Spoonbenders: A novel (Paperback)

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July 2017 Indie Next List


“The Amazing Telemachus Family is unlike any other. Patriarch Teddy is a con man whose adult children possess remarkable psychic gifts (telekinesis, lie detection, and clairvoyance), but the loss of their mother leaves the entire family reeling. Though the Telemachus crew's misadventures attract the attention of everyone from the CIA to a scary local crime boss, Teddy and his children are more threatened by their own emotional damage and sketchy past than anything else. Gregory's characters are sharply drawn and lovable, and he tells their story in a way that's wise, warm, and entertaining throughout. With a strong sense of humor and an amazing climax, this is the kind of novel that's an absolute blast to read.”
— Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

Winter 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List


Spoonbenders is so much more than the hilarious story of a family with telekinetic powers; it’s a testimony to the power our families have in creating chaos in our lives and—with a little luck—also saving our hides. Each Telemachus family member has a special ability, from lie-detecting to future sight to astral projection, which serves as more of a burden than a gift to them, attracting mobsters, government agents, and other psychics into the fray as they maneuver their way into, and out of, a mess of trouble. I love how the plot builds and builds into a torrential sequence of events at the end, collapsing in on them all like a giant wave of destiny. I can’t recommend this enough!”
— Aubrey Winkler, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

Description


WORLD FANTASY AWARD FINALIST • LOCUS AWARD FINALIST •  NEBULA AWARD FINALIST 
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Once they were The Amazing Telemachus Family, performers blessed with clairvoyance, telekinesis, and other psychic abilities. But then a tragic event took the magic away, and the powers that briefly made them stars of daytime TV suddenly seem more like a curse. Since their fall from grace they've been trying to lead normal lives back home in Chicago, but there's no such thing as normal for the Telemachuses. When the CIA, the mafia, and an unrelenting skeptic come calling, the family is forced to put their past behind them and unite one more time. But will it be enough to make them amazing again?

About the Author


DARYL GREGORY is the author of Afterparty, Raising Stony Mayhall, and other novels for adults and young readers. His novella We Are All Completely Fine won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. He lives in Oakland, California.

Praise For…


“What Daryl Gregory accomplishes in his seventh novel is both magic and magic trick…. Gregory writes with humor and charm, offering up a rollicking and quick-paced plot tailor-made for summer.” —Manuel Gonzales, The New York Times Book Review

“Daryl Gregory’s Spoonbenders takes a madcap look at the US in the latter half of the 20th century through the dysfunctional but endearing Telemachus family.... What follows is a hilarious, freewheeling caper involving Chicago gangsters and government secret agents, culminating in a satisfyingly bittersweet denouement.” —The Guardian

“With a wicked sense of humor, memorable characters, and a hefty dose of supernatural magic, Spoonbenders gallops.... Gregory’s characters are simply magical — in terms of both their abilities and their deeply recognizable humanity.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Gregory has a wry, clear, powerful voice, and his characters leap off the page. . . . This novel’s resolution left me with a sense of genuine, unalloyed emotional uplift.” —Alyx Dellamonica, Tor
 
“Superbly engaging, balancing delightful wackiness with genuine tenderness throughout in a way reminiscent of Michael Chabon or Jonathan Lethem.” —NPR
 
“The action is never-ending, it’s fun, and the engaging plot is supported by a clever structure. I stayed up late into the night reading chapter after chapter, pulled in by yet another fantastic line that either made me laugh or gasp in surprise.” —Sara Cutaia, The Chicago Review of Books
 
“Gregory seamlessly switches between different points of view, creating vivid voices for each Telemachus family member.”  —Publishers Weekly
 
“A hilarious portrayal of family, schemes and a few superpowers thrown in along the way. . . . The level of emotional detail at work is astounding, and Gregory’s magic touch makes even their strangest moments relatable. These characters’ gifts merge with a brisk pace and a subtle, often bittersweet sense of comedy to make Spoonbenders an intensely endearing read. The premise will hook you, the plot will entice you, and then the Telemachuses themselves will make you fall in love.” —BookPage

“Masterful. . . . gracefully balances the outrageous melodrama of Chicago mobsters and shadowy government agencies with the ordinary mysteries of family dynamics. . . . Readers will emerge from the fray sure they know each Telemachus down to the smudges on their hearts. A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

"Gregory makes excellent use of the comic potential of hapless superpowers and sets up some intriguing mysteries, but mostly the novel is a celebration of family love and self-protection." —Chicago Tribune

“This gloriously imaginative novel featuring a family of somewhat reluctant psychics has a nifty trick up its sleeve—as whimsical and eccentric as the Telemachus family is, their hopes and desires perfectly mirror our own. Spoonbenders is hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest
 
“Imagine amazing powers—but do so with uncommon creativity, rigor, and humor. You might, if you're lucky, arrive at the delicious drama of the girl who can smell lies; the all-at-once-ness of the boy who can’t not see the future; the great dilemma of the psychic pressed into service as a spy. Daryl Gregory's novel traces the line where gift balances against curse and by the end, we realize he isn’t only talking about amazing powers after all. Spoonbenders is X-Files meets The Sopranos with a real, roaring heart.” —Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

“Did you spend a childhood convinced that you were *this close* to developing telekinetic powers? Me too! The supernatural may elude us still, but there is real magic in Daryl Gregory’s gleeful story of the Amazing Telemachus Family. Spoonbenders is also about the power of belief and whether we can ever escape our tangled family legacies—and why we might not want to.”Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World

"Daryl Gregory has written a novel as gripping as it is hilarious. The members of the Telemachus family may have powers beyond our own, but in telling their tale, Gregory reminds us of the bits of ordinary magic that are at the heart of every successful family. You will love this book." —Steven Rowley, national bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus

“A big generational family story of longing, nostalgia and humor. The writing is so deftly charming and yet deeply felt. Spoonbenders is entertaining and moving—a perfect summer read.” Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"A joyfully weird book about psychics and con artists, and the marvels that result from the intermarriage of the two." Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

Spoonbenders is brilliant. With the Telemachus clan, Daryl Gregory has created a family that is part J.D. Salinger and part David Foster Wallace. But the most impressive trick in the novel isn’t how they read minds. Gregory’s real gift is how he uses them to show the depths of the human heart.” Christopher Farnsworth, author of Killfile and Blood Oath
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525432418
ISBN-10: 0525432418
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 26th, 2018
Pages: 496
Language: English

How to read more

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( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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