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Last Friday, The Book Report Network’s Carol Fitzgerald, Nicole Sherman and I took some time out of our busy schedules to treat ourselves to a day at Random House for their Spring Open House event. My dear friends --- and avid readers --- Vivian Payton, Elena Payton and Mary Wegner were also in attendance, as was Carol’s friend, Beverley Wilson. This was my fifth time attending the event, and, as always, it did not disappoint.
Martha Hall Kelly’s debut novel, LILAC GIRLS --- the remarkable story of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom and second chances ---was inspired by a real-life World War II heroine. Turns out, it’s not only her writing that was inspired by a strong woman; her reading was, as well. Here, Martha talks about her late mother, who prioritized reading in her own life, and passed on to her children and grandchildren a great love for all books --- although none so much as E. B. White’s classic CHARLOTTE’S WEB.
For Helen Simonson --- the bestselling author of MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND --- reading was a beloved family ritual, one that included weekly trips to the library and chores done in exchange for an extra hour with a book. Thanks in no small part to her mother, Helen passed on her love of books to her own children…even if they’re not always surprised by the rectangular-shaped gifts she gives. Her latest novel, THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR --- a love story set on the eve of World War I --- is now available.
Elizabeth J. Church practiced law for over 30 years, and her debut novel, THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE, is proof that it’s never too late to pursue one’s dreams. It’s a moving story of ambition and identity, and the women who sacrificed their careers so that their husbands could pursue their own. It’s also a story that will ring familiar to any woman who has had to choose between what she loves and who she loves. Elizabeth’s own mother, a brilliant biologist, faced similar obstacles, but was ultimately able to pursue her own dreams --- and encourage a fierce, ever-growing love of reading in her daughter along the way.
We are very excited to kick off our seventh annual Mother’s Day Author Blog series with Viola Shipman --- award-winning memoirist Wade Rouse, writing under a pen name --- whose debut novel, THE CHARM BRACELET, couldn’t be a more perfect place to start. It’s the story of three women who rediscover the importance of family as an heirloom charm bracelet changes their lives. Here, Viola warmly recounts early memories of reading with her mother and grandmothers, women who inspired not only her love of books, but her first novel as well.
Last weekend hundreds of book lovers flocked to beautiful historic Savannah, Georgia, for the Ninth Annual Savannah Book Festival. With venues situated around Telfair, Wright and Chippewa Squares, the Savannah Book Festival welcomes both fiction and nonfiction authors and readers of all ages who would like to see their favorite authors and add new titles to their reading lists.
For our final Holiday Author Blog, we’re featuring Melanie Benjamin, the New York Times bestselling author of THE AVIATOR'S WIFE. On January 26th, she’ll return with THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a triumphant new novel about New York’s “Swans” of the 1950s --- and the scandalous, headline-making and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley. Although she writes about glamorous big-city adventures, Melanie’s own childhood adventures were a bit more modest: books were usually borrowed, and buying for keeps required a trip to the mall, where the only books in stock were blockbusters in which she had no interest. Everything changed, though, when a little catalog serendipitously showed up in her mailbox one day.
Internationally bestselling author Linwood Barclay knows a thing or two about what makes a book a page-turner…or not. In his Holiday Author Blog, the BROKEN PROMISE author muses on the existential conundrum of the coffee table book. Has anyone ever read one front to back? Is it a crime to put them on bookshelves? And why do we keep making fruitcakes if no one really likes eating them? Linwood attempts to answer all these questions --- and more --- just in time for the holidays. Look for his forthcoming book, FAR FROM TRUE, the second book in the Promise Falls trilogy, in stores on March 8th. You can place it wherever you want, so long as you read it.
Bestselling horror author Ania Ahlborn has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her latest book, BROTHER, is a terrifying tale about a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional --- and deeply disturbing --- traditions. Some traditions, though --- like giving and receiving books --- can be a little less sadistic. Here, Ania describes her favorite books to find under the tree, books that are dark and menacing and provide a much-needed shock of adrenaline during the wholesome holiday season.
Sloane Crosley is perhaps best known for her sharply observed bestselling novels, her smart and frequent contributions to the New York Times, and her sense of humor, which David Sedaris once described as “perfectly, relentlessly funny.” In her Holiday Author Blog, Sloane remembers the first and second best books she ever received for Christmas --- against all odds, actually, considering she’s Jewish. Her own book, THE CLASP, which came out in October, is the heartfelt character-driven drama and a madcap adventure about three friends struggling to fit together now that their lives haven't gone as planned.