Saturday, June 30, 2007
I just finished reading two great new books, and I just have to share them with you. I'd love to hear what you think of these!
For fans of Khaled Hosseini, or contemporary fiction in a realistic setting, check out A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's Hosseini's second book, after the smash hit The Kite Runner. A Thousand Splendid Suns, set in contemporary Afghanistan, tells the story of two very different women and how their lives become intertwined. It is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time. I would say that it was a difficult book to read, but it was so compelling that I couldn't stop. Hosseini is a master at capturing the sacrifice and strength it requires to be a parent and a friend, a patriot and a soldier. It was truly an amazing book. Pick up a copy today!
In a totally different vein, I picked up a copy of Ian McEwan's new novella On Chesil Beach. If you are a McEwan fan, you will recognize some of his common themes, mainly time and memory, and how they can play tricks on you. The story is really very simple (so simple as to be complicated), it is the tale of newlyweds and takes place over the course of one night - the first night of their honeymoon. I won't give away anymore of the plot, because it really is very straightforward, but I will say that this book will make you think. I felt like McEwan wrote this, as a fable of sorts, a way to teach us a lesson about ourselves and our intentions, our blustering and our desire to always be in the right, and to show us what happens when we cannot look beyond ourselves and our own naivete. It was fascinating! I'd love to see your comments!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Cinematical reports that while Miramax is passing on the project, Thomas Wheeler's fantasy novel, The Arcanum, was picked up by Gold Circle Films. The plot of this yummy work of fiction revolves around a group of paranormal investigators led by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Eat your heart out Scooby Doo, because this gumshoe dream team features such extraordinaries as escape-artist Harry Houdini and notorious voodoo priestess Marie Laveau as well as a cameo appearance from H.P. Lovecraft!
According to Cinematical, "Moviegoers are about to be up to their (succulent) necks in vampire movies," and the other novel headed for the big screen is Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. Sony bought the rights to this book before it even hit stores...and paid a generous seven figures for it as well! Weighing in at a whopping 642 pages, The Historian should provide plenty of fodder for screenwriters. Castle ruins, moonlit descents into burial crypts, a medieval book and a cache of yellowed letters and the search for Vlad the Impaler begins...continue at your own peril with this creepy debut thriller from Elizabeth Kostova!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
- 7th-Inkheart / Cornelia Funke
- 7th-Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli
- 7th-Homecoming / Cynthia Voight
- 7th-In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle / Madeleine Blais
- 7th-Cheaper By the Dozen / Frank Gilbraith
- 8th-Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
- 9th-Out of the Night That Covers Me / Pat Cunningham Devoto
- 9th-Lord of the Flies / William Golding
- 9th-Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea / Steven Callahan
If you have been looking for any of these titles, QUICK, give us a call so we can hold a copy for you!
Gayle also shared with the crowd the great opportunity budding authors have to join one of the largest writing organizations in the world, Romance Writers of America (RWA), of which Gayle is a past president. Did you know that James Patterson, New York Times best-selling author of the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club thrillers, is a member of RWA? Were you aware that Birmingham has a chapter of RWA, Southern Magic, and they host seminars, luncheons, and a variety of other learning opportunities for writers in the genre?
To counteract the naysayers who contend that these "little romance novels" are of little consequence, Gayle has this to say, "These books are written by smart women, for smart women." As evidence to this statement, she offers the following proof:
- Eliosa James is the pseudonym of Mary Bly, tenured professor at Fordham University and Shakespeare scholar. You may have heard of her father, poet Robert Bly.
- Madeline Hunter (pseudonym) teaches at the university level and has a PhD in art history.
- Ciji Ware was a reporter and commentator in radio and television for more than twenty years in Los Angeles. She holds a degree in history from Harvard University and was the first woman graduate of Harvard College to serve as President of the Harvard Alumni Association.
- Carol Buck was a CNN correspondant.
- Merline Lovelace is a retired United States Air Force Colonel.
- Alabama author Kelley St. John is a former senior writer for NASA.
- Susan Grant is a 747 pilot.
- Melissa Cohn is a former police-crime analyst.
- Stephanie Bond is a computer engineer.
- Marissa Hull is an advanced robitics/AI engineer.
- Tess Gerritsen was a physician before she started her writing career in traditional romance, later moving to romantic suspense.
- Katherine Stone also pursued a career in medicine before becoming a writer.
- and last, but by no means least, Gayle Wilson has a Master's degree in Education with a specialty in Gifted Education. She taught english and history for over thirty years at the RLC which eventually became the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School!
I charge you with thinking about this laundry list of credentials before discounting the romance genre as an area you don't want to read; you just might be missing something special!
I especially enjoyed the dish Gayle shared about the godmother of romantic suspense, Nora Roberts. As if publishing nearly 200 books in her twenty-three year writing career weren't enough, one of her books is sold every 23 seconds...24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Can you imagine? She writes twenty pages a day, NO MATTER WHAT, but still finds time to be an avid gardener. This is one phenomenal lady, no doubt! I'd love to meet her one day.
Gayle is a WoNdErFuL (!!!) speaker and has a real talent for getting readers excited about the romance genre (this reader for sure!). If you were not in attendance yesterday then boy, did you ever miss out on a great program! Also, several lucky attendees walked out with complementary copies of her books! I told you, you missed out! If you are now absolutely bereft that you missed this program, check out our website for details on how you can get on our Calendar of Events mailing list so you won't have to experience this sense of loss ever again!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
- Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
- Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- White Oleander by Janet Fitch
- The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- The Jack Aubrey series by Patrick O'Brian
- The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
- The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes
- Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead
- Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
- The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The March by E.L. Doctorow
- Jewel by Bret Lott
- The Namesake by Jhuma Lahiri
- Robertson Davies' novels
- Susan Howatch's novels
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
From Publishers Weekly As the Age of the Genome begins to dawn, we will, perhaps, expect our fictional protagonists to know as much about the chemical details of their ancestry as Victorian heroes knew about their estates. If so, Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides) is ahead of the game. His beautifully written novel begins: "Specialized readers may have come across me in Dr. Peter Luce's study, 'Gender Identity in 5-Alpha-Reductase Pseudohermaphrodites.' " The "me" of that sentence, "Cal" Stephanides, narrates his story of sexual shifts with exemplary tact, beginning with his immigrant grandparents, Desdemona and Lefty. On board the ship taking them from war-torn Turkey to America, they married-but they were brother and sister. Eugenides spends the book's first half recreating, with a fine-grained density, the Detroit of the 1920s and '30s where the immigrants settled: Ford car factories and the tiny, incipient sect of Black Muslims. Then comes Cal's story, which is necessarily interwoven with his parents' upward social trajectory. Milton, his father, takes an insurance windfall and parlays it into a fast-food hotdog empire. Meanwhile, Tessie, his wife, gives birth to a son and then a daughter-or at least, what seems to be a female baby. Genetics meets medical incompetence meets history, and Callie is left to think of her "crocus" as simply unusually long-until she reaches the age of 14. Eugenides, like Rick Moody, has an extraordinary sensitivity to the mores of our leafier suburbs, and Cal's gender confusion is blended with the story of her first love, Milton's growing political resentments and the general shedding of ethnic habits. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this book is Eugenides's ability to feel his way into the girl, Callie, and the man, Cal. It's difficult to imagine any serious male writer of earlier eras so effortlessly transcending the stereotypes of gender. This is one determinedly literary novel that should also appeal to a large, general audience. www.amazon.com