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.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

American Shaolin Kicks Butt

I'm already on an airplane over the Benedict Ranch, but I am writing to you about China. It would be great to write these messages as soon as I get home from our discussion. I guess you'd like that, too! I am always energized after our discussions, even though I invariably seem to need that energy for something other than writing up a summary. If you can get home and write us up more quickly, please feel free to contribute any summaries of our discussions or maybe plan in advance to be a guest messager! Please send me whatever you think of!
Last Monday our discussion took us to China, looking at American Shaolin, by Matthew Polly. I think it was Cindy T. whose daughter has met Matthew Polly, the author of the book. Cindy told us that Polly is engaged to be married, among other interesting things about him. Although none of us at the meeting had been to China, 2 (at least) had read the book Rivertown, by Peter Hessler, which we have had nominated but didn't choose, and said that Rivertown is comparable to American Shaolin but different and another interesting tome on more aspects of modern China. Modern China seemed to be what we most wanted to discuss, rather than the characters in the book. The changes in China and cultural differences between China and the U.S. were of particular interest. Frank posed a question about what young Chinese people would come to the U.S. for, given a situation similar to Polly's from the Chinese point of view. This set us thinking and brought up even more contrasts between the U.S. and China. The Chinese youth all learning martial arts seems to have affect the Chinese adult culture, giving them more experience with self-control than many American citizens, and also giving them a competitive nature. Competition and self-discipline are a compatible pair! But even with the current strides China has taken, the poverty is still a major problem. We wondered how well the poverty will be hidden during the worldwide coverage of the Olympics. I think the span of time covered by the book and discussion, partly because Polly delayed 10 years between visiting China and writing the book, plus another 10 years since then, helped our discussion to cover both the aspects of Chinese tradition that were endemic at the time Polly was there and the changes that have since occurred. It was a very rich context for discussion!
We got into the discussion, and it included everyone, and everyone seemed to think it was an especially interesting discussion! Only a couple of people mentioned anything negative about the book. And then as everyone was leaving, I asked who did not like the book, and I was surprised to see that about a third of the group did not enjoy reading the book. Someone said it seemed ridiculous for Polly to go on his adventure to study kungfu. I think the details about kungfu bored most of us. I kind of tried to picture them a little but didn't waste much time or energy on them. I could just about picture the leg going out and around...never figured out that part about the hips! I was surprised that we hadn't gotten into a detailed discussion about the aspects of the book that were disliked. We're a good group to have so much to cover that we never get to the negative aspects! The rest of us enjoyed the reading. I enjoyed the book and didn't consider it a problem to ignore the kungfu details. I liked the way Polly described the individuals and their relationships in the context of Chinese ways.

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