Celebrated Stories of 2016 Excerpt Sampler contains extracts from The Mothers by Brit Bennett, The Girls by Emma Cline, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This sampler was a great way to read stories from authors I might not have discovered otherwise.
The Mothers is a literary fiction novel set in Southern California which explores community, love and ambition. Having read the Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett I was really excited to read this extract and found that is was just as poignant and beautifully written as the Vanishing Half was. Therefore I definitely want to read the rest of this book.
The Girls is a literary fiction novel about a cult in Northern California at the end of the 1960s. I loved books about cults so I was excited to delve into this extract. I found engrossed from the start of the extract and I am now desperately trying to get my hands on a copy of this book so I can read on.
Dark Matter is a science-fiction, thriller novel which explores choices and the path not taken. The premise of this sounds fascinating and the writing style gripped me right away. The extract was very fast paced and left me desperate to know how this book ends.
Sweetbitter is a literary fiction novel following Tess as she tries to navigate life in New York. The thing that drew me most to this book was its title. The extract was okay however it didn't hook me to the point that I would want to read the rest of this book.
Homegoing is a historical fiction novel which explores generations of Ghanian history. Usually historical fiction isn't my favourite genre however from this extract it is immediately apparent that Gyasi is an extremely talented author and this is definitely a book I could see myself picking up in the future.
A Gentleman in Moscow is a historical fiction about a man who witnesses the events in Russia in the 1920s from a hotel room window. The premise of this was so interesting so I was very intrigued by this extract. The storytelling is captivating from the start and I'm fascinated to see where this story goes.
I’m so addicted to these I’ve even been hunting down the old ones to see if there’s any interesting books I’ve missed!
I loved the samples in this showcase of stories written in 2016. I appreciate to be able to read a couple of chapters of a novel before committing to read the whole story. It gives the reader a chance to decide if the writing and plot is to their liking. I've always hated to fall in love with a book synopsis later to find out I don't like the writing once I've purchased the book. I'll be sure to look for more samples like these in the future.
Even though this sampler was put out in 2016, I had never read or even heard of most of these books. I love these samplers because I can read little bits of a lot of books and decide which ones I want to add to my TBR list.
Love these samplers; keep them coming! Great way to narrow down some promising books and pick my upcoming reads.
I loved being able to take a glimpse at these great titles, all of which are still on my TBR. Reading the early chapters definitely makes me want to move them up the list and read the books in full.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House Samplers and NetGalley for the preview of these titles.
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House for this sampler. As a note, the file that downloads from NetGalley is not this collection but the Spring 2017 Debut Fiction Sampler. However, given this Sampler is from 2016, everything is out and I read the samples available on Amazon instead.
I had heard of THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett, knew it was a very buzzy and popular read, and had somehow got it in my head that it was a BLM-type book about Black mothers whose children were killed by police. Not sure how. Actually, having now read the excerpt, I'm still confused because it's called THE MOTHERS but it's actually about abortion?
THE GIRLS by Emma Cline is another example where I'd developed spurious conceptions of the book, this time the movie THE BLING RING starring Emma Watson (I think it was the sunglasses on the cover and the name "Emma"). Again, very wrong. This one flashes back and forth between the present, where the heroine is middle-aged, and 1969, when she was 14 and joined a cult. I enjoyed the scene where she's staying in a house and thinks someone is breaking in but it's the owner's son and he thinks SHE'S breaking in, and then he's eventually like "hey weren't you the girl who joined the cult" -- I liked how the infamy of the events was conveyed. However, once we flash back to 1969 I am completely uninterested in this protagonist, and I think that's kind of the point, she's this really average or even mediocre teenager who gets attracted to shiny dynamic things bigger than herself, but I just don't enjoy being in this teenage girl's head.
DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch. So, I don't have anything against the excerpt in general, we got some suspense and whatever, but I'm really irritated by the whole concept of this book. "What if this guy hadn't given up a promising scientific career because of a surprise pregnancy and medical issues with the kid, the world is missing his genius so much that someone kidnaps him to get to an alternate world where he can invent something and save the world." I really hate the concept of "singular male genius" to begin with, but the fact that we have a male protagonist dealing with this is pretty frustrating when this question of family and career advancement is such a huge issue for women. (And COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem; see e.g. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01294-9 about the gender disparities in academia over the last few months.)
SWEETBITTER by Stephanie Danler is a book about how everyone's obsessed with New York City and everyone is just drawn to live in it no matter how high the cost of living or exhausting the job. I did not identify with it at all, I have NEVER wanted to live in a big city, but I do know people obsessed with NYC so there's definitely an audience, I am just not it.
HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi has a really interesting premise of two half-sisters from Ghana, where one marries an Englishman and the other is enslaved on his land, and follows the two sets of descendants through generations. Since this is an excerpt we obviously don't really get to see the scope, and in fact we mostly only see the former's story, with just a few pages of the horrific conditions that the other woman is sentenced to.
It is quite clever to blurb The Oprah Magazine "the ultimate quarantine read" at the top of the Amazon description of A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles! I haven't minded stay-home that much because I am a huge homebody, but now suddenly I'm immensely grateful that I have ceilings tall enough to let me stand up! I agree, Oprah, this is absolutely a book that I've let linger on my TBR too long and should try to read during this strange time.
I can’t review this listing on GR as it’s a sampler, but I really enjoyed all the excerpts I read! Super stoked to read the full length versions.
An excellent collection of fiction samplers for the year of 2016.
I really enjoyed each story and hope to pick up the books featured in this.
Review will be updated after hearing back from publisher - the file opens to the "Spring 2017 Debut Fiction Sampler" with a totally different list of books than what's listed in the NetGalley description.
How did I not not know these samplers existed?! I love the ones that feature upcoming titles, but this idea of showcasing already known books is also fantastic. With so many great book out there, I appreciate any help in the selection process!
I appreciate the opportunity to read excerpts from popular, cutting edge authors to allow me to familiarize myself with them and their work in a short period of time.
These little samplers are nice, you get to see new stuff. I enjoy these a great deal and look forward to them
Thank you Penguin Random House for providing me with a sampling of books I’ve previous wanted to read which included:
The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett (Riverhead)
The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline (Random House)
Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch (Crown)
Sweetbitter: A Novel by Stephanie Danler (Knopf)
Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles (Viking)
This sampler is an EXCELLENT tool for avid readers like me to plan out my reading. I enjoyed reading the excerpts from each and every book listed. I have purchased four of the six (The Girls, A Gentleman in Moscow, Dark Matter, and Sweetbitter) and the other two are on my “to be read/purchased list.” I am excited to read each of these books completely.
I received this review copy (RC) of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A terrific sampling of books that made me want to read each one in full. Recommended for serious readers who’d like to have a “taste” before they buy. Wonderful resource!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.
This to me was such a fantastic resource for finding the best books. The samples are very much appreciated as it means the reader can find out if they like the beginning of the story and the authors writing style before committing to the book fully. I just wish there were more publishers making samplers featuring their own authors/books - I am sure there would be many readers, including myself.
I really enjoyed the excerpts from this sampler, so I am excited for the featured titles to hit the shelves! :)
I loved the excerpts in this sampler! I can hardly wait to find the featured titles in my local bookstore!
This is a sampler that includes excerpts from some of the best novels published in 2016.
The excerpts included are for the following titles: The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Riverhead), The Girls by by Emma Cline (Random House), Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Crown), Sweetbitter by by Stephanie Danler (Knopf), Homegoing by by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf), and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Viking).
I read Dark Matter and LOVED it. I recommend this sampler if you want to have an idea of what the book will be like and the author's style.
I am all for samplers because you get to read about books you might not normally hear of and a chance to read a little bit before buying, so man hidden little gems just waiting to be discovered and bought.