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




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author Interview: Katherine A. Sherbrooke


Author Katherine A. Sherbrooke's first novel, Fill the Sky is the dynamic story of three friends who travel to Ecuador so one can seek cancer treatment from traditional healers. This sophisticated debut about women's friendships would be a smart pick for a book-loving mom on Mother's Day and makes a great summer read.

Kathy lives outside Boston with her husband, two sons, and a black lab named Huck. She recently answered questions for Rose City Reader.



How did you come to write Fill the Sky?

In 2011 I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador with eleven other women. All of us were feeling the need for some soul-searching for one reason or another, and over the course of a week we worked with various shamans, learned a lot about traditional approaches to emotional wellness and about Ecuadorian’s reverence for mother earth, or Pachamama, as they call her. The place, the people and the ceremonies we participated in were so unlike anything else I had ever experienced that it seemed like the perfect setting for a book.

Your story describes many traditional healing practices and ancient ceremonies of Ecuador. Did you have to do additional research about the cultural information and detail found in your book?

All the ceremonies in the book, except one, are based on ceremonies I actually experienced, all fictionalized, of course, to serve the purpose of the story. I relied a lot on photographs and journal entries from the trip to unearth details. I did conduct some follow-up research to fill out missing pieces of information, or confirm things that I thought to be true, but it wasn’t a research-intensive project as much of it came from memory. Also, the story is told from the point of view of three American women who are completely out of their own element, so while I very much wanted to represent Ecuadorian traditions and beliefs accurately, any “American” filter it has on it is actually quite appropriate.

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

I co-founded and ran a company based in Boston for many years. After it was acquired by a large corporation, I took some time off to ostensibly figure out what my next start-up would be. As a side project (while I caught up on sleep and researched possible start-up ideas) I wrote a family memoir about my parent’s love affair (called Finding Home). It was a very personal project—my only goal was to capture the story for future generations—but it reminded me how much I have always loved to write. I knew I had to try fiction next. I’ve been pursuing writing full-time ever since. Not sure how long that can last, but being able to focus on it has been an incredible gift.

What is the significance of the title? Does it have a personal meaning for you besides its connection to the story?

Nature is central to Ecuadorian life, and plays a very important role in the book, so I knew from the start that I wanted a title that referenced nature in some way. Rain is particularly integral to the story, and I liked the idea that before rain can come down, water must first be drawn up into sky, one of the many cycles of nature we tend to take for granted. Fill the Sky also struck me as a very hopeful phrase. Something about it makes me want to look up at the great expanse and believe that anything is possible.

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?

I knew from the beginning how Ellie would resolve her dilemma with David, but I didn’t know until I got into the story further what exactly would befall Tess and Joline and what decisions they would have to make. It’s kind of amazing how you can live with these imaginary friends for so long and then on one random day say “of course, why didn’t I see that before? That’s exactly what needs to happen!”

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

I recently wrote an essay about how laughable it was when I first typed the words “THE END” onto the last page of my manuscript, that I thought I was nearly done. I wasn’t even close. This process, for me, has been as much about revision as anything else, including completely starting over at one point. Every day of writing had value in my quest to understand my characters and fully construct the world I had placed them in, but there were thousands upon thousands of words that got left on the cutting room floor. That was not something I had expected.

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

I had decided early on to approach writing this book like a job—I’d work hard at it Monday to Friday, and then take the weekends off. I thought this was good discipline, for both my creative life and life at home. Then I heard the very prolific writer, Walter Mosley, say something that changed everything for me. He described the creative process as tapping into a the deepest levels of our subconscious, and said that the best work comes when we are able to be fully submerged in the imaginary world we are creating—almost like a wakeful dream-state—but getting to that state is only possible by immersing ourselves day in and day out, no breaks. Every day we take off, we risk ripping ourselves fully out of that world, and it might take weeks of work to get back “in.” The minute I heard him say this, I knew he was right. As soon as I started to give myself permission to work on the book every day (even if it was only two hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings before the rest of my house woke up), the quantity and quality of my work tripled. I was putting out more words than ever before, and the quality of the work was much higher. From now on, when I am in the throws of a project, it will be seven days a week.

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

I tend to fall in love with books more than with specific authors, but I can tell you that some of my favorite authors include writers like Wallace Stegner, Geraldine Brooks, Anita Shreve, Paula McLain. I am a strong believer that any writer’s first education comes from reading, so I’m sure just about every book I have ever read has influenced me in some way.

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

I tend to gravitate toward books with strong female protagonists. I read a lot of historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction. Of late, I’ve really enjoyed books that fictionalize an actual person, like Dawn Tripp’s Georgia. I thought that was fantastic. I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyassi, which blew me away, and Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits. I’m currently reading Ann Hood’s latest, The Book That Matters Most, and Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett.

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

Word of mouth is probably the single most effective tool for generating awareness about books, and social media is all about spreading the word, so I feel very fortunate to be a debut author during a time when there are an almost limitless number of avenues available to help get the word out. Some platforms feel more natural to me, and others have taken some getting used to, but I’m trying just about everything that feels authentic to give myself the best chance of connecting with potential readers. I think you need to be where they are if you want to be discovered. Someone said to me recently that social doesn’t sell books, but does build community. I’m very much looking forward to creating a community of readers interested in exchanging ideas and having meaningful conversation. That would be a terrific outcome in my eyes.

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

Yes! There is a list of readings and book signings on my author site and a place to sign up for future announcements.

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

Yes. I am in the early stages of another novel. It also addresses topics that I think will create some interesting conversation. Stay tuned.


THANKS KATHY!

FILL THE SKY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus



In the summer of 1981, in one of the more bizarre episodes of Oregon history, scarlet-clad disciples of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to Oregon with a dream of making the desert bloom into a garden paradise. . . . And it produced a voter-fraud crisis that landed squarely in the lap of Secretary of State Norma Paulus.

The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

I'm a big fan of Norma Paulus, an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976, was the first woman elected to a statewide office in Oregon. Her story in an inspiration.

It also has its crazy parts, like the chapter on the Bhagwan and his salad bar poisoning loyalists.



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




Monday, May 8, 2017

Mailbox Monday: Inspector Wexford by the Omnibus-load

Three books came across the pond and into my house last week. What books came into your house?

I started reading Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series, but I've only read the first two. I never seem to find used copies at my usual haunts and my library doesn't have the audiobooks, at least of the earlier books in the series.

So I decided to fill in the earlier books with used copies of omnibus editions. They are a little odd, as you can see. The first omnibus includes books 2, 4, 3, and 11, in that order. Then the second and third omnibus editions fill in, although books 5 and 6 are switched in order.

Any other Rendell or Inspector Wexford fans out there?



Ruth Rendell Omnibus: Four Novels in One Volume - New Lease of Death (2), Best Man to Die (4), Wolf to the Slaughter (3), Put on by Cunning (11)



The Second Wexford Omnibus by Ruth Rendell - No More Dying Then (6), A Guilty Thing Surprised (5), Murder Being Once Done (7)



The Third Wexford Omnibus by Ruth Rendell - Some Lie and Some Die (8), Shake Hands Forever (9), A Sleeping Life (10)




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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 CHALLENGE: Back to the Classics


The Back to the Classics Challenge is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. Even though I am late to sign up so I won't qualify for a prize, I am going to try for nine books again this year. I met that goal in 2016.

CATEGORIES

1. A 19th Century Classic. Any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2. A 20th Century Classic. Any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language.

5. A classic originally published before 1800.

6. A romance classic. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

7. A Gothic or horror classic.

8. A classic with a number in the title.

9. A classic about an animal or that includes the name of an animal in the title.

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit. It can be real or imaginary.

11. An award-winning classic.

12. A Russian classic.

BOOKS COMPLETED

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (TRANSLATION)


NOTES

Updated May 5, 2017.



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Author Interview: Renee Macalino Rutledge


Renee Macalino Rutledge’s debut novel, The Hour of Daydreams, has been dubbed "essential reading" by Literary Mama and "one of 24 books to get excited for in 2017" by The Oregonian. Her stories and essays have been published in Mutha Magazine, The Tishman Review, Red Earth Review, Ford City Anthology, Oakland Magazine, ColorLines, Literary Hub, Necessary Fiction, Women Writers Women’s Books, and others, and is forthcoming in The Margins, Women of Color Anthology, and others.




Renee recently answered questions for Rose City Reader about her debut novel, writing, and her own favorite authors and books:

How did you come to write The Hour of Daydreams?

I knew I wanted to write about my culture and roots. Filipino folktales interested me, not so much because of the tales themselves, but their journey, passed down orally through so many generations before being written down. Folktales are often retold with preservation in mind—keeping true to their original content and form. The version of “The Star Maidens” I read was as such, four pages long and predictable—a man steals a maiden’s wings, marries her, and in the end, she finds her wings and flies away. That story was a jumping point for me—a point of investigation and interaction to the story I wanted to tell, about marriage, secrets, identity, the way one family’s story can be passed down from one generation to the next. It was my way of interacting with the folktale and creating something completely new.

The book takes place in the Philippines, where you were born but haven’t lived since you were a small child. Did you spend time there as an adult, or how did you come to feel comfortable enough to write about day to day life in the Philippines?

I haven’t been back since I left at four. It was important to place my characters in the Philippine countryside, where the folktale is based, but I wanted to be able to write without getting too caught up in that discomfort, that of being a firsthand witness to my story, but a secondhand witness to the setting. So, I based my book in an imaginary town called Manlapaz. I did my research—read books by Filipinos about the Philippines, asked my family a lot of questions, looked up photos and articles online—but in the end, I relied on what I know from those formative years, what I feel and what I imagine.

Your story “reimagines” a traditional Filipino folktale about a man stealing a maiden’s wings so he can marry her. Is this a well-known folktale? Is it a story you learned as a child?

I didn’t learn any Filipino folktales as a child. My father talked to me once about mythological figures, Bathala and Malakas and Maganda, and they captured my imagination so vividly I’m not surprised they ended up in the book. I think my lack of knowledge about stories from my own culture was a reason writing this book was so important to me. Most people I’ve spoken to about The Hour of Daydreams, including Filipinos, are learning about "The Star Maidens" for the first time. I’m happy it’s generating interest in both traditional stories and modern Filipino literature, which are not novelties.

The husband in your book is a doctor and your story describes many traditional Filipino healing practices as well as superstitions. How did you research the cultural information and detail found in your book?

For some reason, I imagined the male protagonist in the folktale as the son of a tribal chief. I tried to think of a modern version of that, and a doctor came to mind. In my family, if you’re a doctor, you’ve reached the top. I know a few doctors personally, and they’ve become sort of like my personal on-call specialists, giving me advice on everything from my daughter’s eczema to my mom’s back pain. Combining that with my own personal history of going to the doctor and the anecdotes friends share, I was easily able to come up with the various scenarios Manolo was faced with on the job. There was one procedure, regarding a dislocated elbow, when I had to look up specific bones. Google really helped, not just to find information, but verify what I believed I knew to be true.

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

I’m a nonfiction book editor for a mid-sized indie press. My day job didn’t lead me to writing fiction. It supports me so that I can pay the rent while I write, which is something I’ve always done.

What is the significance of the title? Does it have a personal meaning for you besides a
connection to the story?

The hour of daydreams is a specific time in the book when the character Andres shares stories with his granddaughter Malaya. It is also representative of a moment of time at a river, when the main characters, Tala and Manolo, bear witness to one another, and their memories begin to feel like dreams. So, the hour of daydreams is an hour of sharing and receiving story, interpreting what’s being told, reshaping it, preparing it for another retelling, when it will be born as something new. In that way, it is representative of the hours spent writing this book, and the hours shared between the book and the reader.

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?

The folktale provided a sort of framework, a beginning and an end. I recreated the scene at the river in the context of my story and characters. This meant giving them each a past and an interior world—it was a process of invention and discovery that fueled the writing process. I thought I’d do the same for the ending scene, when the star maiden flies away. This stifled my book for many years. Working toward a particular image or scene felt forced. I finally figured out that I could end the novel in any way I wanted to, and that’s when I connected it to that process of continual discovery I had started in the first half and was able to finish the book.

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

“Write the story that you believe.” I was fortunate enough to have worked with Yiyun Li, who gave me that advice while I was working on the first draft of The Hour of Daydreams.

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

Marguerite Duras, Toni Morrison, Italo Calvino, Yiyun Li, Haruki Murakami, there are too many. It’s hard to pick a favorite because I’ve only read some authors once, like Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress or William Trevor’s Love and Summer, but their books have come to be among my favorite. My writing is influenced by everything I read, particularly books that open me up to what’s possible on the page and show how every book can do something different. I also love books that I have an emotional connection to and expand my sense of compassion, such as Rene Denfeld’s The Enchanted, or that are brilliant with language and depth while being so much fun, like Michael Shum’s Queen of Spades, out next from Forest Avenue Press.

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

I like to read literary fiction most and am currently reading The Book of Joan, by Lidia Yuknavitch, who I recently met at her amazing reading in Berkeley. I also read nonfiction, currently Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild and A Short History of the Philippines.

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

Social media definitely got word out about the book to people I would not have reached otherwise, such as friends from high school who ended up coming out for my book launch. I love being connected to new people who share an interest in reading and writing. It’s been wonderful that way. There are two things I refuse to do as an author on social media.

  1. Apologize for promotion. Writers have it hard enough—writing a book for years with no guarantees, getting someone to publish you, and finally, trying to sell it. I believe books are vital and life-enriching and that writers in general are undervalued. Why undervalue ourselves with apologies?
  2. Announce a break. I believe having a writing tribe online is possible and that a tribe by nature should understand and encourage you to come and go freely and often, to energize, to seclude yourself when necessary, to write, to live. If you must announce a break from social media, you are probably on it too much. I tell my boss when I’m not coming in for work; I don’t encourage treating Facebook as you would your boss.

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

My next reading, sponsored by the American Association of University Women and the Alameda Author Series, will take place May 17, 2017 at Cardinal Point in Alameda. New events are posted on the events page of my website.

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

I was up past midnight working on my latest short story, which I hope to be part of a collection. I’m also deep in research for my next novel. See the nonfiction reads above!


THANKS RENEE!

THE HOUR OF DAYDREAMS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER TO ORDER IT!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Book Beginning: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Norma Paulus made her entrance into this world in an auspicious ans startling fashion. According to the often-told family story, she drew her first breath on top of the kitchen table in a Nebraska farmhouse.

The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

That's quite a beginning, for a book or a baby! I'll have to pass this one on to my father who also started life on the top of a kitchen table in Nebraska.

Norma Paulus was an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976, was the first woman elected to a statewide office in Oregon. She's long been a hero of mine and her gubernatorial campaign in 1986 was the first local political campaign I ever volunteered for.


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 2, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge



Tala placed her secrets in the box. In dreams, the box would open, spilling her secrets into the world.

The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge, published by Forest Avenue Press.

Set in the Philippines countryside and reinterpreting a Filipino folktale, this debut novel weaves magical realism and multiple points-of-view into a spellbind story from an up-and-coming new voice in American literature.

Read a review of The Hour of Daydreams on Fiction Writers' Review.



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





Monday, May 1, 2017

Mailbox Monday: The Only Woman in the Room by Norma Paulus

One new book came into my house last week. What new books came into yours?



The Only Woman in the Room: The Norma Paulus Story by Norma Paulus with Gail Wells and Pat McCord Amacher, published by OSU Press.

Norma Paulus is an Oregon politician who, when she became Oregon’s Secretary of State in 1976 was the first woman to be elected to a statewide office in Oregon. She's been a long-time hero of mine and I've been looking forward to reading her memoirs. I only wish they had used this picture for the cover:







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.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...