Saturday, June 30, 2007

Report back from Book Group Expo 2007

Three of your intrepid Roseville librarians participated in the San Jose Book Group Expo in June.

Some of the highlights for me:
Speculative fiction salon with Carolyn See and Jean Hegland-- lots of interesting conversation about futuristic future; viewpoints of men vs. women; domesticity as a valid lens for worldwide crises. Carolyn See was very funny and very down-to-earth, I just read her book "There will never be another you".

Historical fiction/nonfiction salon with James D. Houston, Eric Martin and Sandy Tolan-- historical fiction being true to the period (probable human behavior in that era) but author cannot be owned by the facts; basis should be an emotional truth perhaps re-arranging the facts; using fiction to get to the language of consciousness (the individuals beneath the words). This was interesting especially with the scandal of "A million little pieces" in the background, what is the duty of a nonfiction author/historical fiction author in telling the truth? Sandy Tolan is the author of "The Lemon Tree: an Arab, a Jew and the heart of the Middle East" which is on my list to read.

Quickly-- Donna Woolfolk Cross, author of "Pope Joan", is a real hoot and passionate about women's strength and power through ages; I learned some good questions/tips on running a book group; Nathan Englander is very funny, manic and passionate about his writing, "Ministry of Special Cases" is his latest; Anna Quindlen spoke very well and got us excited about reading with her book, "Rise and Shine"; women's issues were raised by Janis Cooke Newman ("Mary" novel of Mary Todd Lincoln), Anita Amirrezvani ("The Blood of Flowers"), Samina Ali (Madras on Rainy Days) and Donna Woolfolk Cross--very potent.

A great conference on reading and sharing books-- so I have a long list of literary fiction to read as a consequence. If you went to BookGroupExpo or have had exciting author experiences please let me hear from you.

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