I loved World Book Night!

I’m so happy that I had the privilege of participating in World Book Night 2013. I was a bit anxious today when I set out to pass out my 20 copies of “Girl With the Pearl Earring“, but once I gave away that first title, things became much easier and my only regret was that I didn’t have 20 more to giveaway!


I had a couple of criteria in my own mind about who I wanted to share my books with, I didn’t want to just drop them off at one place, I wanted to give them to a variety of ages, and I wanted to give a few to people I know but not that well.  It didn’t quite go as planned, but you know what they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men…

I had the great idea of heading to my local coffee shop, and while enjoying a cup of Joe passing out a few copies, then I was going to walk around town and pass out the rest whenever the mood struck me.  Well, our continuous precipitation foiled this scenario, and I ended up giving the majority of them away in and around the coffee shop. I still tried to give them to a variety of people, although I have to say I felt more comfortable giving them to women for some reason.

The reactions I got were pretty positive, although there were a couple of skeptics that I think thought I was passing out religious tracts, but I fooled them!  It felt great when a clerk from my local drug store said in all the years she’s worked at the store no one has ever given her anything, and when one lady got so excited when she found out the movie with Scarlett Johansson had been a book first.

I hope I get a chance to do it again next year and maybe someone who got one of my books today will volunteer next year!


The Shortlist

Today the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced, and I have to say I have mixed feelings, mostly because I was really rooting for a title that didn’t make the list, “The Marlowe Papers” by Ros Barber. Oh well, regardless of my wishes the six titles that did make the list are all strong contenders to win the prize and seem to have pleased the majority of the critics that pontificate on these types of things.


I’ve read three of them, “May We Be Forgiven” by A. M. Homes, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple, and “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel. Of the three I enjoyed Maria Semple’s book the most because of its humor, and I would love to see something funny win a book prize for a change, but Homes’ book too was terrific with its dark humor and rich story, but I have a feeling Mantel might actually win again.

I don’t want to be mean but I kind of hope she doesn’t win, because even though it was a well written book, I had a devil of time getting through the darn thing, and I LOVE Tudor history. Oh well, good thing I’m not a judge, huh?

I plan on reading the other three titles before the prize is awarded on June 5th, so my opinion might change but I doubt it, and if you haven’t had a chance to read “The Marlowe Papers”,  I highly recommend you give it a go!  It’s a great story, written entirely in verse, about Christopher Marlowe and the truth surrounding his ‘death’, his role as a spy, and that casper milquetoast, Shakespeare.

World Book Night 2013 is almost here!

WBNI am getting pretty stoked about April 23rd 2013, because this year I get to participate in World Book Night! This is the second time that we here in the US get to join our brethren across the pond to giveaway books and pass along our love of reading one paperback at a time. According to their website, last year over a half a million books were distributed in over 5,800 hundred places to light or non-readers.  That’s a lot of pulp, huh?  There are 21 titles and I will be passing out my first choice, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier.

girl with pearl earring

Since I’m new to this I’m still not a 100% sure where I’m distributing my 20 copies. I don’t want to give them all to one organization, and I don’t know how confident I would be standing in a shopping mall, or street corner accosting people with a book, but I have a few ideas swirling around in my noggin and maybe some of my readers could give me a suggestion or two?

I have been thinking about a woman’s shelter near my town, maybe a hospital or a retirement home. But I would like to get this book into a few younger hands as well, so maybe I do go to a shopping area or a coffee shop? I believe I still have some pondering to do!

I’m excited for the experience and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

World Book Night 2013

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

women's prize for fiction

This is one of my favorite book awards of the year! Formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction this international, women’s only literary prize always seems to have several books on the longlist that I have not only read, but that I’ve actually enjoyed and usually has one or two titles that I haven’t heard of but want to pounce on ASAP!

The Longlist for 2013, of the newly titled Women’s Prize for Fiction, was just announced with 20 pretty diverse novels, including Gillian Flynn’s mystery thriller, “Gone Girl”, the controversial “How Should a Person Be?” (is it really a novel since it’s part memoir?) by Sheila Heti, the ever present “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel, and my personal favorite, “Where’d you go Bernadette?” by Maria Semple.
There are 8 Brits on the list and 7 Americans, so it’s not as as diverse in nationalities as it is in content, 6 first time authors (Bonnie Nadzam, Ros Barber, Shani Boianjiu, Francesca Segal and M L Steadman) and 2 previous winners (Barbara Kingsolver and Zadie Smith).
You can visit the Women’s Prize for Fiction website and get the complete list along with a brief synopsis and author bio.
I think the book I’m most excited to read is “The Marlowe Papers” completely written in verse and in the words of Christopher Marlowe, it sounds truly unique and fascinating. Of course I also want to read a few others! I hope I can get these all read before the short list is announced on April 16th!

“Wool” gathering

I am a reader that usually shies away, okay more like runs away, from a book that everyone is raving about (especially an Oprah pick!), so I don’t think I will ever be reading that mommy porn book that everyone seems to be reading, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t applaud the book and it’s author, E.L. James, for doing something incredible, making us all much more aware of self-published fiction.

It’s truly astounded how James’ trilogy racked up so many sales in such a short period of time. I read somewhere that it sold 25 million copies in four months, compared to Stieg Larsson’s equally infamous publishing sensation, which sold 20 million copies in 4 years! That’s a lot of books!

Even though I’ve heard that these particular novels are not the most well written books of all time, they have certainly struck a chord with readers around the world and brought to everyone’s attention how the internet and self-publishing have increased the amount of available material for us, the lovers of the written word. Readers win, I like that!

What’s great is that somehow readers are ferreting out these stories, giving them a wider readership which in turn gets a publishers attention. It’s a kind of backwards process but it seems to be working!

I honestly wasn’t even aware, until this past year, how many self-published e-books there are for sale on Amazon, and for a very small price too! I’ve read maybe a half a dozen of them and I have to say they were all pretty darn good. There are probably more punctuation and grammatical errors than from a book that’s been looked over by an editor, but if you can ignore that and just enjoy the story I think you will be in for a treat.Wool

The newest self-publishing phenomenon is, “Wool” by Hugh Howey, an american author, who spent his lunch hours at his day job writing fiction. He self published these stories on Amazon and in the fall of 2011 found himself at the top of the Amazon science fiction best-selling list with, “Wool”, a 50 page novella.  With his readers demanding more, he continued to add installments to the “Wool” series, and it is now selling as a 5 part omnibus on the site. The phenomenon continues to grow with the series being optioned by Ridley Scott for a potential movie, and the publication of a hardback version by Random House coming out in England in January 2013 and an American publication sometime later in the year.

I’ve read part one and really enjoyed it, and it did leave me wanting to read more, so I’ve downloaded the omnibus as well!  I’ve just recently listened to a podcast featuring Howey, and he is of course pleased and amazed with his recent success, and has been able to quit his day job!

He also said that his other self-published stories are now selling like hotcakes, and that if he had gone the traditional publishing route his own success story would be much different. Howey said he never spent his time and energy sending out manuscripts to publishers and networking, he instead put all of his efforts into creating, and as a result he already has a lot of material on the internet for readers to buy without going through the usual slow process of conventional publishing.

So with publishers being cautious about spending money these days on an unknown name, the internet seems to be helping them find the next sensation without having to do much of the work. And for those of us, like myself, who are just learning to embrace the e-reader I guess we have to give credit where credit is due and thank them for giving us some new voices that might otherwise have been lost!

Here is the link to the Guardian Books Podcast if your interesting in listening.