Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker



You do not get to meet everyone you want to in one lifetime – and sometimes maybe it can be for the better – but I do genuinely miss not having had the chance in Lanker's case. It must have been something to witness firsthand the turn of mind and eye that was so very capable of reading people, telling stories, and sharing with us all so many countless photographs that still possess a power and presence far beyond their original inception.

-- From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker by Brian Lanker, published by OSU Press. From the opening essay "A Retrospective" by Roy Flukinger.

Lanker was a photojournalist with an artist's eye. This gorgeous book of Lanker's photography, with reflections and reminiscences by his colleagues, friends, and admirers, was four years in the making and accompanied a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum or Art in Eugene, Oregon.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Boundary Layer by Kem Luther


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

I got one book last week, and it appeals to me because I've been working in my garden a lot:



Boundary Layer: Exploring the Genius Between Worlds by Kem Luther, published by OSU Press. This is a collection of essays about the "boundary layer" of plants nearest the ground -- lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi, and other diminutive plant life -- and the scientists who study them.

It promises to be "a mix of natural history, botanical exploration, and philosophical speculation." I feel all smarty pants just reading the cover!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Author Interview: Francesca G. Varela



Francesca G. Varela's new novel Listen is the story of a growing romance between two college musicians who learn about themselves as they explore music and the natural world together. This exciting young author was recently interviewed in The Oregonian and her two books have been reviewed in several publications.


Francesca recently answered questions for Rose City Reader:

How did you come to write Listen? What led you to write a novel about two musicians who fall in love?

I wrote Listen during my sophomore year at the University of Oregon. I’d been taking piano lessons since sixth grade, and I loved classical music. As I delved further into environmental studies—my major—I felt like there was a bit of a disconnect between what we would perceive as “culture” and the natural world. This was something I wanted to explore; could something “refined” and “civilized” like classical music actually bring one closer to nature?

You describe yourself as an author of “ecological fiction”? Describe what you mean by that.

Ecological fiction is about writing with a sense of place. In both Call of the Sun Child and Listen, the protagonists’ relationship with their environment is central to the story. Both my novels have the same underlying theme—return to nature. Look at what’s around you. Reconnect with the natural world. As an environmental studies major I strive to highlight the beauty of nature and what we could be doing better as a society. I want to instill passion in my readers. I want them to take action in their own environments. To me, ecological fiction is, yes, about the characters, and the plot, like any other novel, but it’s also about the human place, and figuring out where we fit in amongst the wild places and the living creatures of the world.

What is your “day job”? How did it lead you to writing fiction?

I began my writing career while I was still a student; I wrote my first novel, Call of the Sun Child, when I was 18 and 19, and I wrote Listen when I was 19 and 20. At 23 I’m still finding my way in the world. I graduated from UO about a year ago, and since then I’ve interned with Oregon Wild and the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club, and I’ve written some articles for 350pdx. In the fall I’ll be heading off to the University of Utah to get my master’s degree in environmental humanities. I’m hoping what I learn there will not only lead me to a rewarding environmental career someday, but will also inspire my future novels.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

Interestingly, I thought of the ending first. The entire story is based off of that ending scene, and trying to weave a story that would lead to that ending. The first thing I saw was a piano in a cabin, way out somewhere in the forest. Listen is the story of how that came to be.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the books you read?

My interest in the environment began with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and was later deepened by Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, and Farley Mowat. I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction as well, both the classics and new titles. Some of my favorite authors include Meg Wolitzer, for the ease and truth to her voice; Ursula Le Guin, for creating, essentially, a new genre, and one which I love—literary science fiction; JD Salinger, because Catcher in the Rye helped me realize what freedoms could be taken with writing style; Louise Erdrich, Sylvia Plath, Jack London, Elizabeth Strout. All of these writers have inspired me, and I continue to read new things all the time that I want to emulate in my own work.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading The Land’s Wild Music by Mark Tredinnick. It’s a non-fiction anthology about the author’s experiences meeting up with some of the best nature writers, including Barry Lopez and Terry Tempest Williams. It’s beautifully written and lends great insight into the nature of nature writing.

You have a terrific website and facebook page, and you are also active on Twitter and Goodreads. From an author's perspective, how important are social networking sites and other internet resources to promote your book? 

Social networking allows me to connect with readers who I would never be able to reach out to in real life. Based on common interests, people who are, say, nature-lovers, or fans of classical music, can find my blog on Wordpress, or follow me on Twitter, or look up my book on Goodreads. And once we’re connected, I can share news about my books, and continue to connect with readers through posts.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

The classic “write about what you know” has been incredibly helpful. Of course this should not be taken literally; it is fiction, after all. But I try to base what I write in some form of truth. I try to pull everything from a deep place of either memory or dream, and to shape that piece of myself into something new. I don’t write what I think others want to read. Everything I write is grounded in meaning—everything I write means something to me.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is the simple act of creation. There’s nothing more satisfying than writing the last page of a novel. I’ve dreamed of being an author since I was in third grade, so when I look on my bookshelf and see my own name on some of those spines, well, I feel what I can only call a surge of joy.

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

I try to write 500 words a day. I’ve worked on a few projects since Listen. Sometimes I also write in journals, and I post weekly on my blog. I’m planning to see where my graduate education takes me, and perhaps write a book—fiction or non-fiction—for my thesis.

THANKS FRANCESCA!
LISTEN IS AVAILABLE ON-LINE IN PAPERBACK OR KINDLE.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Beginning: From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Brian Lanker, the photographer, was easy to appreciate, to admire, and to comprehend because his photographer's eye was the human eye and every viewer could easily translate what Lanker saw into what the viewer knew.

-- From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker by Brian Lanker, published by OSU Press. The opening sentence is from the Foreword by Maya Angelou.

Lanker was won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography when he was 24, for newspaper photos of a couple going through natural childbirth. He brought an artist's gifts to his career as a photojournalist, a career celebrated in From the Heart.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Man Who Wasn't There by Judy Nedry



It was obvious to me that the two older sisters needed money. Otherwise, why would they care about selling the winery?
-- The Man Who Wasn’t There by Judy Nedry. This Oregon wine-country mystery will get you in the mood for summer road trips! It's available in paperback and kindle.

Judy Nedry writes a mystery series featuring Emma Golden, a sometimes food and wine writer; sometimes amateur sleuth; often prickly, but always loyal, friend of a certain age.  The Man Who Wasn't There is the third book in this fun series and it makes the most out of Emma's (and Nedry's own) history in Oregon's wine making culture, involving the mysterious death of one of Oregon's founding winemakers at the International Pinot Noir Celebration he established. Cheers!

Read my review of The Difficult Sister, the second book in the series, here. Read Judy Nedry's author interview, here.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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