Book of the Week #43

The Boat of Quiet Hours: Poems by Jane Kenyon (St. Paul, Minn.: Graywolf Press, 1986).

One of the poems from this volume, Kenyon's second of her own poems, was featured recently on The Writers' Almanac recently: "Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer."  It captures the time and place perfectly.

 Jane Kenyon was a New Hamphire poet in whose honor, along with her husband Donald Hall, the Hall-Kenyon Prize in American Poetry is given annually. This year's recipient is Sharon Olds who will give a reading in Concord, NH on October 30 at 7pm when she accepts the award.


B. A. Shapiro in Nashua

B. A. Shapiro

B. A. Shapiro, author of the 2014 Nashua Reads book, The Art Forger, will appear at the Nashua Public Library on Friday, October 24, at 7 pm. 
She will be interviewed by Lisa Allen, vice president of the Friends of the Library; answer audience questions; and then do a book signing. 

Tickets are $10 and are available either at the Nashua Public Library circulation desk or online at www.mktix.com/npl.


Q&A: Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult
photo: @AdamBouska

There are a lot of wonderful writers living in our state, some full-time, some part-time.  As the Director of the NH Center for the Book I get the opportunity to talk to many of them. This interview series of Q&As with New Hampshire authors here on Book Notes lets me share that experience a bit with my blog readers.    
If someone hasn't read your work yet, where should they start?
Many people start with My Sister's Keeper or Nineteen Minutes.  But my books are all so different, I suggest reading the synopses to see which one catches your interest!

When did you first think of yourself as a writer?
Later than most people would imagine.  It was only about seven years ago, when my books started hitting the NYT list, that I really believed there were enough people out there who wanted to read what I wrote to keep me doing this for a living.

How did you end up living in NH?
My husband worked for a company that cleaned up toxic waste and Dartmouth was one of his clients.  He fell in love with Hanover and brought me there to look at it -- and the rest is history.  

Where do you like to write?
My office is in my attic, the third floor of my house.  I can write anywhere, but that's my preferred spot.

How important is place in your writing? 
One thing I'm told quite often is that because I reference New England in my fiction, it makes people who live here (or who LIVED here) feel like they're home.  That's such a nice compliment for me.  As a transplanted New Yorker, it makes me feel like I've been made an honorary New Englander.

What do you do when you aren't writing?
Spend time with my family.  I like to bake, kayak, paddleboard, and read.

What’s the best piece of advice (writing or otherwise) you were ever given? 
"There's always someone better than you."  My mom used to tell me that, and it's kept me pretty humble!  As for writing advice, Mary Morris (my mentor) said that you can't write about the dinosaurs till they become oil.  Or in other words, if you want to draw from your own emotions and experiences in any way, you can't write about them while they're still too fresh.  They have to settle inside you, so that they can be processed into the lives of your characters.

What books do you love and what about them speaks to you?
 Life of Pi is a masterpiece -- a book about the reason we need fiction.  It's the one I wish I'd written. Gone With The Wind is the book that made me want to be a writer -- I remember seeing how Margaret Mitchell created a world out of words and I thought, "I can do that."

What are you working on now? 
I'm currently writing the sequel to the YA book I co-wrote with my daughter Samantha van Leer. In October 2014, I will publish Leaving Time, my next adult novel.

What do you want to share that I neglected to ask about?

You can learn more about Jodi Picoult's work at www.jodipicoult.com


Book of the Week #42

Understories by Tim Horvath (Bellevue Literary Press, 2012)

"Taken as a complete work, "Understories" is a remarkable collection, with pitch-perfect leaps of imagination side-by-side with characters struggling in wholly recognizable ways." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

This collection of stories by Tim Horvath won the 2014 NH Literary Award for Fiction and was praised by Nancy Pearl on NPR's Morning Edition.
"What if there were a city that consisted only of restaurants? What if Paul Gauguin had gone to Greenland instead of Tahiti? What if there were a field called Umbrology, the study of shadows, where physicists and shadow puppeteers worked side by side? Full of speculative daring though firmly anchored in the tradition of realism, Tim Horvath’s stories explore all of this and more— blending the everyday and wondrous to contend with age-old themes of loss, identity, imagination, and the search for human connection. Whether making offhand references to Mystery Science Theater, providing a new perspective on Heidegger’s philosophy and forays into Nazism, or following the imaginary travels of a library book, Horvath’s writing is as entertaining as it is thought provoking." --Jacket copy


FNV: Rebecca Rule

For this month's installment of Friday Night Videos we present an interview with Rebecca Rule. This episode of the NHPTV program NH Authors originally aired on May 1, 2012. 
For the past six seasons, humorist, book reviewer, and author, Rebecca Rule has hosted the NH Authors Series. This time, friend and colleague Marie Harris guest hosts the program and puts Rule in the hot seat to talk about her quintessentially New England style. Rule explores the state's vernacular in her latest book Headin' for the Rhubarb! A New Hampshire Dictionary (well, kinda). 
The plan for this series is to point our readers one Friday each month to an online video featuring New Hampshire authors and their work. If you have a suggestion for a video we should include please let us know in the comments.