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 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 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!