Friday, May 13, 2011

House Arrest author Ellen Meeropol Has Some Recs for You...

No, we don't know why several of our posts disappeared from Blogger. We're hoping they eventually show up again.

I'm sure you noticed that our event schedule this spring has about double the number of events we had in 2010 (which in turn was higher than 2009). Though we can't say yes to everything, we've put our necks on the line with a number of smaller press fiction titles.  Many stores will not book these kinds of events, because they fear small turnouts.  I learned this firsthand when I tried to help some local authors get gigs in other cities; even though I knew the event coordinators, I couldn't get a green light. I illustrate this with a photo of Matthew Algeo, author of The President is a Sick Man.  His book is not fiction, and our turnout was pretty good.  So does that prove my point or not?  I'm not sure, but I wanted to use one of the photos that Mary K. sent me.

So this month, we've had some disappointments among our successes.  Sometimes it's a weekend that's just too nice. Sometimes the author doesn't help us get the press we need to get the word out--we try, of course, but did I mention we have 25 events this month? But sometimes you do everything and a worthy book and author gets overlooked.  And that's why I'm sad that we had a smaller crowd than we should have for Ellen Meeropol's novel, House Arrest, her novel about a home care nurse and her house-arrest pregant patient who find they have more in common than they expected.

In part, I blame the car.  Before I got the vehicle, I was reading on my commute, which could be up to 90 minutes if I did rush hour with stops both ways. And partly it's a function of so many events--I find myself working even more hours just for logistics, and that cuts into reading time. 

So I didn't finish the book in time.  And fiction, more than most nonfiction which has more targetable angles, needs a read to work.  Look at Carsten Jensen's event for We the Drowned.  A nice showing and I credit Jason in part for that.  And Stacie's viral video of course. Meeropol was worth reading too, with raves from Julia Glass ("smart, provocative, and moving"), Rosellen Brown ("a fascinating story about the unquenchable promise of healing") and Heidi W. Durrow (a "compelling debut").

Though I was very, very tired and not scheduled for this event, I stayed on and listened to her talk and reading, which I really enjoyed. Check Meeropol's schedule, and if she's coming to your city, I'd recommend stopping by to here her. More on the Meera-blog.  One thing I found very interesting was that in some cities, she couldn't get an event at a local bookstore so she set up house parties. It sounds like they were quite successful!

Ellen Meeropol is a writer, yes, but also a great reader.  And I don't just mean she's a good reader for the event (though she was); she's also a great reader from her years at Odyssey Bookshop, coordinating events, running a book club, and picking titles for their first edition club. So I asked her to tell me about some books she's excited about, as I need guidance as much as the next schmo.

The title she's hottest on right now is Alexi Zentner's novel Touch.  It's a family saga of three generations, mixed with forest sprites and ghostly beings.  Think north-of-the-border magical realism.  It's beautifully written, and Meeropol assured me we'd have a copy when I starting worrying.  In fact, we had six and it's currently on Boswell's Best.   Hooray!

Recently out in paperback is Amy Bloom's Where the God of Love Hangs Out.  Meeropol loves Blume's short stories, and how Bloom looks at all the different ways people love each other.  In her new collection, she brings her characters into pre-geezerhood, and that's just great.  Her comment reminded me of Alice Adams' later collections, which featured heroines into their seventies. Sigh, Alice Adams.  Hey, sigh, Amy Bloom too.

Right now Meeropol is reading Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow, which is the #1 Indie Next pick for June.  "I'm loving the writing" is her direct quote.  Everything else is paraphrased. Everything.

Hey, I was just about to read Silver Sparrow!  But I'm bogged down in five other things. Sad, huh?

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