I hope they go in this direction…
We’ll debate about books under-noticed or too much noticed, and celebrate writers we’ve returned to again and again. We’ll recommend and we’ll theorize.
However I hope they’re not going down the road of the New York Review of Books, which seems to have less to do with books than the people writing the essays.
By the way, we hope you realize that “Site of the Week” really means “Site of Whenever We Get Around to It.” (It was much easier to type that sentence than redo the graphic!)
Young Bill Young and I are trying to get back to some normal posting schedule. Unfortunately, we have this thing called a “job” that gets in the way sometimes.
Happy reading, everyone!
I love summer, and since Oklahoma can’t seem to decide what season we’re in, I’m declaring it summer. So I’ve put aside my chores, and my computer how-to manuals and I’m reading for fun. Started with David Handler’s The Boy Who Never Grew Up, which despite the fact the book was written in 1992, Hollywood looks much the same as it does now. Stewart Hoag, ghost writer extrodinaire, has been sent to help Matthew Wax, movie mogul, get over the imminent collapse of his marriage by writing his memoirs. His wife is writing her own, and we’ve got the “he said, she said” war emerging. Wax is quite literally pulling his hair out over his lady love, Pennyroyal. Hoag has plenty to deal with, adolescent grown-ups, crazy ambitious actresses, and toss in some arson and racy photos and you’ve got the idea. I almost forgot Lulu, a charmer for all dog lovers. The mystery parts are well developed, the ending is a suprise and you meet one Hollywood character after another.
Then of course, I found a Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden I hadn’t read. How is that even possible. Poppy Done to Death. Poppy, Aurora’s sister-in-law, is about to be accepted into the prestigious “Uppity Women Book Club.” Before she can accept this honor, she’s murdered in her own kitchen and Aurora discovers the body. There’s lots of infidelity going on, with desperate housewives and husbands on the prowl. It’s hard to find anyone still faithful to their partner. In little Lawrenceton, Georgia, the saying “no one really knows anyone”, couldn’t be truer.
Aurora has a new love interest since the death of her husband, Martin. And the relationship is moving along in surprising ways. Her half brother Phillip, provides an unexpected visit, and adds to her personal narrative. Charlaine Harris is always a good cozy read. Interesting characters, strong Southern charm, and a mystery to keep you reading until the end. Grab your sweet tea and put your feet up for this one.
Debuting at Number 9 on the Indie Bestseller List for the week of March 18th in Non-Fiction Hardcover is Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. Surely everyone in the State knows about Ree Drummond and her fabulous blog. Now a new cookbook………
On her site, there are cookbook giveaway announcements from her online friends. She takes the best food pictures I’ve ever seen. Plus she has insights into producing great photography.
She has links to Pioneer Woman sites, her favorite sites and great food sites.
You can spend hours just admiring and looking at all the interesting and fun stuff. So check out a staple of Oklahoma, Ms. Ree Drummond.
“Poetry videos, short story videos, live readings, spoken work performance, audiobook links, animated storytelling videos, documentaries about writers, book trailers, author interviews, and anything else you can think up that combines literature and other media. “ (quote from GalleyCat)
Here’s an example from Reddit’s LitVideos (and it doesn’t hurt that there is a Cat on the page).
You’ll enjoy Joe Lansdale if you haven’t already.
Document of Expectations by Devon Abbott Mihesuah is a difficult review for me. Laying my cards on the table, I’m not Native American and this is definitely a book dealing with Native American issues. While the first part of the story is a straight forward mystery, with a strong Native American female character, academic politics, a dead professor and missing artifacts, the continued dwelling on Native American separatism, discrimination, and stereotypes makes the novel appear heavy handed with social messaging.
I liked Monique Blue Hawk as detective. Her handling of everyday work pressures was refreshing and tackled several gender and racial issues. The Department of Anthropology where anthropologist Tony Smoke Rise was murdered was certainly rife with overly ambitious, racist and professionally bankrupt individuals. Mihesuah handled issues of repatriation and cultural significance of ritual objects very well.
For me the novel went off the rails at Tony’s funeral. I’m all for justice dosed with a little revenge, but the finale just seemed way over the edge. It was almost comedic and did not serve to reinforce the issues Mihesuah had carefully brought to light earlier in the book. Sorry I can’t give this one two thumbs up, because I do think she is a very good writer.
If you’ve read Document of Expectations, do you agree with my review or do you have a different opinion?
Sara Sue Hoklotubbe’s second Sadie Walela mystery takes us to eastern Oklahoma for small town murder and mayhem. Sadie has decided to follow her dream of owning a restaurant and has purchased the Liberty Cafe from owner Goldie Ray. She’s going to rename the cafe after her great aunt’s place, The American Cafe.
First day of ownership sees Sadie threatened with a shotgun by the town’s crazy woman and saved by the local coffee regulars. She also learns Goldie Ray has been murdered. Not a very auspicious beginning to a new career.
The book is reminiscent of a Billie Letts novel, where seemingly diverse characters become family. And like all families they display both good and self-destructive behaviors. The novel is thick with family secrets and Sadie is challenged to find out the truth.
Oklahomans will appreciate the setting, and insights into Native American culture. This novel will hold your interest until the very end. It made me want to go back and re-read the first Sadie Walela mystery, Deception on All Accounts.
The American Cafe was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2011. Enjoy!
Note in the lists that “Robopocalypse: A Novel,” by Oklahoma Author Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday. is receiving an Alex Award. And Ready Player One is based in a futuristic, not entirely pleasant Oklahoma.
I’m reading Robopocalypse, and it starts out like a major motion picture. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good robot read.
Barnes & Noble has a page full of winner dust jackets and award summaries. Susan Cooper won the Margaret A. Edwards award and that makes me very happy, I think I’ve read all her books.
The National Book Critics Circle has announced the 2011 Awards finalists (publishing year 2011, given out in 2012). The video on their website is just weird, who takes a video from the side instead of from the front. Sound quality is bad. So just go on to the actual written announcement.
I always say I don’t like short stories, but maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, Wetzel’s stories took my breath away. Marlene Reed Wetzel was the winner of the PEN/Amazon.com Short Story Award for ‘A Map of Tripoli, 1967′. Fortunately this story is included in the anthology I’m reviewing, Strangers & Exiles. You can find quite a bit about her award winning story but very little else out on the Internet. It looks like the big bookstores don’t carry this book but you should be able to find it in a local book store or from the publisher.
Back to what I was going to say about the book. Strangers & Exiles tells the story of women inhabiting a world where they survive as strangers to their families, to their land, to their husbands and even to their bodies. Men come and go like desert mirages.
“There are only two kinds of men in the world,” Mantini says. “Men who pretend to love women before they marry, who actually love only themselves.” “The other,” he says, “never forgets from where he came.”
From childhood bullies, to abandonment abroad, the women survive, sifting through debris left by careless relationships and tragic circumstances. They are exiled to foreign countries and exiled at home. The stories provide an interesting introduction to the Middle East (Before Gadhafi) where the people are always on the verge of change, yet cling to an ancient way of life. I disagree with the quotes on the back cover. I don’t think of her women as “risk-takers” but rather women thrown into the quagmire and hanging on for dear life. Wetzel’s writing leaves you craving a new page, a new story. Images remain long after the final page.
Read this book by Oklahoma author Marlene Reed Wetzel, make yourself a believer in the power of short stories.
*Only negative, Out on a Limb Publishing allowed many careless publication errors. Wish publishers would do a final read before sending it to print.
GalleyCat is one of my favorite websites. They have all the best news from the Book Publishing Industry. Literary Kittie was so pleased to find their Annual Pet Parade. Send in your photos of your literary pets and next week they’ll start posting them.
Sticking with the GalleyCat theme. I just love a good reading list. The best of this, the best of that. But the notion of Favorite Overlooked Books of 2011 is a must have. Young Bill, please note Habibi is on their list. I would put Cheyenne Madonna by Eddie Chuculate on mine. New Hampshire Public Radio’s Word of Mouth got this conversation started. The link should start with QuickTime, give it a minute. Remember libraries also buy all those unsung gems and support authors.
I also think we forget to recommend and talk about books that are not current but we uncover in book piles, sale bins and library shelves throughout the year. Oldies but goodies.
This is your chance to tell what book you think was overlooked by all those reviewers, publishers, booksellers, and award givers.