Awesome Authors #9: Tom Perrotta

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I love so many podcasts, which is a great problem to have. Last month, I finally listened to the NPR Fresh Air interview with Tom Perrotta, which originally aired on July 31st.

I remember reading part of Election when I was younger, and I have seen parts of the movie. But, listening to the Fresh Air interview makes me want to re-read it, and read more of his work.


Born in August 1961, Perrotta was raised in New Jersey. His family roots are Italian and Albanian. He is one of three children. He decided early on that he wanted to be a writer. He wrote several short stories for his high school literary magazine. After high school, Perrotta went to Yale University for his bachelor’s degree, and then earned his master’s from Syracuse University. He married in 1991, and lives in Massachusetts, near Boston.

Since 1988, he has published seven novels, multiple short stories, two collections of short stories, two essays, and at least one ghostwritten novel. Several of his works have been turned into screenplays for film and TV. The most recent adaptation was The Leftovers, for HBO.


Election (1998)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

The story involves high school and presidential elections in 1992. I look forward to reading this again, and then watching the movie (1999).

Little Children (2004)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book is Perrotta’s most-lauded and praised books. This is definitely on my list. Like Election, it was adapted into a film (2006).

Mrs. Fletcher (2017)

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I look forward to reading this. The Fresh Air interview about this book was spellbinding. I wonder if this one will become a film?


What about you?

Have you read any of Tom Perrotta’s work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Awesome Authors #8: Sharon M. Draper

I first discovered Sharon M. Draper in high school. I found The Battle of Jericho at the Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake. She introduced me to a whole new world. Through her books, I quickly gained a better understanding of African-American teenagers and their lives. Draper’s writing is incredibly realistic, and I felt connected to many of the characters. I’m adding a few of her books to my TBR, also.


Sharon M. Draper was born August 21, 1948. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she graduated from Pepperdine University. She’s married, and has two children, a son and a daughter.

She was named the 1997 National Teacher of the Year. She has received multiple national and international awards and recognition. Draper is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. Several of her books have been listed on the New York Times Bestseller List.


Hazelwood Trilogy

I read this trilogy, one after the other, after reading The Battle of Jericho. It was so life-like, I needed a break after finishing the series. It shows the consequences of driving drunk, to say the least.

Jericho series

I read The Battle of Jericho first, and then I had to wait until November Blues was published in my senior year of high school. I remember feeling ecstatic when Just Another Hero was announced when I was in college. Like the Hazelwood trilogy, Draper covers many real-life topics in these books, including hazing, teenage pregnancy, tragic deaths, and school shootings, to name a few.

 

Romiette and Julio (1999)

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Image Credit: sharondraper.com

I don’t actually remember reading this, so I’m adding it to my TBR.

Double Dutch (2002)

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Image Credit: Simon & Schuester

Like some of the other books, I don’t remember reading this one. This is also going on the TBR!

Copper Sun (2006)

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Image Credit: sharondraper.com

This is one of her historical novels. I remember reading parts of it, but I don’t think I finished it. I’m putting this one on my TBR.

Fire from the Rock (2007)

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Image Credit: Scholastic

This is one of my favorite books from Draper. I love historical novels, and this one is written in journal / diary-style. I definitely want to re-read it soon.

Out of My Mind (2010)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

This is another book I’m adding to my TBR. It’s told from the perspective of a girl with cerebral palsy. I have deep appreciation for writers that respectfully approach and write about individuals with challenges.


I hope Draper will continue to write and publish! I look forward to reading and re-reading her books, especially her historical novels.


What about you?

Have you read any of Sharon M. Draper’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #7: Veronica Roth

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I first discovered Veronica Roth in 2011, when I heard the buzz about her debut novel, Divergent.

In my Book Review at the end of 2014, I liked Divergent, loved Insurgent, but Allegiant was disappointing, to say the least. It took me several months, from July through December, to finish the trilogy.


Veronica Roth was born on August 19, 1988. She was born in New York City, but raised in Barrington, Illinois, which is 32 miles northwest of Chicago. She has an older brother and sister. Her parents divorced around 1993, but her mother eventually remarried.

She graduated from Barrington High School. She initially studied at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. After one year, she transferred to Northwestern University to study creative writing. She graduated from Northwestern in 2010. She married Nelson Fitch, a photographer, in 2011.

Roth wrote Divergent while on winter break during her senior year at Northwestern.

She has received several awards. She received the Goodreads 2011 Choice Award. In 2012, she was recognized as the Best of 2012 in the category of Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction, as well as Best Goodreads Author.

The publishing rights for Divergent were sold before her college graduation. The film rights were sold before the novel’s printing in April 2011.

By fall 2013, Divergent and Insurgent had sold more than five million copies.


The film adaptation of Divergent was released in March 2014. The film adaptation of Insurgent was released on March 20, 2015.

Initially, the third book, Allegiant, was scheduled to be split into two films. The Divergent Series: Allegiant was released on March 18, 2016. The former Part 2, re-titled as The Divergent Series: Ascendant, was released on March 24, 2017.


The Divergent trilogy:

  • Divergent (2011)
  • Insurgent (2012)
  • Allegiant (2013)

Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

The cover art for these books is gorgeous. It’s one of the things that attracted me to the trilogy. As I mentioned in my 2014 book review, I loved the first two books, particularly Insurgent. However, Allegiant was a huge turn-off for me. In my opinion, Roth could have made both Divergent and Insurgent a little bit longer, and wrapped up the series with those two books.

The World of Divergent: The Path to Allegiant (2013)

The World of Divergent'

Image Credit: Amazon

Roth also published a companion book / guide to the Divergent trilogy, around the time that Allegiant was published. To be honest, I haven’t read this, and I’m not sure if I ever will.

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (2014)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

In addition to the Divergent trilogy, Roth wrote four short stories from the point of view of Tobias Eaton.

  • The Transfer
  • The Initiate
  • The Son
  • The Traitor

The stories have been sold separately, but also packaged together.

We Can Be Mended (2017)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

An epilogue to Divergent, titled We Can Be Mended, was announced in December 2016. I’m willing to give it a shot, although I immensely disliked Allegiant as a whole. Maybe Roth can redeem herself with this one.

Carve The Mark (2017)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

Roth’s latest young adult book, titled Carve The Mark, was published on January 17, 2017. I actually didn’t realize she had written a new book until researching her for this specific post, so I plan to add this book to my TBR. It looks like a completely new, completely different story, and I’m excited to try it out. To the library!


I’ve really enjoyed following Roth’s journey into writing, so far.

As critical as I’ve been about Allegiant and the film adaptations, I plan to add Carve The Mark and We Can Be Mended to my TBR. We shall see!


What about you?

Have you read any of Veronica Roth’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #6: Tim O’Brien

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Image Credit: Quotefancy

For some odd reason, I’ve been fascinated by the Vietnam War time period for many years. It started around middle school, when I read the Dear America and My Name is America books based in the late 1960s:

  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty, Boston, Massachusetts, 1968 (2002)
  • The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty: United States Marine Corps Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 (2002)

Both of those books were written by Ellen Emerson White. In high school, I read another of her books focusing on that time period, a young adult (YA) book called The Road Home (1995).

I also remember studying the Vietnam War in depth in my 20th Century History class as a senior in high school. In addition to history class, I gave a presentation on Woodstock for my Theory of Knowledge (ToK) class.

Maybe it’s because that was the time that my parents were in college and told me various stories over the years. No one in my family was involved in the combat or action, but I’ve read many books and done a lot of research about the war, and the U.S. involvement.


All that said, I can’t remember when I was first introduced to Tim O’Brien and his books. I think it was Dr. Lynch’s ENGL 150 class when I was a freshman in college. Regardless, as soon as I started reading, I was a fan.

Born in Austin, Minnesota, O’Brien had a younger brother and sister. At the age of ten, O’Brien’s family moved to Worthington, Minnesota. The move greatly influenced his writing, and he uses Lake Okabena in his book The Things They Carried (1990).

O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1968. The same year, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam, serving there from 1969 to 1970. In 1968, the unit he was assigned was involved in the now-infamous My Lai Massacre.

After his tour in Vietnam, O’Brien started graduate school at Harvard University, and received an internship with The Washington Post. In 1973, he published his first work, his memoir of his experiences in Vietnam, titled If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home.

Since 1973, he’s published eight other works. His most recent publication was released in 2002.

In the present day, O’Brien lives and writes in central Texas. He’s married and has two sons. He teaches full-time every other year at Texas State University-San Marcos. When he’s not teaching full-time, he teaches workshops to MFA students in the creative writing program.

He has been recognized with several honors and awards. Most recently, he received the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, in June 2013.


Going After Cacciato (1978)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is the book I remember reading at Longwood. It left such an impression on me for a long time. Cacciato is a member of Paul Berlin’s squad in Vietnam who goes absent without leave (AWOL), trying to get to France.

Critics and readers alike have marveled at O’Brien’s ability to blur reality and fiction, also known as verisimilitude. I think we read this in Dr. Lynch’s class, my very first semester in college, and the discussions we had were just incredible.

The Things They Carried (1990)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t read this collection of short stories for any class (I don’t think so, anyway), but writing this post has inspired me to put it on my TBR. This is where O’Brien use of verisimilitude shines.

In the Lake of the Woods (1994)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Inspired by O’Brien’s upbringing in Minnesota, this book combines drama, mystery, war, and politics. This is also going on my TBR!

July, July (2002)

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I don’t know what it is about class reunions, but whenever that particular topic is explored, I find myself intrigued. This novel is set in 2000, focusing on the delayed 30-year reunion of the class of 1969. This is also going on my TBR!


What about you? Have you read anything by Tim O’Brien?

Come back next month for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #5: Margaret Mitchell

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Another Awesome Author that I was recently thinking about was Margaret Mitchell.

Confession time: I have never read Gone With The Wind all the way through. I attempted several times in middle school (mainly for the massive amount of AR points!), but never accomplished it. However, it’s on my TBR, and I’m absolutely determined to read it before 2017 ends.

Having never fully read the book also means that I’ve never seen the movie. That’s another goal of mine, but that will only happen after I finish the book.


Learning about Mitchell’s life was simply fascinating, having not known much past writing Gone With The Wind.

Born in 1900, she started writing and illustrating stories from a very early age. Her mother kept many of them, and several boxes of stories were still in the house when Mitchell left for college. She was a very imaginative child, making up fairy tales, cowboys and Indians stories, and more.

Starting in 1922, she wrote feature articles for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. Although her journalism career was short-lived due to a persistent ankle injury, she wrote 129 feature articles, 85 news stories, and several book reviews in the span of four years.

Her husband, John Marsh, was part of the inspiration for Mitchell (known as Peggy by then) to write Gone With The Wind. Having left journalism due to her ankle injury, John grew tired of constantly lugging books back and forth from their house to the library, and finally said to her,

“For God’s sake, Peggy, can’t you write a book instead of reading thousands of them?”


Sadly, Mitchell’s life was dramatically cut short. She died at age 48 when she was hit by a speeding car while crossing the street with her husband in Atlanta. She never fully regained consciousness. The driver was eventually convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and served 11 months in jail.


While she is best known for Gone With The Wind, I wanted to highlight a few more of Mitchell’s works. Incredibly, she destroyed some of her manuscripts herself, and others were destroyed after she died!

Lost Laysen (completed 1916, published 1996)

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Image Credit: Amazon

Reading about this novella was amazing! I definitely want to read it, if I can find it. I’m so glad it was published, even though it took 80 years.

The Big Four (never published)

As a teenager, Mitchell wrote The Big Four, a 400-page novel about girls in a boarding school. At this point, it is thought to be lost. This makes me sad – It sounds like an intriguing story.

Before Scarlett: Girlhood Writings of Margaret Mitchell (2010)

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Image Credit: Amazon

This book is a collection of 28 of Mitchell’s early writings. The description on Amazon sounds so intriguing. It makes me think of me, in a way, when I wrote stories as a child. I’m considering adding this one to my TBR – I hope my library has it!


I leave you with this inspirational quote from the author herself:

“I had every detail clear in my mind before I sat down to the typewriter.”


What about you? Have you read Gone With The Wind? Have you read anything else by Margaret Mitchell?

Come back next month for another exciting installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #4: Truman Capote

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I’m so far behind on these posts!

But, I’m back now. I also have several new ones in the works! I’m fully committed to publish a new one every month, going forward.


In Cold Blood (1966)

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Image Credit: Google

This is the only book of Capote’s that I’ve actually read. However, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. This is one of the books that inspired my interest in true crime. It’s a completely true story, and it chilled me to the bone. Writing this post makes me want to re-read it.

I’m surprised that I slept well after finishing it!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I completely forgot that Capote wrote this one, until I was researching for this post. I’ve only seen part of the iconic movie, but I know several people who love it. I definitely want to put this on my TBR!

Capote was a prolific writer – He discovered his calling when he was only eight years old! Wow!

He started with short stories. Throughout his short life (He died in 1984 at age 59), he was published in a variety of magazines, including Mademoiselle, EsquireVogue, The New Yorker, and others.

His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published in 1948.

In addition to several novels and multiple short stories, Capote also produced other literary and entertainment works – Local Color (collection of European travel essays), The Grass Harp (novel, then play), Beat The Devil (original screenplay), and House of Flowers (Broadway musical).

After his death, a number of Capote’s works have been published posthumously, starting in 1986. Random House has published Summer Crossing (2006) and The Early Stories of Truman Capote (2015), among others.

The more I read about Capote and his life, I want to read much more of his work. In addition to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I want to add Music for Chameleons (1980), and Summer Crossing to my TBR.


What about you? Have you read any of Truman Capote’s books?

Come back next month for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #3: John Grisham

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Image Credit: AZ Quotes

This installment of Awesome Authors covers one of my all-time favorites, John Grisham. I give partial credit to him for leading me to pursue my Paralegal Studies degree, and developing my initial interest in the field of law. I aspire to own all of his books, someday! I need to pre-order his newest book, Camino Island.

He’s smart, sharp, and he writes really good books!


The Pelican Brief (1992)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This was the first Grisham book I read. My own copy is well-loved. I tend to re-read it at least once or twice every year.

The movie adaptation (1993) is one of my absolute favorites! Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington were perfect co-stars.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (2006)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book sparks the clearest memory for me – I stumbled upon it in high school, at the Chesapeake library, probably right after it was published. I love true crime stories, so I remember flying through it. I have my own copy, so I’ll probably re-read it at some point in the near future.

The Whistler (2016)

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You can check out my review of Grisham’s latest work here:

A Time to Kill (1989)

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I don’t remember when I first read it, but I didn’t realize it was his first novel until much later!

Theodore Boone series (2010-present)

I have some catching up to do, but I’ve read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (2010), and Theodore Boone: The Abduction (2011) thus far. I found both of them at the Chesapeake libraries, and I’m working on getting copies of all six books.

I need to read Theodore Boone: The Accused (2012), Theodore Boone: The Activist (2013), Theodore Boone: The Fugitive (2015), and Theodore Boone: The Scandal (2016).

Theo is a good kid, and Grisham is a decent writer for kids!

A large number of Grisham’s novels / original works have been adapted for the screen:

  1. The Firm (1993 film, 2011-2012 TV series)
  2. The Pelican Brief (1993)
  3. The Client (1994 film, 1995-1996 TV series)
  4. The Chamber (1996)
  5. A Time to Kill (1996 film, 2011 stage play)
  6. The Rainmaker (1997)
  7. The Gingerbread Man (manuscript, 1998)
  8. A Painted House (2003 TV movie)
  9. Runaway Jury (2003)
  10. The Street Lawyer (2003 TV pilot)
  11. Mickey (2004)
  12. Skipping Christmas (Christmas with the Kranks, 2004)
  13. The Associate (TBA)
  14. The Testament (TBA)
  15. Calico Joe (TBA)

He’s also published four collections of short stories, and three works of non-fiction.


What about you? Have you read any of John Grisham’s books?

Come back in late April for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂