Sunday Salon ~ August 31st, 2008

I hope this long weekend has most if not all of you enjoying yourselves and getting some good reading in.  My thoughts are with the people on the Gulf Coast and in Cuba who are dealing with or are preparing for Hurricane Gustav this weekend.  Three years after Katrina, hopefully history will not repeat itself. 

On to business… I finished reading Kerry Cohen’s Loose Girl on Friday and will be posting my review along with a great guest post by Kerry herself in coming days.  I enjoyed it but not in a fun read type of way.  It’s serious, depressing, interesting and memorable reading that I think every teenager and early twenty year-old should read or be presented an abridged version of.  It definitely would have helped me out as I was growing up and learning about boys and myself. 

Yesterday I started Allison Winn Scotch’s upcoming release, Time of My Life.  So far it’s pretty good but it’s been hard to concentrate because of the holiday weekend and the little things that have come up.  Hanging out with the hubby, going to brunch this morning, our new purchase of Guitar Hero Aerosmith Edition and getting my ass handed to me by the hubby in a game of Scrabble.  How can you possibly win when he starts off the game with HEX and twenty-six points?!

Later today (tomorrow for me since it’s almost bed time this Sunday night) I will be hosting a book giveaway as I team up with author Joshua Henkin again.  His novel Matrimony just came out in paperback and Joshua wants to make sure someone wins a copy here at Planet Books. 

So, on that note, I bid you “good night” and I’ll see you soon!

Book Review ~ The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau

Summary: The Summer of Naked Swim Parties ~ Fourteen-year-old Jamie will never forget the summer of 1976.  It’s the summer when she has her first boyfriend, cute surfer Flip Jenkins; it’s the summer when her two best friends get serious about sex, cigarettes, and tanning; it’s the summer when her parents throw, yes, naked swim parties, leaving Jamie flushed with embarrassment.  And it’s the summer that forever changes the way Jamie sees the things that matter: family, friendship, love and herself.

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau is a time capsule from the summer of 1976, our country’s bicentennial year.  So many parts of this book are familiar yet alien to me.  Some a reflection of my life as a fourteen year old in 1989 but for the most part a fun read with subtle reminders of what being a teenager is all about. 

Daughter of semi-nudist, pot-smoking, party hosting, over-involved parents, Jamie finds being fourteen challenging.  She is the youngest of two daughters and though Rene and Jamie are no longer close, with different and conflicting views on life, they were before the hormonal teen years hit.  Rene goes off to “Outward Bound” summer camp and Jamie begins her very educational summer at home.   

Jamie’s summer schedule consists of waking, watching her topless mother bounce around the kitchen while making breakfast and spending her afternoons and evenings hanging out with her two best girlfriends.  The three of them soon begin having adventures with town boys and the dramas that come with lust/love, sex, drugs and drinking take over. 

Jamie learns about sex, already knows about pot, thanks to her parents but she’s not really interested.  She learns more about beer, discovers that just because they hang out with you it doesn’t mean that your friends will have your back forever.

One of my favorite parts in The Summer of Naked Swim Parties is when Jamie looses her virginity to her boyfriend Flip.  Though the location is a romantic, secluded beach spot with the boyfriend she knows every girl at school wants, things don’t always go as planned.  When does it really?

Blau’s dialogue flows smoothly and is clever, funny and quick.  My favorite character has to be Janie’s mother, Betty.  She is beautiful, fun loving, cooks, the glue that holds the family together and loves to make everyone happy as well as keep a high level of happiness in her life.  She concerns herself with Jamie’s newly discovered sexuality that is outed by a strange house guest.  She just wants her daughter to experience the pleasures she is entitled to, to Jamie’s horror.  Who really wants to talk about masturbation with their mom anyway?  Who’s mom actually tried to give tips on the subject? 

After a tragic accident plaques the house’s energy, Betty brings in an exorcist, the family visits a crazy family therapy session.  Then so-called friends come out of the woodwork when a (I believe) fictionalized Jane Fonda and her Senate-running husband are thrown a fund-raising party that becomes a bore-fest because there aren’t jiggling breasts and “wagging penises” diving into the pool or jumping on the trampoline in the back yard. 

Antagonists appear in many forms throughout The Summer of Naked Swim Parties.  Be it a penis, a mooching “Native American”, a disgruntled sister or a box of Nutter Butter cookies disguised as a friend, Jamie is constantly at battle with herself and her surroundings.  What fourteen year-old girl isn’t?  The Summer of Naked Swim Parties is a great book taking us back to our own summers when we were teenagers and had questions and worries about everything.  Some things never change though.  I’m still a worrier, still love to have fun and still love to make out.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

Be sure to check out Jessica Anya Blau’s guest post titled “Motherhood and Celebrity Penises” HERE.

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties book trailer:

Guest Post ~ Author of The Last Beach Bungalow, Jennie Nash

Jennie Nash’s “winning” debut novel, The Last Beach Bungalow, was released in trade paperback in February 2008.  She’s here today to share with us her thoughts on fame and celebrity in the book world in a guest post.  You can check out Jennie’s web site at http://www.jennienash.com/pages and an article she wrote for The Huffington Post.com HERE

Jennie Nash is also the author of two other books.  The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming: And Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer and Raising a Reader: A Mother’s Tale of Desperation and Delight.

 SUMMARY ~ The Last Beach Bungalow

FOR SALE: THE LAST BEACH BUNGALOW
The owner of this 1928 original bungalow is
seeking a buyer with heart. What would you give— besides money—to live here? Bring your offers, your stories, and a promise to preserve and protect. Winner will pay $300,000. Open House, Saturday 1 to 4.

After five years cancer-free, April Newton should be celebrating, but instead she’s suffering. She feels her husband slipping away, and though the spectacular, stylish house he’s building for her should be a fresh start, April finds herself resenting it. As their move-in date approaches, she becomes obsessed with winning the right to buy the last Redondo Beach bungalow, convinced that the quirky, lived-in little house represents everything she is missing in her life—comfort, completeness, survival. And though her quest for the bungalow will take some surprising twists, it may put back together the pieces of her heart…

 

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Almost Famous

The other day, I met a 17-year-old girl named Katharina, who had just arrived from Germany as part of an international exchange program. She came to my house to meet some of her new classmates – including my daughter — before the first day of school. She dazzled us all with the fact that she could speak four languages, that she was spending a full year away from her parents and that she was eager for every new American experience anyone proposed. When she learned that I was a writer and saw the (small) stack of books with my name on the spine, she lit up even more than before. “Are you famous?” she asked.

I have been asked this many times before, in many different guises (Have you been on Oprah? Have I heard of your books?), and I have often felt defensive about it, because the fact is that fame is a country very far away from the shore where I sit every day and write. But there was something about the way Katharina asked the question – in such a straightforward manner, with such innocence and such disarming hope that fame could be so close at hand – that made me wish that I could have said, “Yes! I am famous.”

You can’t write a novel with the intention of becoming famous. You can’t spend whole years of your life spinning a story and hoping that it will hit a bestseller list. Fame, after all, only comes to a tiny percentage of writers. I write because I’m a storyteller. I write because it’s the way I make sense of the world. I write because I have found a (small) audience for my work out there in the book-reading universe. And all of that is more than enough motivation to continue doing what I do. But I also can’t pretend that I wouldn’t wish for a certain amount of fame, because unless you’re J.K. Rowling, writing-fame is very different from Brittany-fame or Angelina-fame. Writing-fame mostly means that you get a bigger paycheck, get invited to speak at really cool conferences where other writers congregate, and get the pleasure of connecting with a bigger, broader audience. 

What I ended up saying to Katharina in answer to her question was among the most honest things I have ever said to anyone about my writing. “I’m not,” I said, “As famous as I wish I were.”

Book Review & Book Club Discussion ~ The Great Man by Kate Christensen

The Great Man by the Pen/Faulkner Award Winning author Kate Christensen was the July/August Planet Books reading club selection.  It is the story of one man, deceased, and the amazing, complicated and loving women he surrounded himself with in life.  Oscar Feldman was a “renowned figurative painter” who led multiple lives.  One as a husband, another as a lover and a third as the famous painter who seduced his models with his hands and his paint brush. 

“Oscar, Oscar, Oscar,” said Maxine.  “Look at us, four smart old bags with plenty to think about, fixated on my putz of a brother, who’s been dead for five years and wasn’t especially nice to any of us.”

At first glance I wasn’t really enjoying this book but once I got to know the women in Oscar’s life, I was intrigued by the idea of forgiveness and tolerance that his wife, lover and even sister had for this unlikeable man who was nothing but a selfish painter who bucked the system on all levels.  As I finally got over the hump and got into the book, I discovered that the characters where written so well that I felt they may be real people and that this was actually a biography of Oscar Feldman but in reality it is the event of two biographies being written about the painter that brings Abigail (wife), Teddy (the mistress), Lila (Teddy’s best friend),  Maxine (sister), and numerous secondary characters together.  In their golden years, these women dredge up the past as they tell not one but two individual biographers about their lives with Oscar.  They discuss his work and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the detailed descriptions of his approach to painting and the paintings themselves. 

We meet Teddy first.  The woman who Oscar carried on a forty plus year affair with that produced twin daughters.  She at first is rough around the edges but once I got past some personal dislike for the writing style in the book, I was able to submerge myself into the New York City boroughs where the characters live and listen to their stories.  At one point I felt that I related to Teddy the most out of all the female characters Christensen created.  She is strong but was in total love with Oscar and supported him the best she could though she was never able to do so as the official women in Oscar’s life.  Since Oscar’s death five years before this book begins, Teddy has moved from the large house she shared with Oscar and raised their daughters in to a small apartment that with time got away from her.  Things piled up and the idea of taking care of business overwhelms in her old age.  Two biographers have started calling to do research on the famous portrait artist, Oscar Feldman and Teddy finds herself entertaining both men over lunches at her residence and telling stories of life with Oscar, on the inside and on the outside. 

The same goes for Maxine Fledman, Oscar’s sister and a successful painter in her own right but part of the abstract art world.  She is a bitter old lesbian with many regrets and leftover feelings for two women in her life.  Her ex-lover from thirty years ago and her present day assistant.  Christensen wrote all the characters very well but Maxine was especially memorable.  A perfectly described lesbian, full of masculinity and lust.  Maxine was a tough woman with an even tougher personality that hid the tenderness and vulnerability at her core.  The relationships she has with Teddy and Oscar’s widow, Abigail are very different.  Maxine never cared for Teddy and always looked down on her for accepting the role of Oscar’s mistress.  She doesn’t acknowledge Teddy and Oscar’s twin daughters, her nieces, but does steal quick glances of Ruby who happens to take her dog to the same dog park that Maxine frequents with her faithful companion, Frago. 

Abigail was Oscar’s life long best friend and wife who cared for their autistic son Ethan.  The relationship between mother and son drove Oscar to jealousy because it was Abigail’s attention he desired so to spite Ethan he would just ignore the boy when he actually spent time with his first family.  Abigail is a lovely but timid character.  At first I didn’t think much of her myself but I soon realized that she was able to tolerate the situation that had entered her life instead of interrupt the smooth waters that had become her life. 

I asked my friend Nicole what her favorite points of the book were and I have to agree with what she said.  “I thought it was neat to get each woman’s perspective and that they were told as parts of the book.  It was the first time I read the first person perspective from such an older character and I felt that Kate Christensen did a really wonderful job with this book.  Also, I thought it was interesting that after hearing the story being told through Teddy, Maxine and then Teddy’s eyes to end the book from the perspective of a complete outsider looking in and observing Oscar’s women.  Henry, one of the two biographers who began to suffer form the same weaknesses that plagued the ‘great man’ himself.  One last thing I really enjoyed about The Great Man was how Christensen compared her analysis between cooking and painting.”  (You can listen to an interview with Kate Christensen on NPR HERE.  She shares the fact that she actually tried the recipes she described in her book and that they were pretty good.)

As the story moves along the interviews between biographers and women creates a fear in Maxine that a huge secret may be unveiled.  It is a major twist and with it the book took off and I finished it rather quickly.  The Great Man surprised me after all and I enjoyed it after all.  It gave great insight into the world of painters and the stresses they face in their line of work.  Insecurities that plague them just like any professional. 

What did you think of the book?  Were you able to enjoy it?  Which woman was your favorite, least favorite?

Sunday Salon ~ August 24th, 2008

Well it’s almost bedtime for this Sunday Saloner.  I finished another good book this evening.  The Summer of Naked Swim Partiesby Jessica Anya Blau.  A fun yet touching story of a fourteen year-old girl living in 1976 Santa Barbara, CA.  I will be posting my review later this week but for now please feel free to check out Jessica Anya Blau’s guest post titled Motherhood & Celebrity Penises HERE

*Regarding the winners of the Schooled giveaway from last week, I am still waiting for an e-mail from winner Carol Esovski.  If you know her please let her know that author Anisha Lakhani would like to get her signed book off to Carol soon.

Something else I did this weekend was finally give in and create a Facebook page.  I’m still new to how the whole thing works but if you are on Facebook, you can find me under Karen Brandt O’Connor.  Please add me as a friend if you like. 

This week is a busy one on the social calender and I am also starting Kerry Cohen’s Loose Girl.  I am looking forward to seeing what all the talk is about with this book and included with my review will be a guest post from author Kerry Cohen herself. 

This past week the pages of Planet Books have been graced by guest posts from Home Girlauthor Judith Matloff and The Art of Racing in the Rain author Garth Stein.  Check out Judith’s HERE and Garth’s HERE

Got anything cool going on at your blog?  Reading anything that is hard to put down or that makes you want to throw the book out the window of the Empire State Building?  Tell us about it!

Guest Post ~ Author of The Art Of Racing In The Rain, Garth Stein

Have I got a treat for you this happy Friday!  Author Garth Stein, of the acclaimed summer hit (and one of my new all-time favorite books; check out my review HERE) The Art Of Racing In The Rain is here with a guest post just for us.  Garth has taken time out of his extremely busy summer to talk about his book and where exactly the idea behind it came from.  You can learn more about Garth at his website, http://www.garthstein.com/.  You can also check out a website solely dedicated to his book The Art Of Racing In The Rain at http://goenzo.com/.  At the end of this post you will find three You-Tube videos.  The first one is the book trailer for The Art Of Racing In The Rain.  The second and third videos are interviews with Garth Stein himself. 

 

It’s the simplest question, to be sure:  “Where did the idea for your book come from?”  It is a question that is asked of every author, and it is one that deserves a thoughtful and thorough answer. 

But while the question is simple, the answer is usually not.  Because, yes, ideas have an ultimate source, like a long, meandering river; but, like a river, the outlet on the coast rarely reflects the spring in the mountain, thousands of miles away. 

When I am asked the question, I think of a cooking analogy.  Mirepoix.  Those of you who watch Food Network know about mirepoix.  It’s the simplest thing:  butter, onion, celery, carrots.  But when simmering these things together something magical happens.  The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  And by the time the stew is finished, there is no way to identify the individual ingredients–the ingredients have sacrificed themselves for the flavor!

And so, the beginnings of a novel….

 

The first idea for The Art of Racing in the Rain came more than ten years ago when I screened a film from Mongolia, “State of Dogs,” that was about the Mongolian belief that the next incarnation for a dog is as a person.  I remember being struck by the beauty and simplicity of the idea, and feeling the strong sense that, some day, I would do something with it.

It was years later that I heard the poet, Billy Collins, read his poem, The Revenant, which is told by a dog who has recently been euthanized.  When I heard his extremely funny and biting poem–and the very vocal and enthusiastic response from the audience–a light bulb went off in my head:  I would tell the story of a dog reincarnating as a person, and I would tell it from the dog’s p.o.v.!

But wait.  The very first idea for my book goes even further back, I think…..

In the summer of 1986, I had the great fortune to attend the Detroit Grand Prix.  Joining a friend who had all-access passes, I remember standing behind a concrete barrier of the street course and marveling at how small, yet incredibly powerful the Formula One cars were.  So quick and so close–no more than an arm’s length away.

One driver was obviously quicker than the rest of them.  He started in the pole position and, after losing many positions due to a tire puncture, scrambled back into the lead and finished first.  I remember watching his green helmet flash by.  I remember the devoted fans in the stands waving their giant green, yellow and blue flags.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Ayrton Senna, but I did have the pleasure of watching him race…and win in glorious fashion.

And further:  I remember, as a child, sitting on the sofa in the rec room of our house with my father on a Saturday afternoon, watching racing on a black and white Zenith television, eating from a bag of sunflower seeds.  And at my feet, our faithful dog, Muggs, the Airedale to whom The Art of Racing in the Rain is dedicated.  She was hoping for the occasional dropped seed, I’m sure; but I like to think she also enjoyed watching the races with us.

And so there!  Tracing the river from the mouth to the source, we find the truth:  when I was five years old, I believed my dog understood what she saw on the television set.  That’s where it started. 

The reason I wanted to tell you this story is that there is magic in Enzo.  When I teach writing, I talk about the craft–the mechanics of writing:  plot, voice, dialog–and I talk about the art–the intangible, the magic, the inspiration, the moment where we lose ourselves in our work it is no longer ours. 

Writing The Art of Racing in the Rain was magic for me, full of joy and inspiration.  I can trace the elements of the story, but I can’t necessarily explain how all these things made Enzo complete.  That’s something that resists explaining, and demands indulgence.  Like a delicious stew, there will always be a certain mystery about it, but that mystery doesn’t detract from the flavor.  In fact, I think it makes the stew all the more memorable….

Happy manifesting,

Garth Stein

 

Guest Post ~ Author of Home Girl – Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block, Judith Matloff

Author Judith Matloff is joining us at Planet Books for her first guest post ever.  Her new book, Home Girl – Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block, went on sale on June 24, 2008, and I can’t wait to read my copy.  Below you can read a summary of the book as seen on Judith’s web site below.  You can also listen to interviews with her HERE and HERE where she talks about Home Girl.  At the end of this post is the book trailer for Home Girl – Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block

 

Summary ~ HOME GIRL – Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block

After twenty years abroad as a foreign correspondent in tumultuous locales including Rwanda, Chechnya and Sudan, Judith Matloff is finally ready to put down roots and start a family. She leaves Moscow and returns to her native New York City to house hunt for the perfect spot while her Dutch husband, John, stays behind in Russia with their dog to pack up their belongings. Intoxicated by West Harlem’s cultural diversity, and, more importantly, its affordability, Judith impulsively buy a fixer upper brownstone in the area.

Little does she know what’s in store. Judith and John discover that their dream house was once a crack den and that “fixer upper” is an understatement. The building is a total wreck: The beams have been chewed to dust by termites, the staircase is separating from the wall, and the windows are smashed thanks to a recent break-in. Plus, the house – on a block crowded with throngs of brazen drug dealers – forms the bustling epicenter of the cocaine trade in the Northeast, and heavily armed police regularly appear outside their door in pursuit of the thugs and crack heads who loiter there.

Thus begins an odyssey to win over the neighbors, including Salami, the menacing addict who threatens to take over their house; MacKenzie, the literary homeless man who quotes Latin over morning coffee; Mrs. LaDuke, the salty octogenarian and neighborhood watchdog; and Miguel, the smooth lieutenant of the local drug crew, with whom the couple negotiate safe passage. It’s a far cry from utopia, but it’s a start, and they do all they can to carve out a comfortable life. And by the time they experience the birth of a son, Judith and John have even come to appreciate the neighborhood’s rough charms.

Blending her finely honed reporter’s instincts with superb storytelling, Judith Matloff has crafted a wry, reflective, and hugely entertaining memoir about community, home and real estate.

 

In brief, the book is about what happened when I abruptly decided to ditch a 20-year career as a foreign correspondent and move back to my native New York City.  I was tired of covering wars and wanted to start a family in peace.  However, I didn’t do my research and didn’t have much money so I bought what I thought was an incredible steal, without realizing that it lay on one of the worst drug afflicted streets on the eastern seaboard.  So much for the quiet life.  That’s only chapter two.  The rest of the book involves my attempt to make a comfortable life in this unlikely spot.  It spans several genres — humor, home improvement, urban affairs and memoir.

People invariably ask how I came to write this book.  I had authored one before, and was now underemployed and looking for a “project.”  I missed full-time work and we desperately needed money.  A couple people were amused by the tales that we told about the misadventure, and a book editor who happened upon a dinner at our house suggested turning a piece that I had written for The New York Times into something longer.  It made sense, and to make a long story short, I quickly found an agent and publisher (Random House.)

The biggest appeal of the book, to me, was writing something amusing.  Most of my journalistic work has been grim stuff about places falling apart.  The most common response I get about my articles is, “That’s depressing.”  I wanted to try a new type of writing, and to entertain people.  I didn’t know if I could pull off the humor, but wanted to give it a try.  The process was surprisingly excruciating.  Not at all fun.  I generally wrote straight and then tweaked the copy to be comical.  Then I’d ask the opinion of witty friends.  I can’t tell you how many drafts fell flat.
 
I knew from past experience that one had to be passionate to execute a book, and I didn’t lack for drive.  I was engaged with the material, particularly the rich characters that lived on the block.  At first I contemplated writing a novel, because I was a bit worried that the narcotics dealers might come after me if I published under my own name.  I also didn’t want to alienate any neighbors by violating their privacy.  But it seemed unnecessary to mask all this truth as fiction – all I would have done was tell the same story.  As it turns out, so far no one has shot me and the neighbors are actually thrilled to be characters. When the book came out, the main protagonists held a party – even the man from the DA’s office came.  The matriarch on the block has ordered more than a dozen copies for her assorted relatives, and one of the crack heads has asked for a signed copy.  (The other addict character keeps asking me if a movie is going to be made.  “Tell them I want Denzel Washington to play me.”)  The other day I was walking down the block and one of the streetwalkers called out, “Mami, where can I get a copy of the book?”  It’s not every day that you get good reviews from the homeless crowd.  In some ways, that is more gratifying than any review in a newspaper.

I was also worried about what my family would think.  Fortunately – whew! – they all like how they’re portrayed.  (Although my mother doesn’t like my depiction of her driving. On that we stand to differ.)  My son, Anton, who’s now seven, is thrilled to have a chapter named after him.  He likes to stand up front with me when I do readings.  Even though he barely reads Anton seems to think he co-wrote the book.  (While I was writing he’d sometimes climb on my lap and dash off some nonsense on the screen.  I get the impression that he thinks those creations were incorporated into a coherent book.)

Speaking of Anton, many people ask me if I’m nervous bringing up a child in this environment.  After all, our street was once called “Ground Zero” for the drug trade on the northeast.  The answer is: no.  When Anton was a baby he wasn’t aware of what was going on around him. Kids take things at face value without the context — he enjoyed swirling to the meringue music coming from a car without knowing that it belonged to a cocaine baron.  The neighborhood has cleaned up quite a bit so Anton is unlikely to run into narcotics dealers by the time he’s 12.

The final question of course is what comes next.  I had been thinking of a novel or a serious book on war, my journalistic specialty.  But so many strangers have written to ask about the characters that I’m tempted to write a sequel.  That, of course, depends on how everything turns out.

Bio~ Judith Matloff is the author of “Home Girl – Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block” (Random House.)  Judith Matloff was a foreign correspondent for 20 years, lastly as the bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor in Moscow and Africa. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Newsweek and The Economist. She is the recipient of various awards, including a MacArthur Foundation grant, a Fulbright fellowship and the Godsell, The Monitor’s highest accolade for correspondence. Matloff teaches at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and is a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review.

She still lives in West Harlem with her family and is at work on a new book.

LINKS

Profile written on Women’s eNews

A Sad Day

This morning I learned of the untimely passing of LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist and sometime flautist for Dave Matthews Band.  He had suffered a broken rib and punctured lung during an ATV accident on his property near Charlottesville, VA last month and had just flown out to his L.A. residence to undergo physical therapy when he passed away due to complications on Tuesday.  He was 46 years young and one of the most amazing musicians the music world has ever heard and known. 

As some of you may know, Dave Matthews Band is my favorite band in the whole universe and this news came as a shock to me.  I have been listening to their albums (I have all of them) non-stop since hearing the news.  I would like to share with you some of their music which features LeRoi Moore and his amazing sax chops.  I will miss you LeRoi!

And The Winners Are…

… GWENDOLYN BRUNO & CAROL EZOVSKI!!!

Each of you have won a signed copy of Anisha Lakhani’s debut novel, SCHOOLED!!!  Please e-mail me your mailing addresses so I can forward them to Anisha and she can get her book out to  you.  My e-mail is PlanetBooksWorldWide@gmail.com.  Also, if you have a dog, please include their name so she can include them in her personalization. 

To everyone else who entered this giveaway contest, thank you so much for your loyal readership to this blog and I hope you win next time.  I will have book giveaways throughout the fall.

 

*I use Random.org’s List Randomizer function to get the winners for my giveaway contests. 

Sunday Salon ~ August 17th, 2008

How did I get here already!  It just seems like I was posting a Sunday Salon two days ago, not seven!  I’ve been a reading fool this past week.  I read I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert and I absolutely loved it.  You can check out my review HERE.  I am also running a giveaway contest for two signed copies of Anisha Lakhani’s debut novel, Schooled, until tonight, Sunday August 17th at Midnight EDT.  You can check it out and enter HERE.  I will be using Random.org to select the two winners and Anisha will be personalizing them as well as mailing them.

Planet Books has also been graced with guest posts from two authors this week.  Marcus Sakey’s new novel, Good People, just came out in stores on Thursday, August 14th and he stopped by to talk about his book and what he’s reading this summer.  You can check it out HERE.  Also, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties author, Jessica Anya Blea wrote a laugh-out-loud guest post for Planet Books.  You can read it HERE.   

As you may have noticed this month is flying by.  Hell, the summer must not have happened because I can’t believe it’s almost over!  How many of you are taking part in Planet Books’ July/August book club and reading The Great Man by Kate Christensen?  Well, I’ve finally gotten around to picking it up and to tell you the truth, it isn’t grabbing my attention like I hoped it would?  Have you finished it yet?  What did you think or what do you you think so far if you are reading it last minute too?  I will continue to try to get into The Great Man but I am curious if I’m the only one struggling with this book?

If you aren’t reading The Great Man, then what are you reading today?  Anything good?  Anything I should avoid?  Please let me know.  I love being nosey and checking out what y’all are reading!