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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Amazon Prime Video has released a series based on stories by Philip K. Dick. It's called Electric Dreams.
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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.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Adapted by Simon Stephens
Directed by Dave Steakley
January 31 – March 4, 2018 | Topfer Theatre
(Zach Theater in Austin)
If you can, go February 10th @2:30 PM

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Monday, May 24, 2010

What Makes a Book a Good One for Discussion?

This is from an email from 1/29/05. I didn't write it, and I don't know where it came from. So, credit goes to whoever!

Probably the most important criteria are that the book be well written and that it explores basic human truths. Good books for discussion have three-dimensional characters who are forced to make difficult choices, under difficult situations, whose behavior sometimes makes sense and sometimes doesn’t.

Good book discussion books present the author’s view of an important truth and sometimes send a message to the reader.

During a book discussion, what you’re really talking about is everything that the author hasn’t said—all those white spaces on the printed page. For this reason, books that are heavily plot driven (most mysteries, westerns, romances, and science fiction/fantasy) don’t lend themselves to book discussions. In genre novels and some mainstream fiction (and often in nonfiction), the author spells out everything for the reader, so that there is little to say except, “I loved the book” or “I hated it” or “Isn’t that interesting.”

(Incidentally, this “everything that the author hasn’t said” idea is why poetry makes such a rich topic for discussion.)

Other good choices for discussion are books that have ambiguous endings, where the outcome of the novel is not clear. For example, there is no consensus about what actually happened in Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods, Sara Maitland’s Ancestral Truths, or James Buchan’s The Persian Bride.

It’s important to remind the group that not every member is going to like every book the group chooses. Everyone may read the same book, but in fact, every member is reading a different book. Everyone brings her own unique history, memories, background, and influences. Everyone is in a different place in his life when he reads the book. All of these differences influence the reader’s experience of the book and why she may like or dislike it.

There are also pairs of books that make good discussions. These can be discussed at one meeting or read and discussed in successive months. Some examples include
A Dangerous Friend by Ward Just and The Quiet American by Graham Greene, The Hours by Michael Cunningham and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild.

Finally, there are some books that raise so many questions and issues that you just can’t stop talking about them. These may not be enjoyed by everyone in the group, but they’re bound to lead to spirited discussions: Ernest Gaines’s
A Lesson Before Dying, Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter, Andre Dubus III’s The House of Sand and Fog, [and] Frederick Busch’s Girls.

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