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Posts Tagged ‘Gone Girl’

Yesterday I got to go to the eighth annual Bookmarks Book Festival in Downtown Winston-Salem. I had previously gone to this event years before to meet an author I had been waiting my entire life to meet:

Yes, that is me and Rue McClanahan (Blanche from The Golden Girls).

This years festival was a lot different from that third-annual one I attended five years ago. The festival has since moved from a secluded park to the bustling Downtown Arts District. The festival is still FREE, though, which I was super psyched about.

The festival hosts several authors of all different genres reading from and speaking about their works and their writing processes and answering questions from the audience. There were so many concurrent sessions happening that made it very difficult to choose which ones to go to. I chose five that I knew I definitely, without a doubt, would be so sad to miss. I started my day at the first session The Blessing and the Burden of Place With Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow, read my review of that book here), Michael Malone (The Four Corners of the Sky AND One Life To Live, yes, the Soap Opera!) and Daniel Wallce (Big Fish, which I still have not read or seen the movie version of, even though I love the premise of the book and I adore Tim Burton). These three authors discussed what it is like to set all of their books in the South. They talked about the good and the bad and the stereotyped (“There is not one single mule in any of my books.” -Tayari Jones).

This panel was great and I had never heard of Malone or his works before. He was an amazing and hilarious speaker and so after this pannel I stopped by the book selling tent and picked up a copy of a book he discussed called Dingley Falls about an Anthrax experiment.

Next, I headed over to an indoor event that I thought would be air-conditioned, but sadly, no. However, this  was a huge event and I’m glad I made my way over early because it eventually became standing room only. This author is one you all probably already know and have already read, Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl. Flynn talked about her years working at Entertainment Weekly and shared with the audience a anecdote about her first ever short story (written in third grade) which was about a pioneer girl needing to go to the bathroom late at night only to discover that the outhouse was surrounded by wolves. She noted that she had always had a thing for writing about dark themes. The short story was called To The Outhouse! I was sad not to be able to get a photograph of Flynn, but there was an instance of a big-haired lady blocking my every view of her, so I barely even saw her myself. However, her voice was very lovely and I am so excited to start reading some of her books. I was hoping to stop back by the book buying tent to pick up Sharp Objects by her, but more on what happend with that later…

After Flynn spoke, it was about 1:00 and I hadn’t eaten all day. I knew I had fifteen minutes before my next speaker and she was speaking in the same non-air-conditioned room that Flynn had just spoken in. I could let everyone get out and then claim a front row spot for the next speaker OR I could go grab some food before I passed out. I decided to run grab a hot-dog from the hot-dog cart lady and zoomed back. I made great timing and was in perfect view to see Tayari Jones again, this time by herself, and reading from Silver Sparrow.

After Jones I rushed down to the Intersection Gallery to hear Gail Tsukiyama speak. I have never read anything by Tsukiyama but I do enjoy Asian Literature and she always gets compared to those that I love (Lisa See, Amy Tan). If her writing is anything like her speaking, she is excellent. Even though I was a little late getting to her session I still consider her my favorite speaker of the day. Tsukiyama was so animated and excited and energetic, you could tell that she really enjoyed what she did for a living and that she really enjoyed meeting her fans and talking about the works and the places and the people and the settings and what it means to be half-Chinese and half-Japanese but to consider yourself a Bay-Area American. I was really surprised to hear about the years and years of research that she puts into the writing of her books (which all touch on some historical aspect of Asian culture like Pearl Harbor or The Hundred Flowers Campaign). I was so excited to run over to the book buying tent, grab a copy of Gillian Flynn’s book and Tsukiyama’s new book The Hundred Flowers and then have her sign it, but when I walked out of the gallery, I was confronted with this:

That turned out to be a big deal. Papers and books (and in some cases, people) went flying down the street, tents and people were knocked over (you can see where one sign has already bitten the dust), children were wailing, and then it started raining. I had to make a mad dash two blocks away to get to my parking deck and I luckily made it right in time to avoid the big gully-washer that came afterwards. I sat in my car wondering if perhaps they had a weather back-up plan, as I still had some books to buy and some autographs to get and two more sessions to attend, but I decided against checking (since the line of cars that kept me waiting in the deck for 35 minutes indicated that most people were heading out of dodge) and headed back home pleased to have heard some awesome authors speak, and to have met some of my idols.

The day was a great day overall, despite the hunger and the storm. I was so thrilled to meet Tayari Jones and get my copy of Silver Sparrow signed by her and to discover a new author and be able to grab a copy of his book (Michael Malone). It was great to hear a NYT Bestseller speak to us like we were friends (Gillian Flynn) and to discover some great new books that I am so excited to get to reading.

And, I only came home with two books

which is really good for my wallet, but sad for me.

‘Til Next Time!

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I will confess with everything that I have going on this summer (see the intro. to my last blog post if you’re not with me) I have not completed one single book since my summer break from school began last Thursday. However, I am very close to being finished with The Town That Forgot How To Breath and I’m planning on reviewing that one sometime this week. I was thinking about how much I LOVE Summer Reading and I thought that for this Tuesday my TTT could be the top ten books I am most looking forward to reading this summer. I hope that I am actually able to find the time to read all ten books which is something I normally would never have trouble doing, but this summer is a little different for me with my mom being so sick and school starting back so early and I will be moving next month. I hope to at least read five of this if not more. Some of the titles are very new and some are pretty old and one I have read before but I need to revisit. Some are very popular and are still on the bestsellers list and some you might now have even heard of. Anyway, here are my personal top ten (hope to) reads for the summer of 2012:

10. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Publication Date: 2011.
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I am a huge King fan and I have read great reviews of this book. I bought a used copy a few weeks ago and it’s been sitting on my to-read shelf ever since begging me to open it up.

9. Canada by Richard Ford. Publication Date: 2012.

I knew nothing of this book. I hadn’t read about it in any of the book-themed magazines I read, I hadn’t seen it on the indie next list on indiebound, I hadn’t heard a buzz about it on any of the podcasts I listen to and I hadn’t read excitement posts about it on any of the blogs I follow. However, one morning I was browsing my friends GoodReads updates and one of my friends on there (who I trust 100% book-wise) gave it a glowing review and FIVE, yes FIVE stars (which is basically unheard of on GoodReads unless the book is spectacularly amazing great). It sounded interesting and after hearing an interview with Ford on NPR I knew I had to read it and it shot to the top of my to-read list. Now, if only the library’s waiting list for it wasn’t so high!

8. Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. Publication Date: 2012.

This book LITERALLY just came out. Today. I am a HUGE fan of Picoult’s and have collected each of her books (with the exception of Lone Wolf because it’s not out in paperback yet, so, no spoilers, please!). With Between The Lines, Picoult teams up with her teenaged daughter, Van Leer, and writes a work of young-adult fiction that is blowing up all of the blogs and podcasts and etc (see #9 for everything I turn to for book advice). The book is a book about books and characters and fairy tales and all of my favorite things. Now, I’m off to secure me a copy!

7. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Publication Date: 2001.

Bel Canto is my need to re-read book for this summer. I read it in college for a class I was taking, but now I can’t remember ANYTHING about it. I don’t even remember if I enjoyed it or not. I last read State of Wonder by Patchett and didn’t much care for that one so I am hoping that this one will be better. People seem to love Patchett and this is probably her most famous work. This one won the PEN/Faulkner and the Orange Award so I guess it can’t be too bad, right?

6. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Publication Date: 2011. Click here for review. Read 6/29/12

Silver Sparrow a book that I marked as to-read a while ago before it was published. It seems like I pretty much forgot about it and now suddenly I am seeing this book everywhere I look, especially since I follow Ms. Jones and childhood favorite author Judy Blume on Twitter and they have been really hyping a guest appearance they both made at a NYC Barnes & Noble. I guess I kinda missed the boat by not reading it last summer since NPR marked it as one of their books to read for the 2011 summer. So, now I am making up for lost summer reading and hoping to get to it this summer.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Publication Date: 2011.
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The Night Circus is one of those books that was so loved when it first came out and now it seems to have faded away. I never got a chance to read it when it first came out and so now I’m hopeful that I will get to it this summer and that it will still live up to the hype it had last year upon publication.

4. An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer. Publication Date: 2012

This is one that I just recently added to my to-read list. I was fumbling around a Barnes & Noble one afternoon killing time and found this book, read the back, and almost bought it. Some of my friends on GoodReads didn’t much care for it, but I’m intrigued. One of the books I brought down to my parents house with me this time I’m here is The Dante Club and I’m excited to get on that one. I feel like I’m definitely in the mood for some secret society reads and these two should be two good ones, I hope.

3. Carry the One by Carol Anshaw. Publication Date: 2012.

I don’t remember how I discovered this one but the plot sounds like one of those where you HAVE to read the whole thing in one sitting. The story begins with a wedding and after the wedding a tragedy strikes and the book unravels like the lives of the people affected by the tragedy.

2. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. Publication Date: 2012.

This is my favorite type of summer read: ones that are set in the summer and at the beach, but still have some literary value to them. I love books like this. I find that they are not quite as good if the weather’s not hot enough though. I’ve been holding off on this one for a long time so that I can read it either while camping on the river or at the beach this summer. Several times I have placed it in my basket at bookstores and at Target but I always put it back because I know I will read it right away and I need to have patience. It is, afterall, a virtue.

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Publication Date: 2012.

Everyone has been RAVING about this book lately and it was sold out at Target today which means it must be good (either that or the new-ness of it is still working on people, it was just published on June 5). The plot (two out of work yuppie types have to move back to one of their hometowns where the girl goes missing and eyes turn towards the husband) did not sound all that amazing to me so I may have to wait until I am in the mood for a mystery before starting this one. I am really looking forward to it though because I can’t get anyone to say anything negative about it!

What books are you looking forward to reading this summer? What books have you read so far this summer that you loved? What books do you think I should add to this list?

Happy Summer Reading!!

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