Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sometimes Love Is Blind and Deaf But Still Very True

A captivating novel that explores the little-known romance of a beloved American icon

Helen Keller has long been a towering figure in the pantheon of world heroines. Yet the enduring portrait of her in the popular imagination is The Miracle Worker, which ends when Helen is seven years old.

Rosie Sultan’s debut novel imagines a part of Keller’s life she rarely spoke of or wrote about: the man she once loved. When Helen is in her thirties and Annie Sullivan is diagnosed with tuberculosis, a young man steps in as a private secretary. Peter Fagan opens a new world to Helen, and their sensual interactions—signing and lip-reading with hands and fingers—quickly set in motion a liberating, passionate, and clandestine affair. It’s not long before Helen’s secret is discovered and met with stern disapproval from her family and Annie. As pressure mounts, the lovers plot to elope, and Helen is caught between the expectations of the people who love her and her most intimate desires.

Richly textured and deeply sympathetic, Sultan’s highly inventive telling of a story Keller herself would not tell is both a captivating romance and a rare glimpse into the mind and heart of an inspirational figure.

Jackie says:
"I've been fascinated by Helen Keller my whole life, reading bio after bio after bio about her.  While this book is a work of historical fiction, there is a historical base to it--Helen Keller did indeed have a short love affair in the fall of 1916 with Peter Fagan, a failed reporter who was hired to be Keller's assistant when Anne Sullivan became too ill with what was suspected to be tuberculosis.  Keller was still relentlessly touring, a  proud Socialist and against the war, donating money to blinded soldiers in any war even though she was broke and on the verge of losing her own home.  At 37, Keller dared to dream of love and a family of her own, and Sultan images that, for a brief while, that dream nearly came true.  This is a page turning story of family and political dynamics, a postcard of a time when women had fewer choices (especially if they were deaf and blind and extremely feisty) and the need of love that we all feel.  I found this to be a fascinating and impressive first novel from a writer I will now be keeping an eye out for."

Some Recommendations On The Craft of Writing from The Lighthouse Writers Workshop

What If? is the first handbook for writers based on the idea that specific exercises are one of the most useful and provocative methods for mastering the art of writing fiction. With more than twenty-five years of experience teaching creative writing between them, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter offer more than seventy-five exercises for both beginners and more experienced writers. These exercises are designed to develop and refine two basic skills: writing like a writer and, just as important, thinking like a writer. They deal with such topics as discovering where to start and end a story; learning when to use dialogue and when to use indirect discourse; transforming real events into fiction; and finding language that both sings and communicates precisely. What If? will be an essential addition to every writer's library, a welcome and much-used companion, a book that gracefully borrows a whisper from the muse.

All narrative writing must pull from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform event, deliver a bit of wisdom. In a story or a novel the "I" who tells this tale can be, and often is, an unreliable narrator but in nonfiction the reader must always be persuaded that the narrator is speaking truth.

How does one pull from one's own boring, agitated self the truth-speaker who will tell the story a personal narrative needs to tell? That is the question The Situation and the Story asks--and answers. Taking us on a reading tour of some of the best memoirs and essays of the past hundred years, Gornick traces the changing idea of self that has dominated the century, and demonstrates the enduring truth-speaker to be found in the work of writers as diverse as Edmund Gosse, Joan Didion, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, or Marguerite Duras.

This book, which grew out of fifteen years teaching in MFA programs, is itself a model of the lucid intelligence that has made Gornick one of our most admired writers of nonfiction. In it, she teaches us to write by teaching us how to read: how to recognize truth when we hear it in the writing of others and in our own.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

If you write, you know what it's like. Insight and creativity - the desire to push the boundaries of your writing - strike when you least expect it. And you're often in no position to act: in the shower, driving the kids to the middle of the night.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany offers more than 200 intriguing writing exercises designed to help you think, write, and revise like never before - without having to wait for creative inspiration. Brian Kiteley, noted author and director of the University of Denver's creative writing program, has crafted and refined these exercises through 15 years of teaching experience.

You'll learn how to: Transform staid and stale writing patterns into exciting experiments in fictionShed the anxieties that keep you from reaching your full potential as a writerCraft unique ideas by combining personal experience with unrestricted imaginationExamine and overcome all of your fiction writing concerns, from getting started to writer's block Open the book, select an exercise, and give it a try. It's just what you need to craft refreshing new fiction, discover bold new insights, and explore what it means to be a writer.

It's never too early to start--not even 3 A.M.

Nothing is more inspiring for a beginning writer than listening to masters of the craft talk about the writing life. But if you can’t get Vladimir Nabokov, Virginia Woolf, and Gabriel García Márquez together at the Algonquin, The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop gives you the next best thing. Stephen Koch, former chair of Columbia University’s graduate creative writing program, presents a unique guide to the craft of fiction. Along with his own lucid observations and commonsense techniques, he weaves together wisdom, advice, and inspiring commentary from some of our greatest writers. Taking you from the moment of inspiration (keep a notebook with you at all times), to writing a first draft (do it quickly! you can always revise later), to figuring out a plot (plot always serves the story, not vice versa), Koch is a benevolent mentor, glad to dispense sound advice when you need it most. The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop belongs on every writer’s shelf, to be picked up and pored over for those moments when the muse needs a little help finding her way.

 "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was  ten years old at the time, was trying to get a  report on birds written that he'd had three months to  write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen  table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper  and pencils and unopened books on birds,  immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my  father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'"

TC Tidbit: The 2012 Lighthouse Writer's Lit Fest Is About To Begin!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lunch With Diana Abu-Jaber

There is a lot to be said for being a bookseller, even in these uncertain days of massive changes in the publishing industry and an unstable economy.  Books are always there for you. Whatever genre or format you choose, their comfort and enrichment continue on.  We wouldn't have books without authors, of course, and some of us are very lucky to work at a bricks-and-mortar independent bookstore that hosts many, many on-site author events. And some lucky bloggers, a group I'm happily a part of, get some quiet time with authors to talk about books, writing, publishing and whatever else comes up.

Most recently I was able to sit down for a relaxed lunch with author Diana Abu-Jaber, along with her publisher's rep from W. W. Norton Meg Sherman and Tattered Cover's Social Media Maven Patty Miller, to chat before her evening event at our Colfax Avenue store.  She is a natural storyteller with  a wicked sense of humor, telling us tales of her daughter and  some pretty strange neighbors' tropical birds that became the inspiration for part of Birds of Paradise.

Denver was the last stop on her book tour for the paperback edition of Birds of Paradise.  She's been on the road quite a bit, but admitted that she really loves traveling and meeting all kinds of people.  She says that writing is a solitary thing, but she's not a solitary sort of person, "I need to get out at least once a day or I just go crazy."  She is on sabbatical this year from Portland State University where she is a professor in the English Department,  headquartering at her Miami home while she works on her next book.

She's currently working on what she like to call "an non-erotic un-thriller" that is proving very different, but very fun, to write.  Between writing and doing "field work" for the book, she says she "loves to give dinner parties."  She is very much a foody, and even  writes about it to some extent, but says that the more she writes about it, the less she actually cooks.  We had to ask..."No, writing an erotic novel does NOT have the same effect" on her life (said with a slight blush and a impish grin).

She credits a great deal of her success to having found and maintained a wonderful editor, Alane Mason, whom she describes as "naturally an evil mastermind/genius" with which she has a "nice, fear-based  relationship."  Mason believed in her from the get-go, and their  pairing as provided us all with some very amazing books.  Learn about them all  by clicking on the book covers below.


It May Just Be the Greatest Story Never Told

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
comes Unholy Night, the next evolution in dark historical revisionism.
They're an iconic part of history's most celebrated birth. But what do we really know about the Three Kings of the Nativity, besides the fact that they followed a star to Bethlehem bearing strange gifts? The Bible has little to say about this enigmatic trio. But leave it to Seth Grahame-Smith,with his brilliant and twisted mind, to take a little mystery, bend a little history, and weave an epic tale.

In Grahame-Smith's telling, the so-called "Three Wise Men" are infamous thieves, led by the dark, murderous Balthazar. After a daring escape from Herod's prison, they stumble upon the famous manger and its newborn king. The last thing Balthazar needs is to be slowed down by young Joseph, Mary and their infant. But when Herod's men begin to slaughter the first born in Judea, he has no choice but to help them escape to Egypt.

It's the beginning of an adventure that will see them fight the last magical creatures of the Old Testament; cross paths with biblical figures like Pontius Pilate and John the Baptist; and finally deliver them to Egypt. It may just be the greatest story never told.

TC Tidbit: Some Very Interesting Book Art

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cathy's "Not Your Teacher's Summer Reading List"

A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.

In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....

In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced back together again?

Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story, rich with emotion and filled with family, love, and self-discovery.

The electrifying conclusion to the epic young adult science fiction series that began with The Comet’s Curse
Council leader Triana Martell has returned from her journey through the mysterious wormhole, but she isn’t alone. She is accompanied by the ambassador of an alien race—the Dollovit. While the Council and crew of Galahad struggle to come to terms with the existence of the Dollovit, the ship begins to flounder. The radiation shields threaten to fail, damaged by the appearance of multiple wormholes. The Dollovit have a proposal for the crew: an offer of assistance that could be their only hope for survival. But their offer comes with an astronomical price. Beset with doubts and surrounded by danger, can Triana and her crew find a way to reach their destination—a new home for the human race? 

Have you ever said to yourself, Wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective?

This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious.

When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.

When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her: She knows that other humans exist because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.”

Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout display another dimension of the tale, and readers with webcams can also view Augmented Reality that reveals additional information about Eva Nine’s world. Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space-age adventure—one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong.

Before there was a Mysterious Benedict Society, there was simply a boy named Nicholas Benedict. Meet the boy who started it all....
Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments. Now he's being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances -- and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he has one important thing in his favor: He's a genius.

On his quest to solve the mystery, Nicholas finds enemies around every corner, but also friends in unexpected places -- and discovers along the way that the greatest puzzle of all is himself.

When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

 I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

2000 Years of History in 10 Reenactments

Confederates in the Attic meets The Year of Living Biblically in a funny and original memoir
In Arkansas, there is a full-scale Roman fort with catapults and ramparts. In Colorado, nearly a hundred men don Nazi uniforms to fight the battle of Stalingrad. On the St. Lawrence River, a group of dedicated history buffs row more slowly than they can walk—along with author Charlie Schroeder, who is sweating profusely and cursing the day he got a book deal.

Taking readers on a figurative trip through time and a literal journey across America, Man of War details an ordinary guy's attempt to relearn history by experiencing it. Embedding with his fellow countrymen, Charlie Schroeder jumps headlong into the idiosyncratic world of historical reenactment. From encounters with wildlife and frostbite to learning more than he ever expected about guns, ammo, and buttons, Schroeder takes readers to the front lines of bloodless battles in order to show exactly how much the past has to teach us all about our present (and explain why anyone would choose to wear wool in a heat wave).

TC Tidbit: "You never know when you’re going to be ready for a particular book. "

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Book Is Born At Tattered Cover

The Tattered Cover Press Located at our Historic Lodo Store
It's an Espresso Book Machine.
We can download digital files or PDFs here and start the press.
This is author Pat McNulty, anxiously awaiting his book to be born.

And so it begins.  It only takes about 5 minutes per book.

Chuck Rugh, TC's EMP Whisperer, watches over the process to make sure all is well.
It's amazingly quiet for how fast it's printing.
Here you can see the full color cover for the book printing on archival photo paper.
And  voila!  A book is born!
We can print a single book or several hundred--whatever the author needs.

Whenever we are printing, which is most weekday afternoons, it always draws the curious.  We welcome all to come to the store and check it out for themselves!

To order a copy of this book click HERE.

How Bestsellers Work

“Passionately and thoroughly entertaining....Hall examines 12 of the most successful novels of the 20th century and ‘reverse-engineer[s]’ them, mining their separate defining qualities and their comparative appeal to readers…Referential and cleverly elucidated, the book raises many good points about the precise methodology of bestselling novels.”
--Kirkus Reviews

What do Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan, and Scout Finch have in common? Creative writing professor and thriller writer James W. Hall knows. Now, in this entertaining, revelatory book, he reveals how bestsellers work, using twelve twentieth-century blockbusters as case studies—including The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws. From tempting glimpses inside secret societies, such as submariners in The Hunt for Red October, and Opus Dei in The Da Vinci Code, to vivid representations of the American Dream and its opposite—the American Nightmare—in novels like The Firm and The Dead Zone, Hall identifies the common features of mega-bestsellers. Including fascinating and little-known facts about some of the most beloved books of the last century, Hit Lit is a must-read for fiction lovers and aspiring writers alike, and makes us think anew about why we love the books we love.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Read an article about the book HERE.

TC Tidbit: Goodreads on The Fifty States of Grey

Thank You

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Clegg's spare, nearly minimalist style complements the drama inherent in his material: it's addition through subtraction. . . .With understated craft, Clegg has written a harrowing story." --Publishers Weekly

The goal is ninety. Just ninety clean and sober days to loosen the hold of the addiction that caused Bill Clegg to lose everything. With six weeks of his most recent rehab behind him he returns to New York and attends two or three meetings each day. It is in these refuges that he befriends essential allies including Polly, who struggles daily with her own cycle of recovery and relapse, and the seemingly unshakably sober Asa.

At first, the support is not enough: Clegg relapses with only three days left. Written with uncompromised immediacy, Ninety Days begins where Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man ends-and tells the wrenching story Clegg's battle to reclaim his life. As any recovering addict knows, hitting rock bottom is just the beginning.

Two Great New Books And One Chance To Meet The Author!!!

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals, Alyson Noël, comes Fateda breathtaking new saga brimming with magic, mystery, and an intoxicating love story that will steal your heart away. Meet The Soul Seekers.

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

See pictures from Noel's research trip to New Mexico.

Come meet Alyson Noel at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at our Highlands Ranch Store.
She will be reading from and discussing both Fated and Whisper and will happily sign any of her books for her fans.

More about Whisper
This time, Riley might really have bitten off more than she’s ready for. After practically begging the Council for a more challenging Soul Catch, she is assigned an actual Roman gladiator—Theocoles, the Pillar of Doom. How is Riley, a skinny twelve-year-old, supposed to get through to him? Then she meets the beautiful Messalina, who convinces her that her only chance is to become part of this world. To accomplish this, Messalina helps Riley through a dramatic, mystical makeover, transforming her into the beautiful and mature teen she’s always wanted to be. Finally, Riley can experience her first boyfriend and her first kiss. With a dream this enchanting, will she ever want to leave? 

TC Tidbit: Serious Authors In Not So Serious Photos

Saturday, May 26, 2012

“A brilliant collection of writings on politics, social and cultural engagement and literary life. . . . Read this book for its insights into Philip Roth, Joan Didion and Michael Chabon. . . . But even more, read it for its passion, its sense that criticism can take us to the heart of everything: aesthetic, emotional, spiritual, political.” —The Los Angeles Times

A landmark collection of essays on literature and culture from one of America's most beloved and influential critics.

Right up until his death in 2008, John Leonard was a lion in American letters. A passionate, erudite, and wide-ranging critic, he helped shape the landscape of modern literature. He reviewed the most celebrated writers of his age-from Kurt Vonnegut and Joan Didion to Thomas Pynchon and Michael Chabon. He also contributed many pieces on television, film, politics, and the media that still retain their freshness. Collected here are Leonard's best writings-many never before published in book form-on the cultural touchstones of a generation, each piece a testament to his sharp wit, fierce intelligence, and lasting love of the arts. The volume also includes remembrances by Leonard's friends, family, and colleagues, including Gloria Steinem and Victor Navasky.

Read the NY Daily Post's homage to the man,  The Lessons of John Leonard, HERE.

"A wise, witty travel adventure that packs a punch -- and one of the most entertaining and informative books I've read in years. Visit Sunny Chernobyl is a joy to read and will make you think." --Dan Rather

For most of us, travelling means visiting beautiful places - the bridges of Paris, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon. It's rare to book a plane ticket to visit the lifeless moonscape of Canada's oil sand strip mines, or to seek out the Chinese city of Linfen, the place with the highest recorded emissions on the planet. But in Visit Sunny Chernobyl, Andrew Blackwell embraces a different kind of travel, going on a jaunt through the most gruesomely polluted places on Earth.

From the hidden bars and convenience stores of a radioactive wilderness to the sacred but reeking waters of the Ganges in India, Visit Sunny Chernobyl couples first-hand descriptions with satire and analysis, making the case that it's time to start appreciating our planet as it is - not as we wish it would be. By turns irreverent and reflective, the book is a love letter to our biosphere's most tainted, most degraded ecosystems, and a measured consideration of what they mean for us.

Equal parts travelogue, exposé and environmental memoir, with a bit of guidebook thrown in, Visit Sunny Chernobyl careens through a rogue's gallery of environmental disaster areas in search of the worst the world has to offer - and in the process, it approaches a deeper understanding of what's really happening to our planet.

More pictures HERE.