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Posts Tagged ‘The Great Gatsby’

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This week we feature “3 Questions” with Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road.  Years ago, Mr. Murphy dropped out of college and started his long stint as long-haul trucker, covering covered more than a million miles to date. In The Long Haul, Mr. Murphy offers a trucker’s-eye view of America, reflecting on work, class, and the bonds we form throughout our lives.

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Mr. Finn will appear at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, November 8th. This Norwich Bookstore event offers an excellent opportunity to listen and learn about life in America today, from a perspective many of us do not encounter in our daily life – that of a long-haul trucker. This event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are recommended as space is limited. Please call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com to save a seat and/or secure your autographed copy of The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road. (We think this might be a great holiday gift for so many on your lists – for those of you already shopping).

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

1984 because George Orwell completely nails authoritarianism. It’s attractions, it’s method, and it’s ultimate goal.

Anything by John McPhee, let’s use as an example Uncommon Carriers: Really good writing can describe anything and make it interesting. My book goes into many arcane details about truck-driving and moving people and I always had McPhee in mind when doing that.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre because it shows how complicated betrayal can really be.

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

Herman Melville. We both liked manual work, did manual work, and wrote about manual work. Melville would have been very much at home in a moving van on the road. It’s not a lot different than a whaling vessel. Hard labor mixed with boredom, travel, horrible clean-ups, and an amazing perch to observe human beings at their worst.

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3.What books are currently on your bedside table?

A Legacy of Spies by LeCarre. It’s the inside story of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. That’s a great book! Maybe 160pp, but like Gatsby, puts it all in where it needs to be and nothing extra. Almost perfect writing. I say that for both. I flatter myself that I’m the world’s foremost authority on the LeCarre opus.

Doctkor Faustus by Thomas Mann. This is always on my nightstand. I can pick it up on any page and get mesmerized. Favorite quote from the book: “It’s not so easy to get into Hell.”

Ranger Games by Ben Blum. Recommended by a bookseller at an event. Army Ranger robs a bank. His cousin wants to know why. Riveting.

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart. I’m no book snob. I’ll read anything, almost. I haven’t cracked this yet but when the time comes for just plain entertainment, there it is.

NOTE: As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing and the living of life, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore or bookstore related venues. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to both attend these special author events and read their books.

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As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing and the living of life, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to both attend these special author events and read their books.

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Today, we feature Michele Campbell and her thriller It’s Always the Husband. Ms. Campbell, a New York native and resident of the Upper Valley, has taught law at the Vermont Law School and served as a federal prosecutor in New York City.  Ms. Campbell is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School.

Ms. Campbell will appear at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, May  31st to discuss It’s Always the Husband. Reservations are recommended as they expect seats to “sell out”. Call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com to reserve your seat.

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

As a girl, I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on repeat. I would literally finish the last page of these books and start over with the first. Both books had strong female protagonists who struggled to navigate the stifling expectations set for girls in their time and place, and had loving yet complicated relationships with their female family members. In high school, The Great Gatsby, with its impeccable prose and focus on issues of social class, caught my imagination. These three books shaped my interest in writing crime stories that explore issues of women, society and social class.

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

Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin are two of the greatest books written in my lifetime, and I’ve read them both numerous times. She is astonishingly prolific, and I would love to ask her about the glorious span of her career – how she writes, how she manages so many projects, and how she moves, seemingly effortlessly, between genres. Ultimately, I just think she would be inspiring to talk to. She’s a visionary, a feminist, someone with a dark sense of humor and refreshingly strong opinions. I love her.

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3. What books are currently on your bedside table?

How much space do I have to tell you about all the wonderful books in my TBR pile? Like many writers, I’m a book hoarder. Between my actual, physical nightstand and my e-reader, I have enough books to keep me busy for months, if not years, to come. Some current notables: The Gunslinger by Stephen King, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Where It Hurts by Reed Farrell Coleman, Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and A Passage to India by E.M. Forster.

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NOTE: This selection of books was supposed to post yesterday.  We feel we can not post without acknowledging yesterday’s events in Boston.  Our thoughts are with the runners, their families, the spectators and the first responders.

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In honor of today’s deadline for paying Federal taxes here in the USA, we tried to think of some interesting and entertaining books with money as a theme.  This, of course, led us to The Great Gatsby, and using that as our example, we have added a few recent releases that have money and its place in one’s life at their core.

Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925) — Recently re-read for fun, and now serving as our standard for good literature with money in the theme.  This famous book, as many may remember from English literature classes of our youth, tells the story of wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan, of lifestyles involving lavish parties on Long Island, and of an era – the 1920s.   This novel has exquisite prose that often disguises the brutal realism of the tale.  For a variety of reasons, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century American literature. If you haven’t yet picked it up, do so.  If you have read it, try it again for a reminder that assigned reading does not necessarily mean bad.  ~ Lisa Christie and Lisa Cadow

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The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh (2013).  When Frances Irvine’s well-to-do father dies suddenly and leaves her penniless, she is forced to make some quick, hard decisions about her future. It’s 1877 and she must leave her life of wealth and privilege in London either for a life as a nanny with her cruel aunt, or a life in South Africa married to marry a man – a poor, young doctor – whom she does not love.   And so, she boards a steamer bound for the southern hemisphere with nothing but her naiveté and a few belongings suitable for a hot climate to join her fiance.  On board she meets brazen, handsome, well-connected William Westbrook and her moral adventure begins.  This excellent piece of historical fiction takes the reader to Cape Town, into the rugged landscape and farms of the Karoo, into diamond mines, and into the heart of a smallpox epidemic.  This is a book about finding what is more important than wealth and status.  It is a story about finding value in doing what is right. ~Lisa Cadow

 Ghana Must Go by Talye Selasi (2013) – An incredibly memorable modern tale of a family – The Sais.   Their story and this novel, begins in Africa, and follows how their subsequent pursuit of the American dream shapes their lives.   Page one starts with the sudden death of the main character  – Kweku Sai, an incredible surgeon, but failed father and husband.  The story then unfolds backwards and forwards through the eyes and voices of his first wife and their four children.  It all hinges on Kweku’s reaction to a failure endured in his pursuit of his American dream.  His response shatters his family, yet also makes them all uniquely themselves.  This is a truly global tale — enjoy the time this book spends in Boston, Accra, Lagos, London, and New York.  It is also truly beautifully written. So much so that I slowed my reading to make it last a bit longer.  I loved this debut and am looking forward to this writer’s next work. ~ Lisa Christie

A BONUS Pick that really is all about money….

 How Stella Saved the Farm: A tale of making innovation happen by Chris Trimble and Vijay Govindarajan (2013) – Initially self-published, the success of this book in starting conversations about transforming companies caused St. Martin’s Press to publish a new edition.  Although it appears to be a tale that your favorite 3rd grader will enjoy (and some 3rd graders do), it is actually a parable designed to start companies thinking about handling change.  Read it and see why companies as diverse as Simon Pearce, AT&T and the Methodist Church are using this unique business book to change the way they do business / make money. (Disclaimer: one of us is married to one of the authors.) ~ Lisa Christie and Lisa Cadow

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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.

We’re thrilled to welcome New York Times Best Selling Author Jodi Picoult, author of the new novel Lone Wolf , to the Book Jam’s “Three Questions”.

As part of the Norwich Bookstore’s author visits, Jodi will kick off her latest book tour at Simon Pierce in Quechee, Vermont  on February 28th at 9 am.  She will read from and discuss her newest book, Lone Wolf, a story about an estranged brother and a sister who must decide the fate of their father -a wildlife biologist famous for living with a pack of wolves – who lies in a coma in a New Hampshire hospital. This book explores the bonds of family love, the protection and strength they are meant to offer, and the intersection between medicine and moral choices.

For more information about the bookstore, upcoming speaker engagements or to reserve a seat, simply click on the following link for The Norwich Bookstore. But hurry because seats for this event are almost full! And this one’s a little different than usual: the $36.00 fee includes entry to the event, a signed copy of Lone Wolf, and light refreshments. We hope many of you are able to make it to this exciting book launch party!

Now, Jodi’s responses to our three questions.

 

 

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

Gone with the Wind– made me want to be a writer and create a world out of words;  The Great Gatsby – my first experience with an unreliable narrator, and ever since then, I’ve loved exploring the discrepancy between what the reader knows and what the narrator knows; The Sun Also Rises – the parity of language that is Hemingway’s hallmark always reminds me that less is more; and that there are times words fail us when we try to describe moments of great emotion.

 

 

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

Shakespeare.  I swear, I sometimes think that man created all the stories in the world.  We just recycle them.  Plus – getting Romeo and Juliet to speak for the first time in a sonnet…?  BRILLIANT.

 

 

 

 

3. What books are currently on your bedside table?

The Good Father by Noah Hawley (an advance reader’s copy as the book is due in March 2012), and Amy Hatvany’s Outside the Lines.

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