If you're worried that kids aren't reading enough these days—well, you're probably right. But this news item from the town of Dalton, in Northern Georgia, is an encouraging exception.
The students in Mrs. Reynold’s third-grade class at Westwood Elementary school are writing letters to Books-A-Million asking them to build a store in Dalton. It started with Charlie McClurgs, whose mother refused to drive him to the Books-A-Million in Chattanooga "due to the late hour and the time it would take to get there." She suggested the boy write a letter asking for a closer location.
Kind of sad that the world's carpet capital doesn't have a bookstore! Let's hope this letter campaign gives Books-A-Million some ideas.
Roxanne St. Claire, author of 25 books—including category romance; romantic suspense; chick lit; and Edge of Sight, one of BookPage's romance picks for November—has signed a deal to write her first YA novel. It's called Don't You Wish and will be published in 2012 from Random House's Delacorte.
Here's the Publisher's Marketplace description:
Roxanne St. Claire's DON'T YOU WISH, in which a middle-class, under-popular, painfully average teenage girl wakes up in an alternate universe where her mother married a wealthy man and her every wish has come true—with complications.
Romance columnist Christie Ridgway has praised St. Claire's "hot romance and sizzling suspense." Are you a fan of her books? Are you excited by this new book/potential movie?
This week's recipe comes from our cookbook of the month, David Tanis' Heart of the Artichoke (Artisan Books). Tanis is a chef with "true simplicity at his core and an understated approach to the seasonal," says cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt, and this easy, delicious dessert is sure to please.
8 slightly underripe small Comice or Anjou pears
1 (750-ml) bottle medium-bodied red wine, such as Côtes du Rhone
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 whole cloves
A wide strip each of lemon and orange peel
Peel the pears top to bottom with a sharp vegetable peeler, leaving them whole, with stems attached and the core intact.
Put the pears in a large wide nonreactive pot (enameled or stainless steel) in one layer. Stir the wine and sugar together in a bowl to dissolve the sugar, pour over the pears, and add the aromatics. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Poach the pears for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted encounters no resistance. Remove from the heat and let cool, in the poaching liquid, overnight.
The next day, with a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a platter. Heat the poaching liquid over high and boil down until it is reduced by half. Strain this syrup into a bowl and let cool.
Use a paring knife to cut a small slice off the bottom of each pear, allowing them to stand up straight. Stand the pears in a deep rectangular glass or plastic container large enough to contain them in one layer.
Pour the cooled syrup over the pears. Refrigerate for up to several days. Serve chilled, putting each pear in a soup plate and spooning over a little syrup.
In Tuesday's edition of BookPageXTRA we highlighted bestsellers (missed it? you can still view it here). If the newsletter made you eager to read more about Jan Karon, then you are in luck! We've got a Q&A with the author in the November issue of BookPage about In the Company of Others, her second book in the Father Tim series.
Here's a preview:
For details on Karon's personal idea of paradise, secret-keeping abilities and her words to live by—keep reading the Q&A.
If you could ask an author anything, what would it be?
By the way, we've gotten some interesting comments in this blog post about bestsellers from earlier in the week. Keep 'em coming!
Excuse the bad pun—especially since Auel's name is pronounced more like "owl" than "all"—but there's no time to dither over headlines when one has breaking news to report. In an interview with the AP, novelist Jean Auel says that the sixth book in the Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves (March, Crown), may not be Jondalar and Ayla's last adventure.
"To be honest, I don't feel like I'm through," the author, 74, told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. "I still have some material and I'm going to keep on writing. It's what I do."
Leonardo DiCaprio and production companies Appian Way and Double Features have acquired rights to Erik Larson's 2003 nonfiction book, The Devil in the White City. DiCaprio will take on the role of the titular 'devil'—Dr. HH Holmes, considered America's first serial killer, who lured anywhere from 20 to 200 women to their deaths in his hotel during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. In the novel, Holmes' murders are framed by the story of architect Daniel Burnham, who designed the fair. As author Larson put it in our 2003 interview, "One guy built this marvelous fair. The other guy built this twisted hotel. They were both architects in a way."
DiCaprio's business partner, Jennifer Killoran, says, "I think that a guy who is that intelligent and that charismatic is nothing less than complex, and it's that complexity that [DiCaprio] is drawn to."
Did you read Devil in the White City? Would you see the movie?
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans
Riverhead • $25.95 • September 23, 2010
I was first drawn to Danielle Evans' debut book—short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self—because of the title, which is taken from "The Bridge Poem" by Donna Kate Rushin. I can't think of a single title from 2010 that has made me more interested to keep reading. (And I'm not the only one. Last week, I took my copy of the book with me on vacation, and the friend I was visiting promptly took it away from me so she could read the stories before I returned to Nashville.)
The characters in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self are African-American or mixed race. As Lauren Bufferd writes in her BookPage review, they are "people in transition":
adolescents, children split between divorced parents, college graduates drifting between partners and jobs. Erica in “Virgins” is a prototype for several of the other young women who appear in these pages—independent but longing for connection, educated but not savvy enough to avoid the hurts of love and life.
Here's an excerpt from "Virgins," the story that's had the most acclaim. (It was originally published in the Paris Review and then The Best American Stories 2008.)
Inside at Michael and Ron's house, they put me on the downstairs couch and gave me a blanket. When Ron said good night and went into his bedroom in the basement, I thought maybe I'd only imagined the look he gave me earlier. I unlaced my shoes and took down my hair and curled up in the blanket, trying not to think about Jasmine and what kind of mess I'd left her in. I thought of her laughing, thought of the look on her face when she had closed her eyes and let that man kiss her, and for a second I hated her and then a second later I couldn't remember anything I'd ever hated more than leaving her. I was sitting there in the dark when Ron came back and put an arm around me.
Today I got word that Vanessa Miller's Long Time Coming—the #1 title on the Black Christian News/Black Christian Book Company National Bestsellers List—is available for free Kindle download on Amazon.com. (The ebook is only free until November 8.)
Long Time Coming is about two women from two very different circumstances: One has a seemingly perfect life, minus the children that she desperately wants. The other has a house full of kids—and a whole other set of problems. The story is about how the women come into each other's lives and grow and change. (Read more on Miller's website.)
I don't own a Kindle, so I don't usually monitor the books that are temporarily available for free on Amazon.com as part of a special promotion—but I thought some readers would be interested in this deal.
Are any of you inspirational/Christian fiction fans?
Also in BookPage: Love Christian fiction? Don't miss this roundup of six novels from our September issue.
Salon reporter Rebecca Traister's Big Girls Don't Cry (September, Free Press) answers the question: Was the 2008 election good for women?
You may know the ending to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (out in paperback last week from Harper Perennial)—but it still manages to be a page-turner.
Of course, President George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points (Crown), comes out next week. The book may be embargoed, but the Drudge Report has already posted leaked passages (via GalleyCat).
Want to go way back in our political history? Read Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life (October, Penguin Press). BookPage reviewer Roger Bishop writes that it's "historical biography at its best."
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As long as we're on the subject of bestsellers, I want to point out that November 2 is going to be a very happy day indeed for a lot of readers. The Penguin Group is hoping two million readers, to be exact—that's the print run for Nora Roberts' Happy Ever After, which comes out today.
BookPage romance columnist (and author) Christie Ridgway writes that Happy Ever After, the conclusion of Roberts' best-selling Bride Quartet, "should not be missed." The story follows Parker Brown, the mastermind behind wedding planning company Vows, as she falls for mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh—her opposite. Learn more from Roberts herself:
Have you been waiting to say "I do" to Happy Ever After? (Sorry! Couldn't help it.)
What book trailers are you buzzing about this week?