Friday, February 24, 2012

LitSoup: Having lunch with an author

This month's LitSoup question:
With which author/writer – dead or living – would you like to have coffee/lunch/drinks?

I posed this question to the newsroom, and these are the responses I received:

Jean Bonchak:
After reading this month’s topic it took me no time at all to come up with the author with whom I would most like to visit - The Bard. His genius perceptions of people, life and the world and his ability to translate them into some of the most beautiful literary works ever written never fails to astonish and delight, always striking the truth at its raw core.
And my favorite sonnet?
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
One of my high school English teachers said her vision of heaven was riding around in a Cadillac with Shakespeare. I’ll settle for a VW bug.

Jeff Forman:
Henry Miller, to take a walking drinking tour of Paris.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn:
This is easy: Teddy Roosevelt who wrote “African Game Trails” and other and also was involved with politics and conservation, I believe…

Larece Galer:
Anne Morrow Lindberg, for lunch, to learn more about her life and exploits with famous husband Charles
Erma Bombeck for drinks, to enjoy her very down to earth sense of humor

Robin Palmer:
John Steinbeck and his dog, Charley.
Ernest Hemingway at his house in Key West, Fla. With all those cats.

Cheryl Sadler:
It seems so cliche to say Jodi Picoult, but I would love to hear more about her story-writing process. I read once in a Q&A in the back of one of her books about how she develops her story ideas by coming up with a difficult question. I think her writing lends itself to such great discussions -- a talent I think most writers would love to possess.

I opened the question up to Twitter:

This post is part of a LitSoup, a regular feature on The Book Club compiled of contributions from the newsroom and community. Send an email or tweet with your suggestions for future LitSoup topics.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Get tix for Toni Morrison reading

Northeast Ohio native and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison will be reading from her upcoming novel, but you have to act fast if you want a ticket.
Requests for free tickets to the event at Oberlin College must be postmarked by Feb. 24 and will be limited to two per request.

Get details here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Parents aren't always who you think

I was a little hesitant to pick up the next book in my stack. After being so wowed by my last read, I was feeling sorry for Georgia Bockoven's "The Year That Changed Everything."
I needn't have worried.
There's plenty of room for all sorts of novels to be entertaining on all sorts of levels.

Bockoven introduces us to four women, sisters who never knew the others existed. Only two of them had even the sketchiest of relationships with the dying man who fathered them. A twist of fate has them in each other's lives and learning about this man for at least a year.
She's treading familiar ground, but doing it well. These characters are fully developed. We meet complicated people who make complicated choices that have complicated consequences. (Just like real life!)
Each of the sisters struggles with her new-found relationships with these three strangers as well as making sense of the man they thought they knew.
 "She was almost fifty, and somewhere in her mind she was still his little girl, abandoned thirty-five years ago and abandoned all over again today.
"... All these years she'd harbored a secret fantasy that he'd been kidnapped or imprisoned or lost on a desert island. She'd created a hundred reasons he'd never come to see her or called or answered her letters. The one time  he'd tried, years too late, she'd almost been as angry that he'd destroyed her fantasy that he couldn't come to her as she had that he'd stayed away so long.
"And now she knew the truth. He'd replaced her."
It will leave you asking yourself, How well do I really know my parents?

Happy reading!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Want to be blown away??

When was the last time you were blown away by a novel?
I consider myself a pretty voracious reader averaging two books in a slow week to upwards of six in a good week. I've been known to curl up on the couch on a Saturday afternoon with a book, read it cover to cover, take a deep breath and reach for another.
Some people veg out in front of the TV, I relax with books.
That being said, few books truly knock my socks off (though I learned on "Myth Busters" that that is not physically possible).
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't enjoy the other novels.
I was entertained when I was reading and learned a little something along the way.
Time well spent.
But I still remember the feeling after I finished Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper" or Anita Shreve's "The Last Time They Met."
I had those same feelings the other day when I picked up Hillary Jordan's "When She Woke."
I had intended to spend some time Tuesday crafting a post about Most Romantic Books or Characters in honor of Valentine's Day. I told myself I'd just read a few chapters of a book from Monday night's library trip.
Famous last words.
Jordan's futuristic reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is not to be missed.
Hannah Payne has been convicted of killing her unborn child. The punishment is something called chroming in which her skin is literally turned red. Most criminals in this world spend little time in a physical prison (where they are televised for all to see!). Instead the bulk of their time is served attempting to live in the world with dyed skin: Red for killers; blue for child molesters, green for arsonists and armed robbers, etc.
Payne is serving extra time for refusing to name the father of her child - popular (married) preacher Aidan Dale.
And that's just the beginning of this novel.
Aren't you intrigued???
Read an excerpt of "When She Woke" here.
I think it's difficult to craft a work that manages to be both a great, character-driven story as well as a powerful social commentary. Too often I come across characters who are spouting political agendas, their opinions coming not from the natural flow of a developing character but seemingly just an opportunity for an author to not-so-subtly make a statement. (Please don't beat me over the head with your views in a novel; integrate them into your story.)
Jordan's Payne was raised in a conservative family.
She supported the changes that followed the Great Scourge.
She thought certain rules were for the best.
Now she begins to question.
Would love to hear from others who've read this novel to learn what you thought about the society Jordan has created.
Please share your thoughts. And you'd better believe I'll be picking up a copy of Jordan's first novel "Mudbound."
Follow me on Twitter and let's chat books and more!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting pinned

In my never-ending quest to discover books I can't put down, I've joined Pinterest.

Don't know what Pinterest is? Here is its explainer:
"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."
Courtney Subramanian from Time Magazine also offers a great explanation of what you need to know about Pinterest.

I'm hoping it will prove a rich source of books I just can't put down. As I've said before I am a sucker for a book jacket showing a moody nature scene. And there's no shortage of book covers to check out here.

So far I've done limited browsing on the site, looking for folks to follow, pinning books I've read and books I'd like to read.

I'd be interested in learning how you're using the site to feed your reading addiction. And if you're not on it yet and you'd like to be, drop me a line and I'll send you an invitation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Celebrating Dickens' milestone

Monday, February 6, 2012

Portrait of a small boy reading

How do you move when you read?

I came across this image on LikeCool, which grabbed it from Go Without Saying.

Sure it's "Portrait of a small boy reading," but I would be just as quick to call it "Portrait of a 20something reading," because I certainly fidget like that in my recliner when I'm in the middle of a really great read.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Saying thanks to librarians

Stumbled on this info graphic from and just had to share.
As a regular visitor to the public libraries in both Mentor and Euclid, I know just how vibrant libraries can be.
So here's a big thank you to all those librarians who answer a question, help us find what we're looking for - or make a suggestion when we don't know what we're looking for! - and who instill in the next generation a love of reading.


- Tricia Ambrose @triciaambrose