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One Book One Twitter: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Tweeple have spoken -- American Gods by Neil Gaiman is picked for the One Book One Twitter (#1b1t) selection. Book Club Twitter-style! 


American GodsReleased from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming -- a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path.

One of the most talked-about books of the new millennium, American Gods is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an American landscape at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. It is, quite simply, a contemporary masterpiece.

2010 One Book One Twitter
Hugo Award/Best SF/Fantasy Novel
Bram Stoker Award/Best Horror Novel
Locus Award/Best Fantasy Novel
Nebula Award/Best Novel

Critical Praise
"Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose – American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages."  --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"A fascinating tale . . . by turns thoughtful, hilarious, disturbing, uplifting, horrifying and enjoyable -- and sometimes all at once, in a curious sort of way. Those who are familiar with Gaiman’s earlier work will find a satisfying yarn by a familiar master storyteller. Those who are meeting him for the first time may be surprised at just how good he is." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Saying Neil Gaiman is a writer is like saying Da Vinci dabbled in the arts."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A crackerjack suspense yarn . . . juicily original . . . Wagnerian noir."

"Here we have . . . a real emotional richness and grandeur that emerge from masterful storytelling."
--Peter Straub

Grab your book and start tweeting! #1b1t   


Barbara's picture

Sneak Peek: Cleo, The Cat Who Mended a Family

I love cats! I have my late cat, Amberley, on my photo image. So, when Kensington Books sent me Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown, I knew I'd dive in.


“We’re just going to look.” Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons, Sam and Rob, to visit a friend’s new kittens. But the runt of the litter was irresistible, with her overlarge ears and dainty chin.

When Cleo was delivered weeks later, she had no way of knowing that her new family had just been hit by a tragedy. Sam had been killed, run over by a bus. Helen was sure she couldn’t keep the kitten—until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever: her son Rob's smile. The reckless, rambunctious kitten stayed.

Through happiness and heartbreak, changes and new beginnings, Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue that affectionately held Helen’s family together.

Rich in wisdom, wit, heart, and healing, here is the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing just where she was needed most.

Praise for Cleo

A remarkable memoir…I realized that Helen Brown didn’t break my heart at all—she opened it.”Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

An absolute must.” —Cat World

The next Marley & Me. Even non cat-lovers will be moved.”Good Housekeeping

First Paragraph

"We're not getting a kitten,' I said, negotiating our station wagon around a bend the shape of a pretzel. "We're just going to look at them."

Author Helen Brown was born and brought up in New Zealand, where she first worked as a journalist, TV presenter, and scriptwriter. Now living in Melbourne, Australia, with her family, Helen continues to write columns for the New Zealand media, and she’s been voted Columnist of the Year several times. Cleo rose to the top of the bestseller list in its first weeks in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia and has been translated into more than eight languages.

Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown (trade paperback release, September 2010)

I think Cleo will have some sad parts but the title suggests a happy resolution. Great conversation starters for reading group discussion. "We're not getting a kitten." -- famous last words!

Do you only read books that have a happy ending? Do you have a pet? Was it a suprise that you kept your pet?

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Talbots and Kelly Corrigan! Books, Fashion, and Friendship

Talbots and Kelly Corrigan -- what a fine way to spent an evening!

Kelly Corrigan, author of Lift and The MIddle Place, spoke with over 50 women with a splattering of men yesterday night at Talbots in Annapolis, MD. I met Kelly many years ago (2007?) at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance where she was touring for The Middle Place. Liked her that and I like her now!

Kelly spoke of her desire to write about the crisises in all of our lives and how we deal with them. Lift takes its name from handgliding, a pursuit that requires flying directly into rough air, because turbulence saves a glider from "sinking out". For Kelly, this wisdom -- that to fly requires chaotic, sometimes even violent passages -- becomes a metaphor for all of life's most meaningful endeavors, especially in guiding children. Written as a letter to her children, Kelly writes a meditation on the complexities of life filled with love, risk, sorrow, and joy. A book for everyone who needs a lift and wants to live a life more fully.

After listening to Kelly and her great sarcastic wit, I struck up a conversation with a fellow fan and shopper. We talked about Kelly and her books and then she fitted me with a pink trench coat! I loved it and bought it. Mary, the fellow shopper, deserved a commission from Talbots! Books, food, (with a little wine), fashion, and friends -- now that's a night out on the town!

Kelly said that she can't really experience life on a blue-sky day -- there are no clouds that create the turbulence that require the joy and sadness of a life fully lived! Think on that thought.

Kelly video "Transcending" about women's friendship was sent women-to-woman to more than 4 million viewers.

Here's is that profound video and the video for Lift. Both of them make me cry they are so good. Here's to Kelly, friendship, and the lift to live! 




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Teaser Tuesday 4/27 Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

Teaser uesdayTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. 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!)
  4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is mine today!

Red Hook RoadHe turned to Jane. "Your grand-niece appears to possess absolute pitch. Perfect pitch.".

"What does that mean?"

"It means, essentially, that if she hears a note she can name it. And vice versa. She can reproduce a note without a reference. Like she did just now. Especially interesting is her abililty to recognize the various notes within a chord. I find it curious, because most children who do not receive early musical training lose their capacity for absolute pitch." -- p 146 (ARC) Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman (July 2010)

What is your TT, today?

Barbara's picture

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, Wahat are you ReadingIt's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Check Sheila's blog to see what she is reading.

Summer at TiffanyI've just finished Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. What a lovely memoir of two college students from Iowa working at Tiffany & Company for one summer. In 1945, Marjorie and Marty found jobs at Tiffany, being the first women pages on the sales floor. Marjorie's ancedotes express the joy and sometimes, bewilderment, of two ingenues in the big city -- the celebrities, the dating of young men going off the war, the thrill of living and working in the Big Apple. The glory of Tiffany & Company and excited purity of this memoir adds to its charm. Read it this summer -- you will be entralled!

Be on the look-out for a guest post by Marjorie!!

Next down the pike is Ayelet Waldman's Red Hook Road releasing July 2010.  Here's the publisher's summary.

As lyrical as a sonata, Ayelet Waldman’s follow-up novel to Love and Other Impossible Pursuits explores the aftermath of a family tragedy.

Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.

A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living.

Within these resonant pages, a vase filled with wildflowers or a cold beer on a hot summer day serve as constant reminders that it’s often the little things that make life so precious.

Ayelet Waldan is the author of Daughter’s Keeper and of the Mommy-Track mystery series. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Child Magazine, and other publications, and she has a regular column on She and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California with their four children.

What are you reading this last Monday in April?


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Afghan Women's Writing Project Event, Washington, DC

afghan woemAnother 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

Tickets ($10) are for sale at the Theater J box office and online

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

Masha is the author of four novels, including 31 Hours, The Camel Bookmobile, and The Distance Between Us.

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IMPAC Award Shortlist

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!

Barbara's picture

Author On the Bookcase: Laura Brodie

Laura BrodieI'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.


The Widow's SeasonLaura 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.


Laura BrodieLove 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?" 

Barbara's picture

Teaser Tuesday 4/20 Father of the Rain

Teaser TuesdayTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. 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!)
  4. 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)


Father of the RainPublisher'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?

Barbara's picture

It's Monday 4/19/10! What Are You Reading This Week?

It's MondayIt’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!

Particular SadnessJust finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (June 2010) by Aimee Bender. Awesome!


Father of the RAinStarting on Father of the Rain (July 2010) by Lily King.



Summer at TiffanyNext one to be read: Summer at Tiffany by Majorie Hart



What are you reading this week?


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