Ravi Agrawal | INDIA CONNECTED – How the Smartphone is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy

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THE ZOE PAGNAMENTA AGENCYNon-Fiction

An immersive, sweeping, and sharp-eyed look at the creative and disruptive effect the internet is having on India.

“A remarkable work of non-fiction…a fascinating and very well-written account of the ways in which the smartphone is transforming every aspect of Indian life, from marriage to politics, and not always for the better…. India Connected is a must-read for everyone who is interested in contemporary India.” —Amitav Ghosh, author of Sea of Poppies and The Great Derangement

As always with India, the numbers stagger: in 2000, 20 million Indians had access to the internet; by 2017, 465 million were online, with three Indians discovering the internet every second. In the course of a single generation, access to the internet has progressed from dial-up connections on PCs, to broadband access, wireless, and now 4G data on phones.

The rise of low-cost smartphones and cheap data plans has meant the country leapfrogged the baby steps their Western counterparts took toward digital fluency. The results can be felt in every sphere of life, upending traditions and challenging conventions. Nothing is untouched, from arranged marriages to social status to business start-ups, as smartphones move the entire economy from cash-based to credit-based.

Access to the internet is affecting the progress of progress itself. As Agrawal shows, while smartphones offer immediate and sometimes mind-altering access to so much for so many, they create no immediate utopia in a culture still riven by poverty, a caste system, gender inequality, illiteracy, and income disparity. Under a government keen to control content, it has created tensions. And in a climate of hypernationalism, it has fomented violence and even terrorism. The influence of smartphones on the world’s largest democracy is nonetheless pervasive and irreversible, and India Connected illuminates both its dimensions and its implications.

Joan Koenig | THE MUSICAL CHILD

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THE ZOE PAGNAMENTA AGENCYNon-Fiction

A pioneering music educator reveals how making and enjoying music can supercharge childhood development—and how parents and educators can harness this power to nurture children’s intellects, emotional health, social skills, creativity, and more.

You have probably heard of the “Mozart Effect”—essentially, the idea that listening to classical music can make people, especially kids, smarter.  While the research behind that claim (and the cottage industry it spawned) was all based on bad science, there is now clear evidence that music actually does help children develop intellectually.  It also fosters their social, emotional, and creative growth in ways we are only beginning to comprehend.  But not all music has this effect, nor are all ways of experiencing music equally beneficial.  In this uplifting book, music educator Joan Koenig will draw on the latest scientific research and on her experience in and out of her Parisian classroom to show how music can turn children into better people—and how, in the process, they can become extraordinary musicians themselves.

Daphne Geismar | INVISIBLE YEARS

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ANNE EDELSTEIN LITERARY AGENCY | Non-Fiction

A Family Underground in the Netherlands 1942-1945, created and designed by Daphne Geismar. Based on an extraordinary collection of primary sources – narratives, photographs, remembrances, and historical facts – this book literally unfolds the underground world of hiding in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, in a multi-generational, extended family portrait. When Daphne Geismar, acclaimed book designer, was presented with the contents of her mother’s and aunts’ previously closed ‘Holocaust drawers’ she discovered the cornucopia of materials she was destined to open further to orchestrate this book.

For Chaim and Fifi de Zoete, the survival of their close-knit family meant hiding separately, sending their three young daughters Mirjam, Judith, and Hadassah, age 9, 10, and 11 each to live alone in a home that would take them in, while they themselves lived in isolation beneath the floorboards of the vaulted ceiling of a church.  All survived, and their journals, interviews, and letters, and artifacts, as well as writings of extended family members are the fabric of this composite living story, each solitary and all of a piece, forever shaped by invisible existence through a horrific chapter of history.

INVISIBLE YEARS is stunningly created by de Zoete granddaughter and award-winning book designer Daphne Geismar, who has designed and produced books for major museums including The Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as Yale University Press.  Included here is a sample of the design, a full manuscript of the work, the ‘history briefs’ which correspond to the pages of the family documents and records, and the images to be included.  Anticipated is a book 8.25 x 11.75 inches vertical; 256 or 272 pages; 70 images.

Lisa Barr | THE UNBREAKABLES

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MASSIE & McQUILKIN LITERARY AGENTS | Literary Fiction

It is 2015 and Ashley Madison, the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples (whose motto: “Life is short, have an affair”) has been hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed … Enter SOPHIE BLOOM, 42, married to her high school sweetheart and still in love. Or, so she thought, until discovering her husband’s infidelity on the Ashley Madison site. Betrayed, she leaves her suburban lifestyle for Paris to meet her daughter, who is studying abroad and whose boyfriend cheated on her and “needs“ her mother. In her deepest pain, Sophie heads overseas to help her daughter heal and in the process begins to find herself. She ends up staying in the artist community of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and succumbs to temptations of her own. In discovering who she is, why her husband strayed, and understanding that passion knows no boundaries, Sophie Bloom will not only grow, but ultimately, she will blossom.

With The Unbreakables Lisa Barr delivers a hymn to life’s reinvention and women’s power (because let’s face it we are no longer girls) when (and despite of) facing trauma. This is an unputdownable novel which could be the love child of Under the Tuscan Sun and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. This novel is written in the folksy voice/tone of her popular Mom blog — GIRLilla Warfare (www.girlillawarfare.com). It speaks directly to women, touching on real issues though with a light touch. In the age of #metoo, #timesup, The Unbreakables fits right in to the zeitgeist, the indomitable spirit of this generation.

Catherine Evans | THE WRONG’UN

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UNBOUND | Upmarket Women’s Fiction

Always in trouble. Always the odd one out.

Of her five fine sons, Edie always loved her eldest, Patrick, best. And didn’t love her daughter Bea at all. And kept the family secrets. Now the siblings are all grown, and a family gathering will bring the family’s skeletons, so ruthlessly suppressed by Edie all these years, into the open at last.

Meet the Newells, five siblings from a big Northern family of good lookers and hard grafters, with brains and diligence to spare. Five siblings who break into Oxford academia, London’s high life and the stratospheric riches of New York’s hedge funds. But there’s always been a wrong’un in their midst, a sixth – equally intelligent and with a deadly charm – who prefers life’s dark underbelly and who will stop at nothing to destroy his siblings’ lives. How can their mother endlessly turn a blind eye to her son’s malevolence? Why does she stand by and watch while he wrecks the lives of her other children? How much is she willing to sacrifice for him and how will the family survive them both?

Alice Mattison | Conscience

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THE ZOE PAGNAMENTA AGENCY | Fiction

From the author of New Yorker, PEN/O. Henry Prize, Pushcart Prize, Ploughshares, and Best American short stories; numerous New York Times Notable novels and collections; and the writing guide THE KITE AND THE STRING, comes an unforgettable story of former Vietnam War protesters and the tangled histories of activism, service, race and gender politics, which come to bear on their present day.

“Mattison is a charmer. Her characters bask in the sunshine of her affectionate scrutiny.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Mattison’s observations are so minutely compelling that each one feels like a shiny object, once lost but found unexpectedly.” —The New Yorker

CONSCIENCE opens in the bedroom of Olive Grossman and her husband Griff, a couple whose lives are haunted by the death of their longtime friend, Helen Weinstein, in a violent political protest in 1975. As the novel weaves between the 1960s and the present, conflict, tragedy, and friendship find their way into the precarious balance of the couple’s home.

Praised by the New York Times Book Review as “a generous, empathetic writer” of “ferocious insight,” Alice Mattison has an unparalleled gift for storytelling and for creating rich, multidimensional characters—the kind one might find in the novels of Anne Tyler, Jane Smiley, or Michael Chabon. In CONSCIENCE, Mattison paints the nuanced relationships between characters with her signature wit and precision, elegantly weaving together past and present, the political and the personal.

Edward Wong | THE EMPIRE REBORN – A Family’s Journey Through Modern China

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THE CHENEY AGENCY | Non-Fiction

THE EMPIRE REBORN is the essential story of modern China as told, in part, through the multigenerational narrative of Wong’s family: his father, coming of age in China in the 1950s and 60s as Mao consolidates power; and Wong’s present-day experience charting China’s geo-political ambition, alongside its darker repercussions: environmental degradation; extreme censorship and propaganda; cyberespionage; minority ethnic group suppression and violence; and finally, the troubling autocratic rise of President Xi Jinping. Throughout, Wong powerfully argues that his father’s story under Mao has much to teach us about China under Xi. With beautiful writing, sweeping narrative, and news-breaking insight into contemporary China, THE EMPIRE REBORN will be required reading for anyone looking to understand global politics in the 21st century.