Here is my friend Jen Locke’s idea of hygge. Enjoy!
Here is my friend Jen Locke’s idea of hygge. Enjoy!
Not too long ago, the lovely people from Eventbrite burned up some cyberspace and contacted me on writing about my ideal book panel discussion featuring my favorite authors and/or characters. I Googled Eventbrite to see if it was legit or not. Looking pretty darn legit, I quickly contacted them and said I’d love to do it, just give me some time to figure out what authors and/or characters I’d like to have on my panel.
Saying yes to this project was the easy part…coming up with authors and characters was quite another. There are so many authors and characters I adore and nearly worship. I would need a round table as large as Lambeau Field to house them all. What authors and characters do I pick? There are times when just picking out what earrings to wear on a particular day is a monumental task.
First I decided to pick authors only. And then I decided the authors would all be women. This is no slap at the male authors I adore or men in general. It’s just four authors popped into my lady brain and they just happened to be women.
What else does a panel discussion need? Well, moderators, of course! We can’t let this discussion run amok, right? Now who would I choose to moderate (well, besides me, of course). I immediately thought of my favorite journalist, Bill Moyers, a lovely gentleman whose curious, thoughtful and empathetic interviewing style would be perfect for this panel and our sure to be scintillating discussion.
Afterward the panel discussion I’d host a post-discussion casual meet and greet for the authors and the audience. I’ll even bring snacks.
Following are the principle players in the Book Self’s First Women of Words: A Celebration (and Potluck).
Moderators: Bill Moyers-see pic (and me, of course)
Audience: Men and women who love to read (and maybe even write). I’d pretty much invite fellow bookworms who have a mad love of the written word.
Special VIPs: My mom who got me to read in the first place and introduced me to the wonders of libraries and book stores. My friends, both in my off-line universe, and those I adore via the Internet. They include long-time friends Nora and Elaine Takagi, Jen Locke, Rosie Blythe, Cobalt Stargazer and Tari. I chose these ladies because they are talented writers who have written guest reviews at both my blogs, have blogs themselves and are just incredibly talented writers as a whole.
As for the potluck I’m providing post-discussion and during the meet and greet? Well, I’d offer various types of cookies and brownies, including my treasured sugar mint cookies and dark chocolate brownies with a sea salt caramel glaze, chocolate chip cake, zesty pretzels, various chips and dips including my goat cheese dip, veggie with dill dip, guacamole, hummus and salsa, fruit and veggie platters, a tasty cheese plate with homemade crackers, and various liquid refreshments including my mom’s Brandy Smash.
As I mentioned, I selected four distinct ladies of letters-Judy Blume, Dorothy Parker, Roxane Gay and Caitlin Moran. The following are reasons why I want them on my panel:
How could I not have my discussion and not feature Judy Blume? When I was a mere lass feeling like a 4th grade nothing, battered by bullying, confused by puberty, and vowing to never name my future male offspring Ralph, Judy was the Man…I mean Woman!!! Whereas other writers wrote about tweens and teens in a way that were both saccharine and unrealistic, Judy wrote about the adolescent experience in realistic ways, which never sugarcoated the issues we faced whether it was getting our periods, sex and masturbation, schoolyard bullying, family strife, religion and social issues. She knew these distinct moments in our lives were of monumental importance and treated the topics and her readers with so much respect.
No panel discussion of mine would be complete with the ghost of Dorothy Parker, whose poetry continues to inspire me. However, I must admit I was initially not a fan of Parker’s. I first heard of Parker when, as an insecure, bespectacled pre-teen, I read her line saying, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Stomping in my Nike sneakers, I thought to myself, “What a mean lady!” But it wasn’t long before I realized the Divine Dorothy was just being snarky and probably pitying those men who didn’t quite get the erotic allure of a girl in glasses. I’m now a huge fan of Parker’s and I consider her to be the patron saint of all witty women too smart for their damn good. How could I not invite her to Women of Words.? You know she’d have plenty to say, and she’d love the Brandy Smash!
Then there are two of my favorite writers I have recently grown to appreciate who are not only fabulous writers, but who are also very proud to claim the word feminist. These women are Roxane Gay and Caitlin Moran. Both of these women write about the female experience, with clarity, wisdom and richness fully capturing the beauty and ugliness of what it means to be a female in the 21st century. Both Bay and Caitlin have written non-fiction and fictional books that are near and dear to my heart. Both Gay’s collection of short stories in Difficult Women and Moran’s novel How to Build a Girl received rave reviews by the Book Self. And their individual collection of essays, Bad Feminist and Moranifesto are two feminist-minded must-reads.
This discussion could also be a way for Gay to promote her memoir Hunger, which chronicles her experience as a survivor of a gang rape and how it led her to using food as an escape, comfort and shield. Interestingly enough, in Moranifesto Moran tells men two things they need to know about women one is we fear them, that they will hurt us physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This topic alone could make for a very intriguing and mind-blowing discussion.
However, I want this to be so much more! So even though I want this to be a free floating discussion of writing, I also have some questions Moyers and I could throw out to the panel. They are as follows:
After the panel discussion we’d have a Q & A session where the audience gets to ask the panel their own questions.
Later, we’d sum up the occasion with a casual meet and greet/potluck. However, we’d have to tell Dorothy Parker she has to smoke outside and keep her from bogarting the Brandy Smash.
I must admit I had fun writing this and I’m so happy Eventbrite asked me to be a part of this. I also realized there is so much I want to discuss with these ladies that it might take up more than one session. We could make this a week-end event!
Eventbrite offers great book-related events all over. If you ‘d like to find a book event near you check out this registration online tool.
Romance novels that do not suck.
Like a little black dress and a string of pearls, classic romance novels never go out of style.
Forget Fifty Shades of Grey (seriously, forget it); here are erotic novels to tickle all of your senses and then some.
Of course, I can’t rest on my laurels. Thank goodness I have been doing a lot of reading so look for more book reviews. I should have a book review for a memoir I just finished posted later this week. And I also plan to write and post reviews for a novel and a book of essays. And I’m revisiting a book I read ages ago for a retro review. Furthermore, I will post my first “Reading to Reels” feature within the next two weeks.
And of course, I’m always on the prowl for new books to read and review. If you have any suggestions leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your suggestions. Just so you know, I usually get the books I review from my local library so I can save some money. Hopefully, your suggestions will be on my library shelves.
When I write a review, or anything for this blog, I always wonder how it’s going to be received. It’s nice to know people like my reviews and are following my blog.
However, it is quite another to have the actual author of a book you reviewed leave a comment at you blog. Mike Adelberg who wrote the wonderful novel Thinking Man’s Bully left a comment thanking me for writing a review. And I am kvelling, KVELLING!!!
Here is a link to the comment:
I really enjoy supporting talented writers and to get that support right back is truly heart-warming. So thank you Mr. Adelberg.
Wow, it’s been less than a month since I started this blog, and I’m gaining “likes” and “followers.” This is pretty awesome considering I haven’t done much publicity for this blog. I’ve put the social media aspect on the back burner for now until I put up more content. So thanks to everyone who has found this blog and is reading my posts. I really appreciate it.
And thanks so much to Joe Muto, whose book Atheist in the Foxhole was the first I reviewed at this blog. He tweeted a shout out to the review and my blog. Wow!
I have a couple of reviews already written that I’ll probably post shortly, and a couple more that are percolating in my brain. I picked up some novels at my library that I’ll read and review in the next few weeks. I’m also going to start a series I call “Retro Reviews.” In Retro Reviews, I will re-read the classics or bone up on classics I should have read. I will also use this series to re-visit some of my favorite books, including some fun trashy reads!
And if I have an interesting news regarding books, the publishing industry or writers and authors I’ll post them via Books Marks.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I actually have a life off-line. My contract has been extended and I start a new position with this company next week. That will keep me busy because I’ll be working some overtime. With the holidays coming up I can definitely use the money. Because I’m crazy and crafty, I will once again be making a lot of my gifts because that’s how I roll.
But this blog won’t be far from my mind. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’m happy to share my love for books at this blog.
Aww, so sweet. I just took a look at my blog’s e-mail and found out I’m gaining followers and my posts are gathering a few likes. Thank you so much. Many of these people have blogs of their own so I’m definitely going to check them out when I have more time. Right now I’m finishing up some copy for a client, helping him with his fledgling non-profit.
Once again, thanks so much!