Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Beginning: That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Though the digital clock on his bedside table in his hotel room read 5:17, Jack Griffin, suddenly wide awake, knew he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep.

-- That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I loved Empire Falls, for which Russo won the Pulitzer Prize, and have been meaning to read his other books for years. This one looked like a good choice for a summer read.




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, Instagram, 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






Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Beginnings: A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday! I was in court in Montana and it completely slipped my mind. It's been that kind of crazy week!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



They say that the heart is like the ocean; its rhythm shifting with the sand on the shore.

A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander. This latest Bakeshop Mystery finds Jules Capshaw, the owner of the Torte cafe, taking her talents for desserts and crime solving on the high seas.

Ellie Alexander's series is perfect for summer! Read my author interview of Ellie here, and more about Ellie and her books here.





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, Instagram, 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





Monday, July 10, 2017

Mailbox Monday: A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander

One very fun book came into my house last wee. What about you?



A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander. This is the latest in Alexander's frosting-filled Bakeshop Mystery series, featuring dessert chef and amateur sleuth Jules Capshaw, this time taking her talents on a tropical but deadly cruise.

Read some Q&A with Ellie Alexander here, and find out more about Ellie and her fun books here.



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Saturday, July 8, 2017

Author Interview: Stephen Holgate


Author Stephen Holgate's debut novel, Tangieris part modern day mystery, part WWII spy story. He drew on his own memories as a diplomat serving at the American Embassy in Morocco for inspiration.


Steve recently answered questions for Rose City Reader:

How did you come to write Tangier?

I had been wanting to write a story set in Morocco, something that would catch its fascination, its rich history – and how people, particularly foreigners, can come adrift there. We lived there for four years while I worked for the embassy. I heard and misheard, remembered and misremembered, many stories.

I was particularly interested in fascinating stories set during WWII, some of which were related to me by a retired OSS agent I met in Tangier. These stories, which often revolved around the fact that Tangier was not controlled by any government during the war, were colorful and intriguing and, I thought, would make a great setting for a longer story about spies and betrayal. The part of the story regarding a man looking for his father, a French diplomat in that era, also interested me. Though it turned out that the story was totally false, I still liked it and used it as one of the two major threads in the story.

How much of your novel is based on true, historical events about Morocco during WWII?

Good question. I'm not sure myself. As I say, at least part of the book is based on a story that turned out not to be true. Maybe some of the other stories I heard were equally inaccurate. But I believe the stories told me by the old OSS agent were essentially true. Part of my “research” was to simply look through our family albums to remind myself how things looked, felt, smelled, tasted. The photos were a big help.

It's funny, I didn't think of myself as writing historical fiction. I wanted to write a story that just happened to be set a few decades ago. That said, I worked hard to get the historical background right, including some details of the wild nature of wartime Tangier, where money-changers worked, which hotels were favorite haunts of the French and Germans, the lack of accurate information, leaving people to wonder how the war was really going. I knew the American Legation Museum pretty well, including its famous “closet,” which hid a secret room where spies helped planned the American landings in North Africa.

A real problem as I began to plan out the book was that I needed some logical reason to have Rene Laurent, our French protagonist, go to Tangier and find himself unable to leave. Then, one day, I read in Churchill's war memoirs how the collaborationist French Vichy government helped some officials sail to Casablanca to set up a government in exile when France surrendered. They should have asked themselves why the Vichy would help them set up a rival government, because they were all arrested shortly after they landed in Casa. Churchill mentioned that some of the officials had come overland, rather than taking the ship. I think I shouted out loud, “That's it!” Laurent is coming overland and gets as far as Tangier when he finds out everyone else has been arrested. He doesn't dare go into French-held Morocco, can't go back to France, and the Spanish, who favored the Nazis, were likely to arrest him if he went there. He was stuck. Perfect.

What is your work background? How did it lead to you writing a historical thriller?

During my foreign service career, I worked for the American Embassy in Morocco for four years. I really enjoyed my time there, traveled the country a lot and met a lot of interesting people. My wife and I liked Tangier a great deal and went there a number of times, often staying at the Legation Museum. Though most of the story takes place in Tangier, I enjoyed setting small parts of it in other favorite places – Fez, Asilah, the Roman ruins at Volubulis. There's nothing like having actually lived there to help get the look and the feel of a place right.

As I say, I didn't really think of myself as writing an historical novel. I don't think I even thought of myself as writing a thriller, per se. I was writing a novel about love and betrayal and redemption, set in Morocco. Life there during the war, amid the world of espionage, lent itself very well to what I wanted to do. It is part mystery, part spy story because that seemed to be the best way to write about the things I wanted to write about.

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

That I could spell Chefchaouen without looking at a map.

Your book goes back and forth from the present-day story of Christopher Chaffee, dodging career disgrace by searching for the father he thought died in WWI, to the father’s WWII espionage adventures in wartime Tangiers. How did you decide to entwine the two narratives instead of just telling a WWII spy story?

I met a Canadian private detective in Tangier who was delving back into events during WWII to help a family advance a defamation suit. They had been unfairly accused of helping the Nazis in WWII while the family lived in Tangier for a few years. This investigation was the first germ of my story, and I thought I'd write about a detective looking into a similar issue, with perhaps some segment set during the war.

Then I heard a story about an American whose father, a French diplomat, had sent his family to the United States as the war broke out, then made no effort to reunite with them. The story turned out to be untrue, but it was an intriguing about how the past can come to haunt those in the present. I dropped the detective and turned him into a son looking for his father, and turned the falsely accused family into a French diplomat stranded in Tangier. I found both stories compelling and thought that telling them in alternating sections would add an intriguing dimension.

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

I have so many. Faulkner, Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter (badly neglected), Charles McCarry (ditto), Ann Patchett, Yasunari Kawabata, Georges Simenon, Graham Greene. I learn from all of them. Simenon and Hemingway are great inspirations in keeping the writing simple -- and Faulkner is there to remind you not to make it too simple. Graham Greene writes so well about moral dilemmas and the hold of exotic lands. Kawabata makes things so spare and so beautiful.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I'm not sure I have a favorite kind of writing. I read about half non-fiction and half fiction. The non-fiction can tell you so much about the “what” of human life. Fiction, which at its best is even truer, can give so much of the “why.”

Right now, I'm re-reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham and a mystery by Simenon. I believe Simenon is the only writer mystery writer to be nominated for the Nobel Prize. His books, mostly very short, offer searing insight into human nature.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

For Portlanders, I'll be reading selections from Tangier and signing copies at Mother Foucault's Bookshop in Portland, Thursday, July 20th at 7:00 p.m. For folks at the Oregon beach, I'll be at the Lincoln City Cultural Center Friday, July 28th at 7:00.

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

Write every day, if you possibly can. Be disciplined. You stay in your groove much better – keep your head in what you're doing – and get a much better sense of progress. It's easy to despair and give up when you feel like the project will take forever.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

No heavy lifting.

At least for me, it can give a great sense of satisfaction. I'm doing what I want to do and, when it's going well, I feel that I'm accomplishing a very difficult task well. It's a good feeling.

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

A second novel, Madagascar, set in the American embassy in that wholly unique island/world, comes out next year. Currently, I'm working on a story set in Oregon, kind of Washington County Gothic.

THANK YOU, STEVE!

TANGIER IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE TO ORDER IT!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Beginning: Free to Choose

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Ever since the first settlement of Europeans in the New World, America has been a magnet for people seeking adventure, fleeing from tyranny, or simply trying to make a better life for themselves and their children.

-- from the author's Introduction to Free to Choose by Milton & Rose Friedman.

Every day each of us uses innumerably goods and services -- to eat, to wear, to shelter us from the elements, or simply to enjoy. We take it for granted that they will be available when we want to buy them.

-- from Chapter 1, The Power of the Market.

This struck me as a good book to start reading on Independence Day. I’ve been meaning to read it for years. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine how popular the television series was that prompted the Friedmans' book – 10 hour-long documentaries made in the late 1970s, shown on public television, analyzing capitalism by a Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist.



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, Instagram, 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





Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Tangier by Stephen Holgate



His arguments exhausted, lacking official status, without influence, Chaffee could not impose on any more of this young man's time. After weeks spent planning this trip, after the long journey from Washington, Chaffee only now realized how absurd his story sounded, how ridiculous he must appear.

-- Tangier by Stephen Holgate. A man's search for his father, who he thought had died in a Vichy prison during WWII, quickly spins into his own international adventure.

Tangier is a great book for summer! International intrigue, historical fiction, and a father/son plot all in one!



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.




Happy Independence Day!




Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Beginning: Tangier by Stephen Holgate

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Then the ship broke the fog, and he could see Tangier on the horizon, its ancient medina glowing white in he autumn sun.



Tangier by Stephen Holgate. This opener finds Christopher Chafee running away from his own problems, in search of the father he though had died in a Vichy prison during WWII.

It's part modern-day thriller, part WWII spy novel -- the perfect summer read!




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, Instagram, 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







Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Beginning: Shadow of the Wind

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. 

-- Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I am always slow to read popular books! Who read it already? What did you think?



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, Instagram, 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






Monday, June 19, 2017

Mailbox Monday

What books came into your house last week? Three books came into mine:



Tangier by Stephen Holgate. This debut novel goes back and forth between the modern day story of a "disgraced Washington power broker" and the mystery he sets out to solve about his father, a French diplomat who supposedly died in a Vichy prison during WWII. It looks fantastic!

Steve Holgate is giving an author talk at Browser Bookshop in Olympia, Washington this Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm.



The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. This is the second book in his Child 44 Trilogy. I read and loved Child 44. The third book, Agent 6, is already on my TBR shelf.



The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I've seen this around and found a copy at my local consignment shop. I know nothing about it. Is it good?



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Beginning: The Story of a New Name

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



In the spring of 1966, Lila, in a state of great agitation, entrusted to me a metal box that contained eight notebooks.

-- The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two by Elena Ferrante. I'm finding this one to be heavy going. If I weren't reading it with my ears, and at 1.25 speed, I don't know that I would get through it.

Has anyone read all four of the series? What did you think?



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, Instagram, 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






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What Are They Reading? Slay Ride by Dick Francis


Authors tend to be readers, so it is natural for them to create characters who like to read. It is always interesting to me to read what books the characters are reading in the books I read. Even if I can't say that ten times fast.

Usually, the characters' choice of books reflects the author's tastes or, I sometimes think, what the author was reading at the time. But sometimes the character's reading material is a clue to the character's personality, or is even a part of the story.

This is an occasional blog event. If anyone wants to join in, grab the button, put up a post, and leave leave a comment with a link to your post.

SLAY RIDE BY DICK FRANCIS


I'm a big Dick Francis fan and am working my way through his 47 mystery novels. His mysteries are known for their horse racing themes, a subject he came to naturally after his own career as a prize-winning jockey. He is the only author to win the Edgar Award three times.

Slay Ride is one of his earlier books, published in 1973. David Cleveland, chief investigator for the British Jockey Club, goes to Norway to investigate the disappearance of an English jockey. While there, the local police detective sets him up with a driver, the officer's brother, described as an author who doesn't make much money so would like the work. The author-turned-driver is quite literary, and while he sits in his car waiting for Cleveland, he reads The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.


The choice struck me because, unlike some authors, Dick Francis doesn't do a lot of book name dropping. His characters are usually racing horses, making movies, climbing mountains, or doing other hands-on activities that make for action-filled plots. So having a middle-aged Norwegian man reading Lessing's 1962 feminist classic jumped out at me.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mailbox Monday

I picked up two books at BookMarx in Springfield, Missouri when I was there for work last week. What books came into your house last week?



Vladimir Nabokov's Lectures on Literature, edited by Fredson Bowers, introduction by John Updike. This is a collection of Nabokov's lectures to undergraduates on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Luis Stevenson, Swann's Way by Marcel Proust, "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka, and Ulysses by James Joyce.



The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief by James Wood. I bought this on an impulse and suspect it will be a long time before I get to it.



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Beginning: An Oxford Tragedy by J. C. Masterman

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING


If you open the Oxford University Calendar and turn to St Thomas's College you will find my name -- Francis Wheatley Winn, Vice-President and Senior Tutor. A note at the bottom of the page will make it clear to the initiated that I won, in my youth, some academic distinction, and that I take my part in the administrative side of University life.



-- An Oxford Tragedy by J. C. Masterman. Set in the fictional Oxford college of St. Thomas's, the narrator is an Oxford don who plays Watson to the novel's Sherlock Holmes, an amateur sleuth named Ernst Brendel, a Viennese lawyer visiting the college as a guest lecturer.

The above is a picture of my edition. The Penguin edition is particularly adorable!



I won my copy several years ago from Bev at My Reader's Block in a giveaway she had as part of her Vintage Mystery Challenge. I credit Bev for turning me on to vintage mysteries, both from the Golden Age (pre-1960) and the Silver Age (1960 - 1989).




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, Instagram, 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






Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Beginning: The Heirs by Susan Rieger

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



When he was dying, Rupert Falkes had the best care money could buy.

The Heirs by Susan Rieger. "A Manhattan Family coming undone after the death of their patriarch." Sounds like a great story to me!




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, Instagram, 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




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: A Girl Called Sidney by Courtney Yasmineh


Preston started crying hard, sobbing. I tried to look over at him and I could see some blood on his face.

A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh, published by Gibson House Press.

Drawn from singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh's own teen years, Sidney is a coming-of-age story about a musically-inclined young girl who must learn to navigate the rocky shoals of her family life to reach adulthood.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.




Monday, May 29, 2017

Mailbox Memorial Day

Last week, I got a big stack of books from Booktique, the Friends of the Library used book store in Lake Oswego. What books came into your house last week?



The Light of Day by Graham Swift

The Bowl Is Already Broken by Mary Kay Zuravleff

Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies

A Ngaio Marsh Omnibus: Grave Mistake, Spinsters in Jeopardy, and Overture to Death

The Colette Omnibus: Cheri, The Last of Cheri, Gigi, The Vagabonds, and The Shackle

The Middle Ground by Margaret Drabble

How it All Began by Penelope Lively

A Long Finish by Michael Dibdin

The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy

A Woman of Means by Peter Taylor

A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion

The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty

We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome

Esprit De Corps Stiff Upper Lip by Lawrence Durrell

The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold by Evelyn Waugh

Murder in the Rue Dumas by M. L. Longworth

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

What looks good?


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Happy Memorial Day!




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Favorite Author: Ngaio Marsh


Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand-born author, famous for her mystery series featuring British CID detective Roderick Alleyn. She wrote 32 Alleyn mysteries between 1934 and 1982.

Marsh is considered one of the four original "Queens of Crime" of the Golden Age of mystery writing of the 1920s and 1930s, along with Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Agatha Christie.

Marsh's Roderick Alleyn mysteries are listed below in chronological order. Those I've read are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue. Anyone reading Marsh's books are welcome to include related links in comments and I will list your posts below.


A Man Lay Dead (1934)

Enter a Murderer (1935)

The Nursing Home Murder (1935)

Death in Ecstasy (1936)

Vintage Murder (1937)

Artists in Crime (1938)

Death in a White Tie (1938)

Overture to Death (1939)

Death at the Bar (1940)

Surfeit of Lampreys (1941); originally called Death of a Peer in the U.S.

Death and the Dancing Footman (1942)

Colour Scheme (1943)

Died in the Wool (1945)

Final Curtain (1947)

Swing Brother Swing (1949); originally called A Wreath for Rivera in the U.S.

Opening Night (1951); still called Night at the Vulcan in the U.S.

Spinsters in Jeopardy (1954)

Scales of Justice (1955)

Off With His Head (1957); still called Death of a Fool in the U.S.

Singing in the Shrouds (1959)

False Scent (1960)

Hand in Glove (1962)

Dead Water (1964)

Death at the Dolphin (1967); still called Killer Dolphin in the U.S.

Clutch of Constables (1968)

When in Rome (1970)

Tied Up in Tinsel (1972)

Black As He's Painted (1974)

Last Ditch (1977)

A Grave Mistake (1978)

Photo Finish (1980)

Light Thickens (1982)


NOTES

If you are reading Ngaio Marsh's books and would like related posts listed here, please leave a comment with a link to your post and I will add it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Beginning: A Girl Called Sidney by Courtney Yasmineh

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!


MY BOOK BEGINNING


When it’s February in Minnesota, and you’re as far north as you can go and still be in America, you’re in the coldest place on the continent.

A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh, published by Gibson House Press.

Sidney is a gutsy high school musician, determined to survive her senior year and her rocky family life, even if it means fleeing Chicago to a Northwoods cabin. This brash debut novel, set in the late 1970s, was inspired by singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh's own teen years.



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, Instagram, 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




Monday, May 22, 2017

Mailbox Monday: A Girl Called Sidney by Courtney Yasmineh

One cool new book came into my house last week. What new books did you get?



A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh, published by Gibson House Press.

Sidney is the debut novel from rock and roll singer-songwriter Courtney Yasmineh, inspired by her own rocky teen years.




Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Beginning: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in Moonstone.

-- The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. I've been swept up in this story of Thea Kronborg, the daughter of Swedish immigrants in a small prairie town in Colorado who aspires to become an opera singer.

The Song of the Lark was published in 1915 but reads like contemporary historical fiction. It should be more popular.




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, Instagram, 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









Saturday, May 13, 2017

Author Interview: Mollie Hunt



Author Mollie Hunt recently released the third mystery in her Crazy Cat Lady series featuring cat fancier, shelter volunteer, and amateur sleuth Lynley Cannon. You can follow her on her website, Mollie Hunt: Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and More.


Mollie recently answered questions for Rose City Reader about her latest book, the series, writing, and her own favorite authors and books:

You just released the third book in your Crazy Cat Lady Mystery Series, Cat’s Paw. How did you get the idea for such a fun series?

The hero of my series Lynley Cannon and I have a lot of things in common. Being a cat lady is one of them. Others include being sixty(ish), volunteering at a cat shelter, and living in an old house in the Hawthorne district of Portland.

This third book finds your sleuth volunteering at an animal sanctuary in the San Juan Islands. Why did you decide to change up the location?

Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I wanted Lynley to get out and see the sights. The large and prestigious Colverleaf Animal Sanctuary is modeled after Best Friends in Utah but since it’s fiction, I moved it locally. Only the first part of the story takes place at Cloverleaf. After a double homicide at the sanctuary, Lynley runs home to Portland but murder follows in her wake.

The titles of all your books are funny feline puns: Cat's Eyes, Copy Cats, and now Cat’s Paw. How do you come up with your titles?

Titles just come to me. In some cases, the book evolves from the title, as with Cat Call, the next in the series (to be out this fall). “Call” in film terminology refers to times and locations of filming, and Cat Call takes place on a television shoot where Lynley has assumed a cat-handling job for an injured friend.

What do you admire most about your heroine, cat shelter volunteer and amateur sleuth Lynley Cannon?

Lynley is tough. She’s not afraid to get out of her comfort zone. She can admit when she’s made a mistake. She has a good relationship with her family. Most of all, though, I admire her dedication to her cat shelter volunteering, donating many hours a week to needy cats.

What is her least endearing trait?

Now there is an interesting question. I had to think, but I would say Lynley’s least endearing trait is that she’s a bit of a know-it-all.

Do you know right away, or have an idea, how you are going to end your stories? Or do the endings come to you as you are in the process of writing?

I usually don’t know exactly where the story will end when I begin writing the book. I have a ghost of an outline, but often the story unfolds in its own direction once I get started.

What is your background? How did it lead you to writing a mystery series featuring a “crazy cat lady” as your sleuth?

I grew up in Portland and went to a private school where I learned grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc. My writing was encouraged both at school by a forward-thinking teacher and at home by an artistic mommy. I wrote my first cat mystery in 4th grade. After a forty-year intermission, I came back to it as naturally as a cat to catnip.

What have you learned from writing your Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries – either about the subject of the books or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I still am in awe of how much I love writing. When I sit down at the computer, or even a notebook and a pen, time goes away. Nothing else in my life comes close. I’ve also learned a lot about cats through my research for the books.

Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?

Yes. My grandmother who lived with us had been a librarian and owned a large collection of children’s books, everything from Winnie the Pooh to Peter Pan. Both she and my mother read to me every day, and I strove to learn to read for myself from early on.

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

Lilian Jackson Braun, the mother of the cat mystery, was the biggest influence on my own cat writing. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey Mystery series are a favorite as well, though her cats are more mystical than mine.

Do you have favorite mystery series you love to read? Which ones?

Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series are, to my mind, brilliant. I can’t wait to read a new one when it comes out.

What are you reading now?

Fit Cat, non-fiction by Arden Moore; The Cats that Told a Fortune (The Cats That #3)
by Karen Anne Golden; Violent Crimes by Phillip Margolin; The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)
by Craig Johnson.

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

  1. “The first 1,000,000 words are just practice.” – David Gerrold
  2. “Writer’s block means you’ve gone down a wrong path (of your story). Go back to where it last worked and start again.” – William Shatner

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Playing around in my mind. I’m never bored.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I write best in the morning, so I get up early and begin whatever project I’m working on. When I have a foster cat, I will write in his room with him, otherwise I’m on the couch in the living room with my ancient laptop. In the afternoon, I move on to emails, social media, and dreaded chore of publicity.

Speaking of, do you have any events coming up to promote Cat’s Paw?

Later this month, I will be attending the Cat Writers’ Association annual conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and as a professional member of the association, I will be promoting all three of my cat mysteries there. This is my first time at the conference and I am very excited to meet and mingle with fellow cat writers.

I usually announce other events on my Facebook page or my website, so find me there!

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

The next in the series, Cat Call, will be out this fall. “When a friend suffers a bizarre accident, Lynley takes over her job as cat handler for a television pilot, only to find a mysterious 'hex' has been sabotaging the set with deadly intent.”

I just finished the first draft of number five, Cat Café: “A body is found in the cat café, and all the black cats are missing.”


THANKS MOLLIE!

CAT'S PAW AND MOLLIE'S OTHER CRAZY CAT LADY MYSTERIES ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE IN PAPERBACK OR KINDLE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER THEM. 


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Beginning: The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



That Sunday, from six o'clock in the evening, it was a Viennese orchestra that played.

The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen. Lovers ans spies in WWII London. Published in 1948.

This modern classic has been on my TBR shelf forever and I'm finally reading it for the 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge as my "classic by a woman author" pick.





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, Instagram, 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




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