Found a brand new Simon Brett, Fethering mystery, at the library and just finished it this weekend. Guns in the Gallery puts Fethering residents Carole and Jude right in the thick of family jealousy, ex-lovers, artistic temperments, and psychological problems.
Simon Brett is a master of the mystery plot. His stories keep you guessing right up to the end. I had a completely different person picked out as the murderer of young fragile Fennel Whittaker. Carole and Jude play off their opposite personalities as they investigate the various suspects.
The Cornelian Art Gallery kicks off a Private View, that starts more in motion than controversial art. The art show reveals a canvas of characters, boyfriends, ex-lovers, jealous siblings, parents needing parenting, and the townspeople of Fethering. Simon Brett mysteries are packed with plot twists and turns, leading you on with an Agatha Christie flair.
One of the best things about Simon Brett is his prolific writing. Choose from the Charles Paris, Mrs. Pageter, Fethering series, or the new series with Blotto and Twinks. Looks like it’s turning into a very British summer for me.
I09 broke the story of Ray Bradbury’s passing at the age of 91. Many generations got their first taste of extraordinary writing from timeless classics like Fahrenheit 451, Illustrated Man, .and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Even “non-readers” thrilled to his stories. The LA Times has more about the great man and some video clips.
Here’s a lovely video from The Big Read funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Ray Bradbury thoughts on books, reading and libraries.
Please enjoy and remember back to your first Ray Bradbury story or book.
Nothing makes me happier than finding a new Bryant & May, by Christopher Fowler. The Memory of Blood brings back the whole cast of characters from the Peculiar Crimes Unit. We are cleverly informed of their personalities and peccadillos from a “Wikileaks document”. Arthur St. John Bryant and John May are the senior detectives and solver of the most difficult crimes. This time Fowler uses London theatrical history to capture his audience.
Our host for the New Strand Theatre production, The Two Murderers, is the less than scrupulous entrepeneur, Robert Kramer. Combine him with an unhappy wife, unfaithful lovers, a set designer with an interest in torture chambers, a plagiarizing playwright, murderous puppets, and you’ve got a perfect Peculiar Crimes Unit story.
Nathan, baby of Robert and Judith Kramer is mysteriously strangled by Punch (of Punch & Judy fame) and tossed from the window. There we begin a string of deaths, with ties to The Two Murderers and the Punch and Judy characters. Twists and turns, as Bryant & May, and their team look to solve a hanging, death by Scold’s Bridle, and pitchfork. Even amid murder and mayhem, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments between characters.
A side story involves Arthur Bryant writing his memoirs and the mysterious demise of his editor, Anna Marquand, with national security implications, of course. Never a dull moment in a Christopher Fowler mystery.
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!
Kitty and I have been crazed by all of the activity at work, and we are so behind in our Okie Reads postings. We beg your patience as we try to return to some state of normality. (Although our colleague Rebecca reminds us that “normal” is just a setting on the dryer.)
The 23rd Annual Oklahoma Book Awards were held on April 14 in OKC, and the meteorologists’ dire predictions didn’t keep some 200 or so folks from gathering to celebrate Oklahoma authors and the best of Oklahoma books. During the evening, a theme for the night developed as presenters and medalists ascended to the podium.
“Storytellers” at the Oklahoma Book Awards: Wilkinson, Gensler, Galvan, Squires and Myers
It started when Master of Ceremonies Jay Wilkinson told stories about his father, Bud Wilkinson. (Jay’s new book revolves around 47 letters that his father sent him while the young Wilkinson was away at college and graduate school.) This prompted presenters Glenda Carlile and Revere Young to tell their own stories about the legendary OU football coach. (Carlile’s funny story was about accidentally disconnecting a call between Wilkinson and President Kennedy when she was a switchboard operator at OU.)
Sonia Gensler, Book Award Medalist in the Young Adult Category for The Revenant, talked about the culture and history of Oklahoma being a fertile ground for storytelling. Children’s Medalist Glenda Galvan was honored for her book on traditional Chickasaw stories. Constance Squires, Fiction Medalist for Along the Watchtower, told a story about the first time she attended an Oklahoma Book Award dinner—as a worker for the catering company servicing the event. And now, here she was at the same event, in very different circumstances.
Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.” — Robert McKee
When 2011 Poetry medalist Ben Myers introduced 2012 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award winner Anna Myers (his mom), the theme of story was front and center. Anna is an award-winning author of historical fiction for children and young adults, and she excels at making history relatable to young readers by telling her tales through the eyes of young protagonists. Anna knows that history is really made up of the stories of people who were alive to experience and play a part in the monumental events of our nation and our world.
In her acceptance speech, Anna cemented the theme of the evening by telling a story. When the author was discussing her book Assassin (about the conspiracy to kill President Abraham Lincoln) during a school visit, she noticed a girl who seemed to want to ask a question, but who held back. When the girl found a moment to speak to Anna one-on-one, she said, “I knew Lincoln had to die, but I kept hoping for a way out.” That, said Anna, is the power of story.
It’s easy to believe writer Robert McKee’s assertion that stories “are the currency of human contact.” Think of the stories we tell each other in day to day conversation, the family stories we each own that tell a history of events both odd and grand about our particular little tribe.
We are all storytellers; but when art meets storytelling, either through performance or the written word, whether fictional or historical, it has the power to transform us and our vision of the world. It can even make a little girl wonder if there is any way for Mr. Lincoln to survive.
The Book Awards inspire the Journal Record’s Ted Streuli to create an impromptu book week
It’s that time again! The Oklahoma Center for the Book will be honoring the best of 2011 Oklahoma books and authors on Saturday, April 14 at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum.
We’ll be honoring Young Adult author Anna Myers with the Center’s Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement, and we’ll also present an award to Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma for their Oklahoma Literary Landmarks project. And, of course, we’ll have the medalists in our five book categories. Gonna be a fun night!
Here’s the official press release…
Finalists Announced for 2012
Oklahoma Book Awards
Chandler Author Anna Myers is Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Thirty-five books have been chosen as finalists in the 23rd annual Oklahoma Book Award competition. Winners in the categories of fiction, poetry, design/illustration, children/young adult and non-fiction will be announced at the Oklahoma Book Awards banquet on Saturday, April 14, at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City. Author Jay Wilkinson, son of the University of Oklahoma’s legendary football coach, Bud Wilkinson, will serve as master of ceremonies.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the awards recognize books written the previous year by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma. Of the 35 book finalists, 25 are by authors, designers or illustrators who reside in Oklahoma. This year some 121 books were submitted in the competition.
In addition to the literary awards, Chandler resident and children’s book author Anna Myers will be presented with the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for Norman historian Arrell Gibson, who served as the first president of the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
Myers is the author of 19 novels for young people, all published by Walker Books of New York. Most of her books are historical fiction. The recipient of countless honors over the years, Myers’ awards include four Oklahoma Book Awards, New York Public Library’s Best Books for the Teenaged, New York Public Library’s Best 100 Books to Read and Share, Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books, Parent Choice Awards, the Crown Award by Christian Schools, the American Library Association’s Quick Pick List, Independent Book Sellers Pick of the List and being included more than 20 times on children’s choice lists for various states.
Born in White Face, Texas, Myers was the sixth child of an Oklahoma oilfield-worker father who had been temporarily transferred to west Texas. When Myers was only a few months old, the family moved back to Oklahoma.
Myers attended what is now the University of Central Oklahoma and became an English teacher, but always dreamed of being a writer. In 1969, she married Paul Myers, a poet whom she credits with having a great influence on her writing. The couple had three children, all born within four years, which Myers acknowledges somewhat slowed her journey to becoming a published author.
It took Myers seven years to sell her first book, which was published in 1992. Since then, she has produced a book a year.
In 1999, after 30 years of marriage, her husband Paul died of cancer.
But with the encouragement of her family, which now includes seven grandchildren, the resilient Myers has continued her writing. In 2002, she married John Calvin, a man with whom she had gone to high school. The couple now lives in a house, built in 1925, in Chandler.
The following books are finalists for the 2012 awards:
“Stealing Kevin’s Heart,” by M. Scott Carter of Oklahoma City, and published by The RoadRunner Press, Oklahoma City.
“Chikasha Stories, Volume 1: Shared Spirit,” by Glenda Galvan of Sulphur, and published by Chickasaw Press, Ada.
“The Revenant,” by Sonia Gensler of Norman, and published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York City.
“Hereafter,” by Tara Hudson of Choctaw, and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, N.Y.
“The Grave Robber’s Secret,” by Anna Myers of Chandler, and published by Walker & Co., New York, N.Y.
“The Snow Blew Inn,” by Dian Curtis Regan of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and published by Holiday House, New York, N.Y
“Mr. Duck Means Business,” by Tammi Sauer of Edmond, and published by Simon & Schuster, New York City.
“The Eugene B. Adkins Collection,” designed by Eric Anderson of Norman, and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
“Shooting from the Hip: Photographs and Essays by J. Don Cook,” designed by Julie Rushing and Tony Roberts, both of Norman, and published by OU Press, Norman.
“Route 66 Sightings,” photographed and designed by Shellee Graham, Jerry McClanahan, and Jim Ross, all of Arcadia; and published by Ghost Town Press, Arcadia.
“Forging a Nation: The American History Collection of Gilcrease Museum,” designed by Carol Haralson of Sedona, Ariz., photography by Robert S. Cross of Tulsa, and published by the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa.
“To Capture the Sun: Gold of Ancient Panama,” designed by Carol Haralson of Sedona, Ariz., photography by Robert S. Cross of Tulsa, and published by the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa.
“Ilimpa’chi’ (We’re Gonna Eat!): A Chickasaw Cookbook,” with photography by Sanford Mauldin of Norman; designed by Aaron Long of Sulphur and Skip McKinstry of Oklahoma City, and published by Chickasaw Press, Ada.
“Cold Glory,” by B. Kent Anderson of Oklahoma City, and published by Forge Books, New York, N.Y.
“Crying Blood,” by Donis Casey of Tempe, Ariz., and published by Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, Ariz..
“The American Café,” by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and published by the University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Ariz.
“Along The Watchtower,” by Constance Squires of Edmond, and published by Penguin Group, New York N.Y.
“Broken Wings,” by Carla Stewart of Tulsa, and published by Faith Words, Nashville, Tenn.
“Strangers & Exiles,” by Marlene Reed Wetzel of Tulsa, and published by Out on a Limb Publishing, Tulsa.
“Dandelion Summer,” by Lisa Wingate of Clifton, Texas, and published by Penguin Group, New York, N.Y.
“The Oklahoma State Capitol: A History of Our Seat of Government,” by Bob Burke of Oklahoma City and Charles Ford of Tulsa, and published by Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund Inc. and Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City.
“The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People’s Perseverance,” by Ellen Cushman of Okemos, Mich., and published by OU Press, Norman.
“Stories of Old-Time Oklahoma,” by David Dary of Norman, and published by OU Press, Norman.
“Forging a Nation: The American History Collection at Gilcrease Museum,” by Amanda Lett, Randy Ramer, Kimberly Roblin, and Eric Singleton, all of Tulsa, and published by the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa.
“Dynamic Chickasaw Women,” by Judy Goforth Parker and Phillip Carroll Morgan, both of Sulphur, and published by Chickasaw Press, Ada.
“An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears,” by Daniel Blake Smith of St. Louis, Mo., and published by Henry Holt & Co., New York City.
“David Crockett: The Lion of the West,” by Michael Wallis of Tulsa, and published by W.W. Norton & Co., New York City.
“The Wild West 365,” by Michael Wallis of Tulsa, and published by Abrams Books, New York, N.Y.
“Will Rogers: A Political Life,” by Richard D. White Jr. of Baton Rouge, La., and published by Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas
“The River White: A Confluence of Brush & Quill,” by Ken Hada of Ada, and published by Mongrel Empire Press, Norman.
“Depending on the Weather,” by Abigail Keegan of Oklahoma City, and published by Village Books Press, Cheyenne.
Leaving Holes & Selected New Writings,” by Joe Dale Tate Nevaquaya of Norman, and published by Mongrel Empire Press, Norman.
“Hail Mary, On Two,” by Jim Spurr of Shawnee, and published by Village Books Press, Cheyenne.
“Dreaming Sam Peckinpah,” by W.K. Stratton of Round Rock, Texas, and published by Ink Brush Press, Temple, Texas.
“In the Shadow of Asclepius: Poems from American Medicine,” by Howard F. Stein of Oklahoma City, and published by Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, Ind.
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.