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, September 25, 2016

Secret Spy Ring Key to American Democracy

Carla asked, "What surprised you in this book?" to open the discussion of George Washington's Secret Six, by Brian Kilmeade. Patty was surprised that some of the dialog seemed too modern and unlikely to have been historically accurate for that time. Ken said he hadn't realized how important espionage was in 18th century warfare. He thought it was all exciting fighting and hadn't expected spy networks with femmes fatales working in the background. Carla had known about Benedict Arnold but hadn't realized how close the United States came to losing West Point to the British. This brought some consideration of the possibility that if things had been different, maybe if George Washington hadn't created his spy ring, our government would still be British. It was that close! Pam and I were surprised that the process of rebelling and fighting and establishing a new country had taken as many years as were listed in George Washington's Secret Six. From what we had learned in school, it seemed that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and the country was on its way. In George Washington's Secret Six, we saw that it was another 10 years before the British left New York, signifying defeat. Cindy T. was surprised that the spies really used codes and invisible ink. These have been the stuff of children's toys for many years, although they were very real and still are in some forms.

We were all interested in who might have been the female spy, Agent 355. Although there is no proof as to who it was, there were a number of possible women mentioned in one edition of the book. Speculation included Dennis saying she might have been a sister of one of the spies. Cindy said that there was no confirmation in the book that Agent 355 had been in prison and that any of the women in the list of possibilities in the book would have had a prison sentence attached to her history, since much was known about those women.

Cindy V. noted that while reading, she was thinking about how the spies made the decision to accept the dangerous responsibilities involved with the spy ring. She suggested it might have been easier for a woman to choose espionage because they might have been less likely to have a job and might have had less public and monetary status to lose. Carla asked all of us to consider whether we would have accepted a position as a spy for George Washington. Washington's charisma was mentioned, but Pam said that Washington and the spies were actually separated by secrecy; so working with the great General might not have been a lure. Lydia suggested that if British soldiers had taken over one's house, one might have been moved to work against the British.

The end of the discussion included some comments about the differences between this book and a factual history and also the differences between choosing a journalist's book and a historian's book. Ken said that he found some deliberate fictionalization in the book; there had been a Culper ring but that they had nothing to do with George Washington deciding to fake an attack on New York to fool the British. I said that without having gained a solid background in history, it's hard to tackle history books. Dennis, Jay, and Ken agreed that history books often contain too much information presented in a boring manner. Then they recommended some history books they had enjoyed. Frank said that journalism and popular writings are better suited to sparking interest and imagination and are gateway books, leading readers to more factual histories. 

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