Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Author Spotlight:: W. Bruce Cameron :: November 17, 2010

I just finished reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron and loved it so much, I knew an author spotlight had to be featured on our website!

A hilarious writer, Cameron is the author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter which after it’s popular reception became a hit TV show. Also the author of How To Remodel a Man and 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, Cameron’s writing is laugh out loud funny and hard to put down.

Good things are worth waiting for and Cameron certainly did his share of waiting before becoming a New York Times Bestselling author. After writing eight unpublished novels, he decided to write something for himself instead of to get published. In Cameron’s own words (from his website):

As I wrote it, I found something interesting: it was funny. Apparently, when I stopped writing to sell and just wrote from my own voice, it made me laugh. Also in 1995 I started an on-line Internet column. I began it with six subscribers, four of whom were related to me or were me. I asked people to pass it along to others if they liked it, and they did. At its peak, the Cameron Column had 40,000 subscribers in 52 countries, if you count Texas as a country.

Meanwhile, Oliver North took an interest in 8 Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and it was later co-developed by Disney as a feature film and a TV show. The screenplay was picking up momentum until the tragic death of John Ritter when progress came to a hault.

If you haven’t already seen my review on A Dog’s Purpose, check it out and then get the book! W. Bruce Cameron has even created a website (www.adogspurpose.com) where you can enter YOUR beloved pup in the Dog of the Week contests. How did he come up with the idea for A Dog’s Purpose? Taken from his website:

I was probably 8 years old, playing in the back yard of our house in Prairie Village, KS, when my dad opened the gate and in rushed a 9-week-old Labrador puppy. I fell to my knees and spread my arms and that dog leaped into them as if we had loved each other our whole lives. It’s a scene that shows up in A Dog’s Purpose—a puppy and a boy meeting each other the very first time, both of them full of unrestrained joy.

We named the dog Cammie. She arrived in my life when I was just beginning to connect some of the dots in my memory to make a picture of who I was, forming my identity as a child. I remember every skinned knee and bicycle ride in the context of Cammie, who was always there for me. And I lost her just as I was starting to leave childhood behind, passing on after I’d spent a year in college. That’s Cammie, the dog of my childhood.

Years later I was riding my bicycle in the mountains outside of Pine, CO. A chance decision to bounce down a dirt road led me past a few scattered ranches and one small house near a creek, set back from the road at least 50 yards. A single “woof” from a dog caught my attention, and I braked and stood in the dry, clear air, regarding the dog who had called out to me.

She was on a chain by the house, and a fence stood between us, so I remained on the road even though I could see that the dog, a black lab mix with a crazily active tail, was clearly friendly. I gazed at her and the dog sat, attentive, staring into my eyes exactly the way my first dog, Cammie, used to look at me, really seeing into me.

And that’s when the thought hit me. What if this wonderful dog was Cammie? What if dogs live over and over again, and always remember us?

I dismissed the thought, waved at the dog, and rode away, but days later the idea came back to me. What if?

W. Bruce Cameron has become a new favorite author and I look forward to reading his future materials, joining the Cameron Column mailing list, and looking for any book tour dates in our area.

Happy reading,

Fabookulous

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Spotlight:: When Worlds Collide:: Sue Monk Kidd & Jenna Lamia:: May 18, 2010

Did you know June is National Audiobook Month? The other day, while perusing the “just added section” of my library’s iPod audiobook catalog, loading up my wish list for next month, I stumbled upon a gem: The Secret Life of Bees!! Just when it couldn’t get any better, I see under the title, read by Jenna Lamia!!!!!!!!

Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees left a lasting impression on me when I first picked it up a few years ago after a recommendation from one of my besties. I absolutely adored it; I laughed, I cried and I felt like Lily was my little sister who I wanted to just take under my wing. I wanted Lily to know she would overcome the horrible turn her young life took and comfort her. Watching the movie was just “so-so”, as I’ve found are 99.9% of movies adapted from novels. Knowing Lamia was the voice of Lily, I made a beeline and downloaded Bees immediately. Kidd’s other books have been on my TBR list for a while now. I was recently re-inspired when Traveling With Pomegranates became available from my local library, Kidd’s dual memoir with daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. Mermaid Chair is also on its way to me through Paperbackswap.com. Unfortunately, Kidd’s author event in my area falls on what seems to be THE busiest weekend of the year and I won’t be in town. If Fabookulous can make it, I will anxiously await her gushing afterward!

Jenna Lamia, my FAVORITE voice-over artist, in addition to narrating Secret Life of Bees, has cropped up in some of my other favorite audiobooks (go figure)! I just love when worlds collide and simply had to blog about it. I plan to follow her career, as Fabookulous would say, “like white on rice”! After a quick IMDB search, Lamia has also appeared in numerous films as an actress, but carved out a perfect niche in the voice-over universe. Lamia read the voice of Skeeter in Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, a book that will remain in my Top 10 best reads. In addition to narrating the entire audiobook for Bees, Lamia also narrated the audiobook for friend and YOTBWZ2010 supporter, Beth Hoffman’s debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Interestingly enough, I found many similarities between the three books’ main characters- Skeeter, Lily and CeeCee. If I were a college student again, I’d write a character analysis paper comparing/contrasting these three young women. I think it’d be fascinating to analyze these three books in relation to one another’s main characters. Lamia’s voice is the perfect tie to bind them and I thank the “voice over powers that be” for “casting” the audiobook just right. Lamia’s voice so perfectly springs these authors’ words from the page and into life with such feeling and intensity. Her timing is right on point.

If you’re new to the audiobook realm, I highly recommend you just give it a try and observe June’s National Audiobook Month in a few weeks. Take a listen to Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, The Help and/or Secret Life of Bees and come back here to let me know your thoughts, feelings, reactions! You will be hooked. Audiobooks make my commute, housework, and summer roadtrips much more enjoyable and are widely accessible from your local library’s digital download section or in CD format. When all else fails, head over to iTunes and download the audiobooks from there.

“Jenna Lamia brings a fresh, captivating voice to the audiobook world, and with only a few audiobooks under her belt, she has had amazing success. Her performance of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES was a 2003 Audie Award Finalist in the prestigious category of Best Female Narrator. Director Paul Ruben shared his excitement about their work on the audiobook, saying, “Only good actors make good directors, and she’s one of them. A natural.” GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING was her first audiobook, and an Earphones Award Winner. We celebrate HOPE WAS HERE with another Earphones. She has an attentive ear for the nuances of speech patterns and regional inflections, yet makes an effort not to overprepare. “I let the characters grow and take care not to be too knowing,” she says. “I come to the story as the listener does, allowing it to unfold.” Jenna’s success is not just in audiobooks; a big break came with her 1998 performance in Ah, Wilderness on Broadway, and recently she starred in Bed Bound Off Broadway. She’s now in Los Angeles where she had a role in HBO’s Oz. Movies on the way include Audrey Tautou’s Nowhere to Go But Up. Jenna’s interest in audiobooks will likely keep open some time for narration in the coming months”.–2003 Narrator Yearbook.

Look for my review of Secret Life of Bees coming soon!

Happy reading,

Xo♥xo,

LibraryLove

 

Author Spotlight:: Laura Bush:: May 7, 2010

Last night I had the privilege of attending Laura Bush’s Author Interview and Q&A at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University. Currently on a 22 city book tour, Laura Bush began her journey with a few stops in the DC-area. After book signings in McLean and Arlington, her last stop in Virginia was an interview with journalist Cokie Roberts. On May 6, 2010 at Lisner Auditorium before heading to Dallas to continue her book tour, Mrs. Bush opened up about her story and memories in the public eye.

My aunt and I attended and were able to get signed copies of her memoir, Spoken from the Heart. Regardless of one’s politicial views, it was fascinating to sit in the same room with and listen to the woman who previously served as First Lady of the United States for 8 years. She read an excerpt from her book describing when she met George W. Bush and about their wedding. The audience laughed, applauded, and listened intently to every word. Theirs is truly a story of romance and endurance. Congrats to the Bushes for celebrating 33 years together this year!

Cokie Roberts asked insightful questions that allowed Mrs. Bush to open up candidly. From her family’s suffering in trying to have a large family, to the tragic car accident that took the life of her friend; from her journey as a part of one of America’s most prominent political families to her tireless efforts for causes such as education and literacy, Mrs. Bush was honest, endearing, and engaging. 

I am thrilled I found out about this event when tickets were still available and I started reading her book as soon as I got home. At 432 pages, I don’t know I will get through it in a week to stay on track for this year’s challenge. But I’m very excited to take my time, read it and learn her fascinating story.

Thanks to Laura for founding the Texas Book Festival 15 years ago and the National Book Festival. I can’t imagine a life without books and thank you for sharing a love of reading with all of us. And most of all, thank you for sharing your story.

Happy reading,

Fabookulous

(Book review on Spoken from the Heart to follow)

  

 

Author’s Spotlight:: Kathryn Stockett:: March 9, 2010

Filed under: Author's Spotlight — bookworms2010 @ 12:00 am
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Did you like my review of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help?

Curious to hear about her inspiration for writing an amazing historical fiction piece about segregation in the south in the 60s?

Looks like we’re not the only ones on The Help’s bandwagon. Book clubs all over the country are abuzz about The Help!

Check out here website here! I hope she comes to the area for a book signing in the near future.

Dreamworks and Steven Spielberg are teaming up to bring this amazing novel to the silver screen.

Movie viewing here we come, girls!!

Who would your dream cast be?

Anne Hathaway as mean girl Hilly?

Oprah as the steady Aibileen?

Claire Daines as quirky Skeeter?

Xoxo,

LibraryLove