While Bill has been busy reading a horrific horror novel, I’ve had the enjoyable pleasure of a good solid mystery by author, Jerrilyn Farmer. Even though this book was written in 2003, it has all the fun of reality food shows. Who doesn’t love “Next Iron Chef”, “Chopped”, or “Next Food Network Star”, and of course there’s all those people driving around in their food trucks.
Madeline Bean owns her own catering service, Mad Bean, and times are tough. She caters to the Hollywood crowd and is in the middle of planning the Food Freak’s wrap party. Food Freak is a television show that combines recipe cook-offs and food quizzes. Supposedly closing out their last show, Madeline finds they’ve been offered one more show and it’s going to be a doosey. Apparently the show’s head writer has taken a hike and Maddie’s offered a writing job to fill in until he can be found.
The fun and mystery begin, Maddie meets up with some crazy characters; including Chef Howie, and cougar wife Fate; Artie, TV production manager and sometime tyrant; sheep with very interesting names; Wednesday night murders (on schedule with the show) and also plenty of clues to uncover in a library of cookbooks. Farmer, who has written for game shows such as Jeopardy and Supermarket Sweep, does a great job with game show detail, and live audience productions.
I thought it was a delightful read, with plenty of substance to keep me from being annoyed at fellow airplane travellers (maybe Alec Baldwin could use a better book on his next flight). Look forward to reading more by Jerrilyn Farmer about Maddie Bean and her catering company.
Library Journal’s BookSmack has issued the beginning of their Book Blitz lists. It looks like the Reviews site has been updated. Nice look. These are the folks who know what people like to read. They look for titles that satisfy. How do they decide? Eight different library journal editors get together and hash out the top ten lists. Apparently they’ve learned how to build a consensus (something other folks might want to work on). First lists out are the all important fiction lists, then Dec. 1st we’ll get the Core Nonfiction, How-To, Graphic Novels and YA lit for Adults lists.
Look to see what you’ve already read, what you missed, or what might make that perfect want on your Christmas list.
I just checked out from my library. Anderton, Jo. Debris. Angry Robot. (Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780857661548. pap. $7.99.
Set in a world where mental powers construct fabulous works of engineering and architecture, this series opener revolves around a young woman who can use her abilities to destroy and build. An accomplished debut reminiscent of the visionary works of China Miéville. (LJ 10/15/11)
Happy Holiday reading.
OK, so the National Book Award folks (the National Book Foundation) have short-listed the finalists. Here’s a link from my favorite GalleyCat to give you a free sampling of the titles. And of course, there’s controversy, I love controversy over a subject that very few people know about or ever give a second thought.
First, Laura Miller at Salon.com calls the entire list irrelevant. Go Laura! Here’s a good quote from the piece, “Although the judges for the NBAs change every year, the sense that the fiction jury is locked in a frustrating impasse with the press and the public is eternal.” And for the sports fans reading this blog, no we don’t mean the National Basketball Association. It seems to be the National Book Award folks aren’t interested in anything popular. So if it’s smart and literary and has a large group of reader fans then it looks like you can just forget the big prize.
Said very well by Ms. Miller, “If you categorically rule out books that a lot of people like, you shouldn’t be surprised when a lot of people don’t like the books you end up with.” Why is the literary community and the reading public so different? Don’t authors want to have readers? and does it say something negative about a book when a lot of people enjoy it.
Controversy, number two. If having a list of titles that people aren’t exactly cheering about isn’t bad enough, they announced the wrong young adult writer as a finalist! Graciously Lauren Myracle and her book Shine, took her name off the list after being mistaken for Franny Billingsley‘s Chime.
NBF is blaming it on a communication problem. Judges say Chime and it sounds like Shine. What? No doubt they handled it badly, first putting her on by mistake, then saying she can stay and then taking her off for good.
What do you think about this NBA debacle?
Sharing this email from Nimrod International Journal (Tulsa)
Greetings from Nimrod International Journal! This is a reminder that there’s still time to sign up for Nimrod’s Conference for Readers and Writers, this year on October 22nd at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you haven’t signed up already, we hope that you will!
This year’s workshop will feature sessions on fiction, poetry, YA fantasy, memoir, finding a literary agent, and starting a school literary journal, as well as panel discussions and readings. You can also sign up to have a one-on-one editing workshop with a member of the Nimrod board of editors. Key guests include National Book Award finalists and novelists Amy Bloom and Ron Hansen, celebrated poets Linda Pastan, Nikky Finney, and Cheryl Pallant, YA fantasy writer Patricia C. Wrede, memoirist, poet and fiction writer Jennifer Clement, and over thirty others.
The cost is $50.00, but scholarships are available. To register to receive a scholarship, please send in your completed registration form, 2-3 sample pages of your writing, a note requesting a scholarship, and $10 for lunch, which includes a reading by David Amy Bloom and Linda Pastan.
If you have any questions, or for registration forms, please contact nimrod at utulsa.edu. You can also visit our website for a printable registration form at www.utulsa.edu/nimrod
We also hope that you’ll join us for a special pre-workshop event on Tuesday, October 11th. In honor of Ron Hansen’s appearance at the conference, we’ll be showing The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford at Gilcrease museum at 6 p.m. A panel discussion on “The Timely Romance of the American West” will precede the screening. The entire event is free and open to the public.
I hope to see you in October!
Nimrod’s Managing Editor
I have always heard good things about this workshop, so you wannabe writers, and literary readers, get going and sign up. I go to writers panels and workshops, even though I’ll probably never write anything, just to hear authors discuss their craft. It’s great fun, you find out all kinds of information about those folks you read, and it leads to new folks to read. Nice way to dip your toes in the writing pool without leaving Oklahoma.
As we celebrate game day tomorrow, take a look around at the history of Oklahoma sports. First, make a quick stop at the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture’s entry on Sports. My favorite story about Oklahoma sports is our rejection of Steinbeck’s Okie portrayal in Grapes of Wrath resulting in the great OU football programs.
The Great Depression, along with the out-migration of many Oklahomans to California, an episode brought to national attention by John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, created an image that many Oklahomans felt was undeserved. In 1945 the University of Oklahoma’s board of regents discussed the state’s morale and felt hiring a good football coach and enticing returning World War II soldiers could instill a sense of pride in the state.
Recent quote from CBS news:
Growing up Okie, I know my grandmother was none too pleased with Steinbeck or the name Okie for many years. She finally accepted Okie but never Mr. Steinbeck.
But it’s fall so we’re back to football, and so that Okie Reads remains impartial (but not in her real life) I need to highlight Pat Jones’ Tales from Oklahoma State football, written with Tulsa World sports editor, Jimmie Tramel. Who doesn’t love Barry Sanders?
And our sports legend that remains non-bedlam, would be Jim Thorpe. We’re very fortunate to have Kate Buford’s Native American Son: the Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe.
Hope these examples take you away from the television for a few minutes, lots of great books on Oklahoma sports greats, and the game (whichever game that would be).
Today, however, it’s Football, Football, Football.
Dian Curtis Regan’s latest childrens book is The Snow Blew Inn.
This is a great little story about the value of generosity and inclusion. It’s a cold winter night and folks are flocking to the Snow Blew Inn, so many folks that it becomes full, full, full. Little kittie Emma is waiting and watching for her cousin Abby to get there for a sleepover. Can she make room for one more guest? It’s a lesson for us all, and would be particularly nice for a Christmas gift for a young one. Either as a read-aloud or for 6-8 year olds to enjoy on their own.
Doug Cushman does a great job with the illustrations, cute, cute.
If you want to know about Dian’s other book, Cam’s Quest for the young adult crowd, check out this interview with B.J. Williams. And more interesting information about the author from Author Turf
Flew to Washington D.C. last week, the trials of flying we all know too well. I always try to take an easy, enjoyable read, usually a fun little mystery. So before I left I hunted through my books, located a Margaret Moseley, purchased at a Full Circle bookstore sale. Margaret was born in Oklahoma and you’ve probably know her for Bonita Faye, which was a finalist for the Edgar Award, in 1996.
This time my read was Margaret Moseley’s Grinning in His Mashed Potatoes, starring Honey Huckleberry (not so strange I have cousins with the same last name). Honey is a representative for several book publishers. She markets and promotes their titles to locally run bookstores. She and her best friend Janie are at a fund-raising event when best selling author and guest of honor, Twyman Towerie takes a bite of his dessert and falls face first into his mashed potatoes. Honey, of course, is seated next to him. He has a lot of ex-wives, four to be exact, who would gladly put a little something in his lemon meringue. One is on her way to revealing a ”tell-all” memoir and even the large diamond Twyman tried to bribe her with isn’t working. And the plot thickens….
Since the book was written in 1999 it’s interesting to observe the emergence of computers, and smile at our reluctant acceptance of technology that we can no longer even imagine doing without. Great plane fare, clever and fun, take an Okie on the road with you next time.
Letters About Literature Writing Competition Announced
The Oklahoma Center for the Book, located in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, has announced the national Letters About Literature (LAL) writing competition for the 2011-2012 academic school year.
Sponsored by the Library of Congress and Target Corporation, LAL offers students fourth grade through twelfth grade the opportunity to write a letter to an author (living or dead) from any genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, contemporary or classic–explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.
“Most everyone can relate to a favorite book or character,” said Oklahoma Center for the Book Executive Director Connie Armstrong. “Yet, not everyone responds to a particular book the same way. This program allows students to express how he or she as an individual relates to the book.”
Last year, approximately 70,000 students participated in the national writing contest. Oklahoma tripled its student participation. Three competition levels are offered: Level I for students in grades 4 through 6, Level II for students in grades 7 and 8, and Level III for students in grades 9 through 12.
Next spring, winning students from around the state, along with their parents, teachers, family, and friends will attend an awards ceremony sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. State winners will receive a Target gift card and cash prizes. The first place state winners will advance to the national competition, where six national winners and twelve national honorable mention winners will be announced.
The national winners will receive a $500 Target gift card, and will secure a $10,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in his/her name for a community or school library. The national honorable mention winners will receive a $100 Target gift care, and will secure a $1,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in his/her name for a community or school library.
Letters will be accepted September 15, 2011, through January 10, 2012. For more information regarding the program and to download an entry form log on to www.lettersaboutliterature.org.
I just saw Michael Wallis on Jon Stewart and he did us proud, talking about his David Crockett book. He even mentioned he lives in Oklahoma. It was great. And remember Young Bill included him on one of the Library Youtube Breaks. You can tell Bill and I are big Michael Wallis fans, and the biggest reason I’m his fan is he appreciates the real history of Oklahoma and the West.
ABE Books is a great place to find out of print books. Thousands of book sellers at your fingertips. Enjoy.