Wicked Wednesday–Thankful for Books

Thankful for Our Readers:  The Wickeds’ November giveaway continues. For a chance to win A Christmas Peril, by our own J. A. Hennrikus, leave a comment below.

One of the things all who read this blog have in common is a love of reading and books. Books can be friends when we’re lonely. They can open up a wider world for us when we are stuck in one place. They can sooth and distract us during times of stress. They can stimulate our minds, open our imaginations and make us think about people and places in new ways.

Wickeds, tell us a story about a time a book was particularly meaningful to you.

Liz: When I was in grad school, I read Joyce Carol Oates’ We Were the Mulvaneys. It’s a book about a family that imploded after something happened to one of the children. It was one of her best books, and one of the best books I ever read – one of the few that I would re-read. It’s so raw and emotional and is such a great window into the way family tragedies happen and how things affect people. Makes me cry every time.

poisonwoodEdith: When I lived in Burkina Faso for a year in 1998-99, it was difficult time for me personally on all kinds of fronts. My sister sent me The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is set in tropical central Africa and I was in the arid west, but the writing, the storytelling, the depth of characters – Kingsolver let me lose myself entirely to the story, for which I was grateful. She writes so thoroughly in four different characters’ voices, the reader knows instantly in whose voice a particular chapter is, and I learned from that. Thank you, Ms. Kingsolver.

Sherry: When I was going through a rough period in my life I came across Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky. It is the first in her amazing V. I. Warshawski series. V.I. is a strong, independent woman who also has a vulnerable side. I thought if she can be strong and independent so can I. Fortunately, I didn’t come across any dead bodies, no one beat me up, and no one set me up. But V. I. helped give me the courage to face life full on. A couple of years ago, I met Sara at Malice Domestic and got to thank her in person.

Jessie: This is such a great question! I’m not quite sure how anyone survives life without books. Certainly how one would survive childhood! When I was six my appendix ruptured in the situation ended up being very complicated. The surgeon was not certain I was going to survive the ordeal. While I was in the hospital recovering my mother read to me every night from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I thought it was so delightfully funny that I couldn’t help but laugh which unfortunately tore at my surgical staples.  The book was so wonderful that having them replaced was worth the pain. I think knowing the world was full of as much magic as books provided gave me a great deal of incentive to  make a full recovery.

Julie: I love this question. During the summer of 1990 I was running the box office for the Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment exhibition at the ICA. On my commutes, I read The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. I would also read it during breaks in the box office. Soon other folks were reading it as well, and I had to leave it there once I was done so that everyone could keep reading. I remember my sister (hello nepotism) wouldn’t leave until she finished it, so she sat on the floor of the box office sobbing. I loved Pat Conroy’s writing. He painted water colors of emotion with words. Just an amazing book, and memory.

Barb: These stories are terrific and you’ve called out some wonderful books, too. I remember vividly turning the last page of Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry and sobbing and sobbing because the book was over, because I couldn’t live in that world anymore, and because I could never again read that story for the first time.

Readers: For a chance to win A Christmas Peril, tell us about a time in your life when a book was particularly meaningful or just say hello!

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Key West Literary Seminar–Week One

by Barbara Ross

Still in Key West, eking out the last of the warmth before packing up to take the l-o-o-ong trek home on Friday.

While here in Key West, I had the chance to attend both sessions of the Key West Literary Seminar. The seminar occurs annually in January and examines literature and writing from a different perspective every year. (In fact, author Lucy Burdette had a lot of fun with the seminar in the second book in her Key West Food Critic Mystery series, An Appetite for Murder. All characters are fictional, of course!)

This year the topic was The Dark Side–Crime Writing. Here are some of the provocative/interesting things the authors said in Week One of the seminar.

Sara Paretsky Joyce Carol Oates Scott Turow Gillian Flynn Alexander McCall Smith Attica Locke Carl Hiassen Les Standiford Stephen L. Carter Megan Abbott Laura Lippman Gillian FlynnDiscuss.

Note: If you want to see quotes from the first week of the Key West Literary Seminar, including authors Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Elizabeth George, Michael Connelly and many others, see my post today on the Maine Crime Writers blog.