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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

History Uncovered: The Worst Hard Time


Close to 20 of us found our way to Pat's house, and all my emails about what a beautiful place it is were eclipsed by the reality! We had a wonderful holiday party! Great food, great company! And a lively discussion about The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan, somewhat combined with the Ken Burns documentary that aired on PBS recently. I don't know of anyone in the group who didn't see the documentary. Thanks again to Shirley for reminding me about it.

This was an especially good book for group discussion, partly because the company of our happy group helped ease the sadness we read about. Jennifer started our discussion by reading part of an interview with the author, Timothy Egan. She had questions ready to keep the discussion moving and on track. We stayed on topic, and I'll guess that everyone learned something, even after reading the book and watching the documentary!

I got the impression that most of us felt that the book and documentary film, which were similar even to the extent that the author of the book was one of the experts interviewed in the film, presented a much more in-depth understanding of the Dust Bowl than we had before reading this book.  We were surprised at how extensive, long, devastating, and at times powerful the drought and sandstorms were. Most of us took history classes within a few years of each other. The Dust Bowl just didn't get the attention it deserved. Could that be because by the time we were in school the problem was mostly solved, and environmental issues weren't yet in the limelight? Seems the emphasis when I was studying history was on wars.

Our country suffered great losses from the Dust Bowl. Did we learn from our mistakes? Yes, we did! Just not enough (IMHO [in my humble opinion]). The government was instrumental in temporarily saving the Midwest, with contour farming, the planting of 225 million trees, and then the buyouts and subsidies. Problems were solved; but new problems were caused. Farms in the Midwest are now irrigated with water from underground aquifers, such as the Ogallala, which Dennis reminded us is being drained more quickly than it is naturally replenished. Subsidies are still in effect. I don't profess to have much understanding of the situation. I can say that my neighbors who spend much of their time at a house on Lake Buchanan are angry that the Texas rice farmers are receiving water from the Colorado as well as subsidies to minimize farming, while the lake is too low for boating. I don't want to get into politics here, as my knowledge is limited. Informational blog comments are welcome, though!

Interesting factoids: John asked how rice actually came to be a Texas crop. Great question, considering that Texas is hot and dry and rice grows mostly submerged in water. Pat happened to have read about this, and she told us that Japanese immigrants had brought rice seed with them, as it was a valuable commodity available to them; they had entered the coastal areas of Texas and started rice farming. Joyce told an interesting story: her aunt told her that her (Joyce's) grandfather had 8 daughters during the Dust Bowl. Their poverty necessitated their dividing the kids to "farm" (clever but not funny pun intended) them out to families that could take care of them. Also interesting is that Phyllis said that the grasses of the Midwest were originally very tall. She remembered seeing 3 plows at once cutting some down. Let's not be judgmental; farming can be done sustainably, and we don't know what those plows were doing and what was done with the land they plowed. Jennifer mentioned that the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin has a native garden at the entry, with tall grasses. Today, I noticed some very tall grainlike or grasslike plants on the service road for 45 going from Heatherwilde toward 130, on the right side of the street. I'd like to know what it is.

This discussion began to lead us into many ecological/environmental issues. There are so many these days, current and looming. Individuals can and should do their part; but unless the big corporations cooperate, there will probably be issues. How's that for putting it mildly? Shall we read and discuss more about this in 2013? Shall we read more for escape? Some humor?

Best wishes for happy holidays and an eclectic new year with the Round Rock New Neighbors Book Discussion Group!

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