Sunday, April 18, 2010
It's been a busy week at Chick with Books with book reviews for the The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival by Ken Wheaton and The Girl on The Wall by Jean Baggott. A review & giveaway (for 2 autographed copies) of Glorious by Bernice McFadden and a review & giveaway for Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze. Plus a giveaway for Forbidden Passion by Rita Herron. If you haven't entered any of those giveaways, there's still time! Don't be shy!
This week I "talked" with author Shana Mahaffey about having a "virtual chat" about her book, Sounds Like Crazy, with my reading group. So we'll be reading Sounds Like Crazy this month and it sounds like a fun read. This is what the publisher had to say about it... "Though she doesn't remember the trauma that caused it, Holly Miller has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her personality has fractured into five different identities, together known as The Committee. And as much as they make Holly's life hell, she can't live without them. Then one of those identities, the flirtatious, southern Betty Jane, lands Holly a voiceover job. Betty Jane wants nothing more than to be in the spotlight. The rest of The Committee wants Betty Jane to shut up. Holly's therapist wants to get to the bottom of her broken psyche. And Holly? She's just along for the ride..." This will also test my skills at setting up Skype and actually using it! I'll be reviewing this book early June...
Friday night rounded out the week with a author event at my local Independent Bookstore, Books on the Common, starring Pete Nelson, who charmed the audience as he talked about his just released book I Thought You Were Dead. Author readings are interesting because you can really get a feel for the author and how he(or she) feels about their writing. Here's the publisher's synopsis of Pete's book, "For Paul Gustavson, a hack writer for the wildly popular For Morons series, life is a succession of obstacles. His wife has left him, his father has suffered a debilitating stroke, his girlfriend is dating another man, he has impotency issues, and his overachieving brother invested his parents' money in stocks that tanked. Still, Paul has his friends at Bay State bar, a steady line of cocktails, and a new pair of runningshoes (he’s promised himself to get in shape). And then there’s Stella, the one constant in his life, who gives him sage advice, doesn’t judge him, and gives him unconditional love." Well, I'm a sucker for dog books, so how could I resist Stella who literally tells her master when he's screwing up. I've been reading I Thought You Were Dead all weekend and loving it. One of the tidbits that Pete shared at the reading was that Stella was based on his dog Alice, and that made me warm up even more to the book- because I've got a furry guy at home that I talk to also- BJ! I'll be posting a review soon for I Thought You Were Dead, which BTW has gotten a lot of great buzz and is the Indie Next pick for April!
And Speaking of Buzz, there's been quite a bit of Buzz about Award Winners lately...
It's National Poetry Month so it's appropriate that there is a poetry award in April. That award is the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. Established in 1986 by Ruth Lilly, the Prize is oneof the most prestigious awards given to American poets. This years award goes to Eleanor Ross Taylor, who turned 90 this year. Virtually unknown due to her dislike of poetry readings, and only publishing 6 books in the past 50 years. A collection of her selected poems, Captive Voices, was printed last year. And you can read one of her poems, Disappearing Act, from that collection from by following the link to the guardian.co.uk, who reprinted it this week.
Another literary prize this week was The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. That honor goes to Tinker's by Paul Harding. An interesting fact was that Tinker's was rejected by every major publishing house and gained in popularity by word of mouth! It was eventually published by a small non-profit publishing house, Bellevue Literary Press, who ran an initial printing of 3500 copies. The printing presses are rolling because this is going to be a BIG hit now, and it is out of stock everywhere I checked. BUT it is available now on Kindle!
And Today's Books with Buzz focuses on The Lost Man Booker Prize... What exactly is The Lost Man Booker Prize? In 1971 the Booker Prize stopped being awarded retrospectively and became a prize for the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November. As a result of the changes, there was whole year's gap when a wealth of fiction, published in 1970, fell through the cracks. Now 40 years later those books that never got a chance are getting their recognition. The longlist consisted of 22 books. On March 25th the shortlist was announced, and here they are...
• The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden
• Troubles by J G Farrell
• The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard
• Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault
• The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark
• The Vivisector by Patrick White
The winner of The Lost Booker Prize will be determined by international voting! You can vote for your favorite at The Man Booker Prize website. Voting closes on April 30th. Not sure about them? Here are 2 that caught my interest...
The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark... On the Jacket, "I aim to startle as well as please," Muriel Spark once said, and in The Driver's Seat (1970), her aim is all too true. Her most unnerving novel, this is a book to make the flesh creep. With fierce economy Spark focuses on her terrifying heroine Lise, who leaves her home in northern Europe for a southern holiday, apparently on the prowl for a lover: "If he's my type," she says, "I want to meet him." But of course appearances aren't everything. The New Yorker called The Driver's Seat "so stark as to be nightmarish". Muriel Spark, who wrote the classic The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, and who was short listed for the Man Booker Prize previously with 2 of her other novels, was known for "her finely polished, darkly comic prose." I look forward to reading what Muriel Sparks created in a mere 106 pages that prompted her to be nominated for The Lost Man Booker Prize.
Troubles by J G Farrell... Major Brendan Archer returns from the Great War to claim his fiancee, whose family owns the Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough, Ireland. She is strangely altered, however, along with the hotel, which is in spectacular decline — cats roam its upper stories, the Palm Court is a jungle, and the last guests are little old ladies with nowhere else to go. Outside the formerly grand hotel, the British Empire also totters. There is unrest in the East, and Ireland itself senses the mounting violence of its "troubles." This book has gotten quite a bit of praise. Interesting is the fact that J.G. Farrell won The Man Booker Prize for The Siege Of Krishnapur in 1973, and proceeded to denounce the organization. Would you like to read an excerpt of Troubles? Sophie from Orion Publishing sent along an excerpt for me to share with you! Here's the Excerpt of Troubles. Thanks Sophie! I'll also be reviewing this in the near future!
So, what are you reading this week? Share what's on your nightstand! Share what great authors you've listened to at a reading too! And what were you doing in 1970? Were you reading any of those Lost Man Booker nominees? I was a little young back then, but I'm going to be making up for it now... Have a great week!