Thanks so much for the comments on the Room by Emma Donoghue post. Room has been selected as one of the 13 books of the Man Booker Prize longlist.
The random drawing winner for the ARC of Room is
Joy from Joy's Blog
I will contact you by email.
Thanks to Little, Brown and Company for providing the ARC.
This is the second installment of the Man Booker longlist book selections.
The first was Room by Emma Donoghue.
Parrot and Olivier In America by Peter Carey
I had no doubt that something cruel and catastrophic had happened before I was born, yet the comte and comtesse, my parents, would not tell me what it was. As a result my organ of curiosity was made irritable and I grew into the most restless and unhealthy creature imaginable -- slight, pale, always climbing, prying into every drain and attic of the Chateau de Barfleur.
Publisher Summary Olivier—an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville—is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected by an enigmatic one-armed marquis.
When Olivier sets sail for the nascent United States—ostensibly to make a study of the penal system, but more precisely to save his neck from one more revolution—Parrot will be there, too: as spy for the marquis, and as protector, foe, and foil for Olivier.
As the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier, between their picaresque adventures apart and together—in love and politics, prisons and finance, homelands and brave new lands—a most unlikely friendship begins to take hold.
And with their story, Peter Carey explores the experiment of American democracy with dazzling inventiveness and with all the richness and surprise of characterization, imagery, and language that we have come to expect from this superlative writer.
Written with Carey’s unmistakable narrative brilliance, Parrot and Olivier is a historical novel in the best sense of the term, in that it inhabits a historical era with utter accuracy and authenticity but in doing so holds a mirror up to our time as well.
“Another feat of acrobatic ventriloquism, joining Carey’s masterpieces, Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang . . . Carey’s most marvelous invention is Tocqueville’s traveling companion, Parrot . . . It’s a brilliant alteration of history and a source of rich comedy . . . Outrageous and witty.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
“Carey braids his story carefully, lovingly. It has all his telltale favorite elements—lawlessness, revolution, hope for the future, men driven by passion. At its heart, Parrot and Olivier is a western; the simplest story in history, sculpted down to a twinkle in a philosopher's eye: Man’s search for freedom.”—Los Angeles Times
Reading group alert -- history, humor, great characters, friendship, romance, adventure, intrigue. This book has it all for discussible conversation.
Author On the Bookcase
I'm thrilled to speak to Laura Morowitz, co-author with Laurie Lico Albanese, of The Miracles of Prato. Art in a book -- love these historical novels centered around real-live artists and their lifes! It helps me learn about past artists and the history and politics that surrounded them.
The Miracles of Prato brings to life glorious Italy in the era of the Medici —as it tells the story of an illicit love affair between the renowned painter Fra Filippo Lippi and his muse, a beautiful convent novitiate named Lucrezia Buti. Lippi, the chaplain for Convent Santa Margherita sees in Lucrezia's flawless face inspiration for countless Madonnas and he brings the her to his studio to serve as his model. But as painter and muse are united in an exhilarating whirl of artistic discovery, a passionate love develops, one that threatens to destroy them both even as it fuels some of Lippi's greatest work.
Fans of Tracy Chavalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue and Luncheon at the Boating Party will be delighted. Fact, historical color, passion, identity, art -- great for book club conversations!
Laura chats about impetus of The Miracle of Prato -- the questions, the curiosity, the images, and the characters. By their research and fictional thoughts, Laura and Laurie came to understand this illicit love affair. Laura hopes when readers picked up The Miracle of Prato "they, too, will find Fra Lippi’s paintings, and study them until they understand."
Please tell us what questions you would have asked Lippi and Lucrezia, Laura.
If you walk deep into the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, you will find a Madonna so breathtaking that you can almost understand why a man would risk everything he had to paint her.
This is the Madonna with Two Angels, by Fra Filippo Lippi (1465), and the model is Lucrezia Buti. One look at the canvas will assure you that he thought she was the most beautiful creature on earth, and that he was willing to give up everything – everything but his art -- for her. And he almost did.
Lucrezia Buti and Fra Filippo Lippi were real people, who lived and loved and died in fifteenth century Tuscany. And while thousands of visitors see her image each year, hanging in the Uffizi and the Louvre and on posters and street banners in the city of Prato, only a few know the seemingly impossible—unfathomable, really—tale of a nineteen year old Augustinian novice and a middle-aged, celebrated painter and Carmelite monk who had a carnal relationship and whose connection to each other is evident in the images he created of her.
This was the story we decided to tell in our historical novel, The Miracles of Prato. I am an art historian, and my co-author, Laurie Lico Albanese, is a novelist. Together we gazed at the paintings Lippi made during the years of their affair, and asked ourselves the questions that led to this book.
- What kind of woman was Lucrezia and what drew her to the painter
- What options, if any, did she have
- Why did he love her, and how did he love her?
- What did they risk and sacrifice for one another?
- How did their relationship make its way into the images Lippi created during and after the height of their love affair?
We started with what art historians and novelists always begin with: questions, curiosity, images, and characters. We scoured the art books for reproductions of Lippi’s magnificent altarpieces and frescos, learning all that we could about the arist’s idiosyncrasies, innovations and motivations.
We looked at the paintings of Lucrezia, and tried to feel the sorrow and the joy she must have experienced. And the shame, too. The confusion. The longing.
We went to the churches and the convents themselves, on our own inspired pilgrimage throughout Tuscany.
We imagined creating these works, from inception to completion, in the context in which Lippi worked: the small town of Prato, a carriage ride from Florence where the Renaissance was in full bloom and the Medici at the height of their power.
While we could learn much about Lippi, whose fame was celebrated in his own lifetime, and whose notoriety as both artistic genius and rough-under-the-edges lawbreaker was captured by the Renaissance biographer Giorgio Vasari in his work, Lives of the Most Emminent Painters (1550), finding a source for Lucrezia was impossible. Like most of the women of her place and time, she left behind no record, no trace of her existence beyond her reflection in the thoughts and images of men. Even the convent of Santa Margherita, where the recorded events played themselves out, is long gone, its doors closed forever in the eighteenth century. We had no answers, only an endless river of questions. Why did the young, beautiful and well-raised Lucrezia Buti do what she did? Was she mad with love for the artist, with his ferocious temper and his sensual, life-affirming paintings? Was she desperate—like so many women of her time and place—to escape a life without color, without physical intimacy, without the tiniest of luxuries? Did the scandal they caused give her a satisfying thrill or did it terrify her? Her actions in 1459, when she renewed her vows to the convent, would seem to indicate her desire to do penance and set things aright, while her behaviour in the 1460s—fleeing the convent to once again take up residence with the painter-monk—leaves us baffled.
Two paintings are all we had to bring Lucrezia nearer to us, and to our readers. Her portrayal in an altarpiece for the convent Santa Margherita (a work that remains, proudly, within the city of Prato) and the gorgeous Uffizi Madonna, for which she posed, her translucent blue eyes, her perfect nose, her sweet, sad smile fixed forever. No diaries, no poems, no letters. No works by her hand. Just these paintings.
We gazed at them until we understood.
When readers pick up The Miracles of Prato, I hope they, too, will find Fra Lippi’s paintings, and study them until they understand. And I hope the portraits of Lippi and Lucrezia that we created through our words will live vividly in their memory, alongside the beautiful paintings he left behind.
Thanks so much, Laura, for sharing some of your journey in exploring Lippi's art and the motivations of both Lippi and Lucrezia in their love for each other.
Author On the Bookcase
Mitchell James Kaplan
History and religion and politics -- oh my!
I'm pleased to welcome Mitchell James Kaplan, author of the debut novel, By Fire, By Water. Mitchell's book tells the heartbreaking story of Luis de Santangel, the courtier who convinced Queen Isabella to sponsor Christopher Columbus’s voyage of discovery in 1492. Combining a passionate love story with a religious mystery, By Fire, By Water closely follows historical events during a troubled time, when the medieval social order was collapsing.
Mitchell tells us about "his voyage of discovery'" when readers explore his book and find additional story lines.
Set sail, Mitchell!
When I began researching By Fire, By Water, my intent was to place Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage in context. Schoolchildren, it seemed to me, rarely learned much about the world Columbus left behind. Without understanding his world, how could anyone grasp the purpose and meaning of his voyage?
He sailed from southern Spain, where the emirate of Granada, the last Islamic political entity in Europe, had recently fallen to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. On the Santa Maria, Columbus took along a native of Granada, a Jew recently baptised with the name Luis de Torres, as official interpreter. According to Columbus’s journals, de Torres spoke Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew in addition to Spanish. Columbus apparently thought these languages would be useful where he was going.
Where, then, was he going? My research convinced me that Columbus was sailing not just to the Indias described by Marco Polo, but to Terrestrial Paradise – that is, the Garden of Eden. Beyond that lay Jerusalem. People in these places, Columbus believed, spoke the same languages as Luis de Torres – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. The idea of returning to paradise and Jerusalem held religious value for Columbus, who believed the end of the world was at hand and thought of himself as a sort of messiah figure.
My first draft of By Fire, By Water told the story of Luis de Torres, the Jewish witness to the fall of Islamic Granada who ended up as Christopher Columbus’s Christian interpreter in a land where no one had ever heard of Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Spanish, Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed. It also portrayed Columbus and the religious fervor with which he conceived and pursued his vision.
Columbus spent about a decade researching and trying to “sell” his project. One royal court after another refused to sponsor him, but the Genoese mariner remained fervent. His last hope was Isabella of Castille, who sent him away three times without making a commitment. At this point, another figure steps in – Luis de Santangel, chancellor of Aragon. He convinces the queen to sponsor Columbus’s voyage, offering to arrange the financing.
Why, I wondered, did the chancellor of Aragon so forcibly associate himself with Columbus’s far-fetched dream? As I explored this question, it became clear that Luis de Santangel stood at the center of the most horrific events of his time: Isabella’s usurpation of the crown of Castille, the brutal Spanish Inquisition, the war against Granada, and the expulsion of all the Jews from Spain. For the chancellor as for Columbus, the proposed voyage of discovery must have held within it a religious hope for something better.
My novel evolved into the story of how a worldly, skeptical courtier slowly bought into the fantasy of a Genoese sailor – and then, in a triumph of faith over reason, how that fantasy turned out to be true.
With my second draft, I retold the story not from Luis de Torres’ perspective but from that of Luis de Santangel. The Spanish Inquisition took on more importance, not because I had intended to write a novel about the Spanish Inquisition but because the Spanish Inquisition played such a significant role in Santangel’s life.
For me, the core of the story remained what it had always been, an exploration of the background of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage. What a surprise, then, to learn first from my publisher and then from the reading public that others saw it as a novel not about the background of Columbus’s voyage, but about the Spanish Inquisition.
And so, my own voyage of discovery continues. The book I thought I wrote is not exactly the book others read. I have no problem with that. By Fire, By Water is more like a land I discovered than a world I created. I don’t own that land. As readers explore it, I find their reports sometimes surprising, but always intriguing.
Thank for sharing your exploration into your novel with us, Mitchell. Reading groups will discover many discussible topics in By Fire, By Water!
Author On the Bookcase
Michelle Hoover, welcome to On the Bookcase! Michelle's book, The Quickening, is the story of two women stuggling to make a living in the upper Midwest in the early 1900s. For one, their hardscrabble life comes easily, while the other longs for the excitement of the city. Though they depend on one another for survival and companionship, their friendship proves as rugged as the land they farm. While the Great Depression looms, the delicate balance of their relationship tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, and exposing the dark secrets they hide.
Mitchelle answers her own Q & A and then reveals her thoughts on the live Q & A sessions in book stores and libraries. The magical time when "the book does matter, at least for a short period of time. The story is taken to heart, and for a few minutes a room is caught in an act of creation that goes far beyond the author’s little self or what lies between the pages."
What a beautiful sentiment! Read on for more of Michelle's thoughtful "answers."
"By the time my first novel The Quickening was published this summer, I had years of practice with readings and years more experience as a university teacher, so I’d long ago lost most fear about public speaking.
But it wasn’t until the hours before my first solo venture at the wonderful Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley, Ma, that I realized I would not only be reading from the page but answering on-the-spot questions about the most personal of subjects—my own writing and my great-grandmother’s journal, the novel’s inspiration.
The novel itself is of course fiction, the story of two neighboring women trying to save their farms and families during the Great Depression, whether they help each other in this saving or the opposite. I wasn’t too worried about the Q&A. I’d responded to plenty of bizarre student drillings on books and writing without much pain. It was more a matter of wonderment: that I would be standing at the head of a group of folding chairs all facing my direction and every raised hand would be raised in curiosity of me.
Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: Six years, seven months, two days. I think. I started when I was twenty-three, too young to realize that I was too young to begin a novel. That version now sits in the crumbling UMass-Amherst library and I wish the building would just collapse already so that students wouldn’t have to duck their heads to escape plummeting bricks and that my sorry “thesis” might find an appropriate death. When I rewrote the book in my thirties, I kept only thirty or so pages of the original, killed off five characters, two narrators, and at least 200 pages. I’ve had plenty of adult students at Boston’s Grub Street cry out in near despair about the years and sacrifices it takes to finish a good novel. I tell them to keep going. Now I hope I have a little more clout to back up my advice.
I don’t particularly like to be the center of attention. Still, a close friend of mine commented at yet another reading that, unlike most she attended, I looked genuinely happy at the podium. “You seem like you’re having fun,” she said. I looked at her, amazed, only to realize I was having fun. I found the Q &A sessions an absolute kick in the pants. Other than the blog entries and guest posts I’ve been asked to write, there’s a big difference for me in these live ramblings. I’m not chasing after people to notice something. I’m not acting the salesman. It’s a sad thing, but debut authors from small presses have to spend plenty of time on the virtual street corner shouting out the benefits of their fictional potions, and sometimes that’s all the book becomes: shouting for wares.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: I wanted to represent a certain temperament, the kind I grew up with--one of reserve, work, and strength. I tried for a kind of raw beauty too, though beauty aimed at directly usually becomes its opposite. "Why are we reading,” Annie Dillard asked, “if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed." I wanted to show that bareness and mystery of the Midwestern plains. And of course I wanted to save those seventy-one years of living that made up my great-grandmother’s journal. I wanted to capture all her stoicism and grief after my great-grandfather’s death, as well as the happiness in their life-long marriage and what they were able to grow together.
In bookstore Q&As, the audience has already arrived. True, they may not shell out the dollars for a book, but writing isn’t really about cash. Of course, I’d like to earn enough to buy myself a semester off to write. I’d love for my favorite bookstores to make loads, as well as my publisher. But as long as my audience enjoys their thirty minutes or so in those seats, I’m a happy camper. And if just one person tells someone else about it, all the better. Borrow the book from a friend. Better yet, make sure both of you leave it heavily damaged so a person can tell someone’s come close to devouring it. Or check the book out from your local library—that sacred place where commerce ends. Just be sure to leave the plastic cover well intact.
Q: What lasting effect do you want your book to have on readers?
A: I hope my characters trouble them and that readers feel immersed in a place and time only to wake after the last page as if from a dream. I’d like to make people think of the Midwest and our history there in a deeper way, and then tie this history to today’s difficult economic and political climate. Though we are likely not as isolated in our losses and loves today as my great-grandparents were, we still experience these things deeply. We need books to reflect our experience and to do so without blinking so we don’t feel alone in our craziness. Aristotle claims that a well-written tragedy purges an audience’s fears. Others have written that good storytelling grows our sympathies for others, however unlike us they are. I could never claim with any certainty that my novel does either, but I can still hope it does.
Here’s the real wonder of Q&A sessions: That the ones who raise their hands are genuinely curious about the book and the making of it. I haven’t been paid a dime for their attentions and many are outright strangers. And the sessions are not at all about me (thank God) but about this object that sits on the table and what it takes to make such an object come alive. The audience is a sign of something I’ve believed in all along: numbers in the seats don’t matter, not when the author’s ego finally shuts its trap. But for the dozen or so who arrive, the book does matter, at least for a short period of time. The story is taken to heart, and for a few minutes a room is caught in an act of creation that goes far beyond the author’s little self or what lies between the pages. It’s the highest of human endeavors: willing something about ourselves and outside ourselves to exist.
I'm on my book tour now -- fourteen events in fourteen days in the Midwest. We'll see if my view of the Q&A has changed by the end. I hope it doesn't."
Thanks so much for extending your Q & A with us. Such lovely thoughts on the joy of reading and book discussion!
Learn more about Michelle.
Author On the Bookcase
I'm excited to welcome Cathy Lamb, author of Such A Pretty Face. Her book tells the story of Stevie, who two years and 170 pounds ago, was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin.
Stevie realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day. What fascinating reading-group topics -- identity, family, friendships.
Today, Cathy chats about her writing process. What do toilets, electricity, carpet and a chimmey have to do with her writing? Read and see!
I am often asked about my “writing process.
My writing process is a combination of semi-insanity, creative muck, and word – sweat, so to speak. (I just made up the word, “word–sweat,” for fun and because it is past midnight and my brain is fizzy.)
First, I start scribbling in a journal. The journal costs no more than $5. Why spend extra, hard -earned money on something you will eventually throw at a wall, swear at, jump on and, possibly, burn or explode using small amounts of dynamite?
Each one of my books starts with a separate journal. I now have a full shelf of journals. With my most recent book, Such A Pretty Face, my story was so overly complicated for my little menopausal mind, it took three journals. I finally resorted to the sort of notebook I used when I was in school. White pages. Boring. No fluff. Filled that, too.
Everything I scribble in my journals initially is terrible but I have to go through this process to get a handle on the character. One of the first things I try to do is figure out my main character’s name. Most of the time, she won’t tell me her name. It’s like dealing with a female Rumpelstiltskin. I’ll fight with her, tell her to quit giving me the silent treatment, to open up for heaven’s sakes! Give me a hint! What letter does it start with? How many vowels? Eventually, I wrangle her to the ground and get a name.
Then I have to figure out who she is.
Now, Julia, in Julia’s Chocolates, she was pretty open with me from the start. She had thrown her wedding dress up into a tree on a deserted, dusty street in North Dakota, she was on the run, and she was ready to talk because she didn’t have much to lose.
Jeanne Stewart in, The Last Time I Was Me, was so steamin’ mad after getting revenge on her cheating boyfriend, (She used a condom, peanut oil and hot glue, but I won’t say more. Don’t try this at home!!), that she was ready to talk to me, too, in a really furious, I’m-Driving-My-Bronco-Over-A-Cliff sort of way.
But Isabelle Bommarito in Henry’s Sisters? She’d been so used to handling her own life, her own misery, her own mental nightmares, and so shut off, I practically had to bribe her to get her to speak to me. She was private and not so nice. Way too tough for me. I am still not sure me and Isabelle are friends. We had to come to an understanding.
Stevie Barrett in Such A Pretty Face only told me about her life in chunks, here and there, a whisper around that subject, a chat about this part, a dance around those years, silence in that area.
But the journals are the launching pad for my books. Everything about all my characters that I know, at that time, goes in those journals, including what they look like, their past, their future, what they think of men and cheesecake and their night terrors.
Next I think of a starting line for my books. This takes a looonngg time. It must be clever and catchy. It is hard for me to be clever and catchy, especially if I would rather be outside playing or cruising through bookstores or going to Starbucks.
Once I have that line, and the first scene, I am launched, and I write.
I write until I’m done and have a first draft of about 90,000 words. Then I have a framework. Like a house. Only this is an extremely messy house. The plumbing does not reach the toilets, the electricity is in but it’s still electrocuting people, the heating system is blowing smoke, there is no tub, only cockroaches, and no refrigerator for the chocolate ice cream.
I am half crazed by then. I am working late at night, I can’t turn the story off in my head during the day, I am talking to my characters, arguing with them, and the scary thing is that they are arguing back. I must win all the arguments, but it is difficult. My characters are often poorly behaved and sometimes sarcastic and bad-tempered. They are funny though, too, they laugh and cry in my head and throw things at each other. They don’t do what I thought they were going to do, they don’t say what I planned for them to say. They are becoming themselves and I am watching from the sidelines, wringing my hands, nervous, quaking, wondering if I should have kept my job as a fourth grade teacher....
The first full edit is like writing through tar. Second edit, the tar is a little more soupy. I would say my house now has electricity and plumbing that only clanks now and then. Yay for working toilets! No one is electrocuted.
Third and fourth edits, I’m working on character development more, dialogue, details, sensory stuff, setting, and honing in on all the pain and anguish and making the funny scenes funnier, so you will, hopefully, laugh. I’m also deleting a ton. In terms of a house I now have a working kitchen, no ants.
Fifth draft I’m doing the same thing, and adding strings through the book, repetitions, I’m working on the rhythm of the sentences, completing character development, adding more emotion. The carpet is in, wood floors down, chimney built. Sixth edit I’m making it the best I can make it, obsessing over the tiniest word…and still deleting!
So I have a house. A literary house, so to speak. A small house.
Then I send it off to my very clever editor for his thoughts and input and head off to get drunk on decaf mochas. Later I will edit that book six more times, for a total of twelve times, until I have almost memorized the darn thing.
By then my house is a wreck. I am a wreck. I need a haircut. I sure need to get the gray hair dyed. I need to find a razor. Where did I put it? I need to find my husband. I need to make sure the birds are still alive. I need to get the cat away from my husband. My cat is in love with my husband and I have to break that relationship apart now that I’m not frothing at the mouth and having imaginary conversations with people who do not exist.
That’s my writing process. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t romantic. It involves a lot of late nights, time alone, sloppy pajamas, too much chocolate, some swearing, and now and then the journal gets thrown across the room and I tell my characters to, “Shut up, will you?” Lovely.
Thanks so much, Cathy. Building a "literary house" -- what a great way to describe your novel development.
Read more about Cathy!
Teaser Tuesday and Room by Emma Donoghue Giveaway.
Room is one of the 13 books selected for the longlist of the 2010 Man Booker Award. I will featured all 13 in upcoming posts.
Here are the beginning lines of Room.
"Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. 'Was I minus numbers?' " -- Room by Emma Donoghue (US Release: September 2010)
Publisher's summary To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
Praise for Room
"Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days." -- Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry
I read Room in two nights. excellent reading group pick. Topics to be considered when discussing -- parenting, identity, isolation, language, imagination, fear, family, reality vs make believe. Room, Ma, and Jack are destined to become classics.
Anyone can play Teaser Tuesday, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
What is your TT, today? Let me know and you will be entered in the Room Advance Reading Copy giveaway! Open to US addresses only. Giveaway closes August 6. One lucky random winner!
Thanks to Hachette Book Group for supplied ARC of Room.
Caitlin from Chaotic Compendiums won A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay last week!
Thanks so much for the comments on the A Secret Kept post. I finally finished reading it. Nothing to do with the quality of A Secret Kept but work as kept (ha!) me busy.
The random drawing winner for the ARC of A Secret Kept is
Caitlin from Chaotic Compendiums
Congrats to Cailtin!
The ARC has a CD with a excerpt reading by Tatiana de Rosnay. Cool!
ARC provided by St. Martin's Press.
Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen as her pick of the month for August. This book is a great book club pick. Lots of conversation starters -- culture differences, family, loss, personal challenges. Clark wrote:
"It's a common adage that you can't go home again, but Rhoda Janzen does just that in her memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.
"Shortly after Janzen turns 43, her husband leaves her--for a man--and a car accident leaves her seriously injured. Those two events lead her to her parents' home--and the Mennonite community in which she was reared. Janzen broaches her circumstances, and the subsequent return to what now seems like a foreign culture, with insight and wit (and a few traditional recipes for good measure).
"Particularly endearing is Janzen's relationship with her mother, who offers support no matter what. Having had a mom who doubled as a personal cheerleader, I know that no matter where you call home, as long as your mom's around, it's a pretty good place to be."
Via Shelf Awareness