Wednesday, December 09, 2009
I can't think of a better way to thank you for your support and enthusiasm than to give away signed and personalized copies of SO HAPPY TOGETHER and THE RICHEST SEASON, along with handcrafted bookmarks to go with them.
I hope you'll visit my website to get the details. Winners will be drawn 12/31 and I hope you're one of them!
Simply go to www.maryannmcfadden.com Details are right on top!
Have a Wonderful Holiday and a Blessed New Year!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
From 12:30 - 2PM, author Jan Robbins Durr will be signing and discussing her book, "De-Stuff: A Step by Step Guide for Seniors Preparing for an Estate Sale & Downsizing." Written particularly for those individuals who don't know what to do with their lifetime accummulation of 'stuff', this book covers how to sort, research, price, advertise, hold the sale, and disposition after the sale.
To learn more about Durr, visit her Web site at: www.robbinsappraisals.com. For Park Road books, visit www.parkroadbooks.com.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
For more information and to purchase tickets, call 704-372-1000 or visit BlumenthalCenter.org.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Join us Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7 PM at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place Mall to discuss "The Lost Symbol." Kindly RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jerri Gibson McCloud
The multi-talented journalist turned novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, Robert Inman will be guest speaker at the Charlotte Writers’ Club meeting on October 20th at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, SouthPark, 7 p.m.
Numerous Charlotteans will remember “Bob” Inman as anchor/reporter in 1970 for WBT TV, the #1 station in Charlotte during his 5-year stint. He left WBT in 1975 only to return in 1979 to become one of Charlotte’s most recognized anchor over the next 17 years.
Enamored by his passion for writing, in 1996 he left WBT to pursue a new career of writing.
Success continued for Inman with his first novel Home Fires Burning, followed by Old Dogs and Children, Dairy Queen Days and Captain Saturday. His down-home style and rich sentiment pulls the reader into his stories. He captured the south and brought the reader back to their own experiences in days long forgotten.
Inman crossed over from fiction to non-fiction with Coming Home: Life, Love and All Things Southern, and yet another genre, he wrote his first stage play Crossroads, writing the book, music and lyrics. The author of six motion pictures of which two were presented by Hallmark Hall of Fame, Inman has received many awards for his outstanding work, too numerous to list here. For additional books, plays, awards, education, please visit his website:
Charlotte Writers’ Club is all about furthering its members’ writing experiences and encouraging them to soar to greater heights of writing. Robert Inman’s story will please all. Visitors welcome.
Charlotte Writers' Club
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
City at the Cusp: How the Culture of Plenty Demolished the American Economy
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For more, visit www.cityathecusp.com.
Noted documentary film maker and author Ken Burns will appear at Joseph-Beth at SouthPark on Sept. 14, at Noon, to discuss the companion book to Burns’ newest documentary “The National Parks: America's Best Ideas.” Burns, whose illustrious 25 year of filmmaking includes documentaries on baseball, jazz and the Civil War, wrote the introduction to the book; writer Dayton Duncan wrote the book and co-produced the series.
The series looks at NPS’ span from inception to current status. Now almost 150 years old, there are parks in every state of the nation, except for Delaware. The National Parks System now includes 400 individual sites and 84 million combined acres.
“Parks” is a six-part series that will begin airing on PBS stations around the nation on Sept. 27.
Weil’s other 10 books include "Healthy Aging," "Spontaneous Healing" and "8 Weeks to Optimum Health.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of mega best-seller and our own book club favorite, “Eat, Pray, Love” will speak with her sister, Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. at Davidson College’s Duke Family Performance Hall.
The New York Times named “Love” as one of the top 10 books of 2006; filming is currently underway for the movie version starring Julia Roberts. Gilbert is putting the final touches on her new book, “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage,” which is due out early next year.
Gilbert’s sister, Catherine Gilbert Murdock is the author of young adult novel “Dairy Queen” -- the story of a girl who runs her father’s struggling dairy farm and tries out for the high school football team. Its sequel (and third book in the series) “The Off Season” will be published this fall.
Tickets are free, and are available at Davidson’s College Union from 10-4 weekdays, and will be distributed at the door beginning an hour before the presentation.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I liked their battery life and be sure to get the leather cover. It kept the Kindle clean and portable. There is the standard black leather but I am groovin for the purple leather cover, available at Amazon, which is delicious looking.
Would I get the Kindle right now? Maybe.
The portability factor is amazing. This is a HUGE selling point. I have to say that a few days down the line, I really miss it. And the only other piece of tech equipment I feel that way about is my iPod.
Prices just dropped to $299 but if Apple has taught us anything it’s wait for the next generation to get more features at a lower price. I love the convenience and the cool factor of the Kindle. But I really want the color screen and better navigation for the newspaper articles. I’ll be eagerly waiting for those features and then I’ll pounce.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Author Maryann McFadden discusses So Happy Together
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Friday, July 31, 2009
The magazine selection is slimmer, with 32 titles which are mostly business and technology. But hey, even Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (which seems somewhat odd considering the high-techie other selections) are here. At $1.49 a month, Time Magazine’s Kindle version is full-featured at a drastically reduced cost than their paper counterpart.
By now you realize I'm an avid reader. If you are green conscious at all, you realize that reading both newspapers or magazine causes problems for the environment. Sure we all recycle but I'm surprised more isn't made of the green benefits of using a Kindle. Also, not having to lug those ungainly magazines to the recylable bin is a good thing.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I find myself wanting to rush home, or anyplace quiet so I can switch the Kindle on and read more. Discipline is definitely needed. With Kindle's ease of ordering a book at Amazon's site, I find myself buying (or wanting to buy books) at a moment's notice.
For the record, I have bought Chris Anderson's "Free," Coelho's "By the River...," and Julia Cameron's "The Right to Write." I really want to buy Julia Child's "My Life in Paris." The sample was divine! But with only two more days left of the test, I have to pace myself.
Feature I fall in love with today: the gorgeous and whimsical screen savers which depict some of literature's greatest heros and heroines (including Jane Austen!). What a thoughtful touch!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Features I love: include the fact I can resize the text in six directions which helps late at night, and I like the fact that the automated voice can read anything on the Kindle to you.
Features I dream of: a color screen, a volume button for the voice (it’s a tad low without earphones).
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Kindle offers 44 newspaper subscriptions with the majority (33) of them U.S. newspapers. National newspapers such as the NYT, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are here as are many the dailies in major cities but the southeast is sorely underrepresented. The only ones offered are from Atlanta and Richmond. But if you want to read the Shanghai Daily or Le Monde, you are in luck.
I’m in a bit of a sticker shock. To read the papers on the Kindle you have to pay a monthly subscription fee, which ranges from $5.99 for the Orlando Sentinel to a whopping $14.99 for the Wall Street Journal. The Times is $13.99. While there are whole conversations within the media industry to try to monetize their online content, most newspapers (except for the WSJ which started out and continues to offer a fee-based subscription online) are free. I can read the entire Sunday NYT online with my laptop for free. The good news is that they offer a two week trial. I sign up for the NYT, USA Today and WSJ.
Kindle’s electronic ink makes it very easy to read in both direct sunlight and shade. I would love it if they would consider adding a nightlight for easier reading in bed. But with the flexibility of changing the font to six different sizes, reading was easier.
The 6 inch screen is wider than my PDA, which makes reading even swifter. What I’m not crazy about is the way the newspaper publishers display their content. On my PDA, I can swiftly scan all the headlines and choose what I want to read. On the Kindle, the content is broken down into main headlines such as Front Page, National, International, Arts and so on. I use the new five-way toggle to skim the articles and I can clip the ones I want to read later, a handy feature. But I find this lack of navigation has me hitting the “Next Page” button again and again. The effect of this feature has me reading far more than just a few articles. After an hour, I feel like I’m incredibly well read.
Friday, July 24, 2009
On Thursday, the package from Amazon arrived and I felt like it was Christmas in July. Though one should not, normally, judge a book by its cover, I like the details. The whimsical phrase on the side of Kindle’s box “Once upon a time…” suggests this will not be any ordinary technical gizmo.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It's the day to celebrate French indpendence and the fourth anniversary of our book club.
Join us tonight at Crepe Cellar in NoDa for a spectacular party with a menu from the page to the plate of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Some of the delicious goodies include Mussels in white wine sauce, roasted chicken, croque monsieur and Crepes Suzette!
Ticket prices are $15. E-mail me at email@example.com to RSVP. Only 8 seats are left!
Hope to see you there!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
"The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) will implement new summer hours starting July 5 and ending September 6. During this time all 24 libraries in Mecklenburg County will be closed on Sundays. This change will affect the hours at seven libraries which are normally open on Sundays: Main Library, ImaginOn, Independence, Morrison, South County, University City and North County. Barring any other changes to the economy, Sunday hours at these locations will resume on September 13."
For more, click the PLCMC website.
Monday, June 15, 2009
This month we have a lot to celebrate!
It’s now the book club’s fourth anniversary! Wow! Where does the time go?
So in honor of summer and celebrations, we’re reading “Julie and Julia” the wonderful book about how a fellow Brooklyn girl took Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and committed herself to cooking every single recipe in a year.
To celebrate, we’re planning a festive party to not only commemorate our anniversary but also Bastille Day on Tuesday, July 14. Look to this blog for more details as soon as we can confirm them.
In the meantime, plan on spending some seriously fun time with the book. We’re also trying to see if we can work out an arrangement to see the movie, with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, when it comes out in August. More on that soon, too!
Please RSVP by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you book clubbers for making book club such a fabulous place to be! Here’s to Year 5!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The book I can’t put down these days is Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help.” It’s a fantastic story of three women whose lives intersect during the ‘60s in Mississippi.
That’s why I was thrilled when her publicist said yes to our book club’s request to host Ms. Stockett at our next book club function.
Join us on Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place Mall. We’re expecting a big crowd so please R.S.V.P. by e-mailing me at email@example.com.
Stay tuned! There will be an exclusive interview with Ms. Stockett on this blog shortly. To read more about her, visit the author’s website at www.kathrynstockett.com
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The story is a mythical tale with parallels to our everyday lives. It is the story of Santiago, a young boy in Spain and his quest to discover his personal legend. He is guided by dreams and the way events in his life unfold. Besides the book’s poetic quality, the story aims to help everyone understand that each life has a purpose and it seeks to help us understand how to find it.
Author Paul Coehlo is a Brazilian journalist, actor, theater director turned novelist. In 1986, he walked the famed Christian pilgrimage path in northern Spain, known as the Santiago de Compostela. A year later he documented his walk in the book, “The Pilgrimage” – a book I read and fueled my own passion to walk the same path later this year in June. A year later, Coehlo wrote “The Alchemist.”
Despite initial slow sales, the book is now one of the single most successful books in modern literature. Last year, the book celebrated its 20th anniversary with an announcement that actor Lawrence Fishbourne and producer Harvey Weinstein would make the book into a movie. The book has been on a bestseller lists in 74 countries, and so far has sold 35 million copies. In 2008, it earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for most translated book in the world – 67 languages.
Join us Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place Mall to discuss this exciting work. Please RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, April 03, 2009
If you are looking for the most magnificent example of how to take a beloved book and take it to the screen, look no further. Alexander McCall Smith (former SV book club author)and artists such as Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella have brought the best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series to HBO.
Make sure you tune to HBO every Sunday night at 8 PM EST for the latest installment. You won't be disappointed. It is a pure delight. Seeing the first installment last Sunday made me start reading the series all over again. Watch the trailer below!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Many of you have shared your own stories of love and loss and it's humbling. When something like this happens, it underscores how important it is that each of us spend each day with people and doing the things that make our heart sing.
I am forever grateful to all the book club members and the staff at Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group for being such a wonderful family of people whom I love dearly.
With all my heart,
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Stephanie Kallos, author of our book club favorite "Broken for You," visits Charlotte next week to discuss her latest book, "Sing Them Home." I am forever indebted to Kallos. Not only did is "Broken" one of the best books our book club has ever read, she was one of the very first authors who did a phone chat with us when we were just getting our sea legs. I can't believe that was four years ago!
Run, don't walk to buy her latest book. She is an exceptional writing talent who creates characters that live with you long after the end of the book. She will be appearing at Park Road Books on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 P.M. For more details, visit their bookstore at 4139 Park Road, in Charlotte's Park Road Shopping Center, or call them at 704-525-9139.
Want to get to know Kallos better? Here's an indepth interview with the author.
The idea for SING THEM HOME has clearly been with you for quite a while. Where did the story come from? How close is the final story to your original idea?
The initial idea for SING THEM HOME arose from a photo from the March 1974 National Geographic—and from my family’s personal connection to that photo. Until I was five, my parents and I lived in
In 1974, in one of those examples freakish tornadic behavior, a funnel cloud came through, passing by the farmhouse across the road, bouncing over the highway, and landing on the McClure house. Hope—who had MS, and was in a wheelchair at the time—was home alone with the youngest of her five children, who was at that time a toddler. The baby was found wandering the fields wearing her diaper, having suffered nothing but a few scratches and (one would assume) a terrible scare; Hope was badly hurt, but survived. The house—and everything in it—was gone.
The National Georgraphic photo was taken a few miles away, near
I always envisioned the book as the story of three siblings whose mother went up but never came down, and the grief surrounding such a loss—so in that sense the story didn’t change. But the book took on a new and deeper significance when I lost both of my folks during the writing process—my dad in January 2005 and my mom a year later, almost to the day. For that reason, SING THEM HOME evolved into a much more personal book. The gift of my own loss I suppose is that it allowed me to stand with more authenticity, humility, and empathy in my characters’ shoes. For years I believed that this book would be my first novel; I’m glad it wasn’t.
There are many strands to the novel including letters, diary entries, shifts in time and point of view. In what order did you actually write the various strands?
I’d like to say that I went about writing this novel in a methodical, ordered way, but that was not the case. I did work with a detailed outline (even though I ended up deviating from it quite a bit) and that provided a way for me to move around in the story without always moving chronologically. In other words, if I woke up one morning to find Bonnie clamoring for attention, the outline gave me a kind of mental “filing cabinet” so that I knew roughly where that scene would occur. The only part of the book that I wrote all at once and in order were the Hope diary entries—with all the skipping around in time and through memory that the other characters do, I wanted the reader to at least have one point-of-view character who told their story in a traditional, chronological manner!
Do you have a favorite Jones child?
Nope. That would be something like saying I favor one of my children over the other, wouldn’t it? I love all the Jones kids, deeply. The challenge of writing about siblings was new to me, however. I’m an only child, and although I daydreamed about having brothers and sisters for much of my childhood, that hardly qualified me to write about them in a credible way! I’ll be interested to hear from people who have brothers and sisters to see if I got it right. I love meeting people’s families. I’m always asking folks about their families and never tire hearing about what it’s like to have siblings.
Also—and I’m not sure if this was a conscious choice at the very beginning of the writing process, but it certainly became conscious over time—I gave each of the Jones children different parts of myself—the flawed parts, that is. This helped me feel a personal, empathetic connection with each of them—and perhaps allowed me to avoid the danger of favoritism. (Actors have to do this, too: find the common ground that you share with the character, so that you don’t stand outside of them and judge them. The worst thing an actor playing Lady Macbeth could do would be to think of her as a “bad” person. But that’s another discussion.)
So Larken got my body image problems and my desperate need to please; Gaelan got my innate fear of being undeserving of anything good and of being “found out” as someone who’s not terribly competent or bright; Bonnie got my obsession with looking for signs and my sometimes unhealthy preoccupation with the little picture. And my frustration with blenders.
There is a point in the novel where the reader knows all the big answers, but the details—Hope’s final actions, her location, the details in her diary, the letters she wrote—are never going to be known to Viney and the Jones children. It seems that denying them that information is a key element in keeping the ending from being too pat, too standard “happy ending.” Their challenge is to achieve redemption/resolution without benefit of this knowledge. Only then can they move on in their own lives. Still, did you worry about things working out too easily, too completely?
Interesting that you ask this, because in the first draft of the book, the siblings found Hope’s body. That initial resolution did indeed seem too easy, too pat. It also undermined the substantial growth the characters had found without that deus ex machina.
And in the end, I became interested in the kind of people— there are so many in this world and in these times—who have to learn to live with that very special kind of unresolved grief, the grief of never receiving what Hope calls “the gift of bones.” I was interested in trying to bring my characters to a place where—even if they couldn’t ever get over Hope’s death or that fact that her body’s whereabouts would always be a mystery—they could at least believe that she was somewhere, and that a relationship with her was possible.
Hope writes in one of the entries about how she wants her children to be able to find her after she is gone, not in the things she leaves behind (which would include a body) but in the air they breathe. In her suicide note, she encourages them to “turn the coin over” and find her on the other side of heartbreak. I wanted the characters to learn over the course of the story to do this, to find her elsewhere—in the gestures and expressions of strangers, in music, in coincidental encounters. Because after all, this is really the only way we can really find those we’ve lost. They’re not in their coffins, not really. They’re not lingering in the vicinity of their remains. They’re somewhere else. I’ve come to believe that if one is open for business, the dead make themselves known to us. They have ways of saying hello. That’s been my experience, anyway. Knowing where a loved one is buried is a comfort, to be sure. But in this story, I wanted to look at how people might come to find comfort and redemption and the ability to move on without that knowledge.
The Welsh elements in SING THEM HOME create such a strong and unique community. Do you have any personal connections that you drew on to create this community?
Wymore, Nebraska, has a strong Welsh heritage— I didn’t know this when I lived there, it was only after I visited in April of 2004 with my dad in the interest of research that I learned about this. There is a
The Welsh component gives the people of Emlyn Springs something that is unique to them, something that wouldn’t necessarily get them on the front page of a newspaper (or even the back page of a travel brochure) but which endows them with a sense of pride. Thus the special funeral celebration evolved over the years, Fancy Egg Days, the speaking of Welsh. I very much wanted the town of
I think sometimes it’s easy for people from larger communities to write off small towns as bland, culturally deprived, and unenlightened, as places where nothing daring or outrageous ever happens. And yet, people make their lives and deaths in those small towns and are often very proud of their communities. When a natural disaster strikes such places (and we’ve had no limit on that kind of story lately, it seems) the fortitude and courage of those small town folks astounds me.
I heard an interview with Wendell Berry when I was working on this book—he was reflecting on something that was happening in a small town in West Virginia, I believe, talking about a certain kind of mining being done there that essentially removes a mountain, bit by bit, from the top down. He said something that made its way into the book—it was about the special kind of suffering these people were experiencing, a unique suffering that comes from loving a place that has been utterly destroyed. Small town people have that kind of love. It’s a unique courage and one I very much wanted to commemorate in this book.
In regard to your first novel, Broken for You, you once discussed how you wrote letters to some of the characters while or after you had finished writing the book. Did you need to write a letter to any of the characters in SING THEM HOME?
The only character I remember being slightly recalcitrant in the early stages was Larken, and I think we did have an epistolary exchange at one point early on. She’s just not a warm and fuzzy, trusting type, and I also think she needed to be reassured that I wasn’t judging her based on her looks. There was also a lot of shyness/resistance about writing the sex scenes—particularly the first time that Viney and Welly get together. But I think that came less from the characters and more from me. I’m very shy about writing sex scenes. My agent and my editor had to really nudge me hard to get those written. I’m glad they did. They really needed to be in there.
Now that you have finished the second novel, which can be so difficult for many authors, are you working on a third?
I’ve just started daydreaming about the third novel, taking notes in my journal, reading books related to the territory I expect to explore, mining my dreams. Again, I’ll be revisiting a subject and characters that have had a fascination for me for years. Ghosts, talking to the dead, the Spiritualism movement in
I really do feel as though it was a huge milestone getting through that second book— which, if you listen to the majority opinion, is doomed. Amy Tan’s essay “Angst and the Second Novel” was a tremendous comfort, and it’s something every writer struggling with that second book should read. I passed it on to my editor, who didn’t know of it. She immediately photocopied it for all her colleagues at Grove and now I understand it’s required reading!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This month, we're reading historical fiction best-seller, "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding-an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair-she begins to unlock the book's mysteries.
Hanna's investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra- nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love.
Join us Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 7 P.M. at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place Mall for a phone chat with the author. Please RSVP by e-mailing us here.