You are browsing the archive for Uncategorized.

What’s Your One True Sentence? We want to know what has inspired you.

August 18, 2014 in American Authors, American literature, announcements, Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Literary News, Literature, One True Sentence, Uncategorized

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

We have just launched something special at Literary Traveler, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Literary Traveler’s “One True Sentence” will be a series of short video episodes that explore the meaning of words and the people who are inspired by their power. Literary Traveler will take viewers behind some of the greatest words in literature, bringing them alive through the people and places that hold them close.

One sentence is often all it takes to convey your truth. And each one of us has a sentence that we carry with us – whether it is a line from a novel, a verse of poetry, a song lyric, a personal mantra, words of wisdom from a loved one, or a simple string of words that bring you meaning. We take this “one true sentence” with us on our travels, drawing inspiration, motivation, and solace in times of trouble.

The first two episodes of this series feature contemporary authors sharing the sentences that inspire their life and work and how they came to find the meaning in their true sentences.

Nichole Bernier, author of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D., shares a quote from Henry David Thoreau, and Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Comfort of Lies and The Murderer’s Daughters, finds reassurance in the words of Gustave Flaubert. For Bernier and Meyers, and all of us, a truly great sentence can not only inspire, but influence your life, change your course, and start you on your own unique journey.

Our goal with “One True Sentence” is to inspire — to harness the power of words in our lives, and examine how one short sentence can hold so much meaning.  And we want to hear from you.

If you have a sentence that holds special meaning for you, we would love for you to share it with us and tell us a little about how it has influenced your life, whether it has inspired you to take a leap of faith, provided strength during a difficult time, or otherwise inspires, motivates, or comforts. Please send us your short personal videos (Be as creative as you want, but no need to get fancy. A smartphone camera is all it takes.) You can e-mail us at submissions@literarytraveler.com or share your video on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #OneTrueSentence. Your video may even end up on LiteraryTraveler.com!

Happy Father’s Day! — Who is your Favorite Literary Father Figure?

June 14, 2013 in American Authors, American literature, Book Series, children's literature, Classic Literature, Classic Writers, Fiction, Leo Tolstoy, Special Events, Staff Wishlist, Uncategorized

In honor of Father’s Day, the Literary Traveler staff has decided to pay homage to some fatherly favorites. We initially thought that this would not be an easy task, since many of the parental relationships in literature are represented as difficult, complicated, and neurosis-producing catalysts.  Yet, we learned that while much literature includes vivid portrayals of father/child relationships, and many of them are difficult and complicated, sometimes literature gives us strong bonds, unconditional love, and cherished role models who are figures to be admired. And, even the difficult and less-than-perfect relationships often offer very human representations of family.

Some of these characters may not be “fathers” in the biological sense.  They may be grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, brothers, friends — sometimes they are not male at all. Sometimes they are even anthropomorphic bears.  But, in honor of these very important people in all of our lives, we’d like to say “Thank You” with our literary tribute to Father’s Day.

Melissa Mapes, Social Media Coordinator — Papa Bear, The Berenstain Bears — I am a big fan of bear hugs, and remember learning so many lessons about family from the happy group of bears that live in a tree house.

Amanda Festa, Managing Editor — Carson Drew, The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories — Raised in a family where I could barely cross the street before I was 11, I appreciate Attorney Drew letting his daughter help out on his criminal cases. The relationship between Mr. Drew and his daughter is one of mutual respect and admiration — which is refreshing for a series that began as early as 1930.  Mr. Drew trusts Nancy’s judgment and skill, turning to her often for help.  She’s even come to his rescue on more than one occasion.  As someone who grew up by flashlight with the Drews, I always enjoyed their dynamic and looked forward to Carson’s telegrams and the occasional phone call, when Nancy could drop a case and get to town to use a phone, of course.  And there seems worse places to be reared than the charming suburban town of River Heights. Sure, the crime rate is high, but I’d surely outrun evildoers in my smart little roadster, a pretty sweet birthday present from Papa Drew. And all expense paid trips with my two best friends?  I’ll pack my magnifying glass and be there in a jiff.

Jessica Monk, Contributing Editor —  Mr. Tom, Goodnight Mister Tom– It’s been years since I read the children’s book Goodnight Mister Tom, and even just re-reading the basics of the story on Wikipedia (ahem), I found myself welling up again. It’s hard to distill the plot down to a paragraph, but it goes something like this: In wartime Britain, William is evacuated with other children to the countryside, as London prepares for the battle of Britain and a heavy bout of bombing. He is elected to stay with the reclusive, crabby Mr. Tom, who, it turns out, lost his wife and son years ago, causing him to retreat from society. William is an awkward, shy boy, who was raised by an abusive, god-fearing mother. Away from his mother, he thrives under Tom’s care, and it becomes clear that he and Tom represent a second chance for each other as an oddball father and son duo. Goodnight Mister Tom is one of those kids’ books that tackles tough issues – so tough that it’s difficult to believe that you were confronted with them at such a tender age. But it’s a wonderful story of unconventional fatherhood; Mr. Tom is not only moved, but tested by love, and challenged to act out of his own comfort zone on behalf of William. He acts with courage, providing a good example to William, but also with tenderness and caring. In this way, he ends up becoming both father and mother to the boy, and the story shows that there are second chances, and that parenting is a relationship that both father and son can grow into.

Antoinette Weil, Marketing Coordinator – Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird —  My literary ‘Father of the Year Century’ would have to be Atticus Finch. Harper Lee’s classic novel reads like a literary handbook for justice, and famed father and lawyer Atticus believes in it with his whole heart.  A widower, Atticus takes on the task (much more bravely than many in the 20th century) of raising his two children alone. He instills in his children a sense of morality and a sense of justice that is seldom seen in fictional portrayals of lawyers. He doesn’t allow his children to take the easy way out — a standard he also holds himself to. He speaks to them like he speaks to his peers — big words, lawyer-lingo, and all. But he is never impatient and will explain and re-explain what he means. And Atticus always says what he means. He never lies. Defending a black man puts Mr. Finch in the hot seat with the rest of the town. But he takes it as a learning tool, explaining to his children the principles of equality and of not judging a book by its cover. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus Finch teaches his children exactly what he taught all of us in the classroom. And for millions of people around the world, myself included, those lessons have remained intact and Mr. Atticus Finch enshrined.

Caitlin O’Hara, Editorial Intern — Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind — So, perhaps it’s all in a name, but I would choose Mr. O’Hara from Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel as my favorite literary father figure.  As a young Caitlin, unable to fathom why on earth my parents didn’t name me Scarlett, the fiery southern belle was to me the epitome of gutsy beauty.  As an adult though, one sees easily how flawed she is, how careless and juvenile.  She might have failed altogether if not for the lessons she learned from her father. Mr. O’Hara instills in Scarlett the love of the land that ultimately saves her. He loves his wife and daughters with great fidelity and patience. True, he falters when he begins to lose it all, when his beloved slave-holding society falls to pieces, but his values of respect for the land and love of family are at the core of the book; they are the strength that ultimately redeems Scarlett, for all of her faults.  In real life, however, I will always choose the real Mr. O’Hara — my dad.

Tatsiana Litvinskaya, Editorial InternNikolai Bolkonsky, War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy’s novel is one of the greatest Russian works of all time.  I first read it when I was 15 years old, and I fell in love with Andrei Bolkonsky, a young, handsome, and courageous man, who loves his country and is ready to fight and die in the War. But who raised him and made him such a strong man? The answer is simple: his father Nikolai Bolkonsky, a man who lived his life according to moral principles.  Nikolai raised his children to be noble, kind, hard-working, and not divide people by class, even though Bolkonsky’s family belongs to high society. When the father sends his son to the War, he tells him that he will cry if Andrei is killed, but if he learns that Andrei acted not as his son, it will be a shame to him as his father. These words show how important it was for Nikolai to be proud of his son’s sense of honor.

Katie Stack, Editorial Intern — Professor Albus Dumbledore, the Harry Potter series — Wise, kind, mysterious, famous, knowledgeable…The complex Dumbledore was a father to Harry when he had none. Not all of these adjectives are what one might want or expect in a father, which is why Dumbledore is such a valuable example of a flawed and oh-so-human father (wizard or muggle). In his efforts to shield Harry from the difficult realities of adult life, Dumbledore often caused further hardship. This, in essence, is what fatherhood is: a constant struggle between facilitating a magical and care-free childhood and raising your child to be an independent and resourceful adult.

Jamie Worcester, Editorial InternRex Walls, The Glass Castle – My favorite literary father figure would have to be from Jeanette Wall’s memoir, The Glass Castle. Although he is not the protagonist of the story, I find him to be the most compelling. The story starts off with Jeanette reflecting back to her childhood where her incredibly intelligent father, Rex, and free-spirited mother move the family around to various locations, even spending some time in the desert. There in the desert, Rex teaches his three children about different plant species, encourages them to play in the dirt, and allows them to pick out stars as Christmas presents. Readers will often find themselves enchanted by his intellectual nature and childish curiosity. However, as the story unfolds, the reader becomes disillusioned, and the reality of the family’s unstable lifestyle sets in. Although Rex is indeed deeply flawed, his adventurous spirit and charm are what make him my favorite.

Ali Pinero, Editorial Intern — Mr. Emerson, A Room with a View – Mr. Emerson stands by his son George and urges him to put passion and love before convention, even when everyone else warns George to do otherwise. He is the reason Lucy Honeychurch realizes that she loves George after rejecting him multiple times due to his social status, as Mr. Emerson urges her to follow her soul. I think it would be the greatest comfort to know that my father holds his heart higher than his head and would insist that I strive for the impossible. He also constantly offends people and disregards proper social conventions through his blatant honesty, which would be great fun to watch, as long as it doesn’t get to the point where I am too embarrassed. I’d have to fill him in on where to draw the line. Plus, if I ever fell victim to unreciprocated love like George, he could easily convince my crush otherwise, and we would elope like George and Lucy! Can’t go wrong there!

Who’s your favorite literary father figure?  The Literary Traveler team shared their choices, now share your own in the comments section.

Profile photo of osadmin

by osadmin

Winter is Coming…

March 11, 2013 in American Authors, Book Series, Fantasy Literature, Television, Travel to New York City, Uncategorized

By Kyle Leahy

Winter is coming to New York City, and no, I don’t mean another snowstorm (thank goodness!). Stopping in five international cities, NYC will be the only city in the United States to host the Game of Thrones Exhibition — a display of costumes, weapons, and props from the Emmy-award winning HBO series. Imagine transporting to the beautiful country of Westeros and immersing yourself in the five houses of Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, and Greyjoy. If you live in the Northeast, or are game for a road trip, this could be a possibility for you. The traveling display, following the likes of the Harry Potter exhibition, will give fans an up close and personal experience with more than 70 original artifacts from Season 1 and 2. However, unlike the Harry Potter price tag of $26, this exhibition is free to the public. The Game of Thrones Exhibit will open in NYC on March 28th and stay until April 3rd. Other cities hosting the exhibition are Toronto, Sao Paolo, Amsterdam and Belfast.  Check out the HBO website for more information as it becomes available.

If you can’t make it, don’t fret! Season 3 of Game of Thrones  premieres March 31st on HBO.  In the meantime, continue watching the extended trailer (like me) to judge how it will compare with A Storm of Swords, the third novel in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, upon which the show is based.

Who is everyone excited to see come back? How far will Dany go on her quest for revenge? And will Tyrion finally make things right with his family? I know one thing is for sure — season 3 will be full of jarring twists and heartaches for the characters and the audience. However, only one king (or queen) can survive. So whose side are you on?

Season 3 Extended Trailer

#GOTExhibition

Which Literary Character Do You Want To Be Your Valentine?

February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Who isn’t really into a great character from literature? Who doesn’t remember falling in love (probably for the first time) with the protagonist of a favorite book. Some of us actually prefer the secondary characters, and that’s OK too. What we have in common is this: a genuine attraction to spell-binding humor and good ol’ fashioned adventuring. So, which literary figure do you want to go out with this Valentine’s Day?

 

Amanda:

I am a fan of cynical, emotionally unavailable men who enjoy the company of terrible drivers, so my dream date would be with Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.

I would first meet Nick and Gatsby during happy hour at the local speakeasy when Gatsby sends me over a drink and then disappears behind a potted plant as I come over to thank him.  Since I am not a fan of showy, over-the-top guys who own too many shirts, I would immediately avert my attention to his bored looking wing man, who is nursing his drink and yawning over a copy of The Wall Street Journal.  His lack of interest will keep me invested, even after he criticizes my shoes.

We skip dinner and he takes me to a party conveniently located next door to his own house.  When I protest he uses some line about how his ex-girlfriend claimed large parties were more intimate. Did you know she was also a professional golfer? When I am finally sick of hearing about how he is totally over his ex, I start hitting the hooch pretty hard. His narcissism becomes more bearable after a couple cocktails.  After the fourth glass of champagne he tells me about this beautiful green light across the bay that can be seen perfectly from his bedroom window.  I’m no beautiful little fool, so I politely decline and he mumbles something under his breath about my driving. Low blow, buddy.  Call me?

 

Antoinette:

My perfect fictional valentine? That stud from District 12, Peeta Mellark.

I thought about picking Gale, but I figured he’d just be angry all night and probably make me pay the tab. The whole dark and mysterious thing gets old when it becomes dark and brooding–constantly.

Peeta is the one for me. His sandy-golden locks, those sexy survival skills, and the cakes…He’s definitely a keeper. Our date would probably start with one of those adorable couples cooking sessions, Peeta teaching me all about baking and decorating. We’d then stroll arm in arm down the streets of District 12, handing out our freshly made Love-Cakes to all the townspeople. Since he’s kind of a big deal, I’m pretty sure my hunk would pull some utterly romantic feat like hiring one of the Capitol’s air crafts for a scenic sunset flight over the districts. …sigh

 

 

Carly:

For Valentine’s Day this year, I’d like to go out with The Honorable Denys Finch Hatton, from Isak Dinesen’s memoir, or—probably more like—the film version of Out of Africa, as played by Robert Redford. This quiet, solid man, so mysterious at first, would quickly open up like a violet, sharing stories of his adventures…sincerely inviting me to join him the next time around. Top it off with a nighttime flight to the nearest (literal) watering hole, where we sink into a desperate haze of Mozart, cigarette smoke, fireflies, and inevitable heartbreak.

 

Francis:

Love is blind and beauty is unattainable. Because of that I would choose Estella as my literary valentine as she represents for me all that is good and bad about love. As I continually strive to be a gentleman, seeking my fortune, I can’t help falling for the beautiful and cold Estella over and over again.  As she lures me in only to break my heart, I am reminded of the first time I read Great Expectations.  Looking back, I am better off for having loved and lost her, only to find her again each time I read my favorite Dickens‘ novel.

 

 


Jessica
:

Wealth, fame and money mean nothing to me in a man…Unfortunately they don’t meet consideration unless they have supernatural powers. They must be an impossible mixture of brooding, complicated and oddly blunt and straightforward.

I don’t have high demands: my male archetypes were only formed in my teenage fantasy and sci-fi reading years, usually witches or wizards. The male witch from Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover. Unfortunately, our first date would have to be prefaced by some crisis, like someone in my family getting demonically possessed. Up to that point I would have treated him with wary suspicion after he made some off-color/sarcastic comment at the bus stop. As I later discovered though, the reason why he was occasionally rude/weird/monosyllabic was because he was ‘special’. He’s a third generation witch – and when I’m finally forced to seek his help after the crisis occurs, I go over to his house, and his mother and grandmother really like me, which is convenient. It turns out that he’s not actually as geeky as he looks at school, and for some reason he chooses to wear seductive Chinese silk robes around the house. We spend most of our time at his enormous old house with its beautiful garden, battling evil, looking over esoteric texts & engaging in sarcastic banter.

 

Katy:

The worst date I can imagine is a serious date, which is why I would ask out Mercutio from Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet. He’s witty and upbeat, so hanging out with him would be a blast (unlike Hamlet, who would probably insult my honor until I ended up snorting water out of my nose and crying in a river). I would like to take Mercutio out for some delicious Italian food, complete with a bottle (or two) of red wine, followed by a late night swim. Maybe I would even ask him to teach me the basics of fencing—through probably not after all that wine!

 

 

Kelsey:

“The Father” from Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road, will take you to a good, old-fashioned American eatery where you can indulge in a big sloppy Joe without feeling paranoid that he thinks you’re eating too much. (Ignore him stuffing as many rolls as possible into his pants.) You won’t have to try too hard to get dressed up, because this man has been through an apocalypse, so he’s seen everything. In fact, he is so tough that, even though McCarthy killed him off, he’s back just to take you out to dinner. He’ll teach you survival skills, how to run how to hide, and most importantly, he’ll take you to the shooting range and show you how a real man gets the job done. In case he seems a little rough around the edges, The Father will talk to you about his son so tenderly you’ll be weeping by the time dessert comes around. He’s “The Real American Man,” rough-and-tough-and-tumble, and he can be all yours. As an added bonus, he’ll never tell you his name, so you can’t forget it.

Melissa:

For myself, I kind of fell in love with Mark Twain‘s Tom Sawyer in the 6th grade. Mischief and adventure were totally my jam. I would have loved to spend Valentine’s Day climbing trees with him and chucking pine cones at the passersby below, then searching for lost treasure in a bunch of interconnected caverns full of bats and stalactites. If s’mores had been around in his era, I definitely would have wanted to fit those in somewhere too.

Wes:

Game of Throne’s Daenerys Targaryen is all of my female fantasies personified. Just her name is implicit of great beauty, complexity, and frequent misspellings. She is true heir of the throne and leader of a barbarous horse people. Needless to say, I’m down with being a stay-at-home Dad. She is honest and straight forward, though mired in contradictions (just my type). Dany is wild, yet reserved; compassionate, yet ruthless; and driven by a sense of justice though most of her convictions are still untested. She has purple eyes, silver hair, and did I mention she is the mother of three dragons? I have a particular weakness for dragons.

 

 

 

Special Event: “Self-Publishing in 2013 – The Year for Your Novel” … Literary Traveler Welcomes Novelist and Editor, Jennifer Ciotta!

February 5, 2013 in Literature, Self-Publishing, Special Events, Uncategorized, Writing Advice

Are you an aspiring writer who dreams of being published? Do you have an idea for a novel but just don’t know where to start?  Start here.

Event Details:
Novelist and Editor, Jennifer Ciotta
Thursday, April 11, 2013 6:30-8:00 PM
Cafe at The Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA

Please join us on Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 6:30-8:00 PM for an intimate night of literary conversation with writer and editor, Jennifer Ciotta, as she discusses her experience as a first-time novelist, and provides some tips on the business of self-publishing.  Jennifer will share her personal challenges and triumphs as a writer, and share the professional advice she has gained throughout her years in the creative editorial and writing world.

Jennifer will also give a short reading from her award-winning debut novel I, Putin, which imagines the first-person perspective of Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his personal aide, Gosha, to create a vivid fictional narrative.

The event will conclude with a Q&A.

About the Author: Jennifer holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the Gallatin School at New York University. She self-published I, Putin in 2012, and it went on to receive Honorable Mentions at the 2012 New York Book Festival & Hollywood Book Festival.

Previously the Editorial Director for Literary Traveler, Jennifer is currently a book manuscript editor at Pencey X Pages, and an advisory editor at Author Salon, a community of writers, agents and publishers.  She is also the author of the No Bulls**t Guide to Self-Publishing, and her short stories have been published in Del Sol Review and New Voices in Fiction.

Light refreshments will be offered.  Beer, wine and more substantial fare will also be available for purchase in the Armory Café.

Tickets are $10 and should be purchased in advance to reserve a space.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $15.

For tickets please visit our Eventbrite page!

This event will fill up fast, so reserve your space today. For additional information please e-mail Amanda@LiteraryTraveler.com.

To learn more about Jennifer Ciotta, please see her website and watch our short video interview.

 

Liter-Etsy: A DIY Guide to Bookish Goods

January 24, 2013 in Art, Classic Literature, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

I have always loved stuff. I can’t explain it: I’m not materialistic, and I don’t own or desire name brands or designer goods. I just love stuff.  My friends (affectionately, I think) refer to me as a hoarder from time to time, though after watching an episode of Hoarders where a woman saved expired raw meat in her refrigerator’s ‘crisper’ drawer, I’m beginning to take offense. Plus, the stuff I love isn’t bad; it’s beautiful, it’s artsy, and it’s unique. As that under-the-sea hoarder, The Little Mermaid, once sang, “You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty…But who cares, no big deal, I want more.”

When I was younger I had many collections. Apart from the typical stuff (books, stamps, postcards), I collected spoons. You know, those baby-sized spoons gift shops sell in both ritzy hotels and highway rest stops?  You know, the ones your friends look at and say, “Who would ever buy that?”  Well, I did. You think I am kidding? For a while, my spoon collection was hung proudly on the wall of my parent’s dining room.

Most of the stuff I love, however, is handmade.  I’m not a visual artist, but I like to think that in another life I could have been. I did snatch up the “Best Female Artist” superlative back in high school, but I was one of only two students who elected to take an art class — and I was the only girl.  What little remains of my artistic ability, I invest into wine-laden craft nights and DIY art projects.

So it’s no surprise my artsy, DIY, stuff-loving brain nearly exploded with the advent of Etsy, a website dedicated to the production of small-batch, beautiful handmade goods (with a large vintage presence on the side). What’s best, it’s easy to find artists who are into the same wacky things I am. For instance, there’s practically a surplus of bookish knick knacks and literary ephemera. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift, adding to your personal stockpile, or squirreling away goods for a rainy day, Etsy has a multitude of crafty sellers who will amaze you with their bibliophilic whimsy.

I recently did a little online window shopping and handpicked some of my favorite literary Etsy shops. Each artist melds his or her love of literature with a passion for both crafts and fine arts, yielding a beautiful (often surprising) collection of items that anyone would be lucky to own. Why purchase your stuff anywhere else? Through Etsy, you can directly support the artists who made it…and apparently, just for you.

Check out my “favorites” for my personal picks. If all else fails, Etsy has some lovely decorative spoons that my twelve-year-old self would have been all over.

Obvious State

Writer and illustrator Evan Robertson’s shop offers original illustrations, posters and prints with a literary slant. He believes that “the best thing about paperbacks (apart from the smell, of course) is that when a little jewel of a sentence grabs you, you can underline it.”  His posters, depicting his own artwork alongside quotes from literature offer a unique way to underline – by hanging it on your wall as art.  The 32 gorgeous black and white designs featured on Etsy include the words of authors ranging from William Shakespeare to Vladimir Nabokov, Jack London and Virginia Woolf.

Accessoreads

Anyone who knows me, or got as far as the title of this blog post, knows that I love a good pun, so right away I was drawn to this shop.  The owner, Lauren Davidson, offers unique on-trend brass cuff bracelets with literary edge.  Each is engraved with a classic quotation from the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickenson, among others.  The designs on each are beautifully rendered and connected with the artwork associated with the text.

Castle on the Hill

London-based artist, Jess Purser, creates gorgeous works using pages from classic books.  She predominantly offers ACEOs, which I recently learned stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals.  The works of art can be made from any medium (Purser paints on vintage book pages before mounting on card for durability).  The only requirement of an ACEO is its miniature size; 2.5” x 3.5” – the size of a standard sports trading card.  (Where was ACEO collecting when I was an artsy child in need of a hobby?)  Her book page canvas serves as a unique template for her art, which takes a variety of forms apart from ACEO.  Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet bookmarks, Jane Austen greeting cards and French literature post cards, oh my!

Uneek Doll Designs

Artist Debbie Ritter came upon the idea for Uneek Dolls while creating inhabitants for a dollhouse her husband had built. Afterwards, she quickly realized that miniatures provided a way to create the authors and characters from classic literature that she loved so much.  Custom orders are accepted, but with such a wide selection of authors, historical figures and literary characters to choose from, I’d be surprised if there was anyone she missed!  From Edgar Allen Poe to Edna St.Vincent Millay.  Looking to score some brownie points with the book-loving child in your life? May I suggest a dollhouse Pemberley? I know where you can find a miniature Elizabeth Bennet ready to make it her home.

 

A Traveler through the Seasons

October 3, 2012 in New England Travel, Uncategorized

When fall comes to New England, as it does every year, there is a certain melancholy that comes with the change of season. It’s a subtle change, but one day you wake up and your feet are cold on the floor. You take out your down comforter from the closet, fold up your shorts and put away your sandals. The nights become darker quicker and you find yourself inside, craving hot stews and quilts.

Summer, those brief but glorious months of scorching heat and green, green trees, feels like a distant dream. And you mourn the hot evenings you spent sitting outside on the lawn all night, when you could dive into an ice-cold pool and come out still sweating. You miss that free-ness, that spontaneity that summer so boldly facilitates. You grieve.

The cold comes and you shut down, hunker down, walk faster and laugh less.  Part of you knows that this is who you really are: the cold defines us as New Englanders. Our summer identities are induced by an intoxicating elixir that eventually runs out. Ahead there is a long cruel winter of blowing winds and falling snow, followed by the ugly, muddy fever of spring.  We are but travelers through the seasons: spectators, observers. Nature holds the power to change, but we hold the power to note the change. We document it and we revel in it if we can. And we become fretful as the leaves fall faster from the trees, as everything turns  a breathtaking brilliant gold.

When you note these changes, try to enjoy each second, each small but significant movement that propels us from summer, into fall, and then, into winter. At this kind of turning point, I read the poet Mary Oliver–who, according to Maxine Kumin, “is an indefatigable guide to the natural world,” a literary representative of our relationship to it. I find solace in her poem “Wild Geese,” which addresses the specific loneliness that threatens to overwhelm us. She writes:

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes

Oliver reminds us to look to nature, not as an enemy but as a grander entity than ourselves. She suggests that we take the time to recognize the strength of Nature’s consistency, the power in its reliability. Through Nature’s constant motion, we spectators become a part of it.

The world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Here, Oliver gently encourages us–even when we’re lost and lonely, the world continues to turn. We are reflected in nature and Oliver asks us to remember how we fit, “in the family of things.”  So this fall, in place of grief, carry Mary Oliver’s pack of wild geese home with you. As the leaves turn brown and then disappear, remember: we are a travelers through the seasons, each an essential piece in the turning cogs of Nature.

The 2012 Edgar Awards

February 9, 2012 in Mystery Writers, Publishing and Writing Prizes, The Edgars, Uncategorized

There are a lot of specialized awards within the book publishing industry.  For Sci-Fi, there are the Hugos, the Philip K. Dick Award, and about a dozen others. For cooking, the James Beard Award is well known. For Children’s, you’ve got the Caldecott Medals; for Horror, the Bram Stokers. And the Edgar Award, along with the Agatha and Macavity Awards, is one of the best known and most prestigious awards given to mystery writers. Named after Edgar Allan Poe, the Edgars are given by the Mystery Writers of America, honoring the best in mystery fiction, TV, and nonfiction published or produced each year.

Former winners include some of the most well-known names in the genre, including Raymond Chandler,  Dick Francis, Agatha Christie,  Truman Capote, Vincent Bugliosi, and Michael Crichton.

2011’s winners will be announced at the Mystery Writers of America’s 66th Gala Banquet on April 26, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. In a separate event, Mystery Writers of America will also hold a symposium, featuring presentations by current and past winners and nominees on a variety of relevant topics. Past subjects have included “How to Write a Novel,” and “Getting Here From There,” a presentation on some of the books that inspired certain authors to become writers. If you’re interested in attending, keep an eye out for more information on the website, which will continue to be added in the coming months.

Although we won’t find out who comes out on top until April, the nominees were announced just last week. Check out the following (abridged) list to see if your favorite mystery book of the past year appears!

BEST NOVEL:
- The Ranger by Ace Atkins
Gone by Mo Hayder
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
1222 by Anne Holt
Field Gray by Philip Kerr

BEST FIRST NOVEL:
- Red on Red by Edward Conlon
- Last to Fold by David Duffy
All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen
Bent Road by Lori Roy
Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
- The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Faces of Angels by Lucretia Grindle
The Dog Sox by Russell Hill
Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley
Vienna Twilight by Frank Tallis

BEST FACT CRIME
- The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins
–  The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender by Steve Miller
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter by Mark Seal

BEST CRITICAL BIOGRAPHICAL
- The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time by Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer, and John-Henri Holmberg
Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making by John Curran
On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda
- Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film by Philippa Gates
Scripting Hitchcock: Psycho, The Birds and Marnie by Walter Raubicheck and Walter Srebnick

BEST JUVENILE:
- Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger
- It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett
- Vanished by Sheela Chari
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey

BEST YOUNG ADULT:
- Shelter by Harlan Coben
- The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
- The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall
- The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines
- Kill You Last by Todd Strasser.

For a more complete list of the nominees, including the nominees of stage, short fiction, and film, and further details on the books and authors listed here, check out the Edgars’ website here.

 

Flagler's Florida: "A New American Riviera"

January 18, 2012 in Florida Feature, Henry Flagler, Uncategorized

The former Ponce de León Hotel is now the centerpiece of Flagler College's main campus.

When we last left Henry Flagler’s story, he had just become a full partner in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Despite the fledgling company’s youth, Standard Oil was on top of the industry within 5 years of its founding. Producing more than 10,000 barrels of refined oil per day, the business made Flagler a millionaire many times over. At just 42 years old, Henry Flagler had reached the peak of the business world. Despite his extraordinary success, Flagler was not a man to rest on his laurels and in 1876 a chance visit to Florida changed the course of his career forever.

Flagler first traveled to Florida not on business, but on doctor’s orders. His wife, Mary, was stricken with tuberculosis and the couple’s physician hoped a winter in warmer climes would help her ailing lungs. Tragically, the mild weather did nothing to ease Mary’s recovery and she died soon after. Flagler’s first visit to Florida, though marred by death, did not deter him from returning many times and when he remarried in 1881, he insisted that he and his new wife honeymoon in St. Augustine. During his stay in St. Augustine, Flagler was charmed by the quaint seaside town, but found its hotel accommodations and transportation options to be outdated and woefully insufficient. But in the little town’s deficiencies, Flagler saw a business opportunity. While still on his honeymoon, he attempted to buy a recently built hotel called the Villa Zorayda. The owner refused to sell but Flagler would later credit this failed deal with motivating his interest in the development of St. Augustine and, ultimately, of Florida itself.

After returning home to New York, Flagler’s desire to go back to Florida and leave his mark upon its Atlantic coast became the driving force of his life. Although he agreed to remain on the board of directors at Standard Oil, Flagler stepped away from his day-to-day executive responsibilities in favor if his interests in Florida. In 1885, Henry Flagler returned to Florida and never really left. His business pursuits kept him there year round and he soon became one of the state’s greatest patrons. Flagler first set up shop in St. Augustine, the city he had fallen in love with years before, with intentions of building a grand, 540-room hotel named for Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de León. The hotel, inspired by Spanish Renaissance architecture, became Flagler’s passion project and he spent lavishly to make it a reality. As the new hotel’s construction approached completion, Flagler turned his attention to the town’s need for a reliable, modern transportation system that could accommodate future guests. He quickly bought up several short, local rail lines and combined them into what would eventually become the Florida East Railway.

The rail was such an immediate, smashing success that it encouraged Flagler to draw up plans for similar hotels spanning Florida’s Atlantic Coast. He called his vision “a new American Riviera.” Flagler knew that with the right combination of access and marketing, Florida’s coast would grow into the premier luxury destination of the East Coast elite. By the early 1890s, Flagler was working feverishly to achieve his vision, expanding his Floridian holdings with a missionary-like zeal. He began construction of a railroad bridge over the St. John’s River, which ultimately opened up the entire southern half of the state and drew his dream of a developed Florida ever closer.

Next time we will wrap up Flagler’s story with the almost accidental founding of Miami and (finally!) the construction of the over-seas railway!

Your Own Private Paradise in Key West / The Hemingway Retreat at The Suite Dreams Inn

January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Great Key West Suite Near The Beach With Private PoolIf you are coming to Key West inspired by Ernest Hemingway, then you should look into getting the Hemingway Retreat at the Suite Dreams Inn in Key West. The Inn is run by a wonderful couple Andy and Jaime Laba. There are six gorgeous suites and they are impeccably clean, convenient and original. The Hemingway Suite was perfect for all we needed. A great living room in the style of Hemingway and with large kitchen and dining area along with plenty of room to sleep 6. One of the great aspects of suite was the private heated pool with mini waterfall. Perfect for relaxing and reading Hemingway or resting in Key West. And even better for writing in the spirit of Ernest Hemingway! This is the Ideal Key West Vacation Suite!

The Suite Dreams in is on Von Phister Street, close to the beach and close to Duvall street. contact Jaime Laba today at (305) 292-4713