Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hang on to your sanity with Elizabeth Flock's debut novel

Since I've been writing more about the books I read, I have been keeping better track not only of what I read but also of who wrote it.

(Side note: Saw this on twitter today on the value of keeping a book journal. May have to start something similar. Anyone out there have a method that works they'd like to share??)

In any case, as I've mentioned before I'm a big fan of Stewart Onan, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner (did you catch her last night in the Bravo Clubhouse with Andy Cohen!?)

Add Elizabeth Flock to that list.

"But Inside I'm Screaming" marks the fourth of her novels I've gotten lost in, though it's the first one she published. ("Me & Emma" and "Sleepwalking in Daylight" "Everything Must Go" are the others.)

In Screaming, we meet driven TV journalist Isabel Murphy as she's freezing on national television during coverage of Princess Diana's accident. The fallout from her failing marriage and faltering career prove too much and she finds herself at Three Breezes, a psychiatric hospital.

Her struggle to regain her mental health balance is very relatable. Who has on occasion felt overwhelmed?
Who hasn't thought if I could just have the time to pull it together? What makes some of us able to continue to move forward? And how would I cope if suddenly it was all just too much?

As Isabel says to a therapist:

"You can imagine? What? You can imagine what it's like to go from having everything to having nothing? To be treated like an infant sometime and an inmate others? I can't even count how many times I've traveled, alone, mind you, to foreign countries to cover pretty dangerous stories - wars, even. And yet I can barely take two steps out of the unit without someone telling me to sign myself out."
Like her therapist I can't imagine. But after reading Flock's work I have a better idea.

Read an excerpt of "But Inside I'm Screaming" here. You won't want to stop.

See you in the stacks!

Tricia Ambrose

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Friday, July 27, 2012

LitSoup: Best/worst of required reading

This month's LitSoup question:
Best/worst of required reading: What was your favorite thing you had to read for school? Least favorite?

Some responses from The News-Herald newsroom:

Rhonda Colvin:
I think I had to read Melville’s Billy Budd in high school and I can’t say it was among my favorites at the time. Perhaps I should try it again and see if I have a different opinion.
I have a three-way tie for my favorite required reading - Fahrenheit 451, The Scarlet Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Jean Bonchak:
Loved anything Shakespearian, esp. Romeo and Juliet (for the romance, of course). Each line was a delight.
Fond memories of “Hedda Gabler” by Ibsen for its one line: “People generally get used to the inevitable” which I’ve used multiple times throughout life.
Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey both in high school and college was painful.

Nicole Franz
The worst thing I had to read was probably “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. I was 12 and didn’t relate to the characters at all and found it terribly dull. My favorite was Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which I read for several different classes. The back-and-forth squabbling between Beatrice and Benedick is still hilarious more than 400 years after it debuted, and I find something new to enjoy every time I read it or go see it performed.

Cheryl Sadler:
"Great Expectations" was the worst summer reading project for a 13-going-on-14-year-old. I'd like to revisit it sometime, because I've heard from Tricia Ambrose and others that it's actually good. I didn't care much for "Winesburg, Ohio," until my classmates and I made a "Saturday Night Live"-style video based on some of the stories in the book. That's another one I might reread someday.
I loved "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Great Gatsby." Both were books I couldn't wait to read every night, and both still grace my bookshelves today.

Matt Skrajner:
My favorite books surely were all of the books I read as part of my baseball literature class that I had the pleasure of taking while at St. Ignatius High School, but I couldn’t choose one in particular. One specifically does come to mind as my least favorite, though: “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot. Apparently it’s considered a classic, but I have no clue as to why. To this day, I still have no idea why people enjoyed reading about a veterinarian delivering a calf and all of the other supposed adventures he had. I’ll admit that maybe trying to make a high school kid read this book over the summer increased my dislike for this book, but I don’t intend to reread it any time soon to find out.

Other responses from the Twitterverse:

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

-- Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | @nhcheryl


Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Outside the Lines' is a good place to be

Exploring mental health and abandonment issues might not be the first things that come to mind when you're looking for a good summer read. But Amy Hatvany's "Outside the Lines" made for a satisfying summer afternoon.

I admit I snagged it off the new fiction shelf at Mentor Public Library because it boasted a recommendation from Caroline Leavitt on the cover. I loved her "Pictures of You" so I hoped she wouldn't steer me wrong.

She didn't.

Hatvany succeeds not only in telling the story of Eden West's quest to find her mentally ill father from two different points of view (hers and her father's) but also in leaping from past to present and back again.

That father-daughter relationship - more complicated than most - is explored in heartwrenching fashion, as this encounter between David and 10-year-old Eden shows:
"David pulled the covers over his head, burrowing deep into the musty pillow. He stank, but he didn't care. His skin felt oily and thick, coated by his own neglect. It was gratifying, somehow, to smell as bad as he felt.
Eden was quite, but he could feel her still standing outside, waiting for him. She would leave soon, when he didn't answer her call. But even when she returned to the house he knew he would feel her. Her longing was enough to push through any barrier. It wrapped its tentacles around his neck, desperate to extract what he feared he would never be able to give."
I wanted Eden to find her father again all these years later and the story could have gone all Lifetime movie on me and I would have been happy.

But Hatvany remains true to her characters and delivers a solid ending that does not disappoint.

I'll be checking out her other novels: "Best Kept Secret," "The Language of Sisters" and "The Kind of Love that Saves You." And I'll be looking for more recommendations from Leavitt.

If you've got any must-reads to share, comment or tweet me!

See you in the stacks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stephen R. Covey dies

The author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" died Monday. Below, a Storify from the Salt Lake Tribune with reaction and remembrance of the author:

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Video: Warehouse fills with book sculptures

Need some inspiration to prepare for a weekend of reading?
Check out this video of a warehouse filling with book sculptures posted on GalleyCat.
See you in the stacks!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Contribute to a Cleveland cookbook

Have a recipe that highlights the community, culture and history of Cleveland? Consider submitting it for consideration of inclusion in a cookbook.

From LAND studio's website:

About the Work

LAND studio, in partnership with Cleveland Public Library, is seeking submissions for a cookbook.

The intent of the cookbook is to highlight a focus on community, sharing, and importance of food as it relates to culture and the history of Cleveland. The cookbook will serve as a resource for cooking, platform for storytelling, and as a way to connect Clevelanders across cultures and communities.

How It Started

The book stems from the Cleveland Public Library 2012 Lockwood Thompson Dialogue in which the topic was FOOD. The speakers, Michael Ruhlman, Penny De Los Santos, and Dan Barber, raised topics such as the importance of cooking, sustainability, eating simply, rituals, and the social camaraderie associated with food. We would like to extend the program by inviting Clevelanders to share their own Food Dialogue.

Other Facts

Submission Qualifications:
•      Must have a connection to Cleveland
•      Must include current contact information
•      Must be received by FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2012

One recipe that has meaningful value to participant. Must be from scratch.
300-500 words submitted in a Word (or like program) document about what that recipe means to participant, why it is important to share, or a related story and/or poem.
3-5 pieces of ephemera to correspond with piece: photographs, drawings, maps, labels, etc.
If participant is submitting a digital image, image must be at least 300dpi and 2" x 2".

Selection Process:
Recipes will be reviewed and tested by a panel and a select number will be chosen for final publication.  Contributors of chosen submissions will be notified.

Please note that every effort will be made to return valuable items as specified by the sender. However, we are unable to assume responsibility for lost or damaged items. Unless specified, all articles and images will be edited and will not be returned. LAND studio reserves the right to not use any material submitted. Expected print date is October 2012.

Send all materials to:

LAND studio
ATTN: COOK BOOK                                            -OR-                              food@land-studio.org
1939 West 25th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44113

All materials must be received (not postmarked) by Friday, July 20, 2012 at 5:00pm. Hand deliveries are acceptable. Please do not send any additional materials. CDs will not be returned.

Please contact Sarah Siebert at food@land-studio.org or 216-621-5413 x 117 if you have any additional questions.

Sounds like a great opportunity to share your love for food and Cleveland. Get cooking!

-- Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | @nhcheryl

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Willowick, Cleveland slate summer book sales

I was nearing the end of the piles I managed to stuff into a few bags for $2 each at the Euclid Friends sale a while back, when I just had to pop in at the Mentor Friends sale (its first in the Read House) June 30.
And now I see these on The News-Herald's online calendar. Looks like I'll never make it to the end of my to-read pile - and thank goodness for that!

The Friends of the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library book/AV sale at Willowick Public Library, 263 E. 305th St. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 13, 14 and 16. Call 440-943-4151 for info.

The Friends of the Cleveland Public Library Summer Used Book Sale will be at Cleveland Public Library, 525 Superior Ave. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. July 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 24 and 25 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 26 (when a bag of books will be $5.) Call 216-623-2821 or email friends@cpl.org for info.

See you in the stacks!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Author Shelley Shepard Gray coming to Middlefield

Here's your chance to meet bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray.
She'll be at the Sparrow Christian Bookshop in Middlefield at noon on Wednesday.
Gray will be promoting her novel “The Search: The Secrets of Crittenden County.”  It's the second in her three-book series, The Secrets of Crittenden County.

According to a press release:
"Before Perry Borntrager disappeared, Frannie and Perry had been secretly courting. Now that it's common knowledge that he was murdered, it's up to Frannie to decide whether or not to tell everyone about the secrets he told her. After much deliberation, she decised to tell Luke Reynolds, the outside police detective brought in to help solve the crime, what she knows.
At first, the two meet only on the context of discussing Perry's Death. But when Frannie is injured in a kitchen accident at her bed and breakfast, Luke rushes to her side. He can no longer deny that he feels a romantic pull toward Frannie."

Hmmm. Sure, sounds intriguing.

The first book in the series, Missing, came out earlier this year, and the final installment, Found, will be on sale Aug. 28.

In the meantime, I've got a copy of "The Search" to give away. Just leave a comment on this post and you could win.

You'll find Sparrow Christian Bookshop at 14962 S. State Ave., at the intersection of Routes 87 and 608. Get information from them at 440-632-0011.

See you in the stacks!

Monday, July 2, 2012

What should you read this summer?

After my admission last week that I'm going to be reading "Fifty Shades of Grey," I came across this infographic flow chart Which Books Should You Read This Summer?, on a blog post with the title "101 Books To Read This Summer Instead of '50 Shades of Grey'". Thanks for showing me this graphic, Rebecca, though I do plan on getting through "Grey" first, just so I know what all the buzz is about. (Same reason I read the Twilight series earlier this year.)

Check out below what you should be reading this summer:

Summer Reading Flowchart

-- Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | @nhcheryl

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