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 27, 2013

Memorable Discussion of The Forgotten Garden

Reading and discussing The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, was great fun! Cindy asked us to prepare for the discussion, and she came prepared to reward us for our preparation. She had asked us to consider three of the discussion questions from the back of the paperback copy of the book:

Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra all lose their birth mothers when they are still children. How are their lives affected differently by this loss? How might their lives have evolved had they not had this experience?

Is The Forgotten Garden a love story? If so, in what way(s)?

In what ways do Eliza's fairy tales underline and develop other themes within the novel?

At the meeting, Cindy first gave us some background information. She started us thinking with an explanation about the mourning brooch that Eliza had hidden in the wall of the little room at the top of the stairs where she had lived with her mother and brother. A mourning brooch was traditionally made with plaited hair. Cindy suggested we think of the story as a plaiting of the lives of the three main characters: Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra.

Then Cindy pulled out the heavy artillery: A poster with background and guidance for each of the questions for discussion, plus a chart of the relationships between the characters and generations. She assigned us to three groups, each to discuss one of the questions for a few minutes and report the group's ideas to everyone.

My group talked about the third question, Eliza's fairy tales. Cindy's poster listed 3 fairy tales that were included in the story and 2 that were mentioned. Our group was inspired and had some good ideas! The Crone didn't need her eyes; she just needed someone to care for her. The parallel was visible in the lives of all the women. I think we agreed that Nell was most like the Crone, with Cassandra the princess carrying Nell's memory and mystery forward. The story called The Changeling was manifest in Adeline (the evil queen) keeping Rose hidden and maybe even training her to be sickly so she wouldn't be interested in independence, and Rose finally flying the coop. The Golden Egg story was obvious in its symbolism; this symbolism was made part of the Forgotten Garden story when the reader learned that Nathaniel had removed the Golden Egg story from Nell's copy of Eliza's book.

As concerns the love story, there were several in the book. There were unanswered questions, too, as to whom Eliza might have loved and why she didn't. About the women all losing their mothers, someone said Nell's loss was the most tragic. Then there was some discussion as to whether Nell had over-reacted by rejecting her adoptive family when she suddenly found out she wasn't who she thought she was. My notes on these questions are minimal. I think I got too caught up in the presentation. If you want to post some more detailed notes, please do.

Cindy had another poster, listing some of the medical themes she noticed throughout the book that had affected the characters in life-changing ways. This was a very interesting perspective on the book. I was impressed that Cindy thought of it! This kind of insight is why we come to book discussion meetings! The medical conditions included typhoid on Nell's ship; Georgiana's tuberculosis; scarlet fever as a foil for Ivory's disappearance; Adeline's blood poisoning (stuck by a Rose in the forgotten garden?); Sammy's unspecified disability; and Linus's lameness, perhaps caused by polio. 

Thanks to Cindy for helping us interpret this page-turner full of plot twists. I think we all left the meeting with a broadened understanding and increased appreciation of the book's themes and depth.


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