Archive for April, 2009

Battling Buttinskys: 12 Steps for Coping with Interruptions, Pt. 2

Battling Buttinskys: 12 Steps for Coping with Interruptions, Pt. 2

Last week I suggested the first six steps of twelve, the less intrusive methods for combatting interruptions in your book group. The second half of this 12-step program brings out the big guns, six increasingly dramatic responses to more chronic interruption problems. 7) STEER BACK TO THE INTERRUPTED When an interruption occurs, quickly and neutrally steer the conversation back […]

Posted in: Book Groups
How Far Will You Go to Feel Intense Emotion?
By April 20, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

How Far Will You Go to Feel Intense Emotion?

  Zack Hara, the narrator of Todd Shimoda’s gorgeously-produced new novel, Oh!, can’t feel intense emotion. He’s left Los Angeles behind, and gone to live in Japan and teach English conversation. One of his students turns out to be a psychologist who studies the biology of personality, and Professor Imai begins giving Zack guidance in exchange […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Book News
Audies finialsts announced: Distinguished Achievement in Production & Audiobook of the Year Awards

Audies finialsts announced: Distinguished Achievement in Production & Audiobook of the Year Awards

I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Audies‘ Distinguished Achievement in Production award, with the wonderful requirement of critically listening to outstanding audiobooks. Here’s the official press release on the nominees from the Audio Publishers Association: The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced three Audie nominees for the prestigious Audiobook of […]

Posted in: Audiobooks, Book Awards
Pulitzer Prize
By April 20, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Pulitzer Prize

Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge has won the 2009 Pulizter Prize for fiction. LitLovers has background information, a collection of reviews, and discussion questions

Posted in: Book Groups, Book News
J. G. Ballard, R.I.P.
By April 20, 2009 4 Comments Read More →

J. G. Ballard, R.I.P.

After paying some bills last night, I clicked “headlines” on my browser bar and saw that J. G. Ballard had died. There’s no shortage of news about this now, but as many of the obits seem to focus on his role as an influencer (see “Author J. G. Ballard dies after lengthy illness,” by Ben Hoyle, Times), […]

Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Cindy: March Madness is behind us and I’m at a loss. College basketball is my favorite fan sport, and even the excitement of the Masters golf tournament doesn’t completely satisfy the hole I feel in my sports world each April. Fortunately, there’s a tonic for us round ball fanatics in David Gill’s debut novel, Soul […]

Books That Don't Exist
By April 20, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Books That Don't Exist

In the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Marche has a nice piece on books that don’t exist (“Longing for Great Lost Works“)–not books that have been invented by authors for fictional purposes, but books that have been destroyed or lost forever. A poignant thought: Classical literature, like classical architecture, is a collection of delicious ruins. The […]

Posted in: Book News
Compass Points

Compass Points

Donna Seaman, in her Booklist review of the essay collection A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives, wrote: “In each elegant interpretation, the author traces the ripple effects of a story that thrilled or provoked her, a story that became a catalyst for a lifelong passion, and a story that became a virtual home, […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
When the Plot Becomes Subtext
By April 18, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

When the Plot Becomes Subtext

  When was the last time you read a Basque novel? The charmingly-titled Plants Don’t Drink Coffee by Unai Elorriaga drew me in by its name alone, and the narration on the opening page was just goofy and endearing enough to make me turn the page and continue. The narrator is apparently a child talking […]

Posted in: Book Groups, Book News
The Quiet Ones
By April 17, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

The Quiet Ones

Last night, in honor of National Library Week, I led a workshop at a library in a neighboring suburb.  I called it “Pump Pizzazz into Your Book Discussion,” as the idea for the program was to provide ideas for local book groups that feel their discussions are beginning to lack vitality.  One of the concerns that was […]

Posted in: Book Groups