3. Let's Explore Diabetes with
Owls by David Sedaris
4. Midnight in Peking by Paul French
5. Unexpected Legacy by Darlene Deluca
6. W.A.R.P #1: The Reluctant
Assassin by Eoin Colfer
7. Breaking Through by Francisco Jimenez
8. The Miracle of Father
Kapaun by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying
9. Life After Life by
10. The Kite Runner by
Watermark News & Notes - May 25, 2012
May 25, 2012
In this issue:
News and Notes Worthy: Kansas writers!
Book of the Week.
"Home" by Toni Morrison, review by Beth Golay.
"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage, review by Melissa Fox.
"The Yard" by Alex Grecian, review by Shirley Wells.
Alex Grecian--author of "The Yard"--on his research.
A couple of Kansas writers have books coming out to national acclaim. And we're so proud to be hosting them at our store in the coming weeks.
Alex Grecian is from Topeka, KS and his book, "The Yard" will be released Tuesday. He'll be at Watermark the following day, Wednesday, May 30th at 7:00 p.m. In this issue of News & Notes, we're featuring a review of "The Yard" as well as an essay by Alex about his research.
And then on Thursday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m., Laura Moriarty (from Lawrence, KS) will be here for a book launch, reading and signing for "The Chaperone" -- a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Here's a link to an interesting interview of Laura Moriarty by Curtis Sittenfeld: http://www.watermarkbooks.com/laura-moriarty-interviewed-by-curtis-sittenfeld
Pre-order either of these titles and you'll get your name the hopper to win fabulous prizes. (You might as well pre-order, because you know you're going to end up buying them anyway!)
May 25, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Join us for the Final Friday reception for "Imagination Made Visible" - an art exhibit featuring works by Noel Linder. The exhibit will be on display through June 26, 2012.
May 30, 6:00 p.m. Summer Challenge Discussion for "The House of Mirth," pages 3-260 in the new Penguin omnibus Three Novels of New York.
May 30, 7:00 p.m. Alex Grecian reading and signing for "The Yard"
Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives—known as “The Murder Squad”—to investigate countless murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own... one of the twelve...
When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad... but why?
Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of "The Sherlockian" and "The Alienist."
May 31, 7:00 p.m. Dorothy Wickenden reading and signing for "Nothing Daunted"
Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood attended grade school and Smith College together, spent nine months on a grand tour of Europe in 1910, and then, bored with society luncheons and chaperoned balls and not yet ready for marriage, they went off to teach the children of homesteaders in a remote schoolhouse on the Western Slope of Colorado. They traveled on the new railroad over the Continental Divide and by wagon to Elkhead, a tiny settlement far from the nearest town. Their students came to school from miles away in tattered clothes and shoes tied together with string.
Dorothy Woodruff was the grandmother of New Yorker executive editor Dorothy Wickenden. Nearly one hundred years later, Wickenden found the buoyant, detailed, colorful letters the two women wrote to their families. Through them, she has chronicled their trials in the classroom, the cowboys and pioneering women they met, and the violent kidnapping of a close friend. Central to their narrative is Ferry Carpenter, the witty, idealistic, and occasionally outrageous young lawyer and cattle rancher who hired them, in part because he thought they would make attractive and cultivated brides. None of them imagined the transforming effect the year would have—on the children, the families, and the teachers.
Wickenden set out on her own journey to discover what two intrepid Eastern women found when they went West, and what America was like at that uncertain moment, with the country poised for the First World War, but going through its own period of self-discovery.
Drawing upon the letters, interviews with descendants, research about these vanished communities, and trips to the region, Wickenden creates a compelling, original saga about the two intrepid young women and the “settling up” of the West. http://www.watermarkbooks.com/event/dorothy-wickenden
June 7, 7:00 p.m. Benjamin Busch reading and signing for "Dust to Dust"
Benjamin Busch’s extraordinary memoir, DUST TO DUST “is a wonderful book, original in concept and stunningly written,” says Ward Just, “a breathtaking meditation on loss and remembrance, dust to dust.” Busch, the son of the esteemed novelist Frederick Busch, has had a singular life of varied accomplishments: an actor who played Officer Anthony Colicchio on The Wire, a writer twice-nominated for the Pushcart Prize, a guest commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered, and a writer/director whose short film, Bright, has garnered dozens of film festival awards. But, perhaps most unexpectedly given his upbringing as the child of two ardently liberal intellectuals, Busch is a decorated United States Marine Corps Infantry Officer who served two combat tours in Iraq. That conundrum of identity is at the heart of DUST TO DUST, an unusual, absorbing contemplation on war and peace, childhood and adulthood, life and death.
The childhood Busch recounts was in many ways idyllic—an adventurous rural boyhood, replete with wandering in the woods. His parents, fresh from Vietnam War protests, would not allow him to have a toy gun, but that did not prevent him from building forts, organizing war games among his friends, and melting crayons into bullets. His parents had no intention of raising a soldier, Busch says, but somehow they did. In chapters arranged thematically—water, metal, stone, blood— rather than chronologically, he progresses in each from childhood to adulthood, writing movingly of his parents, wilderness, danger, war, death, and the past that shaped him as both an atypical warrior and a man.
DUST TO DUST “is a memoir of the themes at my center,” says Busch, “the concern with impermanence and mortality, the fascination with rock, bone, and water, my need for the adventure of exploration, the confrontation with death, and death. It is a deep examination of the vision I have had of my environment, as a child, a son, a father, an artist, and as a military commander. This book reveals my formative and mature moments to be entirely intertwined, the strangeness of my disparate interests never leaving me estranged. It is my examination of my place, the human place, in a world largely indifferent to our struggle.”
“Elegiac, funny, wistful, deep, and wonderfully human, DUST TO DUST moved me to laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously,” praises Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War. “After reading this book, you will want to go outside and really look at our world.” Mary Karr, bestselling author of The Liar’s Club, adds, “This brave soldier with his singular sensibility... builds us a fort we’re loath to leave.”
June 14, 7:00 p.m. Book launch, reading & signing for "The Chaperone" by Laura Moriarty.
A captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both.
Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she’s in for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous blunt bangs and black bob, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change their lives forever.
For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might prove an answer to the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
Watermark's Book of the Week is "True Sisters" by Sandra Dallas (St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250005021, originally $24.99)
In a novel based on true events, New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas delivers the story of four women---seeking the promise of salvation and prosperity in a new land---who come together on a harrowing journey.
In 1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, the promised land. The Martin Handcart Company, a ragtag group of weary families headed for Zion, is the last to leave on this 1,300-mile journey. Three companies that left earlier in the year have completed their trek successfully, but for the Martin Company the trip proves disastrous. True Sisters tells the story of four women from the British Isles traveling in this group. Four women whose lives will become inextricably linked as they endure unimaginable hardships, each one testing the boundaries of her faith and learning the true meaning of survival and friendship along the way.
There’s Nannie, who is traveling with her sister and brother-in-law after being abandoned on her wedding day.
There’s Louisa, who’s married to an overbearing church leader who she believes speaks for God.
There’s Jessie, who’s traveling with her brothers, each one of them dreaming of the farm they will have in Zion.
And finally, there’s Anne, who hasn’t converted to Mormonism but who has no choice but to follow her husband since he has sold everything to make the trek to Utah.
Sandra Dallas has once again written a moving portrait of women surviving the unimaginable through the ties of female friendship. Her rich storytelling will leave you breathless as you take this trip with Nannie, Louisa, Jessie, and Anne. This is Sandra Dallas at her absolute best.
Shop online or in the store, this week "True Sisters" is 30% off.
This week's winner of a free lunch from Watermark Café is William Emery of Salina. Thanks for signing up for News & Notes.
"I unhappily report that even 'Bicycling for Ladies' WITH HINTS AS TO THE ART OF WHEELING - ADVICE TO BEGINNERS - DRESS - CARE OF THE BICYCLE - MECHANICS - TRAINING - EXERCISES, ETC., ETC., cannot assist me in this current predicament: we find ourselves in a situation."
... from "A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar" by Suzanne Joinson (Bloomsbury, ISBN 9781608198115, $26.00)
1. "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks 2. "Year of Wonders" by Geraldine Brooks 3. "March" by Geraldine Brooks 4. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James 5. "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks 6. "Nothing Daunted" by Dorothy Wickenden 7. "The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach 8. "Pinches and Dashes" by the Junior League of Wichita 9. "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss 10. "Wichita" by Thad Ziolkowski
"Home" by Toni Morrison (Knopf, ISBN 9780307594167, $24.00)
Even though Frank Money lived in Lotus, Georgia since he was four, he never considered the town his home. According to Frank, “Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything.” Left to their own devices, Frank and his friends roamed the unpaved streets and countryside with Frank’s little sister Cee in-tow--biding their time until they could leave Lotus for good. That opportunity came for the boys when they enlisted to fight in the Korean War. Cee’s opportunity presented itself later when she took off with a stranger-- who took off with her car.
The return to Lotus was inevitable. Frank’s friends returned in government-issued coffins, and unable to face their families, Frank delayed his return to a hero’s welcome and traveled the country, haunted by ghosts and the atrocities of war.
Only when he received word about his sister’s poor health at the hands of her employer did Frank venture toward Georgia. He finally lived up to his hero status when he rescued Cee in Atlanta, and took her home to Lotus. With Cee’s recovery entrusted to the local women, the siblings had time to look at the town through wizened eyes. These care-givers took responsibility for their lives, were irritated but not surprised by lack of common sense, and abhorred laziness. “Sleep was not for dreaming; it was for gathering strength for the coming day.”
After his return to Lotus, Frank located his box of childhood treasures, hidden where only he could find it. He noted, “The Bulova watch was still there. No stem, no hands—the way time functioned in Lotus, pure and subject to anybody’s interpretation.”
"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage (Dial, ISBN 9780803736702, $16.99)
It was really just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. See, Mo (that's short for Moses; and yes, she is a girl) LoBeau's (emphasis on the second syllable because it classes it up) friend Dale (Earnheart Junior III) just wanted to borrow Mr. Jesse's boat, and then decided to return it for a "finders fee." It wasn't Dale's fault Mr. Jesse turned up dead.
From there, of course, Mr. Jesse's murder (It's not grisly, at all. Promise.) turns the tiny, rural, North Carolina town of Tupelo Landing upside down. And Mo and Dale are smack dab in the middle of it. To clear Dale's name, they set out trying to solve the mystery, and are thwarted at every turn by Detective Joe Starr, the adult who's (really) working the case. Mo and Dale keep at it, though, because the whole case somehow seems to involve the Colonel and Miss Lana, the two people to whom Mo, an orphan, is closest.
Honestly: I've read my share of Southern novels, and so I figured it was just another run-of-the-mill, murder-mystery-light/Southern thing. But I couldn't put it this book down. In addition to murder, this book has everything: drama, car racing, suspense, plucky kids, arch-enemies, robbery, unrequited love, and karate. It's everything Southern, but the pecan pie. (And I'm sure that would have shown up, had the book been set at Thanksgiving instead of during the summer.) There's a little something for everyone here, which makes any book appealing.
But the real reason to fall in love with this book -- as I did -- is because Turnage has created a wonderful couple of characters in Mo ("My heart leaped like the cheerleader I will never be.") and Dale ("Dale may not know much from the classroom, but his recess skills are legendary."). In fact, all the characters, from Miss Lana ("I passed the wigs to Miss Lana, completing her Hollywood Through the Ages collection. Miss Lana has a flair for drama.") and the Colonel ("Miss Lana says hugging the Colonel's like hugging a turning plow."), down to Mayor Little ("We always choose a Little for mayor in case a television crew ever comes to town. Littles like to talk and they're naturally neat; even their babies dress good.") and aspiring lawyer Skeeter ("Rumor has it she's already written to Matchbook University for a paralegal course under an assumed name. She won't say if that's true or false, only that unsubstantiated rumor won't hold up in court.") pop off the page, and it's entirely because of the way Turnage writes.
It's also the small-town, rural Southern feel: kids biking everywhere, technology limited because coverage is spotty, rusted cars on lawns. It's a place caught out of time, perfect for two kids to have the adventure of a summer. And perhaps to learn a little bit about themselves, and the meaning of family, in the process.
For us, it means an perfectly charming book. Period.
“The Yard” by Alex Grecian (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ISBN 9780399149542, $26.95)
In 1889, London is still reeling from the unsolved Whitechapel murders. Because of its failure to capture Jack the Ripper, the Metropolitan Police Force is no longer trusted by the public, and the morale of the squad is at its lowest. When the mutilated body of a Scotland Yard detective—a member of the elite Murder Squad—is found in a steamer trunk with his eyes and mouth stitched shut, the newly-hired Detective Inspector Walter Day is assigned the case. Assisted by Dr. Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Inspector Day and his colleagues are beginning to realize that there are some crimes and criminals that baffle traditional thinking. This is a new type of criminal, a serial killer–the first since Jack the Ripper introduced London to the concept of murder for murder’s sake. “Crime’s changing and people are changing. This is just the start...” (176). The truth of this statement becomes evident as the disfigured body of a second detective is found inside another steamer trunk. Once it becomes apparent that the men of The Murder Squad are being targeted, the race is on to solve the crimes before another detective goes missing. At the same time, another type of victim emerges--bearded men whose faces are shaved after having their throats cut. The detectives are fairly certain that these crimes are not the work of just one deranged individual, but that means they are dealing with more than one serial killer. And who can explain the dozens of children who go missing each year? Grecian weaves all these strands of the story together into a taut, suspenseful plot.
I love a book that pulls me into the story so completely that I have trouble setting it aside, and "The Yard" had just this effect on me. The well-researched period details and historical figures add depth to this impressive debut novel, reportedly the first in a series It also introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters and the difficult circumstances they face as they try to protect the citizens and uphold the law in Victorian London.
Alex Grecian will be at Watermark for a reading/signing on May 30th at 7:00 p.m.
Alex Grecian--author of "The Yard"--on his research:
The London County Council was formed in 1889 and promptly went about renaming many of the streets in Inner London. They did it again four decades later, which means that current maps don’t accurately reflect the London of 1889, the year The Yard takes place. The lay of the land has changed at least twice since then.
But I didn’t know that when I sat down to write "The Yard." I knew where Scotland Yard was and I knew where Inspector Day lived, and that was enough to start writing the first draft. So when the good inspector walked home late at night, he was walking up the wrong street.
I love research. It’s not just preparation for me, it’s an ongoing part of the writing process. I tend to read as much about a place and time as possible before getting to work on a story, though too much research early on can bog me down.
I won’t know what I need to know until I need to know it. For instance, I didn’t plan a scene in which Claire Day ironed her husband’s trousers. (Why would I plan that?) But the need to iron Inspector Day’s pants cropped up and I discovered that I had to know how an iron worked in 1889 and, if at all possible, actually use one. It wasn’t a vital detail, not the sort of thing to make an American writer jet over to England on the spur of the moment. So I did the next best thing. I visited Pennsylvania. There are several museums in Pennsylvania that have seemingly preserved everything anybody’s ever used, and they’ve kept it all clean and in working order. So I was able to see and touch an iron, and a vintage toaster, and many of the other mundane household items I needed to know about.
Of course, nothing in Pennsylvania could help me with those London street names. I eventually tracked down an enormous vintage map of Victorian London. It’s framed in sections on one wall of my office, so I’ll never get the streets wrong again.