The Book Lady's Blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Reviews and articles posted here are property of The Book Lady's Blog and are not to be posted elsewhere without permission. Please contact me if you wish to post any of my work, or any excerpt thereof, in any other location or format.
2010 at 5am Posted by Rebecca Schinsky
Okay, so it’s more like the mid-day flight to Atlanta (whose airport, I’m pretty sure, is home to the fifth circle of hell), but that’s not nearly as snappy.
I’m heading out today to spend the weekend at the Decatur Book Festival to enjoy Jonathan Franzen delivering a keynote talk tonight—I’ve just started Freedom and so far, so good—and to present on a panel entitled Where Do I Go From Here?: Getting Your Book Noticed tomorrow morning at 10am. I’m honored to be alongside fellow presenters Ron Hogan, Julie Schoerke, and Stephen Usery, and if you’re in the area, I’d love to have you there.
I’m hoping to squeeze in a few indie bookstore visits and would appreciate suggestions (and recommendations for nearby restaurants) if you got ‘em.
In the meantime: assuming Freedom lives up to the hype, what kind of panties do you think are most appropriate for throwing?
2010 at 5am Posted by Rebecca Schinsky
I’m packing up my frilliest panties and gearing up for about six weeks of extensive travel, meet-and-greeting, social media guru-ing, and bookish fun. And I figured you’d appreciate it if I consolidated the announcement of my schedule into one post instead of, say, six. I’ll be all over the eastern half of the country, and I’d love to meet as many of you as I possibly can.
The fun begins with some events right here in Richmond:
Monday, August 23, 6:30pm: I interview Susan Gregg Gilmore about her new novel The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove before a live audience at Fountain Bookstore
Thursday, August 26, 6:30pm: Ron Hogan (of Beatrice.com), author Joe Wallace (Diamond Ruby), Kelly Justice (owner of Fountain Bookstore), and I discuss Social Media for the Writer at the James River Writers Writing Show (Children’s Museum of Richmond)
And then the traveling fun begins:
Decatur Book Festival: Saturday, September 4, 10am: “Where Do I Go From Here: Getting Your Book Noticed” panel presentation with the aforementioned Ron Hogan (who is my partner in crime for pretty much this whole tour), Julie Schoerke (JKS Communications), and Stephen Usery (of BookTalk)
From Decatur, I go to St. Louis for a few days (where I’ll make a long-awaited visit to Left Bank Books), then on to Kansas City (where I will pig out on barbecue made the way God intended it to be and visit the awesome Rainy Day Books, which was my first indie bookstore love way back in the days before I appreciated the importance of indie bookstores).
Then home to Richmond:
Saturday, September 11, 5pm at Chop Suey Books: I interview debut authors Michele Young-Stone (The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors) and Justin Kramon (Finny) before a live audience.
Then more traveling!
New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Conference, Atlantic City, September 21, 3:30pm: Ron Hogan (yep, him again) and I discuss blogger-bookseller partnerships and the importance and utility of bookstore blogs in “Bloggers on Your Sales Team:
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Conference, Daytona, FL: September 24, 9:45am: Kelly Justice, Ron Hogan (told you!), and I discuss blogger-bookseller partnerships and the Get In Bed With a Book Blogger initiative.
And then I collapse!
But in the meantime, if you’re in or near Richmond, Decatur, St. Louis, Kansas City, Atlantic City, or Daytona, I’d love to get together! Shoot me an email (bookladyblog at gmail dot com) and let’s chat.
2010 at 5am Posted by Rebecca Schinsky
You’ve already seen me in my underwear, so we should probably make it official and have a date, right?
Get out your red pencil and put a circle around next Friday, June 25th, from 12-3pm, when I’ll be hanging out at Fountain Bookstore to chat about my favorite books (and yours!) to kick off a new recurring event we like to call A Date with The Book Lady.
There will be special discounts and tons of fun, and I *will* be wearing pants (which doesn’t happen often, so it’s totally worth seeing), and I’d love to meet you there.
While you’re at it, go ahead and save these dates, too:
- Tuesday, July 6th, 6:30pm: Belle Boggs discusses Mataponi Queen. I’ll be there, and you should be, too.
- Saturday, July 10th: GALLEYFEST!!! For the uninitiated, galleys are the advance reading copies of books that publishers send out to reviewers and bookstores to promote upcoming releases. Fountain has several shelves overflowing with them, and they need your help to get rid of the galleys so they can do some remodeling. Galleyfest is BOGO—buy a new book, get a free galley. Buy two new books, get two free galleys. You get the picture. There’s no official announcement for it yet, but it’s worth getting on your calendar now!
- Monday, August 23rd: Susan Gregg Gilmore visits to discuss The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove. And this ain’t your usual book signing. Susan will do a short reading from her book, then we’ll sit down together for a live interview and audience Q & A modeled on the series that Ron Hogan curates at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. I think this is an awesome idea. Ron explains why it works:
Authors enjoy the event because they’re hearing from
passionate readers, the bloggers are happy because they’re getting a
chance to really dig into a book with a writer, customers are happy
because they’re both witnesses to and participants in an intense
conversation about books, and we’re all happy because we’ve
strengthened everybody’s connection to a local independent bookstore.
What’s not to love about that?
If you tweet, join me (@bookladysblog) and Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice (@RVAbookchik) on Thursday, July 8th at 4pm Eastern for a #followreader conversation all about blogger-bookseller partnerships. More information at Follow the Reader.
So, whaddya say? Do we have a date?
2010 at 11am Posted by Rebecca Schinsky
A few nights ago, on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn, a phenomenal novel of the Vietnam War, read from and discuss his book at Washington D.C.’s Politics & Prose Bookstore. The night was made even more wonderful by the fact that Jenn Northingon (you may know her as @jennIRL) of Matterhorn-inspired video fame joined me.
The bookseller who introduced Marlantes described Matterhorn as “a book as majestic as its namesake” and called it “a distinct contribution to literature from the Vietnam War.” I couldn’t agree more—on both counts—and I’m thrilled to be sharing more about this novel with you today.
Marlantes wrote Matterhorn after serving as a Marine in the Vietnam War, and he stated that his first draft, which weighed in at a hefty 1,700 pages, was “good psychotherapy…but terrible fiction…like a giant journal.” After that cathartic first attempt, he got serious about writing fiction and completed the first real draft of this book in 1977.
But no one was ready to publish a book about the war people were still trying to make sense of, so Marlantes moved on to other pursuits. He and his wife had five children, and, as Marlantes said, “That’s a lot of teeth to straighten,” so he began a consulting firm and traveled the world with his work.
Marlantes revisited and revised the book in the mid-80s, but by then Full Metal Jacket had already been done. In the mid-90s, publishers told him they could sell the book, but only if he changed it to the Gulf War, and he encountered similar responses in the early part of the current decade, when he was told to replace Vietnam with Afghanistan. But this is a book about Vietnam, and Vietnam is what Marlantes knows.
“Write what you know, right?” Read more
2010 at 12pm Posted by Rebecca Schinsky
Last Tuesday night, I had the great pleasure of attending the Junior League of Richmond’s annual Book and Author Dinner in the company of Swapna, Michelle, Emy, and several of my IRL bookish friends. The Book and Author Dinner is the JLR’s biggest fundraiser, and now, in its 65th year, it is the longest running event of its kind nationwide. This was my first time attending, and it was fabulous.
Swapna, Michelle, and I kicked off the evening with a pre-dinner drink at Penny Lane Pub, then we took our gussied-up selves down to the dinner for mixing and mingling. Almost immediately, we bumped into my good friend Emy (you know her as Elizabeth Emerson Hancock, author of Trespassers Will Be Baptized), who is a member of the Junior League and served on the planning committee for the dinner. Here’s a pic of us canoodling.
Yes, my forehead looks shiny, and no, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to prevent that from happening when it’s roasty toasty outside. Too bad I can’t keep Deanna Danger (the awesome stylist of the pantyworthy photo shoot) on hand all the time!
Here I am with Swapna and Michelle. Swapna and I didn’t coordinate our dresses, but it was kind of fun that we coordinated.
After we mingled, we sat down to dinner and proceeded to enjoy short talks (well, they were supposed to be short—limited to 8 minutes—but some of the authors weren’t so great about sticking to their time) from six authors. And it all began with Abraham Verghese, author of the stunning Cutting for Stone, which was one of my favorite books of 2009 and has earned a spot on my list of all-time best reads. Verghese discussed the book that inspired him to become a physician—W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage—and he spoke about the power of story to change our lives.
That idea, that story and narrative bring our imaginations to life, was a running theme of the evening, and it came up in almost all of the authors’ talks.
Next up was Sarah Blake (The Postmistress), who was just as wonderful and inspiring as she was when Swapna and I saw her at Politics & Prose a few months ago. (Swapna’s wrap-up of this event is up today too, and it is much more thorough. Go check out her thoughts about the evening.) And then came Dean King, who discussed his book Unbound, which is about the thirty women who survived the Long March when the Chinese Communist Party came under attack in 1934. King’s talk was remarkable first because the thirty women he researched were the only thirty women among the 86,000 Communists who sought escape. Only 10,000 of them survived, but ALL of the women made it, and King explained that Unbound is about these women and their strength and resilience.
People, I was ready to toss my panties at him before he even finished his talk—you know I love me a fan with a good feminist sensibility—and I cannot wait to read Unbound, which I picked up during the event.
After the heaviness of Dean King’s topic came Phyllis Theroux, whose book The Journal Keeper is essentially a memoir about writing memoirs. Now, I have no idea if the book is funny, but Phyllis (she doesn’t know it yet, but we’re on a first name basis) was a HOOT and had us all practically falling off our chairs in fits of giggles. I’m not sure if I’ll end up reading The Journal Keeper, but it seemed like it would make a great book club selection, and I imagine Phyllis would be a fun author to have visit your club.
The final two authors rambled to the point that I lost focus and leaned over to ask Michelle, “Is this guy still talking???” Swapna covers them in greater depth if you’re interested.
After dinner, we got in line to meet Abraham Verghese, who totally made my day with exclaiming, “Oh, so nice to meet you!” and agreeing to take a photo with us. As this was happening, I was thinking to myself, “I wonder if he knows I want to throw my panties at him….God, I hope he doesn’t think it’s creepy.” (This was the first time I’ve met one of my pantyworthy authors in person. Dr. Verghese, if your Google Alerts have led you here, pantyworthy simply means a book was so good that I’d throw my panties at the author in a show of appreciation. I swear, it’s not as weird as it sounds. Click here for a full explanation of pantyworthy.)
Then I went to meet Dean King and tell him how much the folks at Fountain Bookstore have raved about his book and how I’m stoked to read it, and then we called it a night.
Oh, and at some point I spilled food right on the front of my dress. Because I’m smooth like that.
All in all, a fantastic night in the company of good friends and great authors.