Book of the Week (5/14/2018)

No Vacancy: The Rise, Demise, and Reprise of America’s Motels by Mark Okrant (Concord, N.H. : Plaidswede Publishing, 2013).

Loudon, NH author Mark Okrant is both a travel and tourism expert, as well as a crime novelist who is a definite asset to the Granite State.

"For almost 40 years, Mark Okrant has literally written the book on New Hampshire tourism, an experience that in the past decade he has mined to pen multiple crime novels set at historic resorts, including The Balsams, the Omni Mount Washington, Mountain View Grand, and Wentworth by the Sea. Born and raised in New London, Conn., Okrant came north in 1979 when he was hired by then Plymouth State College to create the first academic tourism program in New Hampshire."--Author's website
The disappearance and nostalgia of the motels that dotted the tourist byways of the 1950s and 1960s are recounted in the latest book by Mark Okrant, a nationally recognized expert in tourism research. No Vacancy takes a critical look back at motels and their gradual disappearance from the tourism landscape. Okrant sets the scene with entertaining interviews of motel proprietors and people who took family vacations before the interstate system dominated the tourism landscape. Alarmed by the rate at which these properties are disappearing from the tourism landscape, Okrant conducted case studies along the old Boston Post Road, Route 66, the Las Vegas Strip, and other classic roads, searching for solutions. In the end, he offers a wide-eyed, yet optimistic view of how to keep these remnants of the 1950s and 60s from turning off their lights forever. "No Vacancy" is the product of more than six decades as a motel patron, and at least half as many years of research, Okrant said. I grew up taking family vacations along the old US highways and state roads. Motels were a central part of incredible experiences with my parents and brother, and, later, with my wife and daughters. Something needs to be done to show others why they were important, and how many of them can be again. --Author's website


NH's 2018 Route 1 Read

Route One Reads is a virtual reading trip along Route One. For this year's summer road trip the Center for the Book in each state along Route One was asked to select a romance for adult readers. There are LOTS of great romance writers in New Hampshire and choosing just one of their books was too tough a job for us, so last October we asked Granite state readers to weigh in. We included a dozen romances in the survey, each by a different NH author, and asked readers to vote for their favorite.  
We heard from 226 people and 28.76% of them voted for Love Free or Die: 23 Tales of Love from the Granite State which is our Route One Read this summer. 
 "If you like romance, you’ll find all kinds of it here — sweet, funky, vampire and so on — all based in New Hampshire.  One story — about the Old Man of the Mountain — is even a little shocking, enough to  make your soft, red lips part in amazement. The book’s editor, Elaine Isaak, warns that “you’ll never think about the Old Man the same way again.” Indeed." --Barbara Coles in NH Magazine
This volume is part of the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction Series and it includes stories by 23 different Granite State writers: Michael Samuels,  Kari Lemor,  S. J. Cahill,  Robin Small,  Shana Chartier,  Judi Calhoun,  Annie Boghigian,  Jessie Salisbury,  Susan E. Kennedy, Abby Goldsmith,  Sylvia Beaupré, James Isaak,  David O'Keefe, Leah Brent,  Justine Graykin, Timothy Boudreau,  Norman Klein, B. K. Rakhra,  K. J. Montgomery,  Melva Michaelian,  Robert E. Owen, Amy Ray, and Troy Ehlers.


2019 Dublin Nominees

The NH Dublin Committee has selected its nominees for the 2019 Dublin Literary Award. These are fictional works of high literary merit published in English during 2017. After reading and discussing many excellent books, the committee selected these titles for nomination:

Swinging from heartbreaking and tragic, to humorous and lively, Lincoln in the Bardo is a unique, bizarre and captivating story. It centers around the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, and both Lincoln and Willie’s inability to move past Willie’s sudden death. This causes both to become trapped in a type of limbo; Lincoln’s in which he continually visits Willie’s crypt to hold his son’s body while grieving, and Willie, in the bardo (a Tibetan word for the "transitional" state between lives). An entire cast of characters accompanies Willie in the bardo, including many other spirits who have never been able to accept their death. The juxtaposition of historical fiction with the spirit world (that is at times more lively than the world of the living) makes this novel one that is unforgettable.

An epic story that explores the lives of generations of Koreans who emigrate to Japan during the early part of the 20th century, Pachinko addresses universal themes of family, duty and identity. 

In The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Arundhati Roy braids together the stories of many people (mostly in India and Kashmir) into a lyrical novel filled with horror and love and the intimate struggles of facing each day as it comes.


Book of the Week (5/7/2018)

The Pseudo-Chronicles of Mark Huntley by Jeff Deck (Charleston, S.C. : CreateSpace, 2016).

NH native Jeff Deck, co-author of the nonfiction book "The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time" demonstrates his dynamic writing abilities with his recent supernatural thriller, "The Pseudo-Chronicles of Mark Huntley".
My name is Mark Huntley. All I really wanted to do was drink cheap beer and blog about my dead-end life. Then I stumbled across a secret war between two sinister alien forces. If I try to stop the war, I may get my friends and loved ones killed. If I don’t try, the human race is toast. Oh yeah, and a demonic weapon inside me is probably driving me insane.
If I’m already dead when you find this, you need to carry on the fight.

The Pseudo-Chronicles of Mark Huntley is a blog mutated into a supernatural thriller. If you like the pulse-pounding terror of Stephen King and the smart, funny first-person storytelling of The Martian, you’ll love meeting Mark Huntley.-- Back cover.