers will enjoy Five Horses Tavern. Photo courtesy Five Horses Tavern.

Five Horses

535 Columbus Ave., 617-936-3930; Mon.-Fri. 11:30am-midnight, Sat.-Sun. 10am-midnight
Come for tater tots and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rotating pizzas (the Foghorn Leghorn’s fried chicken on a pie is a favorite) but stick around for the expansive bar and over 40 brews on tap. Perfect for any craft beer snob, Five Horses and its pint masters will dissect the menu with you and serve up just what you wanted—or have maybe been too scared to try.

Lord Hobo

92 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-250-8454; Mon.-Wed. 4pm-1am, Thurs.-Fri. 4pm-2am, Sat. 11am-2am, Sun. 11am-1am
While Cambridge isn’t *technically* Boston, they’re often lumped in together, and it definitely has a nightlife and beer scene of its own. This spot looks like a squat biker bar from Miami Vice on the outside, but behind the door is a bustling craft beer emporium that draws a blend of hipsters and Cambridge computer geeks. Not only does it produce its own house beer, but Lord Hobo also features 40 taps ranging from domestic classics to European extravagances.

Miracle of Science Bar & Grill

321 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-2866; daily 11am-1am
Miracle of Science Bar & Grill is another Cambridge institution that’s well worth a shout-out. The food menu here is designed after the periodic table, a nod to the brainiacs using said guide for classes at nearby MIT. You’re likely to find a packed crowd of students vying for a variety of beers on draft and debating current events. Grab a pint, and do the same!

Honorable Mention:

Sam Adams Brewery

30 Germania Street, Boston, 617-368-5080; Mon.-Thurs. 10am-6pm, Fri. 10am-6:30pm, Sat. 10am-4pm, closed Sun., suggested $2 donation, 21+ only
You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging, did you Sam? The Sam Adams name belongs to more than just a Founding Father in these parts. Named in honor of the legendary statesman, Sam Adams is the quintessential Boston brew. Its test brewery in Jamaica Plain offers free tours to visitors interested in the backstory of one of America’s largest craft brewers. Taste malts, smell the specialty hops used to make Boston Lager, and, yes, even sample the Sam Adams lineup of brews—even a few not seen on menus quite yet. Only guests 21 and older are allowed, so don’t forget your ID. Save room for lunch at the nearby Doyle’s Cafe, which was the first restaurant to offer Sam Adams on tap.

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HBG Big News This Week: July 23-27, 2018

Following is a recap of major news at Hachette Book Group for the week of July 23-27, 2018:

Bestsellers: HBG has the top slot on the Hardcover Nonfiction list again this week, with Liars, Leakers and Liberals by Jeanine Pirro (Center Street) debuting at #1 (she’s also #1 on the Combined P&E list). HBG has 12 titles on the list overall. Our distribution clients have twelve titles on the list this week, including one #1—Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss (Chronicle), #1 on the Picture Books list. HBG also has 14 titles on the USA Today bestseller list. See the full list here.

Major release: Hachette Books and LBYR simultaneously published Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad’s inspiring memoir PROUD: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream (adult) and PROUD: Living My American Dream (young readers). Itbihaj and PROUD are featured in a great discussion and Q&A in the New York Times, a op/ed by the author, interviews on Salon Live, NBC News,, iHeartRadio’s Money Making Conversations, ESPN’s Get Up, MSNBC’s Ari Melber, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brian.

NAIBA Sales Rep of the Year: Congratulations to Judy DeBerry, recipient of the 2018 Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award, presented by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA). Many of you know Judy well—she is a senior field sales rep, national account manager at HBG. She started with the company in 1991 as one of Warner Books’ original sales reps. When contacted with the news of the award, Judy replied “First just let me say I LOVE my accounts! And I LOVE my job!” (And it shows!)

Dublin Literary Award: Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed and Spacemen of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. The full longlist will be announced in November, the shortlist in April 2019, and the winner in June 2019.

World Fantasy Award: Fonda Lee’s Jade City (Orbit) is a finalist for the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. This is the third major award nomination for Jade City, following nominations for the Nebula Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

Daphne du Maurier Award: Marissa Garner has won the 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for Risky Redemption (Forever). The award is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today’s romantic suspense. The Award is presented annually by the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America, also known as the Kiss of Death (KOD) chapter.

PRISM Award: Rebecca Zanetti has won the PRISM Award (Light Paranormal Romance) for Twisted Truths (Forever). The PRISM Awards are given by The Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P) Chapter of the Romance Writers of America to honor excellence in paranormal romance.