Saturday, March 31, 2012
The Long-Shining Waters Giveaway Ends tonight at midnight!
Guess what? It is the end of March already and Spring has sprung. Yeah Spring! It is time for me to wrap-up the month of March by highlighting Minnesota author, Danielle Sosin.
Today is the last day to enter the contest to win a copy of The Long-Shining Waters. The contest ends at midnight tonight. The contest is open to people living in the U.S. and Canada that are current Booksnob followers. Good Luck and as always thanks for following Booksnob!
Click here to enter: The Long-Shining Waters Contest
Please check out my book review of The Long-Shining Waters. The book is about three women across three different centuries, who live on the shores of Lake Superior. The past and present converge in The Long-Shining Waters to create a timeless, meaningful piece of literature. Experience the power of the largest lake in the world through the words of Daniele Sosin.
The Long-Shining Waters book review.
Be sure to check out the author interview Danielle Sosin. She talks about the authors who inspire her as well as how Lake Superior influences her life and writing. Danielle talks about her first book Garden Primitives and she shares a interesting tidbit about her third book. Find out how Danielle learned her book, The Long-Shining Waters was shortlisted for the Minnesota Book Award.
Danielle Sosin Author Interview
As March comes to a close I would like to thank Danielle for being the March Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob. She is a great writer and I sincerely hope her book wins the Minnesota Book Award in April. Either way, The Long-Shining Waters is great read. Please visit Danielle Sosin website at http://daniellesosin.com/.
Friday, March 30, 2012
March is Women's history month and I celebrated by reading great books written by women. I read 7 books this month and 6 were written by women. Yay to women writers. Keep the good books coming ladies.
The Where are you Reading? challenge is starting to be fun and I am reading more purposefully. I find myself looking to read about places on the map that I haven't read about yet this year. I only wish that books put location information on the back with the book blurb but alas most do not. So in some books, I am left to guess where the book takes place. In some cases I choose where the author lives but sometimes it doesn't not even tell you that.
So here is my reading progress. I read 7 books this month and again have traveled a great distance in my mind.
Here are my books, review links and locations for February:
1. March by Geraldine Brooks. Takes place in Virginia, New England and Washington D.C. Since the main character spends most of his time in Virginia, that is the state I chose for this book.
2. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. I have no idea where this book takes place and since the author lives in Oregon, that is the state I chose.
3. A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer Dubois. Takes place in Russia.
4. Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick. Takes place in Iraq.
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This dystopian novel takes place somewhere in the future in a place unknown. The author is from California and that is the state I am choosing.
6. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Takes place in New York and a few other places.
7. The Long-Shining Waters by Danielle Sosin. Takes place in Wisconsin, Michigan, Canada and Minnesota. I chose Wisconsin because the main character is from there.
Check out my map on Google Maps.
View Where are you reading challenge 2012 in a larger map
So far I have traveled to four continents, nine states and eight countries. I can't wait to see where my reading adventures take me in April.
Where are you reading?
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I would like to congratulate the winner of A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer Dubois. Thanks also to TLC book tours and the publisher, The Dial Press for giving away a copy of this book to blog readers.
Congratulations to Vivien from Witchita, Kansas!
If you didn't win you can still order a copy of Jennifer's book from Amazon. A Partial History of Lost Causes is such an intriguing and thought provoking story.
Posted by Laura Kozy Lanik at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Three women across three different centuries, who live on the shores of Lake Superior, feel the power of The Long-Shining Waters. Lake Superior reflects a strong mysterious presence on the women as they travel through the individual days of their lives. Nora owns a bar and when her livelihood is destroyed she finds herself on a journey around the Lake. Berit lives an isolated life in 1902 and has a love/hate relationship with Lake Superior. Grey Rabbit is an Ojibwe woman in 1622 who has powerful dreams that affect her waking life. All three of these women are connected through time and place.
The theme of connection is powerful. As Nora drives around the largest lake in the world, the readers makes connections to the three women and their influence on each other. The past and present converge in The Long-Shining Waters to create a timeless, meaningful piece of literature.
Lake Superior is a character unto itself that demands respect. The water is cold, heartless and holds its secrets and spirits deep within. The sky above moves and dances like the spirits of the northern lights. The imagery is beautiful and draws the reader in, like the lake draws people to it shores.
Each woman in the story is faced with a personal tragedy that she will struggle to overcome. Each of them struggles to understand the crossroads in their life. Each woman makes a journey around the lake. Each woman is powerful, reserved and respects the power of The Long-Shining Waters.
The Long-Shining Waters is up for the Minnesota Book Award on April 14, 2012.
It gets my vote.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Welcome BookSnob followers. Danielle Sosin is March's author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob. Her book, The Long-Shining Waters is up for the MN book award in April. Read on to find out the background behind this wonderful book and what authors inspire Ms. Sosin. Enjoy!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Minneapolis but have lived in Duluth for almost a decade. I moved up (it was supposed to be temporary) when I was working on The Long-Shining Waters. In the cities, I supported my writing habit through work at numerous food venues. I now work in childcare and as a landscape/gardener.
- What inspired you to write The Long-Shining Waters?
Lake Superior has always had a hold on me. I’ve been visiting the lake since I was five. That makes it my first ocean, my first experience facing that sort of vastness, and power. As an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time writing on its shores, renting cabins for long stints of solitude and work. I think that all of that contemplative time led me to ponder the Lake. As many of your readers probably know, Lake Superior is a body of water like no other. It has a palpable sense of mystery, and hauntedness. The Lake itself inspired me to write The Long-Shining Waters.
- Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book. Did you do that? Do you have anything in common with your characters?
My hope, of course, is that everyone who reads the novel recognizes bits of themselves in the characters, that they recognize a common humanity. And yes, much of my own experience is in the book, but mostly with regard to the observations and descriptions of place.
- Why did you decide to set your book in Minnesota and over the time frame of several centuries?
The book is set in Minnesota, but also in Wisconsin, The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the Province of Ontario, Canada. The novel’s setting was dictated by the Lake’s circumference.
To answer the “why over several centuries” part, I need to back up a bit. The novel is my attempt to explore the question—what is it about Lake Superior that makes it so powerful, mysterious, and haunting?
The premise of the book that I ended up working with is that Superior is holding its history. Literally, as in all the stuff down there, but more importantly in a watery, subconscious way, so that everything that has happened on and around the lake is held there in its waters. That in turn, affects all the people who live on it’s shores.
If one takes to heart the premise that lake holds its history, a simultaneity of time occurs. All the stories are held in the waters at once. And though the reader encounters each story in a linear historical time frame, the reader also sees the larger picture, wherein all of the stories are happening at once.
From early on in this project, I envisioned this simultaneity. I saw it like one would on an overhead projector--the stories in 1622, 1902, and 2000, all overlaid, all three visible at once.
- What are some of the important issues in The Long-Shining Waters that you hope your readers will interpret as integral to the story?
To me, the novel deals most strongly with the issues of the power of place, and with our connectedness to one another. The book’s territory centered in the things we as humans can only intuit. Things we only know at the edges. But there are themes, too, of loss and endurance, time and cosmology, relationship, or lack thereof, to nature, to spirit, to other human beings. Of course, each reader brings their own history to a book, reads it in their own way, and makes their own interpretation.
- Do you like to read? What authors or books influence you?
My favorite way to read is cover to cover in one sitting, or maybe two.
I’ve been inspired by many authors over the years. My largest debt is to Virginia Woolf, who taught me that minutia and inner-life could make great art. Also, Annie Dillard whose rigorous juxtapositions of ideas I find fascinating.
- Can you tell us about your first book?
My first book was a collection of short stories titled Garden Primitives, published by Coffee House Press in 2000. It’s a collection of twelve stories compiled from nearly a decade of work. The stories stand alone, in that there are no repeating characters and no overarching theme.
- Are you currently writing your 3rd book? Can you give us a hint about the plot?
Yes, I am working on something new. And I wish I could tell you something about the plot, but books are a slow process for me. The last involved over a year of reading and forming ideas before I began to write. My new project is still too vague to say anything intelligent about.
- Your book The Long-Shining Waters is shortlisted for the MN book award. What was your reaction to hearing your name and book announced as a finalist?
I didn’t actually hear any kind of formal announcement. I found out that the novel was a finalist early one morning on a facebook post. A friend was congratulating me for being a finalist. Certainly, it’s an honor to be selected. Given that writing is such a solitary endeavor, it is deeply satisfying to know that the novel is being read, and that people are responding in positive ways.
- In one sentence tell readers why they should read The Long-Shining Waters?
Sheesh—I don’t know how to answer that. I only hope that readers will find their way to the book, and in the end be glad that they did.
Thanks Danielle for answering these questions.
If you are interested in winning a copy of Danielle's book The Long-Shining Waters please click the highlighted link: The Long-Shining Waters Contest
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Music makes the world go around and music makes A Visit from the Goon Squad spin and pulse like an electric guitar. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a canon where each character has a individual story that connects to the orchestra which is the Goon Squad.
Bennie and Sasha are the main characters whose past, present and future story lines exist throughout the entire book. Bennie was in a band when he was in high school. He grew up to be a record executive with a beautiful, intriguing secretary named Sasha. Sasha likes to steal things and has a troubled past that she doesn't want anyone to know about. New characters are continually introduced, whose lives intersect with Bennie and Sasha.
Each chapter is a mystery where you must uncover who the narrator is and how they connect to the lives of Sasha and Benny, who literally run the show. The technical business of music is combined with the way Egan wrote this book. A Visit from the Goon Squad is unique, intellectual, technical and full of heart. The underlying theme of music gives the book a heartbeat. There is an entire chapter written in Power Point format and makes you wonder about pauses.
A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book full of characters you will love to hate and may even care about in the end. This is a book to think on and analyze. (I love books that make me think and analyze!) I loved the mystery of the Goon Squad and the pieces of the chapters that make you form your own unique puzzle. It is fun to think about why this book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. Is it the goons, the music, the unique writing? Hmmm.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which books burn. Guy Montag is a firefighter whose job it is to start fires and burn books. No longer does the average firefighter put out fires. In Bradbury's science fiction world, books and reading are banned because if people read, and therefore gain knowledge, they are no longer equal to everyone else in society. Therefore the people are forbidden to read or own books and television is taking over the minds and entertainment of the people.
Montag figures out that there must be something important in books because he witnesses owners willing to die over the love of their books. At every fire he begins to steal a book to discover what is so important inside of them. Clarisse, Montag's neighbor asks him if he is happy and he realizes that he hasn't been happy in a long time. When Clarisse turns up dead, Montag decides that his life needs to change.
In the introduction to the graphic novel adaptation, Ray Bradbury asks a question of his readers. Which book would you most want to memorize and protect from any censors or "firemen"? I don't even have to ponder on this question, I know I would choose my favorite book of all time, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I would choose this book because it is a masterpiece and contains, history of the Civil War as well as romance, culture, etc. Gone with the Wind is an iconic part of American culture and deserves to be remembered.
Which book would you choose and why?
Monday, March 19, 2012
Hometown Track, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Danielle Sosin is giving away one copy of her book, The Long-Shining Waters to a Booksnob follower from the U.S. Her book has been short listed for the Minnesota book award. The cover art is so beautiful.
Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Lake Superior, the North Country, the great freshwater expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. "The Long-Shining Waters" presents three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography.
Fill out the form.
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U.S. Residents only
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Matt Duffy is an 18 year old soldier in the Iraq war who has been hit by an RPG and is in the hospital with a head injury. He has TBI, traumatic brain injury, and his memory is not reliable. He thinks he killed a young Muslim boy in the alley before he got injured. Matt receives a Purple Heart for being wounded, that he feels he doesn't deserve.
In the hospital Matt meets a variety of soldiers who are suffering from various physical or mental ailments. A very colorful cast of characters. Matt undergoes counseling, calls his mother and writes his girlfriend all while being interrogated for his involvement in the death of a Muslim boy.
Eventually Matt is released from the hospital and sent back to the war and his unit to face his fears and an unknown future.
Purple Heart puts you in the war zone where you have to witness death and destruction, sleepless nights and endless wishes. McCormick is a great writer and this is the second book I have read of hers. Purple Heart is timely as the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and remains in Afghanistan. War is not black and white but full of gray areas where fear and doubt reside. War is not pretty, fun or romantic and McCormick makes sure her readers know it.
Share this book with a teenager in your life.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The publishers have graciously offered to give away one copy of A Partial History of Lost Causes to a BookSnob follower. This book is deep and meaningful with imaginative writing. Be sure to read my book review. A Partial History Review
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
“[An] astonishingly beautiful and brainy debut . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“In Jennifer duBois’ gorgeous novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, the personal, theoretical, and political are braided together into a seamless whole. . . . Moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity. A Partial History of Lost Causes is a thrilling debut by a young writer who evidently shares the uncanny brilliance of her protagonists.”—Elle
In Jennifer duBois’s mesmerizing and exquisitely rendered debut novel, a long-lost letter links two disparate characters, each searching for meaning against seemingly insurmountable odds.
In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest. With his renowned Cold War–era tournaments behind him, Aleksandr has turned to politics, launching a dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin. He knows he will not win—and that he is risking his life in the process—but a deeper conviction propels him forward. And in the same way that he cannot abandon his aims, he cannot erase the memory of a mysterious woman he loved in his youth.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison is on an improbable quest of her own. Certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life—she struggles with a sense of purpose. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father had written to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father had asked the Soviet chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed against a lost cause?—but never received an adequate reply. Leaving everything behind, Irina travels to Russia to find Bezetov and get an answer for her father, and for herself.
Spanning two continents and the dramatic sweep of history, A Partial History of Lost Causes reveals the stubbornness and splendor of the human will even in the most trying times. With uncommon perception and wit, Jennifer duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.
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Ends 3/27 at midnight
Monday, March 12, 2012
Life is like a chess game and A Partial History of Lost Causes is the manual on how to live a life doomed to be interrupted by death. A Partial History of Lost Causes is the story of two unique individuals and their journey through life to a crossroads where their lives intersect.
Alexsandr's character is loosely based on the real life Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov. Alexsandr is the King of the novel who retires from chess and decides to run a losing campaign against Putin. He surrounds himself with pawns who support his political game that is ultimately controlled by Vladimir Putin. Yet he cannot forget the woman he loved in his youth and he is haunted by his friend Ivan's death.
Irina is a thirty something American who is awaiting the onset of Huntington's disease which she inherited from her father. The Queen of the novel, she escapes to Russia after finding a letter her father wrote to Alexsandr. Irina is fighting a losing battle against a horrible illness and she is hoping Alexsandr can answer her father's question and thereby help her go on with her life. She does not know how to live a life that is doomed.
A Partial History of Lost Causes is one meaty, multi-layered story. The novel gives the reader a lot to learn and discuss. Alexsandr and Irina are both lost causes and the theme of the story runs throughout the book. Dubois's writing is beautiful and her descriptions are unique and imaginative.
Every once in a awhile a book comes along that takes place in a part of the world that is part of your own personal history. The history of the book covers an era or a time that you remember being a small part of. A Partial History of Lost Causes takes place in St Petersburg and Moscow, Russia from 1979 to 2008. I visited these cities in 1992, right after the fall of Communism and had an amazing, unforgettable experience. I was able to visit my memories through Aleksandr and Irina's stories.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Anya is a typical disgruntled teen who happens to be a Russian immigrant. She is trying to forget who she is and meld into American young adulthood. One day she skips school and literally falls into a deep dark hole in the ground. At the bottom of the hole is a skeleton and attached to it is a ghost, who is soon to become Anya's ghost.
Anya is eventually rescued and her ghost hides in her purse, follows her to school, helps her pass exams and is trying to help her find a boyfriend. Yet, there is a mystery to be solved, who is this girl whose skeleton is at the bottom of a well? Was she murdered?
Anya's Ghost is full of dark humor and it's a little bit spooky. Youngsters might get a chill as they quickly turn the pages. They won't be able to resist reading this creative, creepy, comic book. I couldn't resist and neither could my kids. All three of us read Anya's Ghost in less than a week.
Anya's Ghost is a graphic novel and the first book by Brosgol. If this book is any indication, Brosgol is a going to have a long artistic career in comics. The artwork is reminiscent of Persepolis, yet entirely unique. The entire book is done is shades of black and white and muted purple. It is visually appealing.
Do you believe in ghosts? Or are you on some sort of hallucinatory methane? Either way, Anya's Ghost will put some spice in your life. You need to get this book into your purse!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I actually own two copies of March and so I thought I would give a copy away to my blog followers. I just finished reading March and I loved it. I highly recommend this book if you love Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. If you love historical fiction and are a lover of literature, this is a great book. March won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction.
"A very great book... It breathes new life into the historical fiction genre [and] honors the best of the imagination." Chicago Tribune
"A beautifully wrought story about how war dashes ideals, unhinges moral certainties and drives a wedge of bitter experience and unspeakable memories between husband and wife." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Inspired... A disturbing, supple, and deeply satisfying story, put together with craft and care and imagery worthy of a poet." The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Louisa May Alcott would be well pleased."
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Friday, March 9, 2012
March is based on the absent father from Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic book, Little Women. Mr. March is a passionate abolitionist and preacher and when the Civil War begins, he finds himself at 40 years old, leaving his home, his wife and daughters to aid the Union Army. He holds many roles during the first year of the war as he seeks to bring peace and healing to the wounded. In his letters, Mr. March finds he cannot tell his wife everything that has happened as the war is so horrible. Racism exists on both sides and March struggles with the convictions of others.
March is eventually posted to teach former slaves on a Southern plantation in Virginia run by a Northern businessman. They aim to grow and harvest cotton to supply the North with materials to manufacture garments. The Confederates are wholeheartedly against this.
Mr. March travels take him from Concord, Mass. to Virginia and on to Washington D.C. Brooks bases most of March's character on Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson Alcott. The Alcott's lived in Concord near Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau. Alcott was a teacher who was a little ahead of his time. Brooks decision to model Mr. March after Mr. Alcott makes sense as Louisa May Alcott modeled Little Women after her family as well. I recognized Bronson Alcott as Mr. March right away because I read Eden's Outcasts, a biography of the Alcotts a few years ago.
Mr. March is a lovable, unforgettable man who will steal your heart with his resolve. The backdrop of the Civil War and the fight for abolition is powerful. March is steeped in history and literary greats. It is a treasure trove for lovers of literature and meant to be enjoyed by grown up fans of Little Women.
Monday, March 5, 2012
I am happy to announce the winner of my 2nd blogging anniversary contest for a signed copy of A Discovery of Witches. The lucky winner will soon be doing a happy dance.
The winner is: Maxine from Oakdale, Minnesota!
Thanks everyone for entering and for being loyal Booksnob followers and sticking by me for two years. I appreciate your comments and the fact that you read the words I write. Thank You!
Sunday, March 4, 2012
I am happy to announce the two winners of Kara, Lost by Susan Niz, February's Minnesota author in the spotlight.
Congratulations to Vivien from Withita, Kansas
and Congratulations to Julie from Columbus, Ohio!
If you didn't win you can still order a copy of Susan's book from Amazon. Kara, Lost is such an intriguing and thought provoking story.
Please visit Susan's Niz'sblogs susannizfiction.blogspot.com and website here. susanniz.com
Friday, March 2, 2012
In honor of "I Love to Read" month, South High invited several local authors in to speak about their books. The third author to share his story and book is author Jacob Wheeler. He visited South High School on Tuesday, February 23th to talk to Geography and History classes about Guatemala and International Adoption.
Jacob spoke to a crowded auditorium in the morning and then spent the rest of the day in the media center talking with staff at lunch and then working with individual classes. He read from his book, Between Light and Shadow and answered lots of questions. Several students expressed interest in reading his book about Guatemalan adoption. Many students throughout the day had shared their personal stories around adoption. One girl spoke out as an adoptee from Guatemala and another young man told his story of being adopted at age 10 in Minnesota. They were very powerful stories.
Jacob Wheeler is a freelance journalist for The Uptake.org, a local online press, as well as author of Between Light and Shadow. He plans to write another book.
All in all it was a great day. Thanks Jacob!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Welcome to March and the start of Spring! Many people are snow weary and ready for sunshine and warm air. I'm totally looking forward to time by the lake and reading outside in the sun on my porch swing.
March's author, Danielle Sosin, wrote a book called The Long-Shining Waters and it is up for the Minnesota Book Award in the Fiction category. The ceremony is next month on April 14th. Good Luck Danielle!
Here is the synopsis on The Long Shining Waters from Goodreads:
Lake Superior, the North Country, the great freshwater expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. "The Long-Shining Waters" presents three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography.
This month you can expect a book review, a contest, an author interview and if we are lucky a guest post by Danielle. I really love the cover of The Long-Shining Waters, it just reminds me of warm weather. You can also expect Spring, St. Patrick's Day, Spring Break and lots of good book reviews from Booksnob. Enjoy the month of March.