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: rrnewneighbors.org [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:

PRESS RELEASE: JEFF ABBOTT, JANUARY 31, 2018, GEORGETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY

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.

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The Nobel Prize in Literature was given to author Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Amazon is planning a video series based on stories by Philip K. Dick. Date of release is not yet announced.
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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, October 26, 2008

Everybody's Talking About Ahab's Wife

The weather is cooperating with the RRNN Book Discussion Group today - it's going to get warm enough for me to enjoy washing my car, but it's going to take a while. So there's time for me to send y'all an update about last week's discussion of Ahab's Wife.


Ready for what everyone else thought about Ahab's Wife? I was surprised there was as much criticism as there was. Our group is very discerning! I enjoyed the book a lot and had only the criticism that it seemed the author had done a lot of research about the time/place/events in history (good) but then felt compelled to use all the information and so seemed to add sections just to illustrate some of the historic facts (not always so good). Others felt the same way; there were several complaints about too much information. Frank helped us by introducing the term, "infodump." This is not to say we were all that negative about this, but we noticed it.

Frank also noted that it is a fine author's art to juxtapose real historic characters with fictitious characters. This was done partially successfully in Ahab's Wife, but there was some concern in our group that there were too many famous historical characters crossing paths with the fictitious heroine of the book, Una, to be believable.

Another new term was brought up by Sandy. She said the author was trying to "Melville" herself, ie, to get herself compared to Melville by writing about whaling and using some of the famous Melville's style of detail and trying to write a huge sweeping novel. Sandy also offered the criticism that there were too many unfinished stories in the book, each of them really a book in itself: what happened to David Poland, Kit, and Frannie?

The author did a good job of keeping the reader's interest by keeping the writing looking forward, even from the first sentence. The first sentence is almost as memorable and inviting as "Call me Ishmael." History shall see.. Of course, in Melville's day, there were ever so many fewer first lines available to remember, compared with today...

Pat M. chose to read aloud a favorite passage from the book, and it turned out that Cindy T. had not been able to be at the meeting but had emailed me with some comments...including the same passage! This was a passage from a letter that Starbuck, Ahab's first mate, is composing in his mind to his wife. It is the letter he didn't send, the words he didn't say, about where we stand in the realm of control and being in control of our lives and the world. It is a passage that offers the hope of prayer, trust, himility, and faith in times of hardship. (from chapter 67)

There was general agreement that the book can speak to you, make you think, and possibly here and there offer insight that mey help you with your own problems.

We talked about whether cannibalism is really a choice when one is starving and is offered sustenance. There is a strong survival instinct vs civilized behavior, and then there is the added aspect that a person in a state of starvation such as occurred in the lifeboat is likely to be in an altered state of consciousness, and not nearly as "responsible" for their actions as they would be on a normal day.

We did discuss other questions the book brought out, such as questions about the relationship between the characters and choices they made and how they interfaced with the time in history.

In the end, the majority of the group "liked" the book rather than didn't. It certainly was a good book for discussion!

BTW, Patrick Stewart is Ahab in the movie.

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