Another great event for the Afghan Women's Writing Project.
AWWP, in conjunction with Theatre J, present OUT OF SILENCE -- a theatrical reading of essays and poems written by Afghan women. The event kicks off at 7:30 pm on Monday, May 24, 2010 at Theater J, 1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
The mentoring program, Afghan Women’s Writing Project, was started by novelist and journalist Masha Hamilton, whose efforts have given Afghan women something to hold on to – their voice.
It is hard for Americans to understand that there are women in other parts of the world who are victimized, treated as possessions, and sometimes have no way for education just because of their being female.
On March 8th, Jennifer Beals, Summer Bishil, Nadia Bjorlin, Conchata Ferrell, Jodi Long, Nichelle Nichols, Teal Sherer, Bahar Soomekh and Marcia Wallace read the words of some Afghan women who risk their lives every time they put a pencil to a paper.
I continue to help this and other efforts to support the rights of all women.
Here is one of the videos of the awesome event held in Los Angeles.
Thanks for Masha for recognizing the need to encourage these Afghan women writers.
Credit: Stephen Brooks
The shortlist for this year's €100,000 (US $135,483) IMPAC Dublin Literary Award includes:
The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
In Zodiac Light by Robert Edric
Settlement by Christoph Hein
The Believers by Zoë Heller
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
Home by Marilynne Robinson.
According to Anne Fine, one of the judges, "when it came to the 'invidious decisions' which accompany the construction of any shortlist 'readability did win out. If it's not a good read, then it's not a good book,' " reported the Guardian.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is the largest and most international prize of its kind. It involves libraries from all corners of the globe, and is open to books written in any language. The winner announcement will be June 17.
Congratulations to all authors, short-listed and long-listed!
I'm excited to welcome Laura Brodie to On the Bookcase. Laura is the author of The Widow's Season and the newly released, Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter's Uncommon Year.
Laura was on the Reading Group Choices panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book with me, Mary Sharratt, Masha Hamilton, and Sheila Curran. Laura discussed with the VABOOK audience that in her college thesis on widows in literature led to her novel, The Widow's Season.
Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Laura's new book, traces the one year she homeschooled her daughter. There is a great article in The Washington Post about Laura, Love in a Time of Homeschooling, and why she and her daughter, Julia, did the education adventure.
Laura writes today on reading groups in her small town in Lexington -- a reading group mecca!
When my debut novel, The Widow’s Season, was published last June, I learned something surprising about the small town in which I live. It turns out that Lexington, VA, population 8000, is a book club mecca.
Lexington is nestled in a rural corner of southwest Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. It’s a beautiful spot, great for hiking and kayaking, and home to two colleges, Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute.
There are no night clubs in a town like Lexington -- no mall, no roller rink, no Barnes and Noble. The bowling alley shut down a decade ago and the downtown movie theater seems to barely survive (though the drive-in outside of town is still going strong). So what do people do in a small, well-educated town, especially during the long winter months when the river and mountains are cold and forbidding? Turns out, they spend a lot of time talking about books.
I had always known that Lexington had a few reading groups; I had been a member of one for twelve years. But I had never known the extent of their reach until I wrote a novel set in a town that mirrored Lexington, with a heroine who believes that she is being haunted by her husband’s ghost. That topic inspired interest, and over the course of two months I received calls from eleven books clubs, asking me to meet with them.
As with reading groups nationwide, each club in Lexington has its own personality. There’s the group of young mothers from the Montessori preschool, who breastfeed their babies while discussing new fiction. There’s the newcomers club full of senior women who have recently retired to the area. I will always remember, with amused fondness, the septuagenarian who chided me for crafting a heroine who wasn’t appreciative enough of her husband.
Lexington has one club that meets at the library, and one that meets at restaurants. The men’s bookclub apologized for not inviting me, explaining that they mostly read nonfiction (sigh, men…). Our town’s biggest reading group, which includes almost fifty women, has been meeting since the 1960s. They invited me to an elegant mansion on Lexington’s most historic avenue, with elaborate refreshments served on silver and crystal in a high-ceilinged dining room. I felt as if I had stepped into a scene from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The common denominator in all of these groups is the sense of community and connectedness spawned through reading. These women discuss their lives as much as their books. They attend local lectures, organize parties and service activities, and they are the chief supporters of our town’s two independent bookstores—cozy, cat-inhabited spaces that help to anchor our quaint downtown. In a small college town, the life of the mind is crucial to the health of the collective.
Local women who aren’t in book clubs often tell me that they are planning to join one soon. They speak with a note of apology, as if membership in a book group is a prerequisite to a life well lived. It isn’t. But it sure comes close.
Thanks so much, Laura, for sharing your thoughts about Lexington and small town reading groups.
What do you think of book groups being "a prerequisite to a life well lived?"
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- 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! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"On the porch we stand laughing and panting together with our clothes at our feet and our puppy spinning in joyful circles and my father grinning his biggest grin and looking at me like he loves me, truly loves me, more than anyone else he's ever loved in his life." --- Father of the Rain by Lily King (July 2010)
Publisher's summary: In her most ambitious novel to date, critically acclaimed author Lily King sets her sharply insightful family drama in an upper-middle-class East Coast suburb where she traces a complex and volatile father-daughter relationship from the 1970s to the present day.
When eleven-year-old Daley Amory’s mother leaves her father, Daley is thrust into a chaotic adult world of competition, indulgence, and manipulation. Unable to place her allegiance, she gently toes the thickening line between her parents’ incompatible worlds: the increasingly liberal, socially committed realm of her mother, and the conservative, liquor-soaked life of her father. But without her mother there to keep him in line, Daley’s father’s basest impulses and quick rage are unleashed, and Daley finds herself having to choose her own survival over the father she still deeply loves.
As she grows into adulthood, Daley retreats from the New England country- club culture that nourished her father’s fears and addictions, and attempts to live outside of his influence. Until he hits rock bottom.
Faced with the chance to free her father from sixty years worth of dependency, Daley must decide whether repairing their badly broken relationship is worth the risk of losing not only her professional dreams, but the love of her life, Jonathan, who represents so much of what Daley’s father claims to hate, and who has given her so much of what he could never provide.
A provocative and masterfully told story of one woman’s life-long, primal loyalty to her father, Father of the Rain is a spellbinding journey into the emo tional complexities, mercurial contours, and magnetic pull of families.
What's your Teaser, today? Is it from a good reading group pick?
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?
This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person's Journey through a World of Books so stop by and join in!
Just finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (June 2010) by Aimee Bender. Awesome!
Starting on Father of the Rain (July 2010) by Lily King.
Next one to be read: Summer at Tiffany by Majorie Hart
What are you reading this week?
The American Booksellers Association announced the winners of the 2010 Indies Choice Book Awards, reflecting the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide and the IndieBound movement. I love independent bookstores -- worked in one in Colorada and two in North Carolina.
This year's winners were chosen by the owners and staff at ABA member stores nationwide in more than four weeks of voting.
2010 Book of the Year Winners
Adult Fiction: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Adult Nonfiction: The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Adult Debut: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Young Adult: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Middle Reader: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
New Picture Book: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Kate DiCamillo was voted Most Engaging Author both for being an in-store star and for having a strong sense of the importance of indie booksellers to their local communities.
Five Honor Award recipients were also named in each category, except Picture Book Hall of Fame.
Adult Fiction Honor Awards
Border Songs by Jim Lynch
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Adult Nonfiction Honor Awards
Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr
Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
When Everything Changed by Gail Collins
Adult Debut Honor Awards
Young Adult Honor Awards
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson (illus.)
Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Most Engaging Author Honor Awards recipients:
Laurie Halse Anderson
Congratulations to all authors!
What did you discover this week?
Friday Finds hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
My finds this week!
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. (June 2010)
The Astronomer by Lawrence Goldstone (May 2010)
Father of the Rain by Lily King (July 2010)
I just got back from the Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC. Two Book Club Bashes -- what fun! Nancy Olson, the owner, and her crack staff have two book clubs events discussing their book club picks of the season. Wine and cheese are provided at the night event and coffee and doughnuts at the morning event. At the end of the programs, book clubs members talked abot some of their selections of the past year -- some good and some not so good. Over 100 reading group members at each program -- got to love that. Great food, great books, and great conversation.
The staff had excellent choices! Here are the fiction reading group picks.
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. A big, beautitul, ambitious novel set in Ethiopia and the world of a mission hospital. History, politics, medicine (lots of medicine) and several love stories are combined skillfully in this epic story. The plot follows the lives of twin boys, Shiva and Marion, at Missing Hospital in Addis Ababa. Some of the medical scenes are easily as exciting as a James Bond car chase.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. An innocent love between a young Chinese American and a Japanese American that begins in pre-war Seattle, transcends the prejudices the Old World and drives them to make promises to each other to help them get through the intemment.
Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling. A fictional account of the Nazis' theft of art from the homes and galleries of Paris.
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan. O'Nan takes us gracefully and thoughfully into the worlds of a missing child's family, friends and community. He dwells much less on gief than on the ways in which people's relationships and senses of themselves are affected.
The Spare Room by Helen Gamer. A long-time friendship between two elderly women is sorely tested when one is sticken with cancer and comes to stay with her friend while she receives altemative treatment at a clinic. As the visit lengthens and the clinic is revealed to use questionable methods, the hostess' patienceand hospitality wear thin, causing her to doubt her ability to care for someone in such denial. Short and powerful.
The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds. Kenny Lugo is approaching her l8th birthday with more than usual coming-of-age stress. Her dad's in prison, she's struggling over her sexual identity and self-worth, and she's being raised by her dad's girlfriend. Once the government support checks stop, will all that Kenny knows of family also end? Sheri Reynolds finds nuggets of humanity in some of the roughest-around-the-edges characters.
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Take four adult children and their eccentric mother, and put them together for seven days in one house while they sit Shiva for their father. This darkly comic novel brilliantly explores the complexity of relationships and the power of the past to rule the present.
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. A brilliant, literary page-turner in which a wife and mother writes a series of compelling and introspective letters to her estranged husband dissecting her married life and her mothering of son Kevin ard daughter Celia in the aftermath of Kevin's Columbine-ike slaying of nine people in his high school. Guaranteed to provoke meaningful discussion.
I will post QR's nonfiction and YA titles in a later post.
Thanks to all at QR and the awesome reading groups in the Raleigh area.
I'm so excited to welcome Rebecca Wells to On the Bookcase!
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, Rebecca's new paperback, is on sale today! Rebecca's previous novels, Little Altars Everyone, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and Ya-Yas in Bloom are still hits with reading groups.
Read Rebecca's thoughts on reading groups and the passionate way they keep the joy of reading alive!
Getting together with other like-minded souls to share a love of any particular “thing” makes enjoying that pastime all the more meaningful, and when that “thing” is a love of reading good books, there are so many wonderful opportunities. Readers are rare and special people, most of whom cannot fathom a life without books to savor and share with others. It’s gratifying for authors to know that their work is discussed and shared, as books are passed hand-to-hand, reader-to-reader. No book recommendation is as appreciated by a reader as one that comes from a trusted friend.
The grass-roots movement that carried Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from its quiet beginnings to a New York Times bestseller in the late 1990s is a testament to the power that reading groups hold in their hands. It is in the sharing with others that a book comes to life. When I talk with book groups about my books, I am always surprised and delighted by the questions I get. In speaking with a group about Calla Lily, I am often asked where I get my ideas. How much comes strictly from the imagination and how much comes from people and places I've seen and known. The conversation that is generated in book groups makes an author’s book grow and live in ways beyond any we could ever have imagined. The gratitude that I have in my heart for those who read, respond to, and share my work simply cannot be measured.
The Internet has changed everything about the way we communicate and the way we commune with one another. Your best friend and closest confidante just might be someone that you’ve never met in “real life.” The weekly book meeting that you won’t miss for anything could be held in an online chat room rather than at the library or bookstore. No matter where or how you come together with fellow readers, the magic happens, stories are shared and “you just have to read this” is spoken over and over again by passionate people who gobble up the written word like ice cream on a hot summer day.
I say “Ya-Ya!” to those who keep the art of reading alive and pulsating with energy and passion. It is because of you that writers everywhere keep doing what they do.
Happy Mothers' Day Video
Rebecca has helped women name, claim, and celebrate their shared sisterhood for over a decade. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder continues the celebration!
Thanks so much, Rebecca, for giving us your books to enjoy, discuss, and gobble up "like ice cream on a hot summer day!"
Friday Finds is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
I just receive a book called Writing Reviews for Readers' Advisory by Brad Hoover. I read about in Book Group Buzz and it seems interesting and probably a book I can use for my job working with reading groups. Brad is the Adult Books Editor at Booklist so he knows his stuff! His book is basically for Readers' Advisory librarians but I know anyone working with books will get many ideas from Brad's book. I'm anxious to read it!