Mar 6, 2012
In this episode: How we deal with maps in books, what airplane travelers are reading, a wonderful middle-grade novel, and a retelling of the story of Achilles.
A quick Booktopia update: Santa Cruz has just one spot open, and Oxford, MS has just 15 spots open as of 3/6. We expect to announce Oxford authors by mid-March, at which point we know that Booktopia:Oxford will sell out. So don't wait to register! For more information and to sign up for any of the Booktopia events, please visit http://booktopia.booksonthenightstand.com. Also, if you have already registered for one of the Booktopia events, don't forget to submit your entry for our "Living in Booktopia" souvenir book. You should have gotten an email with details. If not, please email us.
Carol in our Goodreads group wrote in with a topic suggestion:
I've just begin the Fire & Ice series by George RR Martin. I know I'm in for an epic so I'm trying to read carefully so that I don't lose track of the characters and locations. Which got me thinking of a discussion topic.....
These sorts of books often offer a map, genealogy charts and the like. They are helpful but then I find myself checking them too often, which disrupts my reading. Do you look at them or do you just dive into the book?
When I saw that woman on the plane next to me was reading A Feast for Crows, and madly flipping back and forth between the text and the maps, I knew we had to discuss this. While I don't typically look at maps while I'm actually reading the text, I do like to see them before and after I've read the book to get a sense of the layout. I recently read an advanced readers copy of a book that is due out in June, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I read it in galley form, and then later the author blogged about the map that had been created to represent the world in the book. Looking at the map made me appreciate the scope of the world that the author had created.
At the end of this segment, Michael teases about the big George R.R. Martin gift book that will be coming out this fall, Maps of Ice and Fire. We're sure you'll be hearing much more about that in the future.
Michael and I had some fun snooping on our fellow travelers' airplane reading. Author Dominique Browning recently wrote a New York Times article called "Learning to Love Airport Lit," where Browning realized that the best books for airplane reading are those with strong narrative drive . Our non-scientific research shows that most travelers we saw chose books that fit that profile:
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry
Dead Sleep, Greg Iles
The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel
Defending Jacob by Bill Landay
Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag
Live Wire by Harlan Coben
Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a middle-grade novel that can (and should) be read by teens and adults as well. It's the story of Auggie, a young boy who was born with a severe facial deformity. Auggie is a bright and funny kid, and after being homeschooled for his entire life, he's about to start fifth grade in a private school. The experiences that Auggie has make us think about people with differences and how we treat others. It's an amazing novel that really made me think about the importance of being a bit kinder than necessary.
Michael talks about The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Michael and I both loved this book, and as soon as we read it, we invited Madeline to join us at Booktopia:Manchester. We are so eager to meet her in Vermont! Miller has given us a brilliant version of the legend of Achilles, telling the story from the point of view of Patroclus, Achilles' friend and companion. After reading this book, Michael rushed out to buy the new translation of The Iliad by Stephen Mitchell.
Madeline is about to embark on an extensive tour for her book, so even if you're not attending Booktopia Manchester, you may have a chance to meet her.