Tag Archives: literature

Spring Events at Parnassus

fabulous Ann

fabulous Ann

There is a plethora of reasons I love living in Nashville, but very near the top of my list is Amazing Ann Patchett and her killer indie bookstore Parnassus Books. They’ve been open a little over a year now, and the place has literally changed my life. It’s a wonderful thing to have a little bookstore to call home. I take everyone who visits and brag about how We Have Ann Patchett(!) whenever the opportunity arises and sometimes when it doesn’t. I enjoy as much time and money there as I can afford. But it’s more than that. The part of it that’s really contributed to making living in Nashville awesome is the event calendar.

When I lived in Manhattan and worked at the Barnes and Noble on Union Square, author events were part of the job. Alan Greenspan was speaking at an event on my first day. I could rattle off all the others that came through too, but my point is that I got accustomed to them. No, I got addicted to them. Author readings are an absolute high. They put me in this euphoric state of passion and enthusiasm, like plugging in to a giant literary recharging station. I walk away from an author event, signed book in hand, giddy and refreshed. And like most addictions, I had no idea how far gone I had become until I moved to the easily-flown-over Nashville.

Then Ann Patchett came and changed all of that. She brought prestige, a beacon of literature, and with it, ahhh, the author events. Some of the coolest ones I’ve been to so far have been Michael Chabon, Amor Towles, Kevin Wilson, Erin Morgenstern, Lyndsay Faye, Holly Tucker, Jennie Fields, among many others.

And O Glorious Spring at Parnassus! There are so many more events to attend! Here are just a few that I’m excited about:

3/2: Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi
4/3: Anne Lamott
4/8: Elizabeth Strout
4/18: Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
4/30: Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
5/3: Isabel Allende
5/8: Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
5/14: Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds

I think we all have some serious reading and marking of calendars to do now, am I right?

A Bookish Love Story

T+E

T+E

5 years ago, I met this guy. I had just gotten out of a semi-serious and seriously burdensome long-distance relationship. I had just transferred to a new school in a new city in which I knew exactly one person. I was almost 20, and I had no intention of doing anything less than what my mom would call “dating around.”

And then, mere weeks after I move to Nashville, I meet this guy. And he is interesting and uncomplicated, and he’s flirting with me. Our first spark is a mutual obsession with The Lord of the Rings. He’s tall and good-looking, and now he’s wearing glasses and sipping whiskey and talking about Tolkien? How can I not?

As I get to know him over the cold months of 2008, I learn he’s the storyteller among his friends, who all love him fiercely, and that he also happens to be an extremely talented musician. I begin to fall.

Spring comes, and we are together. The world goes a little hazy, falls away. We are sharing our lives – our friends, our passions, our secrets, our time. And we read to each other. We do many things together, but he reads books that I have read, and I am in love.

Years pass. We share many, many highs and quite a few lows too; we are together under every sky, through every season. Then one winter day almost a year ago, he gets down on one knee and puts a ring on my finger – a Jazz Age antique. It is clearer than ever that we are meant to be.

We plan a wedding, but not just any wedding… our wedding. It must have music and books, scotch and flapper dresses. It is perfect. And then, life.

Today, Tyler and I celebrate five years together. I haven’t posted any wedding/honeymoon photos yet, so I thought it was an appropriate day to start. Below are some of the bookish details featured in our wedding…

one of our engagement shots

an engagement shot

the last line says, "20s inspired attire"

the last line: “20s inspired attire”

songs from the Downton Abbey, Finding Neverland, Pride and Prejudice, and Fellowship of the Ring soundtracks

songs from the Downton Abbey, Finding Neverland, Pride and Prejudice, and Fellowship of the Ring soundtracks; readings from E.E. Cummings and Shakespeare

designed by incredible bridesmaid/graphic designer Candie Walter as a wedding gift

poster by incredible bridesmaid/graphic designer Candie Walter

Tolkien quote on the favor cards

Tolkien quote on the favor cards

typewriter guestbook

typewriter guestbook

rings stored in a Fellowship of the Ring book safe

rings stored in a Fellowship of the Ring book safe

Lord of the Rings book cake

Lord of the Rings book cake

books on every table

books on every table

cameras, hourglasses, pearls, teacups, wine bottles, book ends, too

cameras, hourglasses, pearls, teacups, wine bottles, book ends, too

pinwheels from pages of Pride and Prejudice for every vase

pinwheels from pages of Pride and Prejudice for every vase

decorative paper pinwheel display

decorative paper pinwheel display

pinwheel display on the mantel

pinwheels on the mantel

dictionary page, eucalyptus, and lace boutonnieres

dictionary page, eucalyptus, and lace boutonnieres

paper bouquets

paper bouquets

many paper bouquets

many paper bouquets

sheet music paper bouquet

sheet music

flapper bridesmaids

flapper bridesmaids

book page and peacock feather fascinator

book page and peacock feather fascinator

earrings featuring quotes from A Midsummer Night's Dream

earrings featuring quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

killer wedding party

killer wedding party

Paper crafts by the bridesmaids and me.
Photos by the lovely Liz Hendrickson.
Paper goods by the fabulous Holley Maher.
Cake by Stephanie Felts of The Sweetest Day.
Flowers by Vicki Sanders of Branching Out.
Hair and makeup by Kelly Hamilton of Imagine Design Team.
Dress by Casablanca Bridal, from The White Room, Lebanon, TN.
Location: Hermitage Golf Course, Old Hickory, TN.

Preorders for the New Year

I’m judging by this cover

As much as I love looking back on a year of good solid reading, I like looking forward to one to come even better. And although I cannot begin to say how 2013 is going to turn out, publishing and reading wise, from here, it’s looking pretty great. With the first month of the year nearly gone (2013 is flying already!), it seemed high time to highlight what we can look forward to in the next eleven. I find if I’m not preparing for new releases, they’ll inevitably disappear into the gaping black hole that is my TBR list. So without further discussion, here are 10 2013 releases I’m excited about:

Truth in Advertising, John Kenney – January 22:  A book blogger I follow describe it by saying, “Truth in Advertising is what would happen if Mad Men had sex with Jonathan Tropper,” and that was enough for me.

I drink with men sometimes too

Drinking with Men, Rosie Schaap – January 24: I read a review of this memoir on NPR and thought it’s easygoing bar stories sounded right up my alley.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Anne Therese Fowler – March 26: I’m a huge fan of the Jazz Age/Lost Generation era. Huge. Ask anyone that attended my wedding (it was 20s-themed, right down to the guests’ attire). So naturally, a bit of fact-based fiction starring the first American flapper is at the top of my list this year. Bonus points for an incredibly gorgeous cover.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach – April 1: I’ve read and loved everything else Mary Roach has written, and I’m hearing stellar things about this one as well. Her dry, footnote-filled popular science books are extremely informative and hysterically witty.

graphic awesomeness

Odds Against Tomorrow, Nathaniel Rich – April 2: I know very little about this book, and that’s okay. I glimpsed the words “Empire State Building,” “apocalyptic,” and “thriller,” and that was enough to make it on the list.

The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: The Dublin Years, Elizabeth Miller - April 4: This one’s not going to be a bestseller or a favorite of the masses, but I like Stoker a lot, not to mention he’s a character in the book I’m currently outlining.

Call Me Zelda, Erica Robuck – May 7: See above, re: fact-based fiction about Zelda Fitzgerald.

glorious Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman – June 18: I’m really late to the Neil Gaiman party. I’ve read only 2 of his previous works (in the middle of the 3rd), but I am officially on board for this one. I expect I’ll have more of his novels behind me by the time June rolls around too. He is a sharp, imaginative example of quality writing in the modern age. I’m really looking forward to a new book.

Seven for a Secret, Lyndsay Faye – August 15?: I can’t find much information about the true release date of this one. I only know of it because I practically stalk Lyndsay Faye and her Twitter feed. Her third novel is a sequel to last year’s The Gods of Gotham, which takes place in 1860s Manhattan and is an incredibly cool read.

MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood – September 3: Margaret Atwood is a major oversight of mine. I’ve read her nonfiction work on writing, but I am going to be actively going at her fiction bibliography this year. This new novel is the last in a trilogy, preceded by Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. I’m pretty sure Maggie A can do no wrong, so I’m catching up on the trilogy and then jumping headfirst into this new one.

There are also a few books that I’ve been hearing a lot about, ones that bloggers and critics are currently reading and forming opinions on, but I’m not entirely convinced yet. Sometimes even the best of us need to be talked into spending time with a book. I’m waiting to read a little more about these (or in some cases, read the author’s earlier work) before I make any serious preorder commitments, but I’m watching closely:

letters that are actually essays

The Blue Book, A.L. Kennedy – March 12
Life After Life, Kate Atkinson – April 2
All That Is, James Salter – April 2
Letters to a Young Scientist, Edward O. Wilson – April 15
Inferno, Dan Brown – May 14
Transatlantic, Colum McCann – June 4
Doctor Sleep, Stephen King – September 24

Also just heard about the plans for an Amy Poehler memoir in 2014. Here’s to looking forward to all the books and the future in general too.

P.S. What have I missed?! Feel free to let me know.

Happy Birthday, P&P!

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

your hands are cold

I honor it with my two favorite quotes, both spoken by Lizzie:

“I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”

“But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them forever.”

And the first proposal scene from the BBC version (Colin Firth on a Monday morning; you’re welcome):

-

And last, the soundtrack from the 2005 Joe Wright version via Spotify, composed by Dario Marianelli and performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

Reading Resolutions for 2013

Yesterday, I wrote about my resolutions for the new year: 2. Read everything. I thought, perhaps, that one deserved an explanation. Really “read everything” can translate to “read as much I can,” but it’s more than that. I plan to read more than last year, and also more broadly, more in-depth, and more creatively. I realize now that this is all still pretty vague, so I’ll break it down into mini-resolutions.

1. Read more: I read 42 books in 2012; I want to read 60 in 2013. Doable, but ambitious. (Book bloggers who read double that without even trying, not a word, you!)

2. Read more broadly: I’ve read more leisure nonfiction in the past two or three years than probably the rest of my life combined, but I want more of it in my life. I also plan to broaden my fiction horizons more actively. I’m never opposed to thriller or romance or fantasy, but my tendency is to lean toward literary fiction, and that’s not exactly fair… or the most fun. I’m branching out. Give me your scifi and your essay collections!

3. Read more in-depth: In-depth can mean a few different things in this context, and I’m pretty sure I mean them all. I want to pay better attention to what I’m reading and retain details over time. I want to discuss literature with friends and feel more comfortable stating a confident and sure-footed opinion. I want to read books that inspire me to read other books and read those too. Did I get them all?

4. Read more creatively: Three years ago, I had never listened to an audiobook. Two years ago, I had never read an ebook. Last year, I started a book club and also started reading books with long-distance friends as a way to ensure regular and stimulating conversations. What will I do next?!

5. Read research: I am both thrilled and terrified to say that I’ve got some very serious book ideas rolling around in my brain right now. Of course, I couldn’t possibly make writing a novel easy on myself, so they’re historical ideas that require quite a bit of research in order to get right. My 2013 reading life needs to be at least 30% research material in order to get this silly thing on paper before I die.

Outside of my general reading resolutions, my only concrete reading goal this year is to reading the complete and annotated Sherlock Holmes canon out loud with my husband. I’m new to this whole marriage thing, but this is what it’s about, right? Sharing passions? (i.e. convincing him to be as wholly obsessive about the Sherlockian universe as I am?) Right? Don’t worry. He’ll love it. I’m doing voices.