Monday, January 30, 2006

Much Ado About Something

The most talked about book of the year award goes to.... A Million Little Pieces.

The media will not let it go. USA Today reports that writer James Frey got a tongue-lashing from Oprah last week.

Listen to this interesting discussion on NPR about the ethics of memoir writing.

Because of the controversy, I looked up literary hoaxes on the internet. US News and World Report, refering to a book called, The City of Light by David Selbourne, points out that "the book ran into a little problem when scholars pointed out some curious inconsistencies in the text. A reference to "the incredible noise of a constant number of carriages" seemed odd since sedan chairs were the usual mode of transport in China back then." READ MORE

At least the book is allowing the public to talk about issues like truth and betrayal in memoir writing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What our neighbors are reading

Ever wondered what other book discussion groups in our part of Georgia are reading? No? Well I''ll tell you what I found out from the Georgia Times-Union anyway.

According to the What's Happening column compiled by Cindy Holifield,a group called the Bookfellows Book Club met last week Tuesday in Valdosta to discuss The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Another group called the Hahira Book Club met last week at the Salter Hahira Public Library to discuss The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

This Friday a group at the Brunswick-Glynn County Library will discuss, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. Another group, I presume, will meet at the same location this Saturday to discuss Dahlonega Haunts: True Ghost Stories from a Georgia Mountain Town by Georgia author of the year, Amy Blackmarr.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Book Selections for February - April

We continue to alternate fiction and non-fiction so we decided on the following:

FEBRUARY 17: All Over but the Shoutin'by Rick Bragg
MARCH 17: Zorro: A Novel by Isabel Allende
APRIL 21: Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd.Wow! READ THIS!

We have other suggestions lined up but did not want to commit to them too early:

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Lost Girls of China by Karin Evans
Symptoms of Withdrawal by Christopher Kennedy Lawford

Here is the answer to the question raised last night, When did C.S. Lewis convert to Christianity? "Lewis had become an atheist in his teens, but underwent a dramatic conversion in 1931, largely under the influence of discussions with a fellow Oxford medievalist named J.R.R. Tolkien". READ MORE

Thursday, January 19, 2006

From reality TV show idea to novel

Seventy-three year old multi-millionaire Tom Perkins has written a risque first novel called, Sex and the Single Zillionaire. SEE MORE

Tom Perkins is ex-husband number 5 of romance novelist Danielle Steel. Apparently in real life Tom Perkins was invited to participate in a TV dating show and turned down the offer. According to Pui-Wing Tam and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal, January 14-15, 2006,Danielle Steele encouraged him to turn the idea into a novel.

If you are a Danielle Steel fan, you may be interested to know that Ms. Steele's 66th novel, The House, will be out in February. She just published Toxic Bachelors.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Santa Claus

So what was the purpose of introducing Santa Claus in the story on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? He brought gifts for the children but they were not toys. Hmm.

Think about it! We meet this Friday, January 20 at 6:00 P.M. at Andrew's Grill, downtown Waycross.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Reading Group Choices

While browsing for reading guides on the internet, I came across a site called Reading Group Choices. There is an interview on that site with Donna Seaman, writer of a book called, Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books CHECK THIS OUT

I learned from that interview that over 5 million Americans belong to reading groups.

Seaman also gave advice for selecting books for discussion. She said we should consider those books that are "rich in complex ideas, books that grapple with the big questions and don't offer easy answers. Books that are beautifully written and do not pander. I would suggest going back in time and reclaiming significant novels if book club members aren't familiar with them, and I would recommend selecting books about cultures and places different from those of the group". Link to the INTERVIEW

We certainly have been selecting books about other cultures and places: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, India. Here is a non-fiction book suggested by Charlotte that we can think about:
The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

"Much ado about nothing" is how Oprah summed up the controversy over James Frey's memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Larry King Live went on over the allotted timeslot last night with caller, Oprah Winfrey.

What I got out of Larry King Live last night is that the essence of memoir writing is storytelling; so the writer can take liberties and leave out aspects of his life or change some details that will add to the storytelling element. The writer stated that the disputed passages make up about 5% of the entire book. The essence of the story is his own personal memory of events or his own perspective of events.

Much of the controversy over the book appears to be focused on the fact that the book was an Oprah Book Club Selection. READ MORE

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Shining Star Jones

I watched a bit of Larry King Live last night. Star Jones was his special guest. You know Star Jones; lawyer, former prosecutor, the face for Payless Shoes Stores' ad, one of the five female co-hosts on The View , also known as Mrs. Al Reynolds. Well she was on Larry King talking about her new book, Shine: a Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love.
She informed viewers last night that she was one of the "Love Coaches" on

Also on Larry King Live tonight, look out for the interview with controversial writer, James Frey. I am expecting he will be defending himself against allegations that his memoir was partly fiction. At any rate, the controversy should boost sales of his very fascinating book. It is number one on USA Today's top 150 books. Frey's sequel to A Million Little Pieces is My Friend Leonard, number 24 on USA Today's list of top 150 books.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Is the writer a fraud?

That's the big question now about the writer of the bestselling book A Million Little Pieces, James Frey. The Smoking Gun website is making a big deal out of this, I guess because it is Oprah's Book Club selection. The Man Who Conned Oprah is the heading of their expose. READ EXCERPT of the book at Oprah's website. You have to be a member to read the complete interview Oprah conducted with Mr. Frey.

The book is available at Waycross College library. This is a book in demand through Interlibrary Loan. Check the catalog first to see if it is available.

Pledge with me

On a different note, I found an interesting website called and I have started a pledge of my own. Read it at I linked to this site after reading a blog called, So what Can I Do?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Book Buzz

In the January 2006 issue of Glamour magazine, under the heading of "Glamour Buzz", The Last Templar by Lebanese born writer Richard Khoury is recommended as the latest historical thriller that should hold you in suspense until Dan Brown writes his next book. This story is supposed to have a female archaeologist as the protagonist. She investigates four horsemen who loot Vatican artifacts from a museum.

Our friend, Steve Berry, has a fourth book published and it will be on sale as of February 26. The title? Templar Legacy: A novel. The protagonist, Cotton Malone, is not a lawyer this time. He is a former top operative for the U.S. Justice Department enjoying a quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Europe. An unexpected telephone call puts him into his former "cloak-and-dagger" world. READ MORE.

The movie about The Da Vinci Code will open on May 19 this year starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. That's in the Who's Next issue of Newsweek, January 2, 2006.

Remember our next club meeting is on January 20 at 6:00PM.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Books for that Weight loss Resolution

USA Today has a very interesting article in Wednesday's paper called, How the new diet books measure up by Nanci Hellmich. She looks at books that cover a myriad of diets that I have never heard of before, The Flavor Point Diet by David Katz of VH1 Celebrity Fit Club fame, Weight Watchers Family Power, The Supermarket Diet, How the Rich Get Thin, and The Sonoma Diet. She also recommends some other books that I am very familiar with from reading First For Women magazine and Reader's Digest, under the caption"Also on the shelf" These include, Body For Life, French Women Don't Get Fat, and The Volumetrics Eating Plan.

An offshoot of French Women ..., not mentioned in the article, is Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama. This highlights the benefits of fresh food, small portions, brown rice, fruits and vegetables, and of course soy products.

Think healthy this year!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What are you reading?

Lynn just finished reading Zorro: A Novel by Isabel Allende. READ EXCERPT.

Charlotte is reading All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. This is the story of Bragg's life growing up in Alabama. READ MORE.

Rick Bragg is also the writer of, Ava's Man and I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story

I am reading my Christmas gift. It's a new novel by Eric Minns based on the real life unsolved murder of multi-millionaire Sir Harry Oakes on the island of New Providence, Bahamas in 1943. His son-in-law was arrested,later acquitted of the murder, and deported from the island. There has always been speculation as to who killed Sir Harry in his bedroom. The son-in-law, de Marigny, alleged that the Duke of Windsor, who was the Governor General of the Bahamas at the time, was instrumental in framing him.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It's January 1, 2006!

A very happy New Year to everyone!

What's on your wish list to read this year? Think about it. At our next meeting on January 20, we have to come up with book titles that we want to recommend for future discussions.

I have just finished reading Honeymoon With My Brother: A Memoir by Frank Wisner. I know we don't want to discuss another travel type autobiography but this was a very interesting story. I read most of it en route to Nassau, Bahamas. When I got to Nassau, the front page of The Punch, also known as the scandal newspaper, was about a Bahamian Runaway Bride. She never turned up to the rehearsal dinner. The groom went on his honeymoon Caribbean cruise alone. Had he read Frank's story he could have taken a family member and written book.

For anyone wanting to know about blogs as I want to do this year, this sounds like the book to purchase, Blogging For Business by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos. I just happened to come across the title of this book after reading Seven Offline Tips To Increase Blog Traffic.