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Over the course of his long and celebrated literary career, award-winning author David Almond has consistently explored the theme of opposing forces: His characters teeter between the dual attractions of good and evil, light and darkness. “I was brought up Catholic,” he explains, “so this notion is central to my childhood: deep, deep darkness and bright, bright light became part of my blood and bones, really. I couldn’t not write about those opposites.” While the title image of his latest novel, THE TIGHTROPE WALKERS, beautifully captures this central theme, Almond adds that he’s also fascinated by such acrobats: “I really admire what tightrope walkers can do--how beautiful it is and how dangerous.” He likens that balancing act to one required by writers. “You have to stay on that line, keep well balanced and have a sense of the void underneath you.”
The animal that Sara Gruen is most associated with is a pachyderm. Next to that might come bonobos. In her most recent book, however, the author of the bestsellers WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and APE HOUSE has placed a mythological creature at the center of her plot. That would be the Loch Ness Monster.
In AT THE WATER’S EDGE, published earlier this year, a Philadelphia socialite named Maddie Hyde accompanies her husband, Ellis, and his best friend to Scotland to search for Nessie (as the monster is often affectionately called) in 1944, as WWII rages around them. The men have been excused from military service for medical reasons, and the trip is intended to vindicate Ellis’s father, who several years earlier was accused of passing off fraudulent photographs of the monster as real ones. The horrors of war, class differences, friendship, and romance are among the issues Maddie faces.
We are saddened that Terry Pratchett passed away in March 2015.
Nine-year-old witches with first sight and second thoughts, luggage that travels by itself, and six-foot dwarfs--these are are just a few of the delightful characters that inhabit Terry Pratchett's long-running Discworld series--a wondrous universe that combines the trappings of fantasy (wizards, dragons, elves, etc.) with some of the wittiest, silliest, most penetrating satire being written today.
Scott Simon talks for a living, so one might think that narrating the audio version of his most recent book would be a cinch. But the longtime National Public Radio reporter and host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” discovered that reading a memoir aloud brought special challenges as well as pleasures.
The book blends the life story of Simon’s mother, Patricia Lyons Simon Newman, a lively, lovely, and wise former showgirl; Simon’s remembrances of growing up as her son and acolyte; and a description of their final week together as she lay dying in a hospital intensive-care unit.
In early October of 2006, mystery author Jacqueline Winspear was featured on the “CBS Morning Show,” highlighting how her success as a novelist was a dream come true. The native of Kent, England, who had variously worked as a flight attendant, a marketing rep, and in the academic publishing world, moved to the U.S. in 1990. One day, while stuck in traffic in San Rafael, California, a daydream began to solidify into the character and the story that became her first novel, MAISIE DOBBS (2003).
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