Friday, March 20, 2015

(Review) The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau, Plus a Giveaway

US Publication Date: March 24, 2015
UK Publication Date: April 24, 2015
Published by Touchstone
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 400
Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three
Genre: Historical Mystery, Tudor History, Monastic

Rating: 4 stars for very good. 

Thank you to Touchstone, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, for a free NetGalley ebook copy, in exchange for a review. 

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Summary: 
In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell’s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn
into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.
Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.
After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.
Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.
Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, na├»ve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.
Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

My Thoughts: 
Joanna is a strong character. She is the voice, tone, and tour guide in The Tapestry.
Whatever she feels, her apprehensions or fears, her joy or sadness, all set the atmosphere for the story. She is observant, astute, outspoken, strong-willed, faithful, determined, spiritual, caring, and wise. She has strong emotions. However, it is rare for her emotions to push away logic.  
A favorite point in Joanna's story, and this is "her story," is a perspective of Henry VIII. I find it interesting that even though he is king, in her eyes she "takes him down a notch." Her view shows his humanity. His larger than life personality that fills a room and also intimidates people, but behind this lay another side of Henry. 
Her perspective of Catherine Howard is profound. Through Joanna's eyes Catherine is a dove, not completely innocent, but she has been manipulated and preened for a specific task.  Her perspective of Thomas Cromwell. They have an unpleasant history. She will observe his last days and demise. She will learn a valuable lesson through this experience. 
Joanna's character evolves. I love love love characters that grow in their role. This is life. All humans grow through life experiences. Some people do not develop positively, but Joanna triumphs. 
I read and reviewed The Chalice in 2013. The Chalice is book two in the series. Book one is The Crown, which I've not read. I did not care for the occult theme in book two. The occult is referred to in The Tapestry, but in a diminished way, as in referring to the past and how it will tie in with The Tapestry. The occult is used as a mystery element for the series. 

Praise for The Tapestry

"Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!" - Bestselling author Alison Weir
“Illuminated by Bilyeau’s vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows.” —Kirkus Reviews
“In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well.” —Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale
“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” —Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl
“These aren’t your mother’s nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” —Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire
“A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau’s most thrilling—and enlightening—novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned
“A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations… Bilyeau breathes life into history.” —Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.
Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.

The Tapestry Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Review and Interview at Words and Peace
Tuesday, March 17
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, March 18
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 19
Review at A Book Geek
Review and Interview at Tea at Trianon
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Friday, March 20
Review at Impressions in Ink
Monday, March 23
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 24
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, March 25
Review at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 26
Review at She Reads Novels
Monday, March 30
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, March 31
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, April 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, April 2
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, April 3
Review at Layered Pages
Review and Guest Post at Always With a Book



Facebook Event: 
Join Nancy Bilyeau and special guest Author Laura Andersen on Facebook on Monday, March 23rd at 6:30pm-7:30pm EST and help Nancy Bilyeau celebrate the release of her latest novel in the Joanna Stafford Historical Mystery Series, THE TAPESTRY!


Giveaway

To enter to win one of three signed hardcover copies of The Tapestry, please complete the giveaway form below.

RULES

Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 3rd.
Giveaway is open to residents in North American and the UK.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 4th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.


 The Tapestry

Friday, March 13, 2015

(Review) The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie Jr.

Publication Date: 2002. Originally published in 1947.
Publisher: Mariner Books.
Genre: Fiction, American West.
Pages: 400.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.


Cover of the first edition.


Link @ Amazon. 

Every once in a while I get a "wild hair" and want to read outside my normal reading habits. Reading about the American West, and the men and women who adapted to it's climate and function, seemed a perfect fit for something different.

Summary:
The book begins in the year 1830.
At the age of seventeen, Boone left his home in Kentucky and set off for the west. Boone and his dad had gotten into a fight. Boone felt it was time for him to strike-out on his own, to make a life of his own. Boone joins a group of men traveling up the Missouri river. They are fur-trappers, Indian scalpers, living off the land, mountain men. Boone meets Teal Eye. Their story will unfold with hope. Hope for a a settled life Boone had never had.

My Thoughts:
I've thought a lot about this story. I have several thoughts I'll share in the following bullet points.

  • The American West was rough, wild, untamed, extensive, and uncontrollable. The people who lived in it had to adapt to it. They were also rough, wild, untamed, and uncontrollable. I can understand the perplexity of the people who lived there and understood its elements, watching civil town folk travel westward. 
  • Boone was born into a wild and woolly home life. Adapting to the west took little time. His youth and what innocence he had, was replaced by a hard nature that later gave way to bitterness. 
  • On some level Boone wanted a home and family. But these wants or desires were selfish. It was about his needs being met, no relationship ever works this way. 
  • I've read reviewers declare they dislike the "n" word. I don't like it either (frankly I'm not sure of the spelling), but it was a common word in the 1830s. It was a common word during the era that the book was written. It should not be a word we are afraid of, but a sharp reminder of where we were and where we should not go back to. 
  • The main character in The Big Sky is the American West. If you're not paying attention it is easy to miss. It's both a backdrop, forefront, element, theme, and character. I loved the descriptions of what Boone saw; further, his feelings when he viewed the beautiful American West. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

(Review) The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Publication Date: June 25, 2012.
Publisher: Riverhead Books/Penguin Group.
Genre: Fiction, 1920s, culture and society standards.
Pages: 384.
Source: self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

Link @ Amazon, Kindle price is $9.76. 
I bought my copy @ the bargain table @ Barnes and Noble for $5.98.

Laura Moriarty website.

Summary:
Cora Carlisle has agreed to chaperone fifteen year old Louise Brooks (later became an actress in films) to New York City in the summer of 1922. They live in a small Midwest town. Cora is a middle-age married woman. Her twin sons are in college. Her husband is a respected attorney. Louise is the eldest daughter. She has three younger siblings. Their mother is beautiful and talented. However, she is uninterested and indifferent to her children. Her husband is also an attorney. The two families at first site are as different as night and day. As the story progresses the reader will find parallels. The summer of 1922 will bring about change for both Cora and Louise. Lifelong change.

My Thoughts:
This is a story that creates conversation.
The story is based in the 1920s, but many of the themes are carried over into our era. Themes such as birth control, marriage and family, liberal and conservative, race relations, prejudice, sexual standards, morality, abandonment, child abuse, adoption, and homosexuality.
Neither Cora nor Louise are Christians. Both of them have attended church for different reasons, but neither have a belief in God that they adhere or have faith in. For Cora, attending church is what she has always done, it's a society expectation. I wanted to make this statement because it is a valid point. Later in the story when Cora makes a change in her life, her reason for hiding "it" is not because she is ashamed or feels a guilt, but because the society and culture standards of her time would ostracize her and family. Louise is a person that has not grown up with standards, anything goes for her. If something feels good or right she proceeds. She cares little for standards. What holds her back at this point in life is age and financial independence.
I found it interesting that Cora on some level is ashamed of her choice, because she hides "it" from her adult children. I guess another reader would see that Cora is only trying to protect her adult children. However, I think she knows her life is different, yet it is a compromise for happiness.
Cora's life is shown till old age. On this point the book is more an epic of Cora's life. The synopsis in the front flap cover led me to believe the focus is on 1922 and Cora chaperoning Louise Brooks. The book became more about Cora's life and choices.
I don't want to give away and ruin the story for someone who has not read it. The choice for Cora does not involve homosexuality. This element is at work in The Chaperone. There is nothing written that is crude. Some readers would not want to even read a book that has this element in the story.
What I loved about the story is contrasting elements. However, I thought there were too many elements. A couple of them would suffice. It is a busy story.
It is hard to not like Cora. She is a likable person. She has lived a life without real steadfast meaningful love. The book made a point of telling me she had not suffered in the early childhood years. I don't believe this. Her choices and insecurities showed me otherwise.
I read The Chaperone in one day. It is a well-written story. I felt an investment in Cora. I did not like everything about the story. I did not agree with Cora's choice. But I'm not Cora nor have I lived the life she lived. I think this is the number one point of what the author is trying to make: people make choices in life that only they can truly understand and not another human.

Friday, March 6, 2015

War and Peace Read-a-long: Week Four


Week four is over books six and seven.
The questions for this week are:

1) Do you feel that the tone of the novel changed this week? The naivete has gone. In the beginning of War and Peace men and women are in the early stages of pairing off together. It is also the beginning stages of war. Progression of the story shows the reality of life.  

2) Do you think that the story is uniquely Russian, or could it have been set somewhere else?
In reference to European 19th century society (I'm thinking primarily of British, French, Russian) there is a sharp divide between aristocracy and peasants/serfs. I have not seen a middle class. People are either wealthy or poor. I believe this is uniquely Russian. The view of Russia during the Napoleonic Wars is also uniquely Russian. What is not unique is the relationships between men and women. The marriages, affairs, courtship, and break-ups happen in any society or era.  

3) How about Andrey and Natasha's nuptials? Will they ever get married and do you think it will work out? I believe it is a good thing for them to wait. She is a young woman and he an older man. He is more settled, she needs a little time to know her mind. 

4) Could Rostov have done more to help out his parents with their financial situation? No. 

5) How do you feel about the lengthy hunting descriptions? Did you read the whole thing? I speed read the hunting. 

War and Peace Read-a-long: Week Three

Week three is over chapters four and five.
Questions for week three:
1. Are you managing to keep all of the characters straight in your head?
Yes, because I take notes. If I did not take notes there would be mass chaos in my head.

2. Have your tactics that we discussed in book one changed since the beginning of the book?
I had gotten behind in reading because the past couple of weeks have including more than one book part to read. As of today I'm caught-up.

3. Awww, poor Pierrre. Do we feel sorry for him or is it his own fault for marrying for lust?
Both of them are contemptible. I like Pierre just a tad more because of his action in book eight. I have found it interesting that Pierre had known his wife since they were children, he even knew of the torrid rumor. But he had not really known her. He had seen what he wanted to see. In his immature thinking, or rather not thinking with his brain and instead reacting to his ego, he chose Ellen to be his wife. On page 226 Pierre's thoughts are described: "Pierre was perfectly sincere in giving an affirmative answer to her questions about Ellen's perfection of manner. If he thought of Ellen, it was either of her beauty that he thought, or of her extraordinary capacity for serene, dignified silence in society." Later, Ellen smiles at him, "Pierre was so used to this smile, it meant so little to him, that he did not even notice it."
Do I feel sorry for Pierre? Sometimes.

4. Do you think Dolokhov will get his comeuppance, not only for sleeping with Helene (Ellen), but for bankrupting Rostov?
He is a terrible person. A scoundrel. Eventually he will get his comeuppance, at this point he is getting some lucky breaks.

5. Who knew the Freemasons were apart of War and Peace? How do you feel about this?
I don't care at this point.

6. Do you think Tolstoy dislikes women as much as he seems to, or is it a form of satire?
I think he sees women in either black or white. Either one extreme or the other.

(Review) I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and The Civil War by Jerome Charyn


Publication Date: February 9, 2015
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Paperback: 480p

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 stars for excellent, not perfect but near perfect. 
Source: Free copy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour and Liveright Publishing Corporation
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Summary: 
Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career.
Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President.
Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln’s life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady’s dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores.
We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man’s-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war.
Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.

My Thoughts: 
I've always had a fondness for Abraham Lincoln because we share the same birth date, February 12. I'm proud to tell people I was born on Abraham Lincoln's birth date. It's odd that I've never read a non-fiction book on Lincoln. A historical figure that I admire so much, you would think I'd read a biography of his life. I have read another historical fiction book on Abraham Lincoln: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy O'Brien.  The theme of this book is in solving Lincoln's murder. 
In historical fiction, an author takes non-fiction material and creates a character to entertain readers. It is the added information an author adds that can cause problems to history purists. I make this statement, because I'm reviewing I Am Abraham, with minimal previous knowledge of Abraham Lincoln. 
I'm appreciative of the author for including his feelings on writing the story, in regards to research, intentions, goals, and creative additions. 
There are several points I love about the story: 
  • A dimensional Abraham Lincoln. Jerome Charyn covered every side of Lincoln's persona and life: politics, love of reading, childhood, unresolved feelings of inadequacy, depression, love interests, marriage, role as father, the affect of Mary's mental illness, death of children, torn feelings of the Civil War, and conflicts in his relationships.
  • Abraham Lincoln is neither seen as a completely positive person, nor a completely negative person. He is real. He is human. His strengths and weaknesses are displayed. 
  • I love love love colloquialisms. Throughout the story common sayings-Kentuckian words are used. For example: natter, bawdyhouse, et an apple, foolscap, pilferers, coffin-bed, skedaddle, and highfalutin. 
  • I did not know Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression. It is well-known Mary Lincoln had mental health issues. Living through childhood trauma, living with Mary Lincoln, decisions of the Civil War, and the death of a child, easily caused him sadness and depression. Lincoln persevered through periods of profound sadness. Now when I look at his picture, I see the sadness in his face, the sadness in his eyes. 
  • Early in the story I noticed the writing style. It began a quick pace, reminding me of Lincoln's tall walking stride (he was 6' 4.) Later in the story the pace slowed, reminding me of Lincoln's haggardness. 
  • Symbolism. It has been remarked of the scene at the end of the story. I found symbolism at the beginning, mid-point, and ending. One of my favorite spots happened on page 228. "I let her wander away, the skirts of her gown gliding against the oilcloth with a strange whish while I stayed there, in the dumps. Tad's kitten leapt onto my lap. Tabby commenced to tear at my sleeve, and pretty soon it had a tiny batch of thread in its paw-I could feel that little cat unravel me. I stuffed him in my pocket, while I was raveling out somewhere on some private moon." 
There were two aspects I did not like. 
  • I'm aware Abraham and Mary had sex at least four times because they had four sons. But it was difficult for me, or awkward, to read of Abraham lusting after Mary's nipples, or other body parts. Yes, I had pre-set ideas of what President Lincoln was like, but a sex symbol was not one of them. I know this is my hang-up. Other readers have not commented on this point. 
  • The ending does not stop at the "period" of Abraham Lincoln's life, but at a point before. It is a significant place to stop the story, but I wanted it to go a little farther. It's possible I did not want the story to even end. 

I was prepared to give a 4 star review. But this book has stayed with me over the coarse of several days after reading it. I've even dreamed about the book. Abraham Lincoln has come to life again in the pages of Charyn's book. I can easily picture Lincoln walking with his top hat. Because the book has continued to "haunt-me." I have raised to review to 5 stars for excellent (which is not perfect, but near perfect.) 


Praise for I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War

“Thoughtful, observant and droll.” — Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review
“Not only the best novel about President Lincoln since Gore Vidal’s Lincoln in 1984, but it is also twice as good to read.” — Gabor Boritt, author of The Lincoln Enigma and recipient of the National Humanities Medal
“Jerome Charyn [is] a fearless writer… Brave and brazen… The book is daringly imagined, written with exuberance, and with a remarkable command of historical detail. It gives us a human Lincoln besieged by vividly drawn enemies and allies… Placing Lincoln within the web ordinary and sometimes petty human relations is no small achievement.” — Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books
“Audacious as ever, Jerome Charyn now casts his novelist’s gimlet eye on sad-souled Abraham Lincoln, a man of many parts, who controls events and people—wife, sons, a splintering nation—even though they often are, as they must be, beyond his compassion or power. Brooding, dreamlike, resonant, and studded with strutting characters, I Am Abraham is as wide and deep and morally sure as its wonderful subjects.” — Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compassion: 1848-1877
“If all historians—or any historian—could write with the magnetic charm and authoritative verve of Jerome Charyn, American readers would be fighting over the privilege of learning about their past. They can learn much from this book—an audacious, first-person novel that makes Lincoln the most irresistible figure of a compelling story singed with equal doses of comedy, tragedy, and moral grandeur. Here is something beyond history and approaching art.” — Harold Holzer, chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
“Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature.” — Michael Chabon
“Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life, and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable.” — Jonathan Lethem
“Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer—so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible.” — Tom Bissell
“One of our most intriguing fiction writers takes on the story of Honest Abe, narrating the tale in Lincoln’s voice and offering a revealing portrait of a man as flawed as he was great.” — Abbe Wright, O, The Oprah Magazine
“Jerome Charyn, like Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s superb 2012 movie, manages a feat of ventriloquism to be admired… Most of all, Lincoln comes across as human and not some remote giant… With that, Jerome Charyn has given Lincoln a most appropriate present for what would have been his 205th birthday this month: rebirth not as a marble memorial but as a three-dimensional human who overcame much to save his nation.” — Erik Spanberg, Christian Science Monitor
“Daring… Memorable… Charyn’s richly textured portrait captures the pragmatism, cunning, despair, and moral strength of a man who could have empathy for his bitterest foes, and who ‘had never outgrown the forest and a dirt floor.’” — The New Yorker

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About the Author

Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.” New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,”and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.” Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009. In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, “The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong.” Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.
For more information please visit Jerome Charyn’s website. You can also find him on Twitter and Goodreads.

I Am Abraham Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 9
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, February 10
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 11
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, February 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Friday, February 13
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Monday, February 16
Review & Excerpt at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Tuesday, February 17
Interview & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, February 18
Review at Back Porchervations
Thursday, February 19
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, February 20
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Saturday, February 21
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews
Monday, February 23
Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews
Tuesday, February 24
Audio Book Review & Interview at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, February 25
Review at Bookish
Thursday, February 26
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, March 2
Review at Forever Ashley
Tuesday, March 3
Interview at Books and Benches
Wednesday, March 4
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, March 5
Review & Reader’s Guide at She is Too Fond of Books
Friday, March 6
Review at Impressions in Ink


Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Poetic Introduction to March

 photo be00ec48-e345-4f89-8fc5-de4c210abb9d.jpg

"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." C.S. Lewis

"You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there." Yogi Berra

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

"One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
'Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife."
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"The year's at the spring
And the day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven
All's right with the world!"
Robert Browning

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."
William Wordsworth

The last two poems are from the book Random House Treasury-Best Loved Poems 3rd edition. The other poems were from my mother's hand writing, I don't know where she first read them.