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 25, 2013

Spoilers - Our Discussion of Defending Jacob

The author of Defending Jacob, William Landay, was originally a district attorney, and it showed! The book definitely presented an insider's knowledge of courtroom methodology and especially the slant from the DA's point of view. When Linda began our discussion, she asked, "What's on trial?" thus starting us on some of the big ideas in the book. Answers included ethics, the judicial system, and parenting. Did author Landay mean to indicate so many themes in his story? Considering that this book is a best seller and that he has written two other prize-winning legal thrillers, we can probably give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was hinting at some extra meaning beyond the story.

Andrew, as narrator, provided in-depth narrative about legal trickery. This expressed a critical theme about the legal system. Vicki noted that the author was also making a statement about innocent people who are convicted on a shred of evidence. We seemed to get involved with all of the several characters in the book, even though the story was told through Andrew's eyes only. There were very few characters, but the depth of character development varied. Some of us wanted to know more about what Jacob was really thinking. Pam wished for some first-person from Jacob. Dennis felt that for the mystery story, it was probably best to keep Jacob's thoughts ... a mystery.

We found a lot of evidence of a parenting theme. Some felt strongly that Jacob's parents should have paid more attention to what Jacob was thinking and what he was doing. Mary suggested that Andrew's obsession with denying his own link to violent behavior led to denial of his son's problems from the time Jacob was very young. Laurie, Jacob's mother, was able to deny Jacob's problems while he was a child, because she had no knowledge of her husband's family history and therefore found it easy to keep from thinking Jacob might be abnormal, especially when Andrew was always glossing over Jacob's tendency toward violence. Some of the mothers in our group were outspoken about the parenting errors. Janice was irritated that Andrew and Laurie didn't put Jacob into psychotherapy. Marla thought that Jacob's parents should certainly have asked him direct questions when they learned he had the knife: where did you get the money for the knife? How and where did you get it? We talked about the knife so much, it seems that we thought it was more important than the D.A. in the book did. Dennis had a theory that the murderer in the trial was Katz, and that Jacob was getting money from Katz for sexual favors and used that money to buy the knife to protect himself from potential problems from Katz. But the trial so damaged Jacob that he turned to violence later in the book.

Defending Jacob did seem to have implied themes beyond the narrative. The story was important, but the themes of parenting and ethics and the system were subtly interwoven. We identified a fun subtle wordplay by the author. The ungrateful D.A. demonstrated the worst of trial strategy, a will to sacrifice the truth to get a guilty verdict. He had learned much of his trial technique from  Andrew but showed no mercy toward Andrew during the case. His name was pronounced "La Judas!"

Afterward: After writing this, I was discussing the book with Libby, who couldn't be at our meeting. She was curious as to how we all had answered the question, "What would you have done?" as a mother at the end of the book, if it were your child. Would you have done what Laurie did? Comments welcome below!

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