Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
A hippo who might just eat its baby:
Up (too) close (in Ngorogoro, animals are more used to cars and are less skittish):
And just for fun, a very cheeky Starling (who flew off with our bread roll):
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Cassie is rather more robust than your typical teen. Once her nana dies, she’s entirely on her own – except for an aunt who could care less about her – but she takes it in stride. Her power isolates her too - she doesn’t really engage with others much, with the exception of college student Lucas who pushes her to “use” her “talent”. The ups and downs of their rocky relationship feel authentic and add to the dramatic tension (though some readers might be put off by what amounts to statutory rape, albeit unwitting).
What I most enjoyed was the exploration of philosophical questions which gave the novel depth beyond that of a typical YA read. It was, however, a tad convenient to have Cassie actually audit a philosophy class in which Lucas was the TA. In fact, quite a few aspects of the plot came off as too convenient which makes the narrative feel overly “outlined” and not as fresh as it could be considering the very original revelation we get at the end of the novel. I could totally imagine (and hope for) a kick-a** sequel, Ms. Nadol.
THE MARK comes out in hardcover on January 19, 2010. Find out more about it (and read an excerpt) on the author’s website.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
That's all for now. Lots of baby animals soon!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
That Finn sure looks comfy. All he needs is the remote a little closer to his paw.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
This is an ambitious, smart novel which I highly enjoyed. Not only does it have a very original structure - sections are divided by literary device - but it also presents main characters that are worth spending time with. I loved the relationship between Carly and her crush/best friend - golden boy alcoholic and avid reader Hunter. But the relationships between supporting characters, such as Carly's author, Bree, and her college chum and literary idol Justin (who happens to live in Carly's community) are just as compelling.
This is one of those that you could definitely read a second time and pick up on a lot that you might have missed the first time around. I thought some of the novels within the novel sounded brilliant and I wouldn't mind reading them too!
One of my favorite quotes:
"Not until she'd met Hunter had she even given any thought to what kind of person she wanted to be. Before Hunter it had never even occurred to her that you could choose." (p 199)
HOW TO BUY A LOVE OF READING is available in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author's website.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
the debut author of MY INVENTED LIFE which I reviewed recently. Don't miss the last question - it had both Daniel and me ROTFL.
If a drama teacher were to pick another play to put on that showcased sisters Roz and Eva’s talent in equal measure, what do you think she’d pick?
WICKED. Roz would do anything to play Elphaba, the girl who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. And Eva would enjoy playing Glinda.
I think of them as the sisters in my story. A few people have told me they thought the cover was racy, so I'm guessing they think the girls are lesbians. One guy asked me if the girls on the cover would be at my launch party! That made me laugh.
In other interviews you’ve mentioned that Eyeliner Andie is your favorite character in My Invented Life and that you’d like to write a novel with her as a main character. Pitch me an Eyeliner Andie dystopian novel.
Cautions and warnings:
So cool that you want to go to Bhutan. Some people think it’s a new scent for men by Christian Dior instead of a small Himalayan kingdom.
When we arrived in the capital of Bhutan, we tried to hitch hike to the village where our friends worked. After sitting by the side of the road for an hour, we discovered there were no private cars in Bhutan. So we rented one. It turned out that it was cheaper to rent a car with a driver than without one. That’s how we met the charismatic Karma Dorje, twenty-four, fluent in eight languages, charming, an excellent guide, and gifted alcoholic. Every night he insisted that we go to a bar together and drink heinous home-brewed alcoholic beverages in unnatural colors. We were his “table friends,” he said. And every night I went to bed with a hideous headache.
Your cats invite my cats to dinner. What do they serve?
Zorro and Rabbit would usually prepare wounded mole as an appetizer, followed by un-stuffed wild bird in feather sauce for the main course. But after I showed them a picture of Emmy, they changed the menu to meet her obviously refined sensibilities—salmon sashimi with a sesame wasabi glaze, followed by warm goat’s milk sweetened with attar of roses.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Being that Kathleen is in Texas and my book club is in Germany, we did the chat over speakerphone. Kathleen is an extremely engaging and enthusiastic speaker and she told us some interesting stories. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Kathleen grew up knowing that Martha Carrier (the “heretic” of the book’s title) was her grandmother to the 9th generation and heard stories all her life about the Carrier family and the Salem witch trials.
- Salem in the late 1600s was a village in crisis. Contrary to the pious, Victorian image we have of it, Salem was actually more Elizabethan in character and a “hotbed of misdeeds”.
- Those tried as witches were often “ferocious women” who fell outside the margins of what a woman “should be”, such as the insane, midwives who had lost too many children, and outspoken, strong-willed women like Martha.
- Town folk claimed that the Carriers must be witches because their cow gave golden milk. But if you feed a cow pumpkin, like the Carriers did, it will produce a sweeter milk that is golden in color. Try it out for yourself!
- The “red book” that Martha buried for her daughter Sarah in the novel is a literary device. Kathleen got the idea from a court transcript of Sarah’s trial in which Sarah claimed she became a witch because “My mother put my hands on the red book.” The red book is a symbol of the family’s history and its content will finally be revealed in Fall 2010 when the prequel is released.
- The prequel concerns the life of Martha’s husband Thomas Carrier before he came to America. He is rumored to have been one of the executioners of King Charles I of England, and according to Benjamin Franklin’s paper “Poor Richard” of 1735, he was 7 ft tall and lived to the ripe old age of 109.
If your book club might be interested in a chat with Kathleen, you can send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about THE HERETICS DAUGHTER at Kathleen’s website.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay - bought at a discount at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2008
Sometimes We're Always Real Same Same by Mattox Roesch - provided by the publisher after I accepted publicist query
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor - I actually have two copies of this (both signed!). The ARC I got at BEA 2009 and the hardcover I got at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2009.
Amberville by Tim Davys - provided by the publisher after I accepted publicist query
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman - provided by the publisher after I accepted author query
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - bought
Half Minute Horrors by various - bought
Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman - provided by publisher per my request
Secret Son by Laila Lalami - provided by publisher per my request
The Everafter by Amy Huntley - provided by publisher per my request
The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall - provided by publisher for book tour
Liar by Justine Larbalestier - picked up at BEA 2009 (signed!)
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson - provided by publisher per my request
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - bought
Crashed by Robin Wasserman - provided by publisher per my request
Skinned by Robin Wasserman - picked up at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2008
Swimming by Nicola Keegan - requested as part of the Amazon Vine program
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - requested as part of the Amazon Vine program
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver -provided by publisher per my request
Fire by Kristin Cashore - provided by publisher for book tour
4 bought books for this time period, but none borrowed. Still heavy on the review copies, but that's not surprising as I try to read my serious backlog of requested and accepted books.
Where are most of your books coming from these days? Any changes to your procurement habits as of late?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sometimes you just need to read a fast-paced, throwaway thriller, and this one fit the bill. Sure the plot is cheesy, convoluted and improbable, but it’s also edge-of-your-seat fun. I even had a little tear-up at the end. Call me a satisfied reader.
NO TIME FOR GOODBYE is out in paperback now.