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 21, 2016

"I Used To Dream About Escaping My Ordinary Life, But My Life Was Never Ordinary. I Had Simply Failed To Notice How Extraordinary ..."

A bunch of Book Club members had read the popular book for young adults, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. We met on a rainy Monday to discuss the book. Some had read the second and third books in the series, too.

Shirley introduced the book and started the conversation with a question: "What did you think of the photos?" Joyce provided the first answer: she thought the photos were significant and had been surprised to find that they were real. Carla agreed that the photos were real, but she added that at that time in history, photographers produced a lot of illusions and special effects. Dennis believed the photos were real. Speaking of the niche in history, Linda mentioned that during the Civil War, it was not uncommon for photos to feature dead soldiers, propped up. The conversation stayed in a macabre tone, with Dennis mentioning that his daughter, as a child, liked to look at a book he had of photos of biological anomalies. Shirley reminded us of the topic at hand, by saying that the photo of Emma makes her look older than she is in the story.

Shirley thought the author was clever to use the photos and build the story around them. But she found the photos "creepy;" inadvertently, I thought, establishing creepiness as the theme behind the book, or even the trilogy. Linda H. said that some of the photos were made by double exposures. Joyce said they were photos of freaks. Dennis remembered that when he was a teenager, if he forgot to advance his camera when taking snapshots, he would get double exposures. I, too remember double exposures as what happened when you forgot to advance the film. I never thought of the double exposures as being interesting or something to experiment with; just as a mistake, with the punishment being a loss of control over the photographing of reality that I was attempting. Apparently this was stodgy and unoriginal thinking, as some of the photos in the book were clearly successful experiments and purposeful uses of the double exposure. Cindy T. said that the popularity of the photos combined with their creepiness highlights the fact that it is human nature to find those photos interesting.

The photos were indeed "peculiar." Shirley said that "peculiar" was a word often used to describe Jews. Other than the Jews being scapegoats for criticism and ridicule and being historically and during World War II targeted, terrorized, and persecuted...the Nazi theme of the book is implicit but not expanded. The persecution of Jacob's grandfather clearly implied and reminded mature readers of the Nazi regime, yet the author made this fictitious story sidestep the Nazis and focus instead on the fictitious "peculiar" people with their own specific characteristics that would be categorized as science fiction rather than based on history.

Some interesting and unique insights from the discussion:

Cindy V. noted that when the book supposedly took place, in 1942, people didn't live long and started showing their age during their teenage years. Thus, though members of the group in the story found eternal youth when they joined the group, some were teenagers by the time they joined the others and already showed some age. Lydia noted that the Peculiars would age if they left their loop, and the group left the loop at the end of the book. Carla said they were on their way to the next loop, so they didn't age much. Lydia said that the book, or her interpretation of it, ran out of steam toward the end. Jacob seemed like a teenager at first but seemed more like an adult after he experienced killing. Joyce said that a weakness of the book was that there was too much setting up for the next book. She would have preferred some resolution, and Jacob should have had some insights.


Books and media that we compared Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to:

A Tim Burton movie, basically any Tim Burton movie, but especially his version of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," a movie to be released on September 30th.

Harry Potter books - They differ from the Peculiar Children trilogy in that each book has a conclusion, but they are part of a series with a similarly common overall goal and ongoing struggle.

Time-travel stories in general

Lost Horizon, by James Hilton

Science Fiction parallel universes, particularly the Roger Zelazny Amber series, in which there is movement between fictitious worlds.

The TV series, "Grimm"

"Flash Gordon"

"Dr. Who" TV series

"Groundhog Day" movie

"Star Wars" movies

Joseph Campbell's writings about the hero's journey, in which someone of seemingly little consequence seems to be failing but ends up succeeding.

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