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One Story at a Time: "Space-Time for Springers"

Written by Katharine Weber Monday, 02 April 2012 00:00

Space-Time for SpringersFirst published in 1958, in issue #4 of Star Science Fiction Stories, this Fritz Leiber story of transformation and metamorphosis (though it has something of a minor cult following, in science fiction and fantasy circles and also among cat fiction obsessives) is a very different order of fiction, flowing from an intriguing narrative tributary far from the mainstream. It's an unusual story, one highly worthy of consideration here in the One Story at a Time thread. Discussion starts Monday, April 9th. Please read the story and join us!

If you're already a registered member of BookBalloon, click this link to go straight to the discussion. If you're not already a BookBalloon member (and why not? It's free!), click here to begin.

 

A poem a day

Written by Nicki Leone Sunday, 01 April 2012 14:01

It’s National Poetry Month – Time to Write a Poem!

National Poetry MonthThis month Book Balloon member Janet McAdams, is offering up a daily prompt for starting a poem in the Creative Writing thread on the forum. Just try to start a poem every day. You don’t have to finish them this month; you can finish them in May, June, and July.

Janet is the author of two poetry collections (The Island of Lost Luggage and Feral), teaches creative writing at Kenyon College, and edits the Earthworks Poetry Series from Salt Publishing.

Some of the prompts will be subject-based and some will suggest formal strategies for starting a poem (She promises she’ll get to limericks!). This coming Wednesday's Poetry Prompter will be poet (and fiction writer and librettist) Lara Candland. There may have a few more surprise guests before the month is over.

The first prompt is "a simple exercise in writing an autobiographical poem.":

You’ll want to come up with a handful of key phrases like “When I was five. . . .” “ When I was fourteen. . . .” “When I was twenty-three. . .” and so forth. Three phrases will do, but five is probably better, and perhaps more, depending upon how old you are.

In coming up with these phrases, choose years (ages) of significance in your life. Use each phrase as a prompt to help you write about an important time in your life. You might want to describe a key incident or person or place in response to each prompting phrase. Don’t worry about making the different parts of your poem parallel or of equal lengths.

And don’t overthink it—just write. Tell some lies if you need to. As Frank O’Hara said, “You just go on your nerve. If someone's chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don't turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’"

Read more at the "Go to the thread" Thread.

 

BookBalloon's Best Reads of 2011

Thursday, 16 February 2012 18:06

The Sisters BrothersAnd now, a drumroll, please.....

BookBalloon's Unofficial and Unauthorized Best Reads of 2011 (not necessarily published in 2011):

Our Winner: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt!

Runners Up:

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan

Galore by Michael Crummey

A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Bossypants by Tina Fey

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst

The Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Special thanks to Julie (Starling) for collecting votes and compiling this list.

 

Q&A with Sharon Kay Penman

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 00:00

Sharon Kay Penman Sharon Kay Penman will be available to answer questions about her writing and talk about her newest book, Lionheart, Wednesday and Thursday, February 15-16. Please join us in the Forum for this discussion.

Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel, writes:

"The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It's as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart." (-Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel )

You can read an excerpt of Lionheart here.

Sharon Kay Penman is the author of seven critically acclaimed historical novels: The Sunne in Splendour, Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, The Reckoning, When Christ and his Saints Slept, Time and Chance, and Devil’s Brood.

 

Q&A with Margot Livesey

Thursday, 09 February 2012 00:00

Margot Livesey Margot Livesey will be available to answer questions about her writing and talk about her newest book, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, this coming Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. Please join us in the Forum for this discussion.

Sarah Towers in the New York Times writes:
“The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” Livesey’s appealing new novel, is, as she has explained, a kind of continued conversation, a “recasting” of both “Jane Eyre” and Livesey’s own childhood. Set mostly in Scotland in the late 1950s and ’60s, the narrative follows the fortunes of a young girl, Gemma Hardy, who is beset by bad luck. Born to a Scottish mother and an Icelandic father, she was orphaned by the age of 3, when she was taken from Iceland to Scotland by her mother’s brother. There her original Icelandic name was discarded. As the novel opens, 10-year-old Gemma’s beloved uncle has also died, and her cold, snobbish aunt is sending her off to be a “working girl” at a harsh boarding school.

Margot's previous novels include Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona and The House on Fortune Street.

 

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The NYRB Reading Club

Speedboat by Renata Adler

Speedboat

"When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Reading it was a pleasure of a new, unexpected kind." -- New York Review Books

John Leonard said, "Nobody writes better prose than Renata Adler." What do you think? The discussion begins May 15 in the Forum.

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