One Woman Book Club: The Stand

“She reminded me of a warning I was fond of repeating: do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.”  – Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

These words appear on the first page of Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I took down off the shelf today after finally finishing The Stand by Stephen King. I found both books in the donated piles at the Welles Turner Memorial Library Book Sale–the kind of lovely town event where kids show up towing red wagons and you see spouses barking at each other about who is supposed to cover which table. But after spending the better part of three months with the lone survivors of the super flu (aka Captain Trips), I was on the hunt for something very, very different. Little did I know that the first page of Nafisi’s book would send me back to the often bleak world of The Stand. Continue reading

On Writing ‘n Stuff

Not my desk, or my photo.

Not my desk, or my photo. (Nancy L. Stockdale, Flickr Creative Commons)

You may recall that my cat was diagnosed with gallstones. I spent a month fearing that without surgical intervention my cat would get sick again as soon as she went off her meds. I didn’t know what to do. Then, one night, as I sat on my couch editing a book for a freelance project, I came up with an idea. I needed to write a book, get an advance, and use it to pay for the cat’s surgery.

I know that sounds like a bad plan, and it would be except that I work for a publishing company with a book wing — and the publisher had been trying to get me to write a book for years. We just hadn’t been able to come up with a subject that interested us both. But I’d recently been toying with an idea that I thought would work. So I quickly shot off an email and asked if it would be of interest.

It was.  Continue reading

Surviving the Library Book Sale

20140512-195851.jpgFor quite some time now I’ve been trying to read Jonathan Franzen’s Freedomwithout having to actually buy it and give that condescending fancypants any money. A library would seem to be the obvious choice, but my cousin informed me that there is a  rather large late fee associated with our old address so I’ve been avoiding it. Then, this weekend, my boyfriend and I headed to the center of town to get breakfast at a coffee shop before walking over to a plant sale where a local community farm was selling heirloom tomato plants. And it just so happened that the library I can’t set foot in was also having its annual book sale that day.

I’d never actually been to one of these book sales before. I assumed it would be filled with books like the ones I donate to the library every year: old textbooks, stuff I inherited and never read, and a dictionaries no one needs anymore. There was a lot of that. I even found myself wondering if some of the books I saw on the tables were mine, but I headed straight for the fiction table and almost immediately spotted a hardcover copy of Freedom. An old man was in my way and he didn’t look like he was in a hurry to move along. He wasn’t like a frail old man or anything. He was  tall, and I’d like to think he’s a runner.  I say this because I practically had to elbow him out of the way before  the book vultures could swoop in and steal my chance to screw Jonathan Franzen out of his royalty.  Continue reading