Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Please Join Us At Our New Address

Dear CapRadio Readers,
This will be the last blog post for CapRadio Reads at this address.  Please come visit our new, fantastic web page.  The address is www.CapRadio.org/books.  You may also go to CapRadio.org and find us on the event tab.
Thanks to all of you for following this blog.  I will continue to be doing my posts on the new website, and there are many other new an interesting features to see there. I hope to see you at our monthly events. 
As always, here and on the website, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beautiful Ruins, But Some Not So Beautiful People

I hope you have a ticket for a place at the table, July 9th at 6:30pm in the Community Room at Capital Public Radio Studios so you can share you views.The twists and turns of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, will keep you interested, and on your toes.  The sadness in the lives of Walter's characters is so well defined, but their lack of introspection is what is beguiling.  
Pasquale is a sensitive, lovely man, unless you know what has happened in Florence.  Michael Deane is just awful, but what is underneath that Botox?  And Dee Moray....we just don't know yet, do we?
We'll have on more blog post in this location and then be sure to reset your browser to CapRadio.org/books and visit our fabulous new website for all the news from CapRadio Reads.  
As always, thanks for reading

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beautiful Ruins Makes A Great Summer Read

Life is a blatant act of imagination..... So says a character from Jess Walter's book Beautiful Ruins, our selection for our July 9th Face to Face meeting of CapRadio Reads at the Captial Public Radio Studios.

Dee Moray arrives, as if directly from the sea, to the Hotel Adequate View.  This scene near the opening of the book, evokes a cinematic feeling that will carry us through till the end.  In April 1962, Dee Moray, an actress from the film Cleopatra, which is being shot in Rome, arrives in Porto Vergogna, somewhere on the Italian Coast. Pasquale Tursi, owner of the "Hotel Adequate View" is there to greet her, and falls instantly in love , and "would remain in love with her for the rest of his life". How schmaltzy this COULD be, but isn't.  We do however, start to wonder what the title, Beautiful Ruins, is really referring to.  We immediately move to the present in the second chapter, meeting Michael Deane,  Claire and more of Walter's unique characters.  We know they are all tied together and, as if it were a movie, can't break away to go buy popcorn until we know how and why.  This novel is reminding me of seeing "Cleopatra" in New York at Radio City Music Hall with my Aunt.....I HAd to buy the program to read all about it.  Now I have the scoop on what was happening backstage.
Hope you are enjoying the book and I look forward to seeing you at the meeting. Please look at our brand new new website too.  Our address is www.capradio.org/books.  
As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beautiful Ruins Is Our July Title

Jess Walter's book Beautiful Ruins is a remarkable, witty, lush entertainment.Our July read will leave you wanting more from this talented author, whose book will make for hours of reading pleasure and a fascinating conversation for us.
We'll be back in the community room on July 9th at 6:30pm for a Face to Face discussion of the book.  I know you will love the book.  How can you not love a book with lovable characters, great cinematic qualities, beautiful surroundings and cameos by Liz Taylor and Richard Burton SIGN UP HERE to get a seat at the table.  We look forward to seeing you.
As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From Paris to Provence to Mt. Aukum

We should be coming to the end of our reading journey by now, and I am hoping the books this month have left you inspired to cook, to travel and to dine on all things Francais. 
Along with the tastes and smells Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington talk about in their beautiful book Paris to Provence they also talk about the light looking over the vineyards and the sound of the squeaky floors in their 18th century house and the church bells in the village.  I don't think there is any sound more wonderful than the middle of the night comfort of a village churchbell., or anything more European than the whine of a police siren in the streets of Paris.  Now that I've read through the book, it's time for me to get cooking.  I'll be making some treats for you to take home after our wonderful event at C.G. DiArie Vineyards a week from Saturday on June 8th.  Don't delay getting your tickets as they are starting to be quite scarce.  Just CLICK HERE for a ticket to the event.  All are welcome, so please bring a friend. The tickets are $20.00 each and you will love the refreshments, the conversation with the authors, who will be interviewed by Donna Apidone, host of Morning Edition and the Provence like setting. 
Before closing today, I have one more very special invitation for you.  We have just launched our CapRadio Reads website.  The site is full of information about our book club, books featured on NPR and stories from local authors and Capital Public Radio personalities.  It will take you further into our world of books than we have been able to go with the blog.  From now on, when you go to http://capradio.org/books on your browser, you will end up at this sight.  Hope you enjoy it. Please let us know!
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Paris to Provence event and as always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Afternoon in Provence

Baguettes and Beignets

We certainly hope that after starting to read the magnificent book Paris to Provence you will be inspired to join us at the C.G. DiArie Vineyard and Winery for an afternoon of conversation, wine and delicious food in an atmosphere that will make you feel as if you are in Provence. Just CLICK HERE to make it happen.
How are you enjoying reading the books this month? From the beautiful photographs and recipes in the book by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington to the stories of living the life of a young family and the history of Provence in A Pig in Provence I don't think it's difficult to imagine yourself doing it. Perhaps after reading a chapter you decide to have your own party in August and invite your friends to A Grand Aoili!  Have them bring their own utensils and you provide the food and some lovely wine.  What a wonderful evening it could be. If only we had old friends who could come and tell stories of truffle hunting and fighting in the resistance, of swimming in the blue waters and lying on the rocky beaches at Nice, or better yet, the beignet vendor strolling down the beach selling his basket full of beignets.....We may not have beignets, but we we will have other Mediterranean treats and very lovely wines, so we look forward to seeing you on June 8th. 
As always, thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Love Paris In The Springtime

Three Visions, Two Books and One Country

The magnetism of shared experiences is really a remarkable thing.  Both the books we are reading this month, Paris to Provence by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington and A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan are books I chose to read because of their beauty, their writing and because I have travelled to France and share the authors love of the place and the food.  Having read A Pig in Provence years ago, it inspired me to go stay in the a small village in Provence in a house owned by the author. Reading the book again, now, after being there, I am once again amazed with Brennan's ability to draw a picture of life in a very remote section of Provence, raising not only her children, but goats, lambs and a husband.  Her descriptions of the days are from the perspective of a mother who is also working hard to learn new skills, in a new country, while at the same time making an incredible life for her family. From the start of the book we see her challenges, not only to learn the craft of living in Provence, but also to be able to be accepted as a member of this small community.  How amazing it is now, to view that same time and that life, from the eyes of her daughter Ethel in her book Paris to Provence.

Her memories of the same time also revolve around the foods, but also specifically around the long dinners and the stories that were told.  The farmhouse they lived in was once lived in by German soldiers, who occupied the area.  The Resistance was also strong in the area, so the men would work the fields during the day and be out trying to thwart the Nazi's by  night.  All the stories in both books evoke a time, not that long ago that was obviously a dream fulfilled by Mother, daughter and friend, that continues to this day. Hope you are enjoying reading their stories and that you will be joining us for our amazing event at the C.G Di Arie Vineyard and Winery on June 8th at two in the afternoon.  For more details and to purchase your tickets SIGN UP HERE.  We have only a limited number of tickets left, so please don't delay.
In case you haven't filled your Francophile bookcase, I also highly recommend the new book by Edward Rutherfurd, Paris.  I just finished it and loved this portrait of Paris, done as a historical novel.  Like our two books for June, it makes you feel as if you are living through the time and in the place.
As always, thank you for reading.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Title Announcement

From Paris To Provence

CapRadio Readers are in for a triple creme treat in June.  It is my great pleasure to announce the title for our June CapRadio Reads event. Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington. This book, part cookbook, part memoir, is not only a book of memories of childhoods spent exploring the roads and foods of France, but also the coming together of two new friends, with very similar memories of a very special place, but the most beautiful compilation of photos, maps and remembrances. We thought it fitting to celebrate the release of this gorgeous book in an equally gorgeous setting, so we invite you, our loyal CapRadio Readers to join us for a food and wine reception, a conversation with the authors Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington and a book signing at the beautiful vineyards of C. G. Di Arie Vineyard and Winery, 5200 Di Arie Road, Mount Aukum, Ca. 95656.  This event will take place on Saturday, June 8th, from two until four in the afternoon.  Please SIGN UP HERE  to attend this very special event. You will be able to taste the wine in the vineyard where it began it's life and speak to the wine maker himself.  If this isn't enough, I also encourage you to pick up a copy of Ethel Brennan's mother's book, A Pig in Provence, by Georgeanne Brennan.  This book will give you the mother's perspective on the same childhood. Georgeanne Brennan in a local food celebrity, who does classes on Provencal cooking, works with schools to design healthy menus for kids and has written numerous cookbooks of her own.
In future blogs we will be discussing both books, but for now, please hurry to be among the few who have the opportunity to come to this very special day.
I look forward to seeing you in our own beautiful wine country on June 8th, but for now, as always, thanks for reading.

Oh What a Night

The Ophelia Cut Launched

What a great party.  I know I saw a lot of you CapRadio Readers at the party last night and I hope you enjoyed it.  Great music, fantastic food, wonderful wines from C.G. Diarie and most important, a terrific conversation between Donna Apidone, host of Morning Edition and the man of the hour, John Lescroart.  As always, he was funny and insightful and steadfastly refused to give too much away about his new book. I guess you'll just have to read The Ophelia Cut to find out how he came up with this most unusual title.  Please let us know what you think. I loved it, but I may be prejudiced.
With this event behind us, we move on to June with another very special day planned for you. Please watch the blog later this afternoon for more information and the reveal of the newest title for CapRadio Reads.
And once again, as always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Less Than A Week Until Our Party

Do You Have Your Ticket Yet?

Well CapRadio Readers, have you signed up to be one of the lucky 100 with a reserved seat for the May 7th Launch Party for John Lescroart's new book The Ophelia Cut?  Don't wait a moment longer, since we are almost sold out for this great opportunity.  Wonderful wines from our friends at C. G. Diarie, fantastic appetizers and the chance to hear John Lescroart and Donna Apidone, the host of Morning Edition in conversation.  Join us at the Odd Fellows Hall in Davis just by SIGNING UP HERE.
Thanks to those of you who have sent notes and comments this week.  From some of the notes I received I have a few book titles to recommend.  One of our regulars at our Face To Face meetings finished and loved Kate Atkinson's new book Life After Life, remarking on her experimentation with the structure of the novel.  I just finished a Jeffrey Archer book in preparation for his newest, Best Kept Secrets, which came out yesterday and now I am truly immersed in the newest from Edward Rutherford, Paris. 
And now, back to the man of the hour, or at least of the next week, John Lescroart and the final question and answer from my interview with him.  I hope to see all of you on May 7th in Davis.

V.L.:  Authors are often asked which of their books is their favorite, and also often respond that it's the current book.  I know The Ophelia Cut is my favorite, is it yours, and why or why not?

J.L.: The Lucky Seven Reasons why The Ophelia Cut is the favorite among my own books:

1. It was fun and easy to write, and at the same time had a powerful and compelling theme.
2. It came in at over 500 pages, which for some reason is always a cool thing and an indication that I was throwing the whole "kitchen sink" at the book and a lot of it was sticking. After writing several of my past books about one or more of my characters, this time I gathered up characters from everywhere and all of them found a place in the narrative. Abe, Diz, Frannie, The Beck, Moses, Susan (Moses's wife), Brittany (Moses's daughter), Gina Roake, Wyatt Hunt . . . in short, just about everybody. I was almost tempted to bring David Freeman back from the dead.
3. I handed it in on time. (Even though I have handed every one of my books in on time, the thrill never goes away.)
4. I really, really put a lot of my folks into serious jeopardy in many different ways. The hearkening back to The First Law brought so much depth to the anguish people were going through. The drama just seemed never to give up.
5. The courtroom stuff was not just strategic, but entertaining as all get-out. And the final courtroom turnaround was just so beautifully unexpected and riveting that I almost couldn't believe when it showed up. I probably whooped aloud when it occurred to me.
6. I got to keep my own title!!! And I firmly believe that it is the perfect one.
7. I love the prologue, which I originally wrote as a stand-alone short story and then became an integral part of this book's fabric -- first time anything like that has ever happened.

In short, this was a book that simply started running on all cylinders quite early in the process, and whose many disparate parts all fell together rather perfectly. I think readers will truly love this book as a reading experience, and that is a wonderful feeling for an author to have.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Author Speaks

Questions Answered

Before we arrive at John Lescroart's Launch Party for his new book The Ophelia Cut, which will be held in Davis at the Odd Fellows Hall on 2nd Street, Tuesday, May 7, at 6:30pm, I thought it would be fun to have him answer a few questions about his writing and about the new book.  While going over the questions and answers this week, I realized that sometimes, art imitates life, and sometimes it's the other way around.  With the news dominated by the bombings in Boston and the subsequent death and capture of the suspects, we are also seeing reactions from the alleged bomber's family.  I think we are all questioning, to what extent family will go to help one of their own? Can their public reactions be trusted to be the truth? Without giving you any spoilers, please enjoy the next part of my Q&A with John Lescroart and don't forget to SIGN UP HERE  to come to this fantastic party.

V.L.: This novel, The Ophelia Cut, talks a lot about the difficult decisions families have to make to protect one another.  How did you come up with this idea andwas it difficult to write about your characters, knowing they would face difficult times?

J.L.: Basically, I'm always on the lookout for the next story, and the next story can't really just be adequate; it has to be great. I, at least, have to think that I'm starting to grapple with important issues and interesting people who are going to matter to my readers.

So when I started in on the book that became The Ophelia Cut, I didn't have much in the way of story. I liked the idea of having a kind of "wild card" guy in the person of a protected witness, and so the first scene I actually wrote was when Tony Solaia, the protected witness, says hi to Dismas Hardy at the Dolphin Club -- now this is around page 30 of the finished book, so you can see how things turned around somewhat. Then I liked the idea of Hardy spending more time with his daughter, who'd been away at college for the past few books. I missed Rebecca, and I thought my readers would like to see her on the page, too. Finally, I had to have some conflict in Hardy's life, and the history of The Dockside Massacre which I wrote about in The First Law seemed to provide a nice opening into something in Hardy's here-and-now that could cause grief to him and his pals Moses, Abe, and Gina.

I knew I wanted to have Hardy and Tony Solaia become friends (I still didn't know why he was a protected witness -- was he essentially a good guy or a bad guy?), and that led to Tony being busted for serving drinks to minors -- hardly more than an administrative hiccup if the guy was not in the Federal Witness Protection program. Still, nothing was happening in terms of real plot. I just had some pieces moving around the chessboard. Then, purely fortuitously, I thought it would be nice to bring Moses McGuire's daughter Brittany back from college as well, and to have her be friends/confidants with Rebecca. And what would they be confidants about, as cousins, if not boyfriends/dating/etc.? And of course things on that level would need to be complicated and . . .

BAM! Rick Jessup enters the picture as a very bad force in Brittany's life.

And suddenly, probably close to a hundred pages into the actual writing, I found that I was at critical mass, and the celestial bodies started moving on their own. Really, it was a dramatic moment in the creation of this book. Suddenly, against my inclinations (and since they are so hard to get right), I realized that it was going to be a trial book, that the man on trial was going to be the unreliable alcoholic Moses McGuire, and that he was going to be charged with killing his daughter's rapist. This was a plot that would bring all of the elements I'd introduced into their point of greatest pressure, and both the balance and the heft of the actual story was more than going to compensate for what I was going to put my characters through. I didn't know how bad it would get for any of them, although I knew that by the end, it wasn't going to be pretty.

There comes a point in the best stories where the author isn't really directing events, and that's what happened in The Ophelia Cut. Your characters start to live and do what they're going to do, and all we poor scriveners can do is try to capture the moments as they unfold in front of us. I hope I caught most of 'em.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Parties and Prizes

Tickets Are Going Fast

Do you have your tickets for the big party in Davis? CapRadio Reads presents John Lescroart's The Ophelia Cut launch party is close to being sold out.  I'm sure you don't want to be left out of this fun event.  SIGN UP HERE for your tickets to the launch party.  Your reservation is the only way you will be able to have preferred seating for this bash on May 7, at 6:30 in the evening at the Odd Fellow's Hall in Davis, located at 415 2nd Street, Davis, CA. 95616, as well as scrumptious appetizers, wonderful wine from C.G. Di Arie and an evening with John Lescroart himself.  Don't delay.  Do it today!
Before we get to the second installment of my interview with Mr. Lescroart, I wanted to make sure you knew about the latest prize for literature.  This year, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction goes to Adam Johnson for The Orphan Master's Son.  It is an extremely timely novel of North Korea that "carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart", according to the Pulitzer judges.  The author is a professor of creative writing at Stanford.  Especially wonderful for him, since the judges did not give an award at all last year, stating that there wasn't a book worthy of the award.  Not sure I agree, but nonetheless, it is a great honor for Mr. Johnson. 
And now, to the second question I asked John Lescroart....I hope you enjoy his response.

V.L.:  John, you write about San Francisco in all your books.  If you could design the perfect day in S.F. what would you do and would you bring any of your characters along?
J.L.:  It's interesting that in the many interviews I have given about my writing, no one ever asked this question before. And it's a great one. My perfect day in San Francisco?

Well, first thing, it would have to be in the Fall. I've had enough bone-chilling spring and summer days in the City that I never want to spend another one. Now, that said, and before I get to this particular day that you're asking me about, let me tell you a true story about just such a real day that I spent in San Francisco about thirty years ago with my former college roommate and (still) great friend Frank Seidl.

The occasion was a vacation Frank, up from Los Angeles, was taking in the City. I was unencumbered by relationships or by work, and we decided to take the whole day to just hang out. We met at about 9:00 a.m. in North Beach, at the current location of Firenze By Night, on Stockton near Columbus. Back then, this place housed a terrific Italian deli called Frank's Extra Espresso Bar (no relation to Frank, my companion). We sat outside in a recessed area, just off the sidewalk. We had perfect weather, and started with a couple of espressos and some sweet rolls. After a half hour catching up on our lives, we decided "what the heck," and each of us ordered a Peroni beer. By 11:00, we'd each had two beers, and it was getting near lunchtime. So we walked up a few blocks to the Washington Square Bar & Grill, where we had sand dabs and pasta and a bottle or two of good wine. Solving all the problems of the world over a six-pack of Coors Talls, we passed the warm and gorgeous afternoon in Golden Gate Park. Next, after a little doze on the warm grass, we moved on out to The Avenues for dinner at Yet Wah, a favorite Chinese spot. I believe we rounded out the evening (events at this remove are still a bit vague) with a cocktail or two over some darts at the Little Shamrock, and finally, though I can hardly believe it, I have some small memory of getting back to my apartment and making sardine sandwiches with, of course, another really unnecessary beer or two. Yikes.

So . . . this is precisely what I would not do this time around. Although I would probably start again in North Beach, my wife Lisa and I walking there from wherever we were staying (let's say at the St. Francis on Union Square). After an espresso and croissant, just taking in the sights and scents and feel, we'd walk back on Columbus through downtown and then, since we're in the Fall, the Giants would be in the playoffs, and I would have good tickets at AT&T Park. We'd meet some pals, including Dismas and Frannie Hardy, at MoMo's for a quick beer before the game. After the win, we'd walk up to Chaya Brasserie for a bite, then cab it over to the Great American Music Hall where Boz Scaggs would be performing. The show would get out at around 10:30. We'd be back at the hotel by 11:00, an early night so that we'd be ready tomorrow morning for our ferry ride to Alcatraz for the tour, then lunch in Sausalito, then back to the City for the current exhibit at the De Young and a swing through the Aquarium before hitting the Little Shamrock for a cocktail, and then dinner at . . . well, it never really has to end. The City lives and breathes forever.
Thank you John Lescroart and thanks to CapRadio Readers for reading. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

John Lescroart's The Ophelia Cut

Launch Party in Davis

CapRadio Reads presents John Lescroart's The Ophelia Cut.  You are invited to attend the Launch Party of the year.  Our May selection for CapRadio Reads is the soon to be published book by local New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart, The Ophelia Cut. As a special treat for our loyal CapRadio Readers, 100 of you may sign up to join us for a reserved seat at this very special occasion. John will be in conversation with our Morning Edition host Donna Apidone. There will be great food and wine and fun live music.  You surely don't want to miss this evening so SIGN UP HERE .
Because this book will not be released until the day of the party, I thought you might want to hear from the author himself. In the next few weeks I will be publishing pieces of my interview with Mr. Lescroart. He will also be taking questions at his party, so think of some things you've always wanted to ask him.  I hope you enjoy the Q&A here, and hope to see you at the party.

V.L.: John, this is the first book with a brand new publisher.  After I read it I really felt you had a new liveliness to your writing. What about this book feels "new" to you?

J.L.:I had been publishing with Dutton Books for a long time and all of the twelve books I'd written for them, beginning with The Oath, had been NY Times bestsellers.

And for every book over those dozen years, Dutton and I labored to increase my visibility and grow sales, etc. After the first six or seven of these books, my trajectory (gotta love these publishing terms) remained fairly flat -- the latest book would get great reviews and come out somewhere around the middle of the NY Times list, would hang around for two to five weeks, and then disappear.

So, in an effort to "freshen" (another great word) the product, Dutton suggested that I write a little bit different kind of book, one with perhaps a younger protagonist, and not so lawyerly as Dismas Hardy. In response, I wrote The Hunt Club, introducing Wyatt Hunt as a private investigator. The book did fine (after all, hitting the Times list shouldn't in theory be considered failing), but about the same as all the rest.

Then, since I'd broken the Dismas Hardy stranglehold and "proven" that I could write a different kind of book, maybe I could get a bump in my female audience if I wrote a female protagonist, so I wrote The Suspect, featuring Gina Roake as my main character. That book, named the 2007 Book of the Year by the American Authors Association, had about the same sales as The Hunt Club. So, then, how about a military thriller? Maybe that . . . etc. And so came Betrayal.

Then, seeking to find the magic formula (a key word here, by the way), I went back to a Hardy book with A Plague of Secrets, another Hunt book with Treasure Hunt, then a Glitsky/Farrell book with Damage. The sales profile on all of these books remained constant -- not much down, not much up. Then, with last year's The Hunter -- a book that I personally loved, the bottom fell out. Though it, too, made the Times list (albeit for only one week), distribution was pretty much non-existent and sales, therefore, were dismal.

The general rule in publishing is that if your book is a hit, it's because of the publisher, and if not, it's the author's fault. So my agent and I, not accepting this worldview, decided to leave Dutton and get a new publisher. In a short while, we got a very nice three-book deal from Atria, and suddenly I was contractually free to write any kind of book I wanted. And then, suddenly, no longer did I feel that I was going to have to write "to the market."

As detailed above, I'd tried several different approaches over the past several years, and I'd come to realize that the main thing I had to do was just have fun and write what I wanted -- it would probably urn out to be a quality product, readable and interesting. So, as I started the actual writing of The Ophelia Cut, I rather consciously did not worry too much about the plot -- I knew I had the bones of a very good story, and so I didn't worry about who the "protagonist" was, or if the plot was linear enough. I came into work every day and threw in every cool idea that struck me, and before too long, the book had taken on a life of its own, coming in at about 200 pages longer than my last several Dutton books. What was "new" here was this new-found sense of freedom and confidence, and I think it shines through on every page. And I'm glad it struck you that way, too.



A Tempest in a Teapot

 Rumpus in the Community Room
While the rest of Sacramento was having a quiet dinner, CapRadio Readers were having quite a conversation about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  A more than packed house debated whether all or some of the characters were real, or imagined in this fanciful story of a circus which only operates at night.  If they were only imagined, who in the story might be real? Which characters were the most "fleshed" out? Was it the circus itself?  Are we, a room full of intelligent, well read, real people, able to suspend our own reality long enough to enjoy a fantasy? What of Ms. Morgenstern's references to Shakespearean characters?
Well, the consensus we came to was, good, bad or unbelievable, another evening of conversation, lovely wine from C. G. Diarie and goodies came to an end, and all agreed it was time very well spent.
As has been the case for all our Face to Face meetings and our bigger author events, this was standing room only.  Don't be left out. Click on the following link to become a member of CapRadio Reads and be first in line to attend all these wonderful gatherings. JOIN THE CLUB !
Thanks, as always, for joining us anytime, anywhere.  Watch this space later today for an announcement of our May title and information on how you can attend the party.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Questions Than Answers

Imagination makes us ask...

We are very close to the end of our reading of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and if you are like me, you have more questions than ever.  We know this is fiction, we know it's just a story, but we still ask.  It's the mark of a very good book, that regardless of our like or dislike of the book, we still want to know more about the characters, the setting, and the ideas behind the book.  One New York Times reviewer asks "Can children love, who were never loved?".  How much of this story, although glorious and beautiful on some levels is really quite disturbing.  Is it magic or is it indentured servitude? 
I look forward to discussing this, as well as the overall mystery of "The Game", the colors, the clock and each of the characters with you next week. If you read it in book form, did the design of the actual book influence your reading?   We are sold out for our meeting, but if you would like to be among the first to know about our upcoming meetings and special events...the next one on May 7th in a location to be announced, please Join The Club.  You will receive emails with  information about all our upcoming events.
Thanks for joining me here and I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting and at our Face to Face and Special events in the future.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Circus Tumblers

Love Is The Game

  Suspending disbelief, especially in literature, is difficult for me. I have shied away from Sci-Fi and fantasy books and even Harry Potter was a stretch.  This is why, I am so surprised at the joy Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus has brought to me. Maybe it is the her outstanding ability to use words to create such a vivid picture of the world of the Night Circus. The vivid use of black and white to enhance color is a concept any designer would treasure. Her characters, while not deep, are all so interesting and quirky we come to feel very strongly about their moves and motives.  Her supporting characters, such as Bailey, the "town" boy who runs away with the circus, are so appealing and "normal" he stands out in this crowd of psychics and magicians and strangely mean mentors. 
  And so, with all this beauty and magic, it is strangely haunting to come to the middle of this book, and realize, it's all about love.  The love story is a "balancing act", as surely as if it were on the highwire and we are all holding our breath to see what happens. 
  I'm happy to say that the Face to Face meeting, less than two weeks away, to be held on April 8th at 6:30 is almost upon us. I am SO interested to hear what you all have thought of the book.  Be sure to SIGN UP HERE if you would like to attend.  We are almost sold out already.
  Without any spoilers please, let me know what you think so far, and please post questions you would like to have me pose at the meeting, on our comments section. It's opened up, so anyone may make a comment without any more signing in.
Can't wait to see you all.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Send In The Clowns

The circus arrives without warning...

As a disclaimer, I will say this book is not one I would have picked up on my own. A dear friend "made" me read it and I will always be grateful that she did.  I am hoping, if you were unsure, you are feeling the same way. 
At the start, this book seems to pull you in, perhaps on a dare, to investigate the strange world of a circus, open only at night and with such extraordinary beauty and a dream like quality. There really are no clowns, but a tent made entirely of ice, a greenhouse which has the scent of rose and ice and sugar and "fearsome beasts and strange creatures" made out of paper and imagination. There is love and romance and there are fortune tellers and premonitions. It is really all too much for a sensible, down to earth reader, but the magic seems to have captured me. 
So, dear readers, what are you thinking? Who amongst the characters do you feel strongly about? Time plays an important role in this book, from Friedrick Thiessen's clock to the delayed aging of characters.  How do you see the role of time here? 
We've changed the comment process, here on the blog, so comment away, it's easier than ever. No secret code word needed.  Or better yet, come share your thoughts with us, at our Face to Face meeting on Tuesday, April 9th at 6:30pm. All you have to do is SIGN UP HERE. If you are interested in this meeting or just would like to become a permanent member of CapRadio Reads and be the first to hear about the amazing things we're doing, and the wonderful events we are planning be sure to JOIN THE CLUB.
Thanks for being CapRadio Readers.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Constant Comment

Your Words are Welcome

Dear CapRadio Readers...We have changed the settings on our blog to make it a little more user friendly.  You may now make comments without having to have a Google, or any other specific account.  Simply go to the bottom of the post, and make yourself heard! Tell us what you think about the current title, suggest other titles and tell us what else you're reading.  As I said on Tuesday night, one of the best things about a bookclub is the huge title resource it provides for all of us. Just to start it off, I am currently reading a book called Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell, a recent guest at the Sacramento Library Foundation's Authors on the Move event. It's a novel about an 11th Century English queen called Emma. It's very well written, and a terrific way to learn about a period of history I was not familiar with. 
So, who will be next to share a favorite book? It should be YOU!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

April Title is Announced

Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus will be the book selection for CapRadio Reads April Face to Face meeting, to be held in The Community Room at the Capital Public Radio studios on Folsom Boulevard, April 9th at 6:30pm.

SIGN UP HERE  to join us for an evening of refreshments and conversation about this book, which spent a total of 64 weeks on the NPR Bestseller list and was called "A force to be reckoned with - and enjoyed" by Lyn Neary on All Things Considered.  As always, space will be limited, so please sign up early.  We look forward to your comments on our blog as we proceed through this book, and your views on the book at our meeting in April.

Rave Reviews

The Light Between Oceans is a hit

To those of you who packed our Community Room last night for the Face to Face discussion of M.L. Stedman's, The Light Between Oceans, thank you. To those who couldn't make it, we hope you felt the book was worthy of your time reading, and hope you will join us for future meetings, here on the blog and at special events.

Those readers in the room were taken with the wonderful depiction of characters in this book, and felt strongly that Tom was a man with a strong moral compass, who dearly loved his wife, Izzie. Maybe he loved her too much, and thus allowed her to make the first of many bad decisions in this book, resulting in a harrowing tale of deceit. Everyone agreed that Tom's World War One experiences probably led to many of the issues in this book and that, as always, war does really terrible things to the people involved. The lighthouse itself emerged as an important character in the book, as a beacon of hope and safety, yet remote. All in all it was a wonderful conversation with many of the 40 gathered taking part, and I think all, enjoyed the warm atmosphere, a glass of wine and maybe even a cookie or two!  Remember to JOIN THE CLUB to make sure you are first to know about all our Face To Face Meetings and Special Events and make sure you are a member of Capital Public Radio, who brings CapRadio Reads and so many other fine community events and programs to you every day of the week. Coming soon, the announcement of our April Book Selection.  Watch this space for more information.   Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Always Looking Both Ways

Janus, The Roman God of Doorways

And so, CapRadio Readers, we are coming to the end of our book for March. I have heard from many of you that you have really enjoyed reading The Light Between Oceans, and didn't want it to end. I think that is the sign of a really great book.  Now we are getting ready for our Face to Face meeting and you can
 Sign Up Here if you would like to attend, and tell us what you thought.  I am going to ask you all to bring your own discussion questions to the meeting. Of course I have read the book, and have lots to talk about, but I am hoping (and this is at the suggestion of another member of our club) that I can turn the conversation over to you all. Get to know one another, and your reading habits and preferences. One question I would like to ask is, it seems most of you "liked" the characters in this book, as against the characters in our last selection, The London Train. Was this influencial in your like or dislike of the book itself?  Is it that the characters are more likeable, or is it that they were more fleshed out, so you actually knew them better? I wonder....
If you won't be able to attend the Face to Face, please leave your questions here, and I will happily explore them for you with the group. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Storing Their Sorrows

Truth and Consequences    

Today, since most of you are probably still in the middle of our March book selection, Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman, I would just like to pose a question or two.  In the book, several major characters have made  decisions with terrible ramifications, and some have just suffered unbelievable hardships.  What is the significnce of their reactions?  Septimus has truly worked his way from nothing to the wealthiest man in town, but after his beloved wife was bitten by a snake and died, and his daughter has her family ripped away from her,  he says "Well, you just had to count your blessings and be thankful things weren't worse". Tom, after his own part in a very bad decsion, tries to make amends and poor Hannah, simply seems to go mad.  What do you think causes the different reactions? Are there any lessons here? Are the characters drawn so that their reaction is a rational result of their lives?
Sign Up Here if you would like to join this conversation in our Community Room on March 12th at 6:30pm.  We have a very few spaces left.
Since you are all readers, and book buyers, I will leave you with a quote from an anonymous author, that ran in an article in Forbes Magazine about the publishng business, entitled Bestsellers, Worst Ethics.  "To ensure a spot on the The Wall Street Journal's bestseller list, I needed to obtain commitments from my clients for a minimum of 3000 books at about $23.50, a total of about $70,500.00.  I would need to multiply these numbers by a factor of about three to hit the New York Times list".  Something to think about the next time you read a  book and wonder how in the world it got on the bestseller list!
Happy Reading. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

To The Lighthouse

A Very Fine Introduction

It is December 1918 and Tom Sherbourne has just spent four years on the Western Front, when he is offered a job at Byron's Bay Lighthouse.  Although he is cautioned about the hardships, Tom knows, after what he has seen and what he has done in the war, this will be alright. He needs the time away to heal.  The life does seems to be what he needs and so, after considerable correspondence he accepts a second post on Janus Island, off Austraila, all by himself in an extraordinarily remote place. Tom ships out, on the first part of a voyage that will forever change his life, to the port of Partageuse.  From there, he will go to Janus Rock, "linked only by the store boat four times a year, dangled off the edge of the cloth like a loose button that might easily plummet to Antartcia".
As with the last book we read, The London Train, this book is FULL of choices. The characters on every page, are faced with choices, most difficult, some impossible, but somehow, I see these people as sympathetic, and the choices bad, as against the other way around. They seem the true definition of a dilemma. What are your thoughts? What makes the characters seem tender, just within 20 pages?
If you are interested in hearing more about this book and being part of the CapRadio Reads discussion Face to Face, on March 12th at 6:30, in the Community Room at Capital Public Radio Sign Up Here . Space for this meeting is filling up very fast, so do it today!
Even if you can't make it to this event, be sure to Join The Club! and be among the first to hear of all our fun, interesting and tasty events.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Title Announcement

Light Between Oceans is Our March Read



Yes, it's that time again. CapRadio Reads met last night to discuss our February title and for the big reveal for our choice for March.  Oprah, who does know a thing or two about books, said about Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, "There's something irresistible about a morally complex story that makes you root for all it's flawed characters, even when they are at odds with one another".  She's right. This book will engage you right away, and you will probably finish it way before our meeting, on March 12th at 6:30pm in the Community Room of Capital Public Radio. I don't want to give anything away about this book, but it is a marvelous story.
  Our event last night was a sell out, so before you do anything else, be sure you are an official member of CapRadio Reads by clicking on this link Join The Club.This way, next month you will receive a personal invitation to come to our meeting and first notice of all our other very special events. Just do this once, and you're in!  The next thing you  should do, if you would like to join us for our Face to Face book discussion in March is sign up specifically for that event.  Here is the link to do that Sign Up Here .  Hope to see you in March and back here on the blog next week.

First Face To Face a Success

New Faces, New Ideas

CapRadio Reads held it's first Face to Face Bookclub meeting last night in the Community Room at the studios on Folsom Boulevard.  We had a little wine, a few delicious sweets and a full house, ready to wade into the ups and downs on The London Train, by Tessa Hadley, our February selection.  Did we enjoy the book? Yes and No.  Were the characters interesting. Yes! Did we like them all? NO!  We had an interesting discussion of the writing style, with very interesting observations from many. Several readers remarked on Ms. Hadley's statement that she wanted to write like a man, and felt some of the book was certainly done that way. Her discussion by the characters of class in society was a constant throughout the book and many found it quite interesting. And finally, we got down to why we really like to read books in a bookclub setting. Who doesn't love to discover a wonderful book, way outside their usual reading comfort zone?
We also had some very intriguing conversation about reading preferences, in terms of a Hardback versus a Paperback versus an e-Reader.  Stemming from this conversation, we will continue to try and read as many books in Paperback as possible, but based on the strength of reviews and recommendations, we will have a Hardback from time to time.
So, did you read The London train? How did you feel about it?  Don't miss out on the next meeting.
Watch this blog later today to find out what we will read next, and while you're at it JOIN THE CLUB so you will be the FIRST to know what's going on at CapRadio Reads.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Questions and Answers

News From the Moderator

With only a week to go before our face to face meeting to discuss The London Train, I thought it might be a good time to catch up with you and make sure our site is working for our readers.  Since you, the members of CapRadio Reads, are our first priority, I would like to ask a few questions.  First, is it clear how you need to sign up to Join The Club? Joining the club will only need to be done one time.  Once you are a member you will receive first notice of all our special events and our regular monthly Face to Face meetings. Since we hope to have new people joining all the time, as word gets out, the link to Join the Club will be on each blog posting. It will be highlighted and will allow you to click through , like this:JOIN THE CLUB

The other link you will always see in the blog, is the link that allows you to sign up for the next meeting, whether it be a Face to Face or a Special Author Event.  You will need to sign up for these events each month and it will also be a link that will allow you to click through, and look like this:Sign Up Here

These are the two ways you will be able to join us and enjoy all the exciting benefits of CapRadio Reads in person. Of course, you are welcome, anytime, to join us here on the blog and we not only welcome, but desire your participation here.  On that note, just a few questions and I'll let you get back to the book, so you finish it before our meeting on Tuesday, February 12th at 6:30pm in the Community Room at Capital Public Radio.

How do you feel about hardback books versus paperback? New releases are usually in hardback for almost a year and sometimes I just can't wait to introduce one of these titles. They are more expensive, but can usually be found at a discount. Please let me have your opinion. 
I do a lot of research on the books I choose, but one of the great pleasures of a bookclub is learning about books from fellow readers. Please send me suggestions. I can't promise I will use them, but I will promise to compose a list and post them here so others may enjoy them. If you have any questions, that you would rather not post, or a question on how to post a comment, please email me at Lorini@csus.edu.  See you next week!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cora Takes The Train

And who is at the controls?

We have reached the second part of our book selection for February, The London Train.  Now we meet Cora, who has gone back to her family home in Wales after leaving her husband Robert.  It seems she is trying to make a different life for herself, with a new job and a newly remodeled home.  Now Robert has come after her, ostensibly to discuss financial matters of their divorce.  Very soon after his arrival he seems to be moving about as if he owns the place. As if "nothing could shake his hierarchy of importance". 
This portion of the book is full of the author, Tessa Hadley's favorite fictional arena, the family, the setting, the relationships and their imagery. In this book, she seems to continually show us what is going on now with the characters, but then very carefully weaves in the back story. once we know why Cora is confining herself in the new library job and why she reads the books she reads. But what is the pain she seeks anesthesia for?
While reading about Ms. Hadley, I came across a quote, which, after reading, I think made this book more interesting. "Novels see things through.  The fiction writer's ambition....to take the imprint of the passing moments, capture it in the right words, keep it for for the future to read."
So as we welcome Cora's Sister in Law Frankie, and her brood to the pristine new house in Wales for a visit, we watch the beginning of Cora's latest journey. Once again, it is the story.
I can't leave you today without mentioning two important literary events taking place this week.  The first, two hundred years ago, the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, another novel about the search for self.  The second, English author Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies has won her third major literary prize, the Costa Prize for the book of the year.  Although I still question exactly what these prizes mean, I do feel that this, combined with my personal love of her second book, will make it a real short list favorite for a CapRadio Reads selection in the future.
Only two weeks until our next meeting in the Community Room at Capital Public Radio.  Be sure and  Sign Up Here  for a seat at the table.  See you there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Half Way Down The Track

Are You Enjoying The Trip?

  We've seen a side of London in this book that we rarely see...not Buckingham Palace or The Tower, but a section with hard working, mostly immigrant people.  At the start of the book, The London Train, Paul seems to worry about "class" and how things "should be done".  How do you feel Paul has changed since leaving Wales and coming to be with his daughter in London?  Is it still about his daughter, or is it, once again, all about Paul?  Although most of the dialogue for Paul is internal, we really have begun to know him. He is a man who is much more comfortable with his inner thoughts and may regret the times he did not speak.  Is he really passionless, or is he just unable to communicate? As Pia, his daughter, leaves his car, back in Wales, she says, "Everything isn't always about you Dad".  But is it?
  So...these are some of the questions we come upon as we go through the book. As an old English Major, there were certainly times I longed to read a book just for the story. I loved this book, JUST FOR THE STORY. It is now, as I re-read it, that I am thoroughly enjoying breaking it down and looking at the words and the characters as a separate entity. The wonderful use of description. "Floppy crows, whose feathers fitted like old mackintoshes". I look forward to seeing Paul and his family and new acquaintances work their way down a well trodden path.
  I hope to see you on February 12, at 6:30pm for our Book Review Meeting Sign Up Here or hear from you, here on the blog. Have you joined our club? Make sure you are an official member of CapRadio Reads. You will be the first to know about our upcoming special events. They promise to be very special and you won't want to miss one! JOIN THE CLUB

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The London Train and The Orange Prize

Big News in Books Today 

Our selected book for February, The London Train, was a runner up for The Orange Prize for Fiction in the U.K.  I thought today, I would give you a little background in this and other literary prizes.  We tend to view these, especially the English prizes as "terribly literary, don't you know". It surprised me, to learn that the current "Honorary Director" of the Orange (Now called Women's Prize for Fiction), is none other than Kate Moss....the model.  Gorgeous as she is, I was unaware of her expertise in literary fiction.  The Booker Prize, which is probably the top prize for fiction in England, highly regarded by all in the world of books, who for the second time in three years chose Hilary Mantel and her books about Cromwell as their winner, had the actor who plays Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey on their selection committee.  Since I have read both The London Train and Mantel's books, and have recommended them as selections in book clubs, I must agree that these prizes have value.  What I am not sure of is, do they have value because I agree with their opinions or because they bring to light, new and exciting authors for us all to try.  I think probably, the later.  In case any of you are curious about prizes for American authors, today, the Mystery Writers of America have announced their list of books nominated for their prize, The Edgar.  I look forward to looking through the list and possibly picking one of them for a future selection. One more piece of book news....It has been announced that Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code will publish a new book this May, and it is to be called Inferno. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Now that you have a little inside information on the prize associated with The London Train , we can talk about whether or not it would receive the CapRadio Reads award.  The book starts with the death of one of the protagonist's mother, Evelyn. She has died in a nursing home and before Paul, her son, can get there, she has been taken away. Shortly, he discovers from his former wife, that his oldest daughter has gone missing .  His reactions to both these difficult moments, seems to be oddly thoughtful and not at all emotional. Since Paul is the author of Literary Criticism, is he purely a critical thinker, or is he a flawed, unemotional character? Are the characters in this book all flawed, and does this make them more interesting? It has been written of the author, Tessa Hadley, that she is "more about emotions and characters and less about plot".  How do you, as a reader, react to this type of writing? I know some readers find themselves having to like characters in a book to enjoy the read. As you read on, think more about the opinions of the characters than your opinion of them.  But please, read and enjoy the book in it's entirety. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Have you signed up to come to our Book Review Meeting on Tuesday, February 12th at 6:30pm?  Seating is limited and it will be a terrific evening so please  Sign Up Here.  Otherwise, please share your opinion here by commenting on this blog. I would love to read it and share it with other viewers!

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Title Announcement

The London Train by Tessa Hadley

CapRadio reads is happy to announce the title for our February 2013 Book Review meeting.  We will be reading Tessa Hadley's book The London Train.  In a May 2011 review, NPR said this book "brings a quiet, nuanced intelligence to domestic fiction."  The novel takes the form of two separate stories which are brought together by the London Train, a train between Cardiff, Wales and London.  The characters are thoughtful and they sometimes act in a bizarre manner, but the weaving together of the people and their stories provides an intriguing glimpse into their lives.

Please join us for a discussion of this book and possibilities for future reads at Capital Public Radio in our Community Room on February 12, at 6:30pm. Refreshments will be served.  Because this is a more intimate group and will be a real "book club discussion,"our space is limited to 40 people (Member of CapRadio Reads only) and are offered on a first come, first served basis. Please Register Here today to attend the meeting on February 12.  If you are not already a member of CapRadio Reads, please join before registering for this meeting. You will only have to join the club once and you will be a permanent member.JOIN THE CLUB.

This book. and all others in our series, are available from The Avid Reader at Tower or through Amazon.com at CapRadio Shops  where, with every purchase, a percentage is donated back to Capital Public Radio at no cost to you.

Thank you so much for reading. We look forward to seeing you at our book club meetings and our future special events.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

CapRadio Reads Launches with a great party!

Robin Sloan and Donna Apidone Wow a Sold Out Crowd

Last night we launched our new bookclub CapRadio Reads with a grand event, featuring Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Surrounded by art by local artist William Ishmael, sipping Renwood Wines and munching on delicious appetizers, more than 100 people crowded into our Community Room.  Our own Donna Apidone had a  funny and intriguing conversation with Mr. Sloan, talking about his book, his writing process and even reminded him how he got the idea for his title. 
Some years ago, this young writer and self proclaimed "geek" received a Tweet from a friend. The Tweet read "just misread sign saying 24-Hour Bookdrop as 24-Hour Bookshop. Disappointed."  Thus was born Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.
If you haven't read the book yet, it's a wild and wacky mystery about Mr. Penumbra, his bookstore, his "clerk", Clay Jannon and his customers. The book is so fun to read, but also speaks to the diversity of the world of words and the books they inhabit.
As Mr. Sloan told Beth Ruyak, on her program Insight, "Stories told primarily with words are the most durable things people can create. They have SUPERPOWERS".
Judging by the intelligent questions from our audience last night and the delighted reaction given to Robin Sloan and Donna Apidone for their entertaining evening, tonight's words did have SUPERPOWERS.  We hope those of you who came to our party enjoyed it, and those who did not, will make it next time. 
We will have our sign up link on this blog later this week. In the meantime, join us here, make comments, give us your opinions and most of all, read along with us.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Launch Party is Sold Out

You can still be on our waiting list

The CapRadio Reads Launch Party, featuring Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, taking place Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30pm is sold out, but you may still  to be added to our waiting list.  We will contact you if a space opens up.  Click Here to be put on our waiting list.  If you were lucky enough to get a ticket, we look forward to seeing you in our Community Room tomorrow for a fantastic evening of food, wine and books.  Be sure and sign up, starting Wednesday, for our next edition of CapRadio Reads, to be held Tuesday, February 12 at 6:30pm.  Watch this blog for the big reveal of our next title.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Only Six Days Until Launch Party

Have you gotten your tickets?

Robin Sloan will be in conversation with our own Donna Apidone, there will be wine and food and terrific conversation about Mr. Sloan's book Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Join us on Tuesday, January 8th, at 6:30pm. We will also be announcing upcoming titles for our bookclub, CapRadio Reads.  You don't want to miss this event, in fact, you absolutely want to join us for this grand party and be among the Charter Members of the newest bookclub in the Sacramento area.
Just Click here to reserve your space and you are on your way to being part of the party! I look forward to seeing you there.  We will all find out the truth about the codex vitae!