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, June 26, 2016

If It's Fiction, Suspend Disbelief

Our discussion of The Shipkiller, by Justin Scott, started with some questioning of the factual aspects of this thriller and ended with an opportunity to gain some new perspective. We noticed immediately that the only Book Club member who is currently involved with sailing and might give us valid critique or praise of the nautical terminology in the story, Ken, was absent from the meeting. Even without Ken, most of us agreed that we had neither learned about the nautical terms by researching every unfamiliar word nor minded suspending disbelief and skipping over the nautical terms and accepting their contributions to the story. Since the book had been published in 1978, the technology in the book might have become somewhat obsolete by now, anyway. The story seemed to appeal to most of those attending, as most had read the book. The experience of reading that book tends to be one of immersion and page turning to see what happens!

Criticism of the book started with Linda H. suggesting that it could have been edited more carefully. Lydia said she had noticed that although there was just a small amount of Arabic in the book, it was inaccurately presented. Linda B. expanded on the inaccuracy theme, saying that she had noticed that all the military information in the book was so inaccurate that she questioned all the sailing information. She said specifically that the sailor, Hardin, a civilian, had gathered army materials and that this wouldn't be possible. Dennis agreed that the story had some far-fetched aspects, starting with Hardin's anger about the super-tanker. Though what happened to Hardin and his wife, Carolyn, was indeed terrible, blaming it on the super-tanker Leviathan was unfounded. Dennis noted that the Leviathan was such a huge ship that everyone should understand, and anyone on the water should know, that it can't stop or change direction at all quickly and that staying out of its way would be of utmost importance to anyone remotely in its way. Again considering the size of Leviathan, Dennis said that it would have been unrealistic to plan to sink it with one device, even the Dragon. Marcia agreed that plotting to sink the Leviathan was not realistic. There was a David versus Goliath aspect to the story.

Some discussion praised the story. Cindy T. said that every ship has some vulnerability, and that the story showed that Hardin set up a 'perfect storm' to 'kill' the Leviathan. Cindy V. said that she thought arresting a ship was interesting and had researched it but not found much information. Shirley thought that Donner's change of heart was merited, because Donner's bosses had made it clear that he had no other choice, and Linda B. agreed. Linda B. also explained the potential impossibility of the Leviathan getting into the position it did after going around the cape and into the bay, by suggesting that the captain of the Leviathan, Ogilvy, had been shown to be highly skilled and have a lot of experience; so it was logical and perhaps part of the story and development of the Ogilvy character that it was his outstanding skill that allowed the ship to get into that vulnerable position. Cindy V. and I (Claudia) at first questioned why Hardin and the author kept calling the sailboat "The Swan," when Hardin had named it "Carolyn." Dennis informed us that 'Swan' was the type of boat it was, thus validating the many referrals in the book to 'The Swan.'

After we had questioned the editing and the facts in The Shipkiller, Frank gave us an explanation from the bookseller's viewpoint. He said that the book probably originated by the author, who had written and cowritten numerous successful thrillers, suggesting to the publisher that he would write a story that would combine Moby Dick, Jaws, a small sailboat and a giant tanker. The publisher would have been delighted and would have set a quick deadline. Frank said that the many comments listed on the advertising pages of a book such as The Shipkiller are written by other well-known authors to sell the book, and that this is all part of the publishing business. Because the book was fiction (a crucial aspect of the bookseller's point of view), time and money were not wasted on careful editing. There was no Internet to search when this book was published! Frank suggested that when we read a thriller, we suspend disbelief and just enjoy it as if it were creating an alternative realistic but fictitious universe. He reminded us that if the author had explained a lot of detailed information, the book would have been boring instead of thrilling. Frank assured us that nonfiction is more thoroughly edited.

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