Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here. Next event:


Austin novelist, Jeff Abbott, will return to the Georgetown Public Library to speak at the Hill Country Authors Series on Wednesday, January 31st at 2 PM. Abbott’s first appearance here was in 2012; this time he’ll discuss his fourteenth novel, Blame, published July, 2017, to critical acclaim. Known as one of the best thriller writers in the business, his latest effort was described by fellow thriller author, Harlan Coben, as “the perfect blend of complex characters, plot twists galore, and great psychological suspense."

Bestsellers around the world, Jeff's novels are thrillers that center on ordinary people caught up in sudden, unexpected nightmares, often related to secrets in their past. They combine high-stakes intrigue with emotional punch.

In Blame an amnesiac accident victim has to investigate her own past in Abbott’s tense psychological thriller. Froom Kirkus Review: “The Austin, Texas, suburb of Lakehaven is shaken when two teenagers drive off a cliff; driver Jane Norton survives while high school hero David Hall is killed. Jane comes out of a coma with part of her memory lost. After a note is found at the accident scene that suggests Jane caused the accident in a suicide attempt, she becomes an outcast; as Jane pieces together her own history, she becomes convinced she wasn’t trying to kill herself, and the accident starts looking more like murder. The unconventional plot, the constant surprises, and above all the psychological depth of the characters all make this a first-rate crime novel. “

A Rice University graduate with a degree in History and English, Abbott worked as a creative director at an advertising agency for more than eleven years, as he continued to write novels. He left that job in 2005 in order to write full-time after the success of his thriller, Panic. Three of his novels have been optioned for film, and are in script development.

He is a three-time nominee for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award and a two-time nominee for the Anthony Award. Jeff’s first novel, Do Unto Others, won both the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award.

The event begins at 2 pm at the library located at 402 W. 8th Street in Georgetown; the doors open at 1:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online (link here) beginning December 1 at the special online price of $13.00. Tickets will go on sale in the Second-Hand Prose bookstore on the second floor of the library on January 2, 2018 for $15.00, $18 at the door. Tickets are also available from the Wow!mobile, the bookmobile that services Georgetown. Contact Marcy Lowe at 512-868-8974 for more information.

A dessert and beverage from the Red Poppy Café in the library will be served.


The Nobel Prize in Literature was given to author Kazuo Ishiguro.
Amazon is planning a video series based on stories by Philip K. Dick. Date of release is not yet announced.
Click here to see the trailer for Stephen Spielberg's Ready Player One, currently scheduled to debut March 30th. Look for the DeLorean. (Hint-it's moving quickly and is black and you're more likely to find it if you watch one of the explanatory videos that elaborates on the trailer.) If you want to, stay on the YouTube page and see lots more about Ready Player One. After all, it's a movie about the native online generation.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We Plumb the Depths of Stones From the River

Jennifer started our discussion of Stones From the River, by Ursula Hegi, with a fascinating introduction: first stating that she had gone to college in Washington, where Ursula Hegi, the author, had been a professor at the time. Jennifer didn't know Hegi well, but she had noticed that Hegi attended various support groups in the school community, so Jennifer postulated that Hegi was doing research for this book. Then Jennifer told us a little about her childhood in Germany. She said it was a lot like the way of life depicted in the book, with the poverty and remnants of destruction as themes and the gradual climbing up. She said that people claimed they didn't know what was happening during the Holocaust. We had some discussion about that; about how people could be living their day-to-day lives and could be told lies to explain the few oddities that were noticeable about the slaughter going on around them and could believe the lies...for a while.

We discussed how the rest of the world seemed to blame all Germans for many years. The German stereotype is of a very structured, closed, strict, rigid, almost military person. Yet Phyllis told us that during her childhood, she lived in a mostly German community, and, as a child, found the German people to be very warm and nurturing. Her family was close with the German community, though they weren't German.

We didn't get through too many of the questions Jennifer brought, since our discussion meandered. We established that the use of the dwarf as the protagonist was a literary tool, in that people could be more willing to tell their stories to Trudi because she was an outsider and less likely to tall tales to others within the social group that the people felt they belonged to. For Trudi, keeping people's secrets allowed her a chance to be closer to them and also gave her some power over them. Also, since Trudi was so different from the others, who tended to be closed to emotional expression, it worked for her to have lots of emotional expression. That way, there was some emotional opinion about the situation, which helped the author to slant the interpretation of the story where she wanted it to go.

An interesting theory that I believe was Frank's idea was that the author made Trudi physically unappealing on the outside but good on the inside as a contrast to the Aryan Nazi's fairness with a monster on the inside.

Stones From the River book is an important book; you'll find that most well-read folks will have read it. Another good book and enriching discussion for us!

Dee’s Comment from Mexico:
Ursula Hegi spent much of her adult life in America coming to grips with the Germany of her birth. This book seems to be a catharsis for her to work out her inner demons. Born post World War 2, she had a youth filled with people who avoided mention of the current past. Her book Stones from the River is an attempt to deal with the uglier & seamier side of modern Germany history.
The Character Trudy is the window that we view the book through & she seems to hold all of the secrets of the people in her town. Her character is a dwarf. Seeing that her mother has psychological issues it makes me wonder if the character of Trudy used by Ursula may have been a Psychogenic Dwarf, Psychosocial dwarfism or Stress dwarfism is a growth disorder that is observed in young children & pre adolescents & is caused by extreme emotional deprivation or stress. This disease is a progressive one, and as long as the child is left in the stressing environment. It is often seen in children kept in abusive, confined conditions for extended lengths of time. It can cause the body to completely stop growing but is generally considered to be temporary; regular growth will resume when the source of stress is removed. One would think that the stress of being a child in WWII in Germany could produce such stress considering all that went on. Just one more thing to wonder about in this wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, read it when Oprah's book club selected it in the late 1990s. I am glad you all decided to read this as one of your selections, it is one of the few books I brought with me to Mexico that I figured I would enjoy rereading! I am thrilled to know where we are moving in June we will have a few more English Language book resources. Adios, book group friends!

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