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Archive for September, 2012

As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “Three Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam in the week leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.

Today we are happy to introduce our readers to Maryanne O’Hara author of Cascade, a novel set in 1930’s Massachusetts about heroine Desdemona, her artistic talent, dreams, and family duty.  A graduate of Emerson College’s MFA program, Ms. O’Hara’s short stories have been published in Five Points, The North American Review, The Crescent Review, and Redbook, as well as the literary anthologies MicroFiction, Brevity & Echo, The Art of Friction, and Flash Fiction: Youth. Cascade is her first published novel.  She lives near Boston with her family.

Ms. O’Hara will read at the Bookstore on Wednesday, September 26th at 7 pm.  As always, reservations are encouraged. Just call (802) 649-1114 to reserve your spot.

1.What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

Oh, there are so many, but the earliest book that comes to mind is Jane Eyre, which I first read as a child. That’s when I realized how powerful and timeless good writing could be. In my twenties, I was studying Cheever’s stories but I was most affected by Anna Karenina—in awe of its timeless characters, its epic scope, its rich layers. In my thirties, I started to write short stories. I began to see that my personal obsession was the mystery of our existence within time. Immortality by Milan Kundera became my bible, something I read over and over again. I absolutely delighted in his fluid, out-of-the-box meditations on existence. He helped me to free my own voice.

2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

Virginia Woolf. Even after reading the big bios, I don’t have a clear idea of who, exactly, would be sitting on the other side of the table.

3. What books are currently on your bedside table?

 Right now I am reading Tinkers (finally), and next up is Austerlitz, then The Light Between Oceans. I met Margot Stedman at my first book event on Martha’s Vineyard, and was very taken with her. I’m excited to read her book.

The Second “Pages in the Pub” Event is Coming to Norwich!

Please mark your calendars now for the upcoming PAGES IN THE PUB scheduled for 7pm on Thursday, November 29th, 2012 at The Norwich Inn.

Pages in the Pub in Norwich is an evening designed by the Book Jam Blog for to people to meet at the Norwich Inn and discuss books, literature and reading with both our Norwich Public Librarians and the independent booksellers from the Norwich Bookstore, all while benefiting local libraries. The theme this for the evening is GREAT HOLIDAY GIFTS for your family, friends and co-workers (and even yourself). Participants will have the opportunity to purchase the books we discuss from the Norwich Bookstore at the end of the evening. As a bonus, 20% of the evening’s book sales will be donated by the Bookstore to the Norwich Public Library and the Green Mountain Library Consortium.

Tickets to this event will be available after October 15 at the Norwich Bookstore. Your spot is secured by purchasing a $10 “ticket” (this is actually a donation to the Green Mountain Library Consortium and the Norwich Public Library and gets you one free beverage). Seating is limited to 60 people. Mark October 15th on your calendar so you can purchase your ticket early; we sold out last time weeks before the April Pages in the Pub.

We would also like to thank to the Vermont Community Foundation for their support in bringing Pages in the Pub back to Norwich.

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Happy final days of summer everyone. Sadly, we have only about five of them left, but luckily we have three literary gems to suggest that will help distract you – and keep you mentally warmed – as we transition to the chillier days of autumn.

It was hard to winnow our summer reading down to just a few picks as many excellent titles passed through our hands over the past few months. But  never fear, we will find ways to tell you about all of the special stories we encountered as many of the ones we truly loved will find their way into future posts.

So for now, three of our favorite picks from our summer reading; stay tuned for more later in the fall.  In the meantime, grab a comfortable chair, a cozy blanket, a steaming cup of tea, and start reading. And, Happy Rosh Hashanah; the plot of Beautiful Ruins will definitely fit into any thoughts of atonement and new beginnings.

 Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters (June 2012) – My favorite page-turner from this summer.  Just when I thought I had anticipated all the possibilities of this book, the author slipped in a surprise.  Please read and enjoy this well-written tale.  It has intelligence, romance, gorgeous scenery, coming of age themes, and dealing with death themes all interwoven in a tale of the lives, loves, choices, and losses of a cast of characters as unique as any you will ever encounter.  This tale includes an Italian hotel owner living in a town on the Italian coast so small Cinque Terra doesn’t claim it, a lovely American actress, Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and their filming of Cleopatra, and aging movie mogul, a few young men overcoming addictions, a modern-day woman trying to figure out when her life will begin and so many more (you will not be bored and somewhere in there you will relate to someone).  The story jumps from 1962 to today and back again and back again, each time unveiling another layer of connections and dreams.  What results?  A tale that ultimately illustrates how your life emerges from your choices.  The characters and scenery will remain long after that last page ends. ~ Lisa Christie

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (2012). This is simply a lovely book. With poignancy and beautiful prose, Brunt tells the coming of age story of fourteen year-old June who’s grieving the loss of her beloved uncle Finn – a famous painter who’s recently died from a mysterious illness – who was the only one who ever really understood her. Set in the late 1980’s and full of cultural references to that era, June tries to continue on with a “teenagerly” (we may have coined a new word here) existence in Westchester Country – studying, fighting with her sister, going to the occasional party, listening to the “wolves” howling in the woods  – but it is only through a most unlikely friendship in New York City, with a friend of her uncle’s,  a young man named Toby, that she finds solace. This is a book about love, loss, acceptance, sisters, family, art, and what is means to truly care for someone. ~ Lisa Cadow

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012). Just when you think you know what’s going on in this thriller, think again. “Gone Girl” will keep you on your toes – and out of commission since you won’t be able to put it down! – until you turn the very last page. Meet Amy and Nick, a seemingly golden couple (Amy with her Harvard degree and Nick with his good looks and writer’s talent who met and courted in Manhattan), trapped in a marriage that’s gone terribly wrong. The story starts out with Amy’s sudden disappearance from the house they’re renting in a Missouri developement. All eyes turned to Nick as the clues start pointing in his direction. The story is told from Amy and Nick’s alternating points of view so the reader learns about their relationship from its romantic beginning to its present difficult place. If you’re a fan of Tana French, you’ll appreciate Flynn’s story telling style and mastery of the psychological thriller genre. ~ Lisa Cadow, with Lisa Christie seconding this review

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As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “Three Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam in the week leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.

Their latest installment in the series – The River of No Return  – officially goes on sale September 25th but the Norwich Bookstore has special permission from the publisher to celebrate early.  So to meet these interesting authors in person and purchase their latest book, stop by the Norwich Bookstore on Saturday, September 15th between 10 am and noon, or call in advance an order your copy for signature.  Now on to our three questions.

1.What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

 Jon: The Narnia books by CS Lewis are the model for a children’s series – deceptively simple writing style, tons of adventure, engaging maps and illustrations, continuity across series, but each book stands on its own. George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl taught me that, from a child’s point of view, the more outrageous the better. I’d also choose Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie not a book, but the fast-paced story and visual feast is exactly what I try to bring to the Jaguar Stones books.

Pamela: The book that made me fall in love with words was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; for years, I was obsessed by The Owl Service by Alan Garner and I’m sure it embedded the idea of retelling ancient myths in a modern setting. The book that inspires me to blend humor with a serious ecological message is The Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson.

2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

Jon: The ancient Maya artist/scribe who produced the Dresden Codex, a beautiful, enigmatic and tantalizing book that archaeologists have been trying to understand since it was found two hundred years ago.

Pamela: I’m a big fan of James Joyce, but I think we’d have something stronger than coffee.

3.What books are currently on your bedside table?

 Jon: Reading Maya Art by Marc Zender, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld,  Just my Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield

Pamela: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, The Road to Ruins by Ian Graham, and The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (reading with youngest daughter).

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