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, August 26, 2012

Mystery is More Than Who Done It

It seems the rule rather than the exception that readers who love mysteries read many, and other readers can take or leave mysteries. Am I right? Our book club comprises a few avid mystery readers and a majority who don't seem to read many mysteries. I enjoy a page turner, but I do not go to the mystery section when looking for a book to read. Our book club has read a few mysteries together, and they have all been fun to read. This month, all of close to 20 of us who met at Barnes & Noble on Monday had finished reading Mystery, by John Kellerman!  It seemed to be good timing for us to read a mystery. Thanks to Joyce for giving us a chance to discuss Mystery and mysteries!

Those of us who had read other books in the series knew about the main character, Alex Delaware, psychiatrist, and his past and his quirks, as well as those of his sidekick, Milo, a homicide detective. When Patty, who hadn't read other Delaware novels, asked why the author had given Milo the characteristic of being gay, Joyce said she thought it added interest that Milo was strong and tough but also gay. Marla added that the gay aspect was a twist on the typical character who would be working in a police department and also that Milo's gay past would indicate that he would have firsthand experience with being kind of a victim. There we were discussing Milo's gayness, when those familiar with Milo told us that the author had created him around 20 years ago! That brought the discussion around to why a detective might have been portrayed as gay 20 years ago, which gave us new ideas, including Pam's suggestion that Kellerman might have been trying to cajole his readers to be more accepting of homosexuality, back when it wasn't mainstream 20 years ago. Someone also suggested the possibility that Kellerman had a gay friend who might have inspired the Milo character.

There were some criticisms of Mystery, e.g., some of the characters unique to this book were not developed much. We generally agreed that Kellerman, as a prolific mystery writer, wrote this book in a quick and formulaic manner, known as "phoning it in," ie, phoning the book in to the publisher rather than poring over written and edited versions. Perhaps the most important criticism was that even those of us who guessed the killer didn't really have much foundation from the book for our guess. This was not the kind of book where the author gives the reader enough clues for the reader to solve the mystery. Frank gave us a quick lesson about mysteries, which I find to be an interesting way of categorizing them. (1) There are the kind that are puzzles that the reader can solve, such as the Agatha Christie books. (2) There are books where the author gives the reader a detective who makes amazing conclusions based on the evidence, though the reader can't put together a solution, such as Mystery or the Sherlock Holmes stories. (3) And there are crime novels, where the criminal often isn't even apprehended or punished, and the main character might be the criminal.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't delve into the excessive amounts of mostly greasy food that seemed to accompany every meeting between Milo and Alex in Mystery. Has this kind of eating been going on for the last 20 years between these characters? Perhaps Kellerman is planning a mystery that takes place in a hospital room, where Milo is the patient? Kidding. I do think there were probably other questions and topics we could have discussed relating specifically to Mystery, but the conversation took on a life of its own, as so often happens and is usually very interesting. This discussion drifted toward examples of other books, series, and films. We discussed Mystery in the context of the entire series that Kellerman wrote about his character, Alex Delaware. Then we compared the book to thew other types of mysteries already mentioned, and then we compared it with another Kellerman series, which seems to tend to be more like crime novels, those with a detective named Jack Reacher.

Books and films mentioned that might interest you:
Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware and Jack Reacher series
A new BBC series called "Copper"
A movie with Jack Black, called "Bernie"
The Hangman's Daughter, by Oliver Potszch
Cloud Atlas: A Novel, by David Mitchell

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