November 30, 2007
Yeah, that's right--not only did the KU football team celebrate the release of "From the Depths" with a victory over Oklahoma State, but Hizzoner (The Second) made sure there were some festive explosions down near the museum campus... in other words, in perfect view of Lake Point Tower.
The release party on Saturday was a lot of fun, full of good cheer and good books and good friends and good wine. Technically, the good friends were full of the good wine, not the party. But you know what I mean.
Here are some destined-for-the-cover-of-People shots from various Friends (and Relatives) of the Blog:
James, Former College Roommate of the Blog. What you can't see is that I'm stomping on his foot as hard as I can.
People dressed more stylishly than I was also had a great time.
Friday's reading at Lincoln Square little-bit-of-everything boutique Scents and Sensibility went swimmingly. There weren't even too many complaints that Dr. Myers had a Johnny Cash-esque speaking voice. But hey, you give people enough wine and they'll applaud if you read the back of a cereal box.
Here are a couple of photos from the event, taken by Owner of the Boutique Julie:
Tastefully decorated book lovers browse the tastefully decorated store.
November 21, 2007
I’d heard raves about John Biggins’s novels set in the last fifty
years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now I understand why. If you enjoy an
author who writes with authority (like Michael Pearce, and with the same
depth of knowledge and dry wit), and who has the outsider’s eye for noticing
and observing, then Biggins is for you.
Tomorrow the World shows young Otto Prohaska becoming Cadet
Prohaska, in what is left of the Hapsburg Empire’s navy. The joy of the book
is that it is not a young man’s voice retelling his adventures, but Otto,
the old man, waiting to die in the strange Welsh retirement home for Polish
refugees, run by Polish nuns. He records his stories, with comments and
critical asides added by the older Otto’s hindsight and later analysis. The
result is often hilarious, always devastatingly acute. One despairs and
wonders, as he does, if humans will ever learn from past mistakes. As a
record of what happened to turn Germany into the bigot of white supremacy
that resulted in Auschwitz, it is horrifying.
The sailing details of S.M.S Windischgratz, the descriptions of
people and places, are so vivid you come to believe you are indeed reading
memoirs. I stand in awe, not only of Biggins’s research, but also his
ability to turn it into something so tangible. His skills as a writer are
one of the pleasures of this novel.
If Otto has a creed, it is “Lord, what fools these mortals be,” and
the novel gives us both comic and pathetic examples as a hapless Cadet Otto
sails on the weird and wonderful voyage from Pola (now Pula, Croatia)
ostensibly to the South Atlantic, but eventually to Africa, New Silesia and
across the Indian Ocean to Pola again. Enjoy it. It’s a book to cherish and
reread. -- Patrika Salmon
November 8, 2007
Doug discusses researching for and writing Night of Flames, and provides fresh insight into key historical events that took place in Poland and Belgium during WWII.
Click here to listen to the podcast interview.
November 6, 2007
Whether you're a book club member, a bookseller, librarian or would just like to drop me a line, shoot me an e-mail and I'll get right back to you. Please note that plot points will not be given away under any circumstances. Unless those circumstances involve briefcases full of cash.