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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Picture of Dorian Gray Creates a Lasting Impression

As Frank mentioned at our meeting, there is, in the vernacular, a precedent for calling someone who doesn't show signs of aging a "Dorian Gray." After our discussion of The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, I would guess that calling someone a "Dorian Gray" soon after the book was published in 1890 and in the early part of the 20th century more often  occurred behind the person's back than to their face and maybe carried with it a tinge of jealousy. Nowadays, though I have never heard the term, I would guess that it might be used, again more likely behind someone's back than to their face, to refer to someone who has undergone plastic surgery to hide signs of aging; again in a spirit of criticism and ill will. Nothing about Dorian Gray seems likely to be far from the dark side of life.

While reading the novel (my second time and also the second time for others in our group), I was tempted to read about Oscar Wilde's life, but I decided to leave it to Patty to give us his history. Patty's rendition was not disappointing! Wilde did, indeed, lead a life of hidden (and open) homosexuality (somehow the term "gay" just doesn't fit in a discussion of Oscar Wilde), flamboyance, debauchery, imprisonment, and exile. Wilde had some literary success with his plays, but his Picture of Dorian Gray received much criticism and doesn't seem to have been appreciated until after his death.

Pam found a copy of the original unedited version of Dorian Gray at the Round Rock Public Library. She shared some of the editing with us. In my humble opinion, the original writing was hardly inflammatory, with any homosexual insinuations couched in such terminology as to be not much more obvious than in the edited version. The implications were obvious in the characters and the story line in both versions but remained mostly implications in the language used.

As always, our group had some interesting insights: When discussing Lord Henry's philosophical pontification, Janice said he seemed to express Wilde's outlook on life. It seemed that each of the main characters expressed aspects of Wilde, who was a many-faceted person. Dennis saw Picture of Dorian Gray as an early example of science fiction. Surely, the transference of Gray's aging and evil ways to the physical painting was a touch of sci-fi! Frank likened the story to Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, which was published in 1886, four years before the original version of Dorian Gray, and so might have been an influence.  Marla described a theme wherein the painting showing how people see you, Lord Henry representing how you see things, and Dorian being about how you want to be seen. This seems almost a universal theme, but, of course, not applicable to anyone who was at our meeting!


More than 20 of us attended the discussion. I was disappointed that I forgot to ask, "How many 'liked' the book?" I always find that interesting. I don't know whether everyone liked the book, hated it, or just wanted some light shed on it. Thanks to Patty for a bright and shining presentation! On the subject of light, Netflix lists 7 films that are direct or indirect renditions of the book. 

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