School’s out! From today through June 13, you can order signed copies of ’89 Walls through my website for only $10 (a 28% discount)! This is your chance to stock up on graduation gifts, beach reading, and non-electronic entertainment for your favorite teens and children of the 80s.
Ishmael Beah’s The Radiance of Tomorrow (author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier) is a thorough—if necessarily depressing—fictionalized account of a Sierra Leone village’s attempts to rebuild community and infrastructure after its brutal civil wars. Beah channels his country’s oral storytelling tradition through use of extended metaphors and colorful idioms. It’s lovely, but is definitely not a beach read and not for the faint of heart.
Like The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford’s The Songs of Willow Frost just didn’t do it for me. The premise wore thin by page 50; I walked away.
The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller, witty author of the Q & A at Chicago Manual of Style, online edition, offers tips on everything from Microsoft Word macros to how to make a subjective judgment call. I highly recommend this book to fellow word nerds.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (and brilliantly translated from the French by Alison Anderson) is one of those books in which almost nothing happens: it’s all understated humor and commentary on art, literature, beauty, philosophy, cats, and class prejudice from the point-of-view of an autodidact Parisian concierge. A pleasure.
I took notes at the private book clubs I attended in May: (clockwise) The No-Guilt Book Club in St. Paul picks two books per month. You read only the one (or none) that interests you and get to eat homemade rhubarb crisp. The Junior Varsity Book Club in Eden Prairie is a large, fun group that makes each gathering into a potluck meal. My mom’s book club in Golden Valley has actual by-laws and expects members to read each book. Wine and dessert (natch) are common threads among the 20+ book clubs I’ve attended so far.
The National Indie Excellence Awards named ’89 Walls as a finalist for young adult fiction. Woo hoo!
I’ve also been asked to join the downtown Minneapolis Barnes & Noble as a guest author during next weekend’s “B-Fest,” a three-day event celebrating the best books for teens. Deets to follow. In the meantime, click here to learn more.
I continue to network with the people I want to be when I grow up. (Speaking of, I also went to my 25th college reunion at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with four of my former roommates.) I’m also billing actual hours. I’m developing online content for the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ anti-human trafficking initiative, the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative, and Terra Soma consulting; editing a middle grade manuscript for Trio Bookworks; and coaching the St. Paul Public Schools’ school-based teen clinics on their communications strategy. And, just as these great projects landed in my lap, my kids’ school year ended. Wish me luck.