I have to say …. Sometimes I just get lucky. Because of my job here in Orlando I was able to get a free ticket to the expo floor of the American Library Association convention held here in Orlando the weekend before last.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but a friend of mine who is a librarian over on the west coast said I was going to get a LOT of free books.
He wasn’t kidding. Here’s my new To Be Read Pile:
The show floor at the convention center had a variety of different exhibitors selling everything from shelving, chairs and electronic card catalog systems to publishers trying to entice librarians to stock their books. Hence the free book giveaways. Here’s how I saw them displayed and just had to take a picture.
No, I’m not a librarian but I am an avid reader and an author so I have to admit, I was in a little bit of heaven. Not only did I get some great books to read (and review here on my blog) but I also gained some interesting insights on how publishers promote the books they sell. I also met several authors that were there doing book signings.
By far and away the coolest pavilion on the show floor belonged to the Library of Congress. I had the pleasure of listening to a talk they gave on the genealogy resources that the LOC offers. Here’s where I do a shameless plug for my other blog, the one about my genealogy exploits: www.wellsgenealogy.wordpress.com
Here are some pictures I took of their “booth.” Was a little hard to photograph as it was quite large.
The best thing I took away from the LOC’s genealogy talk was a great resource they have called Chronicling America, an online resource for you to search (for free) a large amount of historical newspapers that they have scanned. Check it out at: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
So back to the books …
This week I’ve been reading and listening to two books I got at the show. I’ve been reading Kristen Proby’s “Close to You,” and listening to the audio book of “Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined” by Stephanie Meyer.
I’ve read a few of Kristen Proby’s books and have enjoyed her writing style. It’s simple but the characters are engaging enough to draw you into the stories she writes. “Close to You” is the second book in the series, the sequel to “Listen to Me.” Being the way that I am, I bought the ebook of “Listen to Me” to read it first. I just can’t read the second book in a series before reading the first one. I like the series so far. It’s about five female best friends who run a restaurant in Portland.
“Listen to Me” had two buggaboos that had me lost for a bit. First of all the book takes place in Portland. Now, I’m from the east coast. When you say Portland and give no other explanation as to geography, I’m assuming Portland, Maine. It was about a third of the way thru the book that they mentioned Seattle and I realized I’d been picturing Maine in my head and should have been picturing Oregon. The other thing is she drops you right in the middle of five women. Maybe I’m just slow but the other four that weren’t the main characters of that book were hard to keep straight. I think it would have been better to reduce it to four. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, both books, but sometimes there are just too many characters to keep track of. I think my only other suggestion is that the covers of both books look like the same couple to me. I asked my friend if she thought they were the same couple and she said she didn’t think so but she couldn’t be positive.
“Life and Death” is a retelling of “Twilight” but this time Stephanie Meyer changes up the story and instead of Bella and Edward, you have Bo and Edyth. Yes, this time Bo (the boy) is a human and Edyth (the girl) is the vampire. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the audio book so far and am really loving it. There’s just enough difference from Twilight that L&D is almost a totally different story …. But not?? You have to read it for yourself to know what I mean and I highly suggest it for those who are Twilight lovers.
Both “Close to Me” and “Life and Death” bring up an interesting concern for women writers and that’s how to write first person narrative from a man’s point of view when you’re a woman. Men and women think differently and I know from writing my own novels that when you switch points of view from the female character to the male character you have to write completely differently. By this I mean how I would describe something and how my brother would describe the same thing would be completely different for some things and the same for others.
Case in point. At one point in “Life and Death” Bo describes Edyth as wearing a bone colored scarf and a dove leather jacket. Really? What 17-year-old boy says bone instead of white and dove instead of gray? He later says of himself that he’s besotted with Edyth. Again, no 17-year-old boy who’s infatuated with a girl is going to say he’s besotted with her … unless he’s straight out of a Jane Austen novel. I’m really enjoying the story of “Life and Death” but in no way believe that it’s really being narrated by Bo, a straight 17-year-old boy in the year 2015. He watches Edyth obsessively for quite a while but makes no mention of any of her girly parts except her … hair and eyes? Not only that but before he moved to Forks, Bo was best friends with his mother. I’m just saying that if he’d say she was hot or that he wanted to run his hands over some reproductive part of her body I’d be more inclined to believe he wasn’t batting for the other team. He can bat for whoever he wants to but he is supposed to be falling in love with a female vampire.
In “Close to You” Kristen Proby switches the narrative between Cami and Landon every couple of chapters and I have to say she does a great job of differentiating their voices. Landon sounds very masculine and Cami very feminine. Having done this in many of my novels I can tell you it’s not an easy feat and I give Kristin high marks for her ability to write from a male POV. There’s a subtlety that you need to understand in order to write a first person narrative in the opposite sex. Kristin gets that. I’m not so sure Stephanie Meyer does.
Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story. I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.