Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reading Challenges: Drinking with Dead Women Writers

Drinking with Dead Women Writers

Title: Drinking With Dead Women Writers
Author: Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner
Genre: General Fiction / Historical Fiction

Ambrose and Turner wrote this quirky, short story style novel in eight short weeks and had it published within four months. The book is written in alternate chapters by either Ambrose or Turner and each chapter reflects what a short conversation with a dead woman writer over drinks might constitute. I'm not sure that you can call it historical fiction though I imagine there is some truth to their words. The authors did say that they did extensive research deciphering pen names. Chapter titles include Margaret Mead: Scientific Anthropology Vs. Smut and Jane Austen: A Sensible Prejudice For Spruce Beer.

One thing I love about the Kindle is how easy it is to highlight passages and revisit them later. Here's a few of my favorites:
From Margaret Mead, written by Ambrose
"'How do you think society can bring about cooperation among peoples?" I asked, feeling proud that my rum-doused brain could still verbalize a five-syllable word in a complete sentence.'
'The answer can be simplified to bathrooms. Until the 1960s, our homes had one bathroom, and families worked out the logistics. Modern homes with two or more bathrooms have ruined the capacity to cooperate. If we aren't compelled to negotiate in the home, how do we learn to work within society?'"

From Erma Bombeck, written by Ambrose
'"I'm amazed at all the crap you women now carry around with you: cell phones with Internet access and laptop computers that check your spelling, edit your grammar, format your pages and play music while you write. What if your power goes out? Or what if your kid pukes on your keyboard? That happened to me several times but I just threw everything into the sink and sprayed it off.'"
"And what idiot decided that Little League uniforms should be white?"

From Margaret Mitchell, written by Ambrose
'"Your story fascinates me." I said, then took a drink. "You only published one novel in your lifetime and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. That is an incredible achievement."
"But 12 years later I was hit by a drunk diver while I was walking to a movie. I was only 48 and died four days after," she said. "That miserable drunk only got four months in jail'"

From Louisa May Alcott, written by Ambrose
'"There is one thing that really irritates me," she said, "Well, one thing besides those obnoxious toy mice in the gift shop. I never received that much acclaim when I was alive, but in 2008, John Matteson won a Pulitzer Price for writing a biography about me. I think I deserve at least part of that honor!'"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reading Challenges: Bluegrass State of Mind

Title: Bluegrass State of Mind
Author: Kathleen Brooks
Genre: General Fiction/Romance
Location: Keeneston, Kentucky

I started off the New Year with an easy fun read to recoup from the holiday season. I loved Kathleen Brooks' writing style and her characters are charming to their very core. After McKenna Mason and her best friend Danielle witness a heinous crime involving judges, lawyers, politicians, and other high powered men, they part ways each running for their lives. McKenna turns to small town Keeneston where she has connections with an old family friend and childhood playmate Will Ashton. There Kenna meets the Rose sisters, puts prejudeces to bed, helps solve the mystery of what plagues the Ashton barns, is educated in all things derby, and of course falls in love. 
The love story was sweet and the Southern charm just plain charming; intertwining this with the heart pounding reality of Kenna's past kept me devouring page after page. I've already added Brooks' other books to my list of future reads.