Jodi Picoult’s New Novel, “Sing Me Home” Live Video and Release!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jodi Picoult’s “Sing You Home” Live Interview!!! March 1, 2011 Release

Jodi Picoult releases her 17th novel and all we can do is wait in line to be the first ones to grab a copy!  On March 7th, at her Opening Reception in New York City, Jodi will be answering questions about “Sing You Home,” and I’ll have the live video on this blog.  So exciting for me to be a part of it.  I was thrilled to get an actual invitation to the event, itself, but travelling isn’t possible for me, so I’m left to use this method of communication instead.  I love Jodi and Simon & Schuster!!!
If you link to you will see some pre-publication video by Ms Picoult with regard to “Sing You Home,” and her personal connection to the story. One of her sons is gay and through him the family has been introduced to unique experiences.  The family is fiercely supportive of who this young man is.
After having read some of the book at this point, (I was given a pre-publication copy of it….so grateful!) I’ve found it in the best tradition of Jodi Picoult’s writing.  Just makes one want to stay up 24/7 reading.  She’s written this one from a perspective of her own heart, however, which gives it a certain depth of feeling that I believe we’ll find unique.  I have a feeling this book will be one her fans will rank as her best to date.
Along with her novel, Ms Picoult has collaborated with her dear friend, Ellen Wilber, to create a companion soundtrack!  How unique in the industry…or, as I quote another author friend of mine…”the brave new world of publishing” is upon us.  This beautiful recording, which Ms Wilber performs and has written the music for, and for which Jodi has written lyrics, is an accompaniment for each of the chapters of “Sing You Home.”  I’m distracted by singing when I read, so I’ve opted to listen after I’ve read a chapter.  It will be interesting to see how you feel about this, and how it’s used by readers in general.
As a sneak preview, I would like to give you the publisher’s synopsis of the novel:
In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist.  When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people–even those she loves and trusts most–don’t want that to happen.
Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood.  It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams.  And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutallly calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts:  family.”
I will be posting my full review of  “Sing You Home” in a few days.  I hope you’ll come back on the evening of March 7th, at 7PM to watch the live video with me!
*On another note~ I’ve failed to keep current on my blog reviews due to a nasty bout with a pneumonia virus.  I’m better and hoping to catch up this week!  Thanks for checking in with me.
Please leave me your comments.  I so appreciate hearing from you!  And, please check in as a “follower,” which is also so important for me.  It’s nice to know you’re out there!  Thank you for stopping by,
Your Bookish Dame,     Deborah

Muslim-American in “Saffron Dreams”

“Saffron Dreams,” is about letting go and learning to live despite every challenge life brings.  It’s about the strength of women and relationships.  It’s about the experience of women left behind in the 9/ll Twin Towers/World Trade Center terrorist attack.  And, it’s about the Muslim woman’s experience in America. 

Ms Abdullah has a big order to fill, and she comes shining through like a bird of paradise!  I loved this book for so many reasons, it will be difficult to convey them to you, so you’ll ultimately just have to read the book for yourself to understand.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was a novel and not a memoir…looking back again and again at the gorgeous cover and searching the eyes of the beautiful Pakistani woman for clues of the inner soul of such a writer.

The main character, Arissa, is a young woman who was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. After having survived a home of material wealth and non-existent maternal love, Arissa becomes wed in a traditional “arranged marriage.”  Surprisingly, this marriage is to a young man she had previously met on a trip to New York visiting relatives!  Fortune seemed to be with them from the beginning.  On the flip side of that fortune, however, rests a bad omen flung at them by a seer woman who predicts that the young husband will dance with fire.  Arissa and Faizan also have dreams of flames and smoke, but set these things aside and ignore them.  Of course, these omens find their fulfillment as Faizan is killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

We learn along the way such interesting information as Muslim life in the everyday workings of the kitchen cookery (recipes are included), the different meanings of the veils the women wear, the landscape and gardens of Pakistan, and the role saffron plays in the life of Arissa. I will never look at or smell Night Blooming Jasmine in quite the same way again.  Arissa is an artist, writer, observer of the world, and faithful woman.  Her agony is quietly and honestly shared with us.

Ms Abdullah knows grief and heartbreak.  Her novel tells us truly the pain of loss and the redemptive qualities that keep one living despite them.  I was widowed at a young age with young children so I speak from experience, when I say that this book conveys the feelings and experiences I had so profoundly and gently that it was shocking to me.  I was moved by Ms Abdullah’s gift for giving life to her characters.

I learned that women and widows are the same no matter what their religion or culture.  I learned that not all Muslims are terrorists. I knew that children can save you, but was delighted to see that Arissa found that gift.  That family can hold you up but can’t save you.  It was good to know that somebody else unknown to you can have the same experiences and live to tell about it.    

 Please do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book.  It will help you know how it feels to be a widow of the 9/11 attack….  It is a gorgeous and poetic book with an abundance of truth and beauty for everyone who loves fine literature.    I would love to hear how you like it.

Your Bookish Dame

Joyce Carol Oates – “My Sister, My Love”

It’s been a year ago that I actually read this book by Joyce Carol Oates, the magnificent author and professor emeritis at Princeton.   She is simply above and beyond as a writer, so anything she writes is worthy of attention and discussion.

This book, however, is not one of her finest, ‘though it is one of her most interesting in terms of deconstructionism and wild fantasy with regard to the JonBenet Ramsey true-life, unsolved murder mystery.  Nobody could have come up with this novel rendering of the circumstances…or of such a portrait of the family and of the little girl’s brother.  

Ms Oates does not, of course, ever say that the book is about the Ramsey tragedy or the family…but anyone who’s read the press or seen a television in the past 10 years would have to be clueless not to make the connection.

Did I  like the book?   Absolutely!!!   I was horrified, I laughed….I even laughed inappropriately!!!   I sniffled.   I glared at the pages.  I shook my head and huffed scornfully.   I stopped and stared off into space, and I promptly sent the book to my very favorite co-gran/co-in-law, Tinker, who is also a JonBenet Ramsey mystery buff like I am/was.

You can absolutely never go wrong with a Joyce Carol Oates book.  Her writing is flawless.   Her story concepts never fail to challenge and sit you down in a comfy chair for hours.  She is a storyteller extraordinaire, and she is a genius with all the nuances of characterization, place and time.

I can’t imagine you’ve never read an Oates novel before.  If you haven’t…..please just keep it to yourself…..     This might not be the place to start, but you could start with, “The Falls,” which is a kinder, gentler novel.    For those of you who are Oates readers, you’ll enjoy this one for all sorts of strange reasons.

Your Bookish Dame

“The Wife’s Tale: A Novel” by Lori Lansens

Lori Lansens is a gifted writer.  She can lift the heart out of human emotion and psychological distress and translate it onto paper as if she had a magic wand.  That’s a gift.  It translates, as well, to her readers as we are kicked full force in our hearts by her “wife” in “The Wife’s Tale.”    (Note to Lori–Before you read further, just know I’m a huge fan and I love you!!)

Mary Gooch, the wife in question, is a youngish, married woman….childless…who is obese and not altogether upset about it!   She relishes her mounds and crevices.  She’s proud of her beautiful face that’s full enough that she doesn’t need a facelift like so many skinny minnies her age and older.  Mary is accepting of her weight, though she’s painfully aware that others aren’t.  She finds herself apologizing alot.  She’s actually sorry for them; sorry they feel the way they do—not sorry for who she is.

One day, though, her beloved husband, Gooch, goes away.  (I’m not spoiling things for you, as it happens within the first chapter or so….)    The story then takes off as we go with Mary on her mystical journey to find Gooch/or “the Golden Fleece,”   whichever you’d prefer to call it after you read it!!

All in all a quick, entertaining and heart-wrenching read with all kinds of hidden meaning and symbolism for those of us who thrive on that, too.    As I said to begin with, I really love Lori Lansens  (I did say that, didn’t I…implied…) , and I would just be desolate if she didn’t write many more books.   However, this is not her best effort.   If you really want an example of how fine an author she is, please read her “The Girls.”

Without giving anything away, I have to tell you why I only gave “The Wife’s Tale: A Novel,” 4 1/2 stars.   It was somewhat because of the depth of the story, but it was also because of the ending.
‘nough said.

This book will not be a disappointment to Lori’s fans by any means, so I do recommend it without any hesitation.    As I said, it’s just not her personal best.

Your Bookish Dame