Books are best shared.
However true it may be that reading is a solitary act, her ladyship, the editor has always found that she receives the most enjoyment from a book when she is able to discuss it with other people of intelligence and possessed of the kind of lively curiosity that engenders good conversation. Such conversations excite her own thoughts and bring further appreciation of the work to her mind. Her fondness for discussion of a literary nature is somewhat problematic for her ladyship, as she does most of her reading, and indeed most of her work, in quiet isolation seated at her own library table. Her most constant companions are a dog and a cat, both of whom offer unstinting affection, but are rather less forthcoming in their opinions on certain books or authors.
Accordingly, it has become her ladyship’s regular habit to participate in such discussions as she is able to discover occurring on the Internet. She is somewhat discriminating in the forums she chooses –being altogether uninterested in websites devoted to pictures of cats with surprised expressions, or in receiving emails promising seven years of bad luck if she does not, within the next five minutes, forward them on to seven of her most intimate friends. Her ladyship’s most intimate friends are appreciative of her restraint.
Nevertheless, her ladyship has discovered several places (she uses the word in a virtual sense) where good conversation may be found about books and literature. She has been a frequent contributor to the discussions at Readerville, Library Thing, and the Southern Porch. Recently she has been fond of the discussions she has found on Book Balloon a new (in the cyber sense) forum for discourse upon literary topics begun by fellow Southerner Gary Glass. The forum is known on occasion to invite guest authors to participate. Her ladyship highly recommends the archived discussion with Lauren Baratz-Logstead.
If, perchance, you are looking for suggestions of books worth holding conversations about, then her ladyship recommends the Spring – Summer Book Sense Reading Group Recommendations. Over sixty different titles that are sure to keep even the most avid reader busy for oh—at least a month?
Her ladyship, the editor
Authors Round the South is the home of one of the most extensive listings of literary events in the South, including author readings & appearances, book club meetings, book & literary festivals, open mics, poetry slams and writing groups. No matter what part of the South you live in, you can find a bookstore and author appearance near you!
Audition Barbara WaltersWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
Nicholas Dawidoff signs his new memoir Nicholas DawidoffSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Angels Fall Baron BirtcherWindows a bookshop in Monroe, LA
Just Call Me Mike Mike FarrellWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
and Malaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
Tony Horwitz signs A Voyage Long & Strange Tony HorwitzSquare Books in Oxford, MS
JFK and the Unspeakable James DouglasLittle Professor Book Center in Homewood, AL
Pelican Road Howard BahrWindows a bookshop in Monroe, LA
Hunger Elise BlackwellWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
Actor, Author & Activist Mike Farrell Mike FarrellMalaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
Dissent: Voices of Conscience, Government Insiders Speak Out Against The War in Iraq
Ann WrightMcIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro, NC and Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, NC
Robert St. John signs New South Grilling Robert St. JohnSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Calling Home Janna McMahanLitchfield Books in Litchfield, SC
Shirley Hayden & Joy Jordan-Lake Malaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
Chasing Life Sanjay GuptaWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
David Freeman signs Oxpatch & the Hill David FreemanSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Because The Cat Purrs: How We Relate To Other Species and Why it Matters,Janet LembkeMcIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro, NC
Author Melissa Delbridge Melissa DelbridgeMalaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC and McIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro, NC
The Lady Elizabeth Alison WeirWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull James RollinsWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted Elizabeth BergWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
The Prince of Frogtown Rick Bragg FoxTale Book Shoppe in Decatur, GA and Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need Daniel PinkPage & Palette in Fairhope, AL
Starving Artist's Way with Author Nava Lubelski Nava LubelskiMalaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
Sufi spiritual healer James Keeley James KeeleyMalaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
So Brave, Young and Handsome Leif EngerMcIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro, NC and Square Books in Oxford, MS
The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics with author Rob Christensen Malaprop's Bookstore & Café in Asheville, NC
Eric Etheridge signs Breach of Peace Eric EtheridgeSquare Books in Oxford, MS
The Memory of Water Karen WhiteWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
Jonny Miles signs Dear American Airlines Jonathan MilesSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Shooting the Pistol Danny BrownWindows a bookshop in Monroe, LA
Time is a River Mary Alice MonroeLitchfield Books in Litchfield, SC
Keith Parry & Jean W. Cash discuss Larry Brown Keith Parry & Jean W. CashSquare Books in Oxford, MS
The Dummy Line Bobby ColeWindows a bookshop in Monroe, LA
Don't Make Me Choose Between You & My Shoes Dixie CashLittle Professor Book Center in Homewood, AL
Alison Estes signs Paw & Order EstesSquare Books in Oxford, MS
The Barbecue! Bible Steven RaichlenWordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA
Thomas H. Cook signs Master of the Delta Thomas CookSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Katie Hickman signs The Aviary Gate Katie HickmanSquare Books in Oxford, MS
N.M. Kelby signs Murder at the Bad Girls Bar & Grill N.M. KelbySquare Books in Oxford, MS
The Art of Keeping Secrets Pattie Callahan HenryPage & Palette in Fairhope, AL
Ladies of Liberty Cokie RobertsLitchfield Books in Litchfield, SC
Kate Salley Palmer Reading & Book Signing Kate Salley PalmerFiction Addiction in Greenville, SC
Creator of beloved dog Benji, Joe Camp, signs his new book, The Soul of a Horse
Joe CampSquare Books in Oxford, MS
Book Festivals & Special Events: Calls for Authors
ABDebs Books & Gifts
Bookclubs and Authors Reception
Thursday, June 12 at 6pm
ABDebs Books & Gifts, an independent bookshop in Knightdale, North Carolina, is looking for authors to participate in its inaugural Bookclubs and Authors Reception on Thursday June 12th at 6pm, the purpose of which is to provide an opportunity for bookclub members and authors to meet and share their commons interests and, hopefully, expand and acquire new ones. The basic idea behind the concept is that bookclubs and authors need and rely on each other, but have limited opportunity to become familiar with how each approaches their common interests -- books. The reception will give each an opportunity meet face to face, become friends, and share their passions for books. Contact Alyce Boyd-Stewart, 919-217-6976,
Page After Page Bookstore
Elizabeth City, NC
For the Love of Books Literary Festival
Saturday June 28th 11 am -7 pm
Page After Page Bookstore in Elizabeth City, NC is looking for authors to participate in their annual literary festival For the Love of Books. All Authors are invited to participate; children's, young adult, adult fiction/non-fiction, mystery, history - all genres are welcome. We will be scheduling times for authors who would like to read a portion of their book, and we are especially looking for children's authors willing to do so. Contact Susan Hinkle, Page After Page Bookstore, 252-335-7243
AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR: Patti Callahan Henry
Atlanta novelist Patti Callahan Henry chats with author Karen Spears Zacharias about Henry's latest work, The Art of Keeping Secrets, and the art of being a mother and writer in today's hectic world.
The Art of Keeping Secrets: Overview
It's been two years since Annabelle Murphy learned that her husband Knox's plane crashed in the Colorado mountains. His remains have finally been found, along with those of an unidentified woman. Annabelle doesn't have any idea who the woman is, so she immediately suspects the worst -- that Knox has been cheating on her. Her world shattered, she wonders -- is anything about her life -- past or present-- true? She embarks upon a quest to find out just exactly what and who she can believe in.
The Art of Keeping Secrets: Interview
Q: How much of this story did you know before you sat down before that blank computer screen?
PCH: I knew less about this story than any story I’ve written to date. I only knew that Annabelle believed in her safe (and maybe small) life. She didn’t think she had the problems and issues that others dealt with (like those who wrote into her advice column). I knew that this “image” of her life was going to be dealt a severe blow when they found her husband with another woman. After that, the reader takes the same journey I did to discover who this woman was and why she was on the plane.
Q: With AnnabelleMurphy, you've nailed that emotional flux that widows/ers face -- the constant remembering of how things once were while trying to accept the reality of the present. Did you have someone in mind when you developed Annabelle?
PCH: I didn’t have anyone in particular in mind when I wrote about Annabelle. She seemed to be alive and separate from anyone I knew. Her vacillating emotions are individual and universal at the same time. I believe we all look at the past and wonder if it was really as great as we remember. Are some things better as a memory?
Q: I love that scene in which Annabelle forgets to take food to the bible study group, but I wonder, is that a payback scene, written primarily to allow the author a moment to indulge in The Art of Being Snide?
PCH: Snide? Me? Never. Okay, it’s a fair question. Actually I think it was a bit more of the Art of Paying Attention to the ridiculous way women sometimes treat other women who are in pain. There are many people who believe that doing everything “just right”, or never messing up, defines a well-lived life. But sometimes life is messy and on the other side of that mess is a new and better life. Sometimes. And as a preacher’s daughter, yes, it is fun to poke at the absurd rituals like ‘bringing snack’ to bible study.
Q: The interplay between Annabelle and her son Jake is classic southern mama loves her boy stuff. Did you craft Jake after your own sons, or after another man in your life?
PCH: If I crafted this relationship after my relationship with my sons, it was unconscious. As a parent, the love I possess for my children is deeper than anything I’ve experienced, and I used this emotion to imagine how Annabelle would feel about protecting Jake. I put her in the worst possible place – attempting to let him go as he is now in college and needs to make his own choices, and yet needing him to help her through this storm of unknowing. I believe this combination of needing him and releasing him made things worse for her in the middle of the book, but I wanted her to be stronger at the end of the story.
Q: I learned so much about dolphins and Greek mythology from Sofie. Who did you learn it from?
PCH: I have always loved myths and legends. Almost all my books have some element of myth in them (When Light Breaks is all about the Claddagh legend). I took what I knew of these this particular Greek myth(Ariadne), and then did some research to delve deeper into why the character would hide behind the name and the myth. I believe, as most storytellers do, that myth and legend influence the way we look at life, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it.
Q: One of the things I love most about your stories, Patti, is the same thing I love about Anne River Siddons's tales -- you are always taking the reader around the blind corner to encounter the unexpected. Where'd you learn to plot like that?
PCH: My stories take me on the same unexpected twists. I often think I know where I’m going with a character or plot, and suddenly I’m around the corner doing something else and then I have to readjust. I’m not a very good outliner, or pre-plotter, although I wish I were so the writing would move faster and smoother. I usually just understand the “what if” and go from there. Of course the downside to this kind of writing is that I have to revise numerous times (please don’t ask how many). Also, my stories often require research, and I find inspiration and plot twists inside the ‘real’ life research (for example – in this story, the dolphin research enriched the plot turns). And from a writing-craft position – the Hero’s Journey offered insight into the natural and inherent human understanding of and need for story structure.
Q: Besides being a bestselling novelist, you are also the mother to three absolutely darling children kids with the very busy schedules of dance and baseball and school. How do you make the time to write a bestselling book every year? Who cooks dinner at your house?
PCH: This is the constant struggle – balance. On some days I have the chapter written, the laundry folded and a hot dinner on the table just in time for the baseball game. Okay, so that is an ideal day that has happened once or twice. On most days one of those above-mentioned things just doesn’t get done. I’ve had my dark moments of wondering if I can do it (write a book) again, and bright moments when I know I can. I return again and again to my belief in two things: 1. Writing is a precious gift from God; it is easier to keep writing than quit, and 2. there is power in a well-told story. My teenage daughter is home sick today so the chapter didn’t get written because we were at the doctor. I try very hard to step back and look at the larger tapestry and not get bogged down in the panic of perfection. All of this –family, kids, friends, life and writing – are gifts and I try to embrace them all and not turn them into a burden of busyness.
Q: Who are the people who've mentored you in this art of writing?
PCH: Over the past ten years my mentors have changed from authors I’ve never met to dear friends and confidantes. Many whom I count as mentors, I’ve never met. In the beginning, the mentors were the authors who wrote about the art of writing and made me believe in its gift: Anne Lamott; Julia Cameron; Stephen King; C.S. Lewis: George McDonald; blessed Madeleine L’Engle. Then after I was published, I began to meet and befriend some of the most inspirational and beautiful people I’ve ever known—other authors. My heart flew wide open when I found the world where other people cared as much about books, words and stories as I did.
Q: My most favorite truth from the story is when Mrs.Thurgood tells Annabelle that our conclusions and assumptions are like "poorly packed luggage -- falling apart and needing to be redone as we journey through life." Is this your line or did you borrow that line from somebody?
PCH: No borrowing allowed. Thank you for the compliment. Sometimes the characters teach me something. When Mrs. Thurgood said this, I laughed. And therein lies the mystery of writing – sometimes, on a very good day--the characters know more than we do.
Q: Okay. No secrets now. What are you working on next?
PCH: The book is tentatively called DRIFTWOOD SUMMER. It is about a family, a summer-resort town and a bookstore. The novel is narrated by three sisters -- when their mother falls after her evening martini and breaks her hip, the sisters – two who are estranged over a man they both loved– must come together to run the family bookstore called The Driftwood Cottage. The cottage is turning 200 years old, and a large anniversary celebration for the small town, and the cottage have been planned. Like driftwood washed ashore, time has changed many things. During this celebration, many people from the pastreturn, including the man whom the two oldest sisters once loved. Secrets are revealed, wounds are healed and both the town and the sisters will be changed forever.
Southern Author Blogs
A Good Blog is Hard to Find: Joshilyn Jackson ain’t no Wordsworth
“You should know I am not a very WORDSWORTHian type person. I know some people look at a sunset or a mountain or some flowers and they go OH! THE BEAUTY OF THE ERF! OHOHOH! And their eyes get misty and they wander off refreshed. Me? I say, “Dude. It’s a tree with some blooms on it, and come Autumn that tree is going to poop it all off and I will have to RAKE. Bleh.” Read more
Sharyn McCrumb on Magical Realism in Appalachia:
Anne is driving alone down a dark forest road when she swerves to avoid a deer, sending her car into the ditch. Anne is unable to get the car out of the ditch, but she gets out to survey the damage.
If at this point a group of elves comes out of the forest and puts Anne’s car back on the road for her, you know you are reading a fantasy narrative. However, if Anne uses her cell phone to call AAA, and while she is waiting for the tow truck to arrive, some elves come out of the forest and stand around telling her what a bad driver she is-- but they don’t move the car and they depart before the tow truck arrives, leaving no trace of their having been there-- then the narrative you are reading is magic realism. . .Read more
Baby Got Books: I just finished reading Republic Sublime, by Christopher Cessac, for the third time. Chris is a friend of mine who lives in Marfa, Texas, with his wife and little girls. I was lucky enough to befriend him while we were in law school together, and I even got to play in a band with him during that time. Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is to share the power of poetry. . .Read more
Georgia Press Blog: Stan Deaton's Top 9 Reasons for Studying the American Revolution
4. The American Revolution ensured that American life is founded on civil liberties--committed to preserving basic freedoms, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and freedom of worship
The Pulpwood Queens Book Club: Dear Pulpwood Queens!!! God bless you all, and God bless the cornbread sandwiches and buttermilk pies of Jefferson, Texas!!! Read more
News of a literary nature
Her ladyship was most pleased to receive the news that one of her favorite authors, the inestimable Ms. Lee Smith, will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame this year. Also worthy of note are the various points at which Mr. Harry Crews’s pithy and vitriolic voice could be found –quoted often, and using language her ladyship feels unequal to reprinting (although she finds it most engaging) by Mrs. Maud Newton from a letter written from Mr. Crews to an editor which is part of his autobiography in progress now being printed in The Georgia Review.
Ms. Eudora Welty—a woman who perhaps more than any other deserves to be called “her ladyship”—has her home included in the recently released book Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon (National Geographic, 9781426203664). The section on Ms. Welty is excerpted in a recent edition of Shelf-Awareness and may be “virtually toured.
Her ladyship also offers her commendation to several of her favorite bookshops. Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA has recently expanded into a larger space –her ladyship feels that there can never be too much room for children’s literature, whilst Hall Book Exchange will be opening a new location, Back Room Books, in Jefferson, GA at the end of the month.
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
In order to keep their sanity during WWII, a group of islanders forms a book club, and soon become closely entwined in each other's lives. After the war, a female writer strikes up a correspondence with the group, and the resulting mosaic of letters teases out an illicit wartime romance, reveals a cache of unknown letters which may be by Oscar Wilde, and angers the local moral majority. This is an upbeat, entertaining and clever novel that will have you staying up late to finish. Simply perfect summer reading. Rich Rennicks, Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe, Asheville NC
CITY OF THIEVES: A Novel, by David Benioff (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018703 / 0670018708) "Set against the war-torn backdrop of Leningrad, two teenage boys end up, through stranger and stranger twists of fate, traveling cross-country to find a dozen eggs in exchange for their very lives. In the process, they learn more about human nature, both in themselves and others, than can possibly be explained. Wickedly funny and incredibly sad, it's far too short to be this lovely -- and yet it is." --Russ Marshalek, Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, GA
THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS: A Novel, by Stephen Evans (Unbridled, $14.95 paper, 9781932961461 / 1932961461) "As husband and wife, Nick Ward and Lena Grant have been running a successful environmental law practice for many years. When the story opens, we find the marriage unraveling and Nick, always passionate, now certifiably insane. But we end up wondering: Like all the best madmen of fiction, is he crazy or is he just right? This is my summer book pick -- I love it!" --Kelly Justice, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
THE WRITING CLASS: A Novel, by Jincy Willett (Thomas Dunne, $24.95, 9780312330668 / 0312330669) "I dare you to try and put this book down once you become a part of the writing class at the center of the story. The antisocial narrator/teacher at once repels, attracts, and entertains. By the way, it's also a murder mystery!" --Shiela Wood-Navarro, Carpe Librum Booksellers, Knoxville, TN
Fiction Addiction: Joan Bauer’s new book, Peeled (Putnam, hardcover, $16.99), features Hildy Biddle, ace high school reporter. Hildy lives in Upstate New York in the normally quiet, peaceful town of Banesville, where life centers around the apple orchards and other agricultural pursuits. When the new owner of the town’s only paper begins playing up rumors of a violent ghost haunting an abandoned farm, Hildy learns an important lesson about journalistic ethics. Bauer, a Newbery Honor author, is known for creating strong, independent, witty, female teenaged characters such as Hildy. . . Read more
Consuming Books: Louise Penny worked for many years as an award-winning journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Luckily for us, she quit to write crime fiction. Penny has written three novels, all in the A Three Pines Mystery series. The first novel, Still Life, sets the scene of the small rural village south of Montreal, Three Pines. The village is not on a tourist map, being off the main road. Pastoral and a little out of step, those that found the village were surprised and then delighted to stop and embrace it. As with any good cozy or mystery, the main characters are somewhat eccentric. . .Read more
Little Shop of Stories: This week was supposed to be the big one, right? Children's Book Week--when all the world looks to their favorite kidslit bookstores to shine a big fat light on what's great about kids books.
And here we sat, silent the whole week. feh, you say. FEH! Read more
Wow, we've been gone awhile because we've been so busy, what with opening and all. In fact, we've had a pantheon of authors visit us--but that's a story for next week! Instead, let's talk Little Shop of Stories and two of the awesome mothers that make our wonderful bookstore possible. First and foremost, of course, is the momma of the store--Diane. Diane knows her books inside and out. She's got an encyclopedic knowledge of kidslit, and when I first became aware of how incredibly broad and deep her knowledge is, I asked her if she had taught, or if she had worked in a bookstore. She said no. I must have had a dopey, puzzled look on my face, because she just shrugged her shoulders matter-of-factly and said, "I'm a mom." . . . Read more
A Reading Life: Throughout his lifetime the writer Gustav Flaubert vehemently opposed every suggestion or attempt to have his books illustrated. “The most beautiful literary description is devoured by the most paltry drawing,” he is quoted in Alberto Manguel’s Reading Pictures. “As soon as a character is pinned down by the pencil, it loses its general character, that concordance with thousands of other known objects that causes the reader to say: ‘I’ve seen that’ or ‘this must be so-and-so.’ A woman drawn in pencil looks like a woman, that is all. The idea is thereafter closed, complete, and all the words become now useless, while a written woman conjures up a thousand different women.” Flaubert was writing almost a hundred years before Hollywood, but he already knew why the movie is never as good as the book. . .Read more
Wordsmiths Books Blog: I’ve oft been known to say that, when something goes very, very right here at Wordsmiths event-wise, that it’s the result of a team effort and, as such, yielding a “yay Wordsmiths!”. To that effect, when something goes very, very wrong event-wise, I’ve been known to curl up in a ball in my office and bat at the Tori Amos mobile Lillian and Jason at Criminal gave me last year as though it was a soothing ball of yarn or such. . . Read more
Lady Banks’ Commonplace Book
Pansies are for thoughtfulness. . .
“Business was doing well, because all the locals knew that dishes made from the flowers that grew around the apple tree in the Waverley garden could affect the eater in curious ways. The biscuits with lilac jelly, the lavender tea cookies, and the tea cakes made with nasturtium mayonnaise the Ladies Aid ordered for their meetings once a month gave them the ability to keep secrets. The fried dandelion buds over marigold-petal rice, stuffed pumpkin blossoms, and rose-hip soup ensured that your company would notice only the beauty of your home and never the flaws. Anise hyssop honey butter on toast, angelica candy, and cupcakes with crystallized pansies made children thoughtful. Honeysuckle wine served on the Fourth of July gave you the ability to see in the dark. The nutty flavor of the dip made from hyacinth bulbs made you feel moody and think of the past, and the salads made with chicory and mint had you believing that something good was about to happen, whether it was true or not.”
–Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells (a 2008 SIBA Book Award Finalist)
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