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BookBrowse Interview with Jim Crace (11/13)
Harvest seems to be set in an era when English society is evolving from use of land to grow crops to enclosed pastures for animals. What about this specific time period did you find compelling as a setting for your novel? Could it have been set in any other time and place?
The time period isn't all that specific, in fact. I wasn't ...
Roddy Doyle (11/13)
Born in 1958 in Dublin, Roddy Doyle is a prolific Irish writer who has found over two decades-worth of material in the humorous, tender, and fraught life of the family. Americans may be most familiar with Doyle's wise-cracking dialog and its lilting Dublin intonations from the popular film adaptations of his Barrytown Trilogy: The ...
Thinkers Whose Theories are Critical to Burkeman's The Antidote (11/13)
The Antidote introduces readers to numerous intriguing thinkers, past and present. Here is a short sampling with brief introductions:

Daniel Wegner – professor of psychology at Harvard and director of the Mental Control Laboratory at the University. Wegner's studies concentrate on what he calls 'the precisely counterintuitive ...
The Impetus for and Implemenation of A Free Man (10/13)
A Free Man is journalist Aman Sethi's first book. It grew out of a research project and interviews he conducted in 2005 as research for an article about healthcare for homeless workers. In an August 2012 Publisher's Weekly interview, Sethi explains why he chose to write his book:

When I started as a reporter in 2005, I was surprised by ...

Arvid Jansen: A Familiar Face (10/13)
In It's Fine By Me, on his first day at Veitvet School in 1965, 13-year-old Audun Sletten meets Arvid Jansen – a young man who would become his best, and one of his only, friends. 'A few girls were skipping rope, and coming straight towards me was a boy on crutches… I glanced left and right, but there was no one else by the ...
The World of Fanfiction (10/13)
In Fangirl, Cath's story is interspersed with snippets of her fan fiction (or 'fanfic') starring characters who, in Cath's world, are as well known as Harry Potter is in ours. This hugely popular (primarily online) genre of amateur writing is inspired by existing fictional characters, settings, and themes.

Writers of fanfic are part of...
Google's Books Project (10/13)
I don't think it's giving too much away to note that the process of book scanning plays a significant role in the plot of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. At the center of the novel's plot is the high-speed book scanning process used by Google in its Books project.

Setting aside any of the controversy around Google Books and ...
A Look at A. S. King (09/13)
Amy Sarig King was born in Reading, PA in 1970. No, I won't go into lots of detail about her younger years, suffice it to say she is a Pisces and, as she says, she 'believes in that stuff.' I will say that as a child she spent a good deal of time in her 'office' (aka her closet) staying up late and reading books.

King did not go to ...
What Defines Dystopian Fiction (09/13)
Dystopian themes have appeared in literature throughout history, but the first use of the word is credited to John Stuart Mill. In 1868, during a speech to the British House of Commons, he played upon the well-known word, 'utopia' (adding 'dys,' which is derived from a Greek word meaning 'bad') and used it to criticize legislators who ...
Wendell Berry (09/13)
Wendell Berry is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and editorial, as well as a cultural critic and a farmer. Frances O'Roark Dowell's The Second Life of Abigail Walker begins with an epitaph taken from one of his poems. Berry lives in north central Kentucky on a 125-acre farm called Lane's Landing. The intersection of humanity and ...
The Real Life Battle That Claire Vaye Watkins Was Born Into (08/13)
Readers will notice immediately that the narrator of Claire Van Watkins's opening story, 'Ghosts, Cowboys,' shares a name with the author. This isn't an accident. The story, which is about a young woman trying to outgrow the legacy of her past, is Watkins's own. 'About once a year someone tracks me down,' she says. 'Occasionally it's...
Stav Sherez (08/13)
Stav Sherez is the author of four books of crime fiction. He was born and raised in London and has persevered with his lifelong ambition to write novels despite the challenges found in the book business today. In his case this meant facing multiple rejections until he found the right agent and publisher.

His official author bio is one ...
The Asian American Writers' Workshop (07/13)
In The Collective, the characters Eric Cho, Joshua Yoon, and Jessica Tsai form a shaky coalition called the 3AC - Asian American Artists Collective. A similar organization was founded in New York around twenty years ago: The Asian American Writers' Workshop.

This non-profit organization works to spread the growth of literature by ...
Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries Series (07/13)
Nancy Pearl has a librarian action figure created in her likeness. You know she must be a dynamic, popular person with that kind of claim to fame!

And she is. A librarian and bookseller for years, Pearl's knowledge of and passion for books are both wide and deep. She loves books – this is clear – and she is dedicated to ...
Tom Wolfe (07/13)
Tom Wolfe was born on March 2, 1931 in Richmond, VA. He was editor of his high school newspaper and sports editor of his college newspaper. His college professor of American Studies, Marshall Fishwick, stressed looking at the entirety of a culture including its profane aspects. Wolfe's books show how much he took this to heart.

After ...
Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (06/13)
As readers enjoy Enchanted, they're exposed to dozens of fairy tale-inspired plot points, some of which are instantly recognizable while others are less familiar. For readers who are inspired to go back to the source of these stories, there are few better resources for fairy tales of all sorts than Andrew Lang's famous Fairy Books.

...
How Long Does it Take for a Manuscript to Find a Home? (06/13)
Sometimes, I think, we are under the magical assumption that a writer has an idea, writes a story, then an editor at a publishing house acquires it, and it is published. Four clean, clear steps in a straight forward-moving line.

Sigh. Maybe I should revise that we to an I.

I am a fiction writer. And my process is – well –...
Dr. Vincent Lam Tells his Grandfather's Story (05/13)
Although Dr. Vincent Lam was born in Canada, he is 'of the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam.' Lam is an emergency physician in Toronto, as well as a lecturer with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Other medical jobs have included international air evacuation and expedition medicine on ...
The Novels of Anna Quindlen (05/13)
Anna Quindlen's memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake has received rave reviews from BookBrowse readers, but it is just one of her many beloved books; check out the list below for more information on her novels:

Every Last One (2010): Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, ...
What is Noir? (05/13)
Emily St. John Mandel's writing includes essences of old-fashioned noir. But what is noir? 'Roman noir' is a French expression that literally translates as 'black novel.' Historically, the term was used to describe Gothic novels set in the UK, however, its contemporary usage refers to an American invention - the hardboiled thriller. ...
Kevin Powers, the Poet (05/13)
Kevin Powers started writing poems and stories at about the age of 13. He began writing poetry about war a year or two after his discharge from the Army as a way to process his own experiences while in Iraq, and eventually decided to take classes to develop his talents. Powers graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in English from ...
The Short Life of Siobhan Dowd (04/13)
The seed for A Monster Calls came from Siobhan Dowd (pronounced sh-vawn), a gifted writer who earned critical and popular success for her young adult fiction and received much praise for her work speaking out against censorship. She brought authors into underprivileged schools, made literature accessible to children around the globe, and ...
Three New Zealand Authors of Note (03/13)
The Memory of Love is mainly set in New Zealand where Swedish author Linda Olsson spends half the year. She spends the other half in her native Sweden. Olsson's novels have enjoyed worldwide readership, something, she says that most New Zealand authors rarely experience. There are brilliant New Zealand writers, Olsson says, whom many in ...
Antigone and The Watch: A Comparison (03/13)
The Greek classic, Antigone (written by Sophocles around 440 BC, based on the older Theban legend), serves as the basis for the modern-day Afghan war story, The Watch. Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya makes no attempt to hide the fact and even invites comparisons, titling two chapters 'Antigone' and 'Ismene' after the two sisters in the tragedy. ...
Howard Frank Mosher and The Kingdom (03/13)
The place with which Howard Frank Mosher is most associated is not actually his native home. Born in the Catskill Mountains in 1942, he moved to Vermont's 'Northeast Kingdom' (or as he calls it, 'The Kingdom') as a newlywed in 1964 to take up his first teaching post. According to the NEK (Vermont's Northeast Kingdom) website, The ...
Food Writers (03/13)
In An Economist Gets Lunch, Tyler Cowen frequently references writers who have shaped the way people think about the culinary arts. These writers are not chefs, but critics who look at the role food plays in modern society. The field has grown so popular that there are actually specialist courses teaching the art of food writing. ...
A Message of Hope from King Peggielene Bartels (02/13)
In an inspirational letter to readers, Peggielene Bartels (aka King Peggy) outlines her goals as the new King of Otuam, Ghana. She begins by stating that:

An important part of my mission as King of Otuam is to bring empowerment to women. I truly believe that the future of Africa lies in the hands of its women... My main mission is...

An Interview with Ramona Ausubel (02/13)
In a thoughtful and personal interview, BookBrowse reviewer Kim Kovacs talks with Ramona Ausubel, debut author of No One is Here Except All of Us:

It seems like you hit a mental roadblock after researching your family history, mired in facts that wouldn't form into a novel. In an interview with Penguin you said that you 'got closer...
A Literary Inspiration: Ernest J. Gaines (01/13)
In a letter to readers, Wiley Cash describes what it was like working with the inspirational Ernest J. Gaines at a fiction workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. He writes:

I began writing A Land More Kind Than Home while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana, where I spent five long years sweating, celebrating Mardi Gras, ...

Socialist Realism (01/13)
The fictional character of Bruno Krug gained international fame with a literary blockbuster The Orphans of Neustadt, but when we meet him at the beginning of his story, he is busy writing simple stories - called the Factory Gate Fables - about life in Actually Existing Socialism. These stories represent typical literature in the U.S.S.R ...
Naomi Benaron Talks With Deborah Levy (01/13)
Naomi Benaron, whose Bellwether Prize winning first novel, Running the Rift, is set during the Rwandan genocide, chats with Deborah Levy about her latest novel, Swimming Home.

Naomi: First, I would like to congratulate you on all your honors for Swimming Home: shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly ...
R.J. Palacio's Inspiration for Wonder (12/12)
Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

This is Auggie's statement on page one of Wonder about the appearance of his face. R.J. Palacio (whose real name is Raquel Jaramillo... Palacio is her mother's last name) makes a very conscious choice not to explore Auggie's disfigurement head-on, and I think it's a good one. Instead, she...
Hemingway's Leading Ladies (11/12)
Paula McLain's novel, The Paris Wife, centers on the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson. However, over the course of his life (1899-1961) Ernest Hemingway married four different women, each unique and interesting in her own right:

Elizabeth Hadley Richardson: Born on November 9, ...
Ron Rash - Poet and Novelist (11/12)
Ron Rash was born in Chester, South Carolina, in 1953, grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Clemson University. In 1994 he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth. Since then, Rash has published four collections of poetry, ...
Snegurochka (11/12)
Snegurochka
The Snow Child is based on a Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka. As told in the English versions (Arthur Ransome's 'Little Daughter of the Snow,' from Old Peter's Russian Tales and Andrew Lang's 'Snowflake,' from The Pink Fairy Book), a childless couple builds a girl out of the snow in a fit of playfulness, and she comes to ...
Yangzom Brauen: Actor, Activist, Author (10/12)
Born to a Tibetan artist and a Swiss anthropologist, Yangzom Brauen (pronounced YAHNG-zom Bhrown) gained an appreciation for the arts at a young age. She attended school at Europe's prestigious University of Theater and Music in Bern and was soon thereafter cast in a local television program, Manne Zimmer, on the National Swiss ...
Biography in Verse (10/12)
As reviewer Marnie Colton points out in her blog post at BookBrowse, biographies in poetry form allow for freedom of expression that a more constraining non-fiction prose form might not. Marnie calls the biography-in-verse 'a dynamic form that allows poets to revisit the lives of their subjects through imagery, rhythm, and metaphor ...
The Novels of Paul La Farge (10/12)
According to an article in Time Out Chicago (August 2011), 'Paul La Farge might be the greatest American writer you haven't read, but now there's no excuse.' He has been constructing a solid home for himself in American letters since his first published novel in 1999.

With a flavor of European modernism, The Artist of the Missing...
Amos Oz (10/12)
In the story 'Strangers,' two characters have a discussion about how writers choose their subject matter. 'There are some subjects and motifs that a writer comes back to again and again because apparently they come from the root of his being.'

There is nothing more true that could be said about Amos Oz, Israel's best known novelist...
The Funny, Frightening, Lyrical, Odd, and Very Talented Kelly Barnhill (10/12)
Kelly Barnhill is a very cool person. I don't know her personally, but you can just tell about some people. She is a mother of three, a teacher, and a writer (and probably a million other things too). She has written poetry and short stories for adults, non-fiction books for children and, now, her first middle grade debut novel, ...
Prominent Victorian Writers (09/12)
Madeleine Hanna, heroine of The Marriage Plot, is enthralled with the tidy, thoughtful novels of the nineteenth century. Here are three prominent Victorian writers and information about their literary styles that will make the experience of reading Eugenides's story all the more pleasurable.

George Eliot (1819-1880)
Born with the ...

Shakespearean Themes in The Night Circus (08/12)
The use of magical motifs in Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus, helps make it a unique and fascinating read. But the literary device is by no means new. Magic can be found in some of the oldest, most revered pieces of literature throughout history, as in William Shakespeare's The Tempest. In fact, his play served ...
Introducing Bryn Greenwood (08/12)
Bryn Greenwood grew up in the minute Kansas town of Hugoton; ten blocks by ten blocks. After escaping to college, earning three degrees (a BA in English, a BA in French Literature, and an MA in Writing) and making up stories all the while, she completed her first novel and sent it out to agents. Ten rejections, eight other novels, and ...
Why Write Historical Fiction? (08/12)
What makes a writer turn to historical fiction? The task of creating a fictional world is hard enough, so why throw in the additional labor of intensive research and the mental calisthenics of imagining another time? Some of the genre's biggest names respond...

Before his death in June 2012, Barry Unsworth's literary imagination...
Ernest Hemingway and Aldous Huxley (07/12)
On the surface, few early- to mid-twentieth century writers could be more different than Ernest Hemingway and Aldous Huxley. Hemingway (1899-1961), a rugged American with an appetite for alcohol, women, and outdoor sports, fine-tuned the art of the terse, elliptical sentence. Huxley (1894-1963), on the other hand, was born into a ...
H. G. Wells (06/12)
H. G. Wells is not only a prominent character in The Map of Time; he's also a famous novelist, sometimes called 'The Father of Science Fiction.' Born on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, a small town southeast of London, Herbert George Wells grew up quite poor but, after an incident in 1874 in which he broke his leg and was forced to rest in...
The Books of Melissa Fay Greene (05/12)
In the New Yorker review of Melissa Fay Greene's debut book, Praying for Sheetrock (1991), James Lardner writes, 'Greene's achievement recalls Jane Austen's description of her novels as fine brushwork on a 'little bit (two inches wide) of ivory'....' Greene is a gifted journalist with a novelist's eye for detail, and the four award-...
The Aura Estrada Prize (04/12)
In addition to memorializing and honoring Aura Estrada in his novel, Francisco Goldman also established a literary prize in 2008 in her name. Aura Estrada was a published short story writer in several Mexican and Latin American magazines including Letralia, Letras Libres, and Gatopardo, and, among many other projects, she published ...
Kyung-sook Shin (04/12)
International bestselling author Kyung-sook Shin has garnered unprecedented levels of success for her novel, Please Look After Mom. Originally published in South Korea in 2008 and having sold over a million and a half copies, it is the first of her books to be translated into English and has been published in nineteen countries worldwide....
The Collaboration Between Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango (04/12)

In the author's note in The Queen of Water, Laura Resau tells the story of walking into María Virginia Farinango's small shop one snowy day. She had met María Virginia once before at the small community college where Laura taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and María Virginia was taking a class with Laura's ...

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