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Library Journal

The Most Read SELF-e Books of 2016


Welcome to 2017! It’s time to put together your reading list for the new year. If you made a resolution to go local or indie, then we’ve got the perfect assortment of books to satisfy whatever literary craving you have. From fantasy and science fiction to romance, mystery and more, check out our rundown of locally-written eBooks available at libraries across the country through SELF-e. In addition to books by award-winning authors and international authors, you’ll find reads by SELF-e Ambassadors, and more fantastic independent and self-published writers. 

We’re thrilled that SELF-e is helping connect local authors and readers through libraries, and we look forward to seeing what this year has in store!

#2 FANTASY - Strum: A Novel
Nancy Young |   @nmcyoung  |  Author Website
Los Angeles Public Library | California |   @LAPublicLibrary

In this magical tale, Bernard, a deaf young woodworker, is drawn into an ancient forest in eastern Canada by the spirits of his Iroquois and European great-grandparents, where a colossal 800-year-old cedar falls at his feet. Nearly losing his life salvaging a portion of the great tree, he crafts two guitars imbued with the spirits of his ancestors—lovers separated by tragedy yet reunited in the music of these instruments.

Author Spotlight NaNoWriMo LAPL Self-e Library Journal

Los Angeles Public Library

Local Author Spotlight


Catherine Royalty, Senior Librarian, Acquisitions, 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In conjunction with National Novel Writing Month, the Los Angeles Public Library is proud to spotlight some of our great local authors who have submitted their e-books to our Indie California collection.


Strum was designated a SELF-e Select title by the staff of Library Journal and is now available at participating libraries nationwide. The Los Angeles Public Library congratulates Nancy on her award—let’s hear a bit more about her and her winning title!


Author at IPPY Awards Silver Medal

Long Beach Post

Long Beach Author Scores Prestigious IPPY Award for Debut Novel 



JUNE 09 2014 12:44 


Long Beach author and Belmont Shore resident Nancy Young picked up the Seagull classic guitar she bought and noticed the claim by the guitar’s manufacturer attached in a pamphlet: “No trees are ever cut down to make our instruments; our guitars are made from 800-year-old cedars that fall naturally in the forest of Quebec.” 

At first, Strum was meant to be a short story about the ideas of love and guitar music but eventually morphed into Young’s 380-page debut novel that intricately weaving together love, spirits, ancestry, and a family’s intimate tie to music. The book has garnered her three awards, including the Silver Medal for Best Regional Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs), a contest that drew in some 5,500 applicants from across the States, Canada, and 32 other countries. 

“I write in a very global, literary style,” said Young, noting Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude as one her inspirations behind Strum. “I particularly love the Latin American writers like García Márquez and early Isabella Allende, whose magical realism is akin to the spiritual and ancestral fiction of Asian American writers like Amy Tan.” 

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Strum Reviewed by James Broderick, PhD 

By James Broderick Ph.D 

Published August 14, 2014 

Nancy Young’s novel Strum begins with a French epigram from 17th century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal that essentially communicates the idea that “the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing about.” It’s one of Pascal’s better known aphorisms. But the more deeply I read into this poignant and compelling book, the more I kept thinking back to another of Pascal’s oft-cited quotes, rendered in English as “If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past and the future.” 

Strum not only exemplifies that idea, as well as the tidal pull of time in the sea-changes of our lives, but Young has structured her novel according to that principle, with chapters leaping back and forth in time, from the 1800s to the year 2000. The novel also leaps about in place, from the Canadian hinterlands to the French Alps, from Southeast Asia to Australia...

Author Nancy Young with guitar, Long Beach Press Telegram

Press Telegram

Long Beach author to sign award-winning book 'Strum'

By RICHARD GUZMAN | | Press Telegram

PUBLISHED: December 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm | UPDATED: September 1, 2017 at 2:34 am


Long Beach writer Nancy Young in Long Beach, CA on Monday, December 8, 2014. Young's new book "Strum" has already received numerous literary awards since its publication in June. It's the story of Bernard, a deaf young woodworker, who makes two guitars worthy froma fallen tree. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

It was an encounter with a beautiful guitar years ago that led Long Beach resident Nancy Young to her most recent adventure — a literary journey that spans the world and travels through centuries of history. At the time, the Taiwan-born writer was in Australia checking out instruments at a music expo when she spotted a handmade guitar by Seagull Guitars of Quebec. Young, who plays the instrument, was fascinated to find out that the company makes guitars out of roughly 800-year-old trees that fall naturally in the forest...

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Long Beach Business Journal

ENCORE - PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Library Foundation Director Wins Award for Novel

April 15-18, 2014


Nancy Young, director of developmetn for the Long Beach Public Library Foundation was honored recently at the Great Northwest Book Festival 2014 in Portland, Oregon.  She won an honorable mention for her book, Strum, which according to Inkwater Press "crosses two centuries and four continents in search of truth, love and a family legacy." T he American Library Association says of Strum, "Young's debut novel delights the reader in a mesmerizing story you can't stop reading."  And Publisher's Weekly Review writes, "Young's intense focus on the natural world offers images of glistening beauty."  You may be found at www.inkwater.boods/com/strum.

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University of Hawai'i News

Debut novel Strum strikes a chord with readers 


November 17, 2014 | UH News | Comments 

Nancy Young 


Editor’s note, November 18, 2014: Young’s book is the winner of six book awards in 2014—USA Best Book Awards– Finalist, Literary Fiction; Independent Publishers Award–Silver Medal Best Regional Fiction (Canada East) and the Hollywood Book Festival, New York Book Festival, San Francisco Book Festival and Great Northwest Book Festival–Honorable Mention, General Fiction. 

Local author and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumnus Nancy Young has been honored with the Silver Medal for Best Regional Fiction (Canada-East) for the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or “IPPYAwards” for her acclaimed novel Strum. Hailed as the “world’s largest book competition,” this year’s IPPY Awards drew more than 5,500 entries from authors and publishers in all 50 states, 9 Canadian provinces and 32 countries overseas. 

A tale of culture, spirit and music, Strum paints upon the world’s canvas an intimate story of enduring love and how the mysterious forces that divide us can also bring us together...


Columbia You

A Portrait of the Writer as a Young MIA (Master of International Affairs)




On June 13, 2013, I began my journey as a novelist. Before that, I was a wannabe writer, artist, cultural consultant, traveler, parent, and part-time environmentalist. Strum was my first published novel, and it went on to win six awards including a USA Best Book and IPPY Silver Medal. It was a featured selection in the Library Journal’s national SELF-e Collection, and in 2016 was one of their 25 Most Read eBooks of the year. Not bad for an independently published book about love, family, spirits, guitar music, war and race discrimination. In these troubled times, however, stories like mine are more important than ever.


I’ve been asked often how I evoke all the different historical time periods and geographical locations so well in Strum. My answer is: I was born in Taiwan, grew up in Pasadena, traveled extensively with my family, was educated bi-coastal, and worked in Australia for over a decade. As an English major at UC Berkeley, I read a lot of historical and literary novels. But ultimately, my MIA (Master of International Affairs) from Columbia University laid the foundation from which I draw locations and historical context for my very global tales. I’ve studied world history, global politics, economic development, literature in four languages (English, French, German and Chinese)...

Is it a coincidence that the globe landed itself on Australia for this photo from Travels

Pasadena Now

Pasadena Novelist Travels the World in Strum


By Cameron Turner

Published Monday, October 21, 2013, 11:05 am

Pasadena-bred novelist Nancy Young was running an arts development program in Australia when she decided to resume her teenage quest to master the classical guitar.  She selected a instrument handcrafted by Seagull Guitars in Quebec, in part because of a line in the workshop's brochure.  Young recalls: "It said, "We only make guitars from trees that have fallen in the forest, and most of them are made from 800 year old cedars."

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