Monday, September 28, 2009

getting ready for john sandford

It's a big week for me where authors are concerned. I'll be talking with Nick Hornby, Julie Kramer and John Sandford.

John Sandford will be in Grand Rapids on Saturday October 3 at 1pm at the Village Bookstore in Grand Rapids for a book signing and Q & A. I'll be giving a brief introduction - but YOU can get a sneak "hear" and tune in this Wednesday night for our conversation on Realgoodwords. If you can't wait that long, take a look at his video.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You gotta see this guy's you tube stuff!

I talked with young adult author John Green today about his latest novel "Paper Towns". It's a great book (notice I didn't say FOR YOUNG ADULTS - it's just great period) about a nerd.

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Besides his novel, I had the chance to look into John's "web presence", and what a present it was! (okay, kinda lame, forgive me)

One of the things John is known for is the video letters to his brother Hank. They are called the nerdfighters, and you should totally check it out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

When is it okay to fall? Or fail for that matter?

Has falling or failing ever led YOU right to where you were supposed to be?

There are many stories about the burdens of parenthood - the complexities of the bonds of mothers and daughters. There are many stories about divorce and how it affects the kids. But mostly, those kids are little or in their teenage years. And the complexities of the mother daughter bonds are not about the messy times when your mother is falling apart right before your eyes, as you yourself are about to fall apart. Laura Moriarty's new novel "While I'm Falling" tackles these issues with a fresh perspective. Bestselling author Jodi Picoult had this to say about "While I'm Falling":

While I'm Falling deftly captures the moment a child realizes that growing up means being responsible for your parents' mistakes—and preventing yourself from making the same ones. Laura Moriarty keeps getting better and better.

This week I get the chance to talk with Laura Moriarty about her new novel "While I'm Falling"- hope you can join us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tonight on Realgoodwords: After You

Say you have a best friend. This person knows you better than ANYBODY. Knows you better than your parents, your spouse....

and suddenly that person is gone.

What then? What if it turned out that you DIDN'T know that person as well as you thought?

Julie Buxbaum's new novel is "After You". It is described as:

The complexities of friendship. The unraveling of a neglected marriage. And the redemptive power of literature...Julie Buxbaum, the acclaimed author of The Opposite of Love, delivers a powerful, gloriously written novel aboutlove, family, and the secrets we hide from each other, and ourselves.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is the American Dream alive?

Picture this: fresh out of college, a star basketball player decides to NOT live in his parent's basement, but try an experiment. An experiment not in hallucinogenics but in the AMERICAN DREAM.

That's Adam Shepard.

Adam, largely in response to Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed" wanted to prove that the American Dream is alive and well. So he set out on an experiment. Here were the parameters of his "from scratch" life:
*He would take with him $25, a tarp, a sleeping bag, an empty gym bag and the clothes on his back

*He would take the train and be dropped somewhere randomly

*Within 365 days he had to have a furnished apartment, a car, $2500 and be in a position to move up in his job

Did he prove his point? Do you think the American Dream is still alive?

I'll be talking with Adam this week on Realgoodwords... in preparation for Adam's visit to northern Minnesota. He'll be speaking at Itasca Community College on Wednesday September 23rd at 12pm at Davies Theater on the campus of Itasca Community College.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This week's show

This week I talk with author John Shors about his latest novel "Dragon House". It's the story of Iris and Noah - two Americans in Vietnam who open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. Reviewers have said that the question that echoes throughout this novel is "how can we be better?"

The other book I'll feature this week is also about how to make ourselves better: whether we're a teacher, a a parent or a student. The journal of first year teacher Esme Raji Codell "Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year" has been re-published 10 years later. Described as"a rash, petite, white lady who roller-skates through the halls and insists that her fifth-graders call her "Madame Esmé." But it's not all fun and games: she introduces us to children who fling their desks and apologize in tears, and at one point, after reporting a disruptive student to her mother, who subsequently thrashes the young girl, she dry heaves into her classroom's trash can."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So it's not book-related!

I can't help it, it was pretty exciting - last week in Homer, Alaska and Tom's GIANT fish!