Sometimes you read a book that makes you think. And sometimes you just can’t put the book down. Isn’t it fabulous when you finally get to meet the author and he/she is as smart and great as you’d hoped they’d be? That’s the case with Jo Walton’s
My Real Children
Intrigued? Here’s a bit about it:
It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.
Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
I love love this book. Thanks to a meeting with Brandon Sanderson, I’ve discovered the joy of Science Fiction and Fantasy books! To be sure, YA includes both genres, so jumping to adult Sci Fi was not difficult. If I can enter an alternate reality from a YA book, why not an adult?
And so I did. I love how smart the heroine, Patricia is. She thinks about thinking. I love that. This would be a great book for bookclubs or older teens, too. Curious? Follow this link and read the first few chapters and see if you aren’t hooked too!
“Maggie Murphy stood alone and unnoticed on the doorstep of the thatched stone cottage that three generations of her family had called home.” We learn very early on that Maggie is sailing to America on RMS Titanic from Ireland. Poor Maggie is forced to leave her homeland and her beloved Seamus on the ship destined to sink! But before we go any further, let’s chat with Hazel Gaynor, the author a bit and see what’s inside her brain.
UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN: Like many women, I love all things Titanic related! I thought it would be fun to torture ask you questions and pick eat your brain. Thank you for subjecting yourself to us today. Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?
HAZEL GAYNOR: Yes! Too much!
UL: Is there really such a thing as too much coffee? Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?
HG: I like both, although you have to be quick to get your hands on either in my house – my husband and two children all have a very sweet tooth. I have to admit that I have never dunked a donut – I must rectify this as soon as possible!
UL: OMG for sure! We can’t be besties if you’ve never dunked! Noshing while drinking coffee and reading are my most favorite activities. Speaking of books, how did your book get started?
HG: I was a teenager when the wreck of Titanic was discovered by Robert Ballard in 1985 and have been fascinated with the ship and the events of April, 1912, ever since. I have said many times in the years since then that I would write a novel about Titanic one day – it just took a little time! When I started my research for the novel, I came across the record of a survivor from a small parish in County Mayo, Ireland. From there, I discovered the history of a group of Irish emigrants – now known locally as the Addergoole Fourteen – who travelled together on Titanic. I knew immediately that I’d found the inspiration for my novel. I wanted to explore the experience of a third class passenger on Titanic, the aftermath of the disaster and how such an event can have far-reaching repercussions on a survivor’s life. Through my character, Maggie, I hope to allow readers to immerse themselves in an aspect of the Titanic disaster they might not have previously considered.
UL: What else have you written?
HG: Can we ignore my first attempt at writing a novel, which is now hidden under my bed? Good! Apart from that, I wrote a successful parenting blog for several years before seriously starting to write novels. In addition to my debut, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, my second novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE FLOWERS, is scheduled for publication in early 2015. It is about two sets of sisters and is set around a charity for orphaned flower sellers in Victorian London. The story spans several decades across the late 1800s and early 1900s. I love the era and the atmosphere of street life in late Victorian London and it was a wonderfully haunting period to explore. I am very excited about the book’s publication early next year.
UL: I love the idea of your next book. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
HG: I would love to have the power to tidy my desk in an instant. It is currently possessed by an evil being known as DISORGANISATION GIRL.
UL: Ooooooo Disorganization Girl, I know her! She possesses my house too. She needs to go away! What makes you happy?
HG: My children. Satisfied readers. And writing THE END.
UL: yes, Yes, and YES. Although sometimes it’s difficult to say goodbye to a good book. Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?
HG: I could tell you about the time I was so immersed in my writing that I forget to collect my son from school, but let’s just keep quiet about that for now. (the apology ice cream more than made up for it, by the way!)
UL: Oh no! Thank goodness for apology ice cream!
Did you know that Hazel has a Pinterest board? Yes, it’s full of FABULOUS images that are inspired by The Girl Who Came Home. Here’s the link: Check it out, it’s really interesting to see real images from the Titanic. It’s also very inspiring to see the faces of those who survived.
Because I hate spoilers, I’m not gonna tell ya what happens. You’ll hafta get it for yourself. Don’t be an eejit. Get the book. Read it. Love it.
I’m so excited to have finished the latest Bridget Jones book! I’m one of many Helen Fielding fans who breathlessly waited for the release of her latest book. In fact, I waited on line for 30 minutes at Book Expo America to secure what I thought was a signed copy of the latest book. It wasn’t. I did get to meet the author though, and embarrass myself thoroughly. Second time that week I got escorted out…Just kidding.
Let’s revisit some previously banned books. Enjoy!
Hello, American-type chums! (Perhaps you say “Howdy” in America—I don’t know—but then I’m not really sure where Tibet is either, or my lipstick)
If you’re not laughing after reading the first lines from this book there is something wrong with you, like you’re missing your funny bone. This is one of the funniest young adult books I’ve read in a while! The main character, Georgia Nicolson, reminds me of a young Bridget Jones: endearing and goofy. This is a character that I can relate to (I either was her in middle school or I was friends with her), and probably many young teens can too.
The setting of the book (and I understand there is a series) is England; an English girls’ school. So, while not very multicultural, readers can learn about British life and culture from a kid’s perspective and compare it to their own lives.
The interesting bit about this book is that I can’t understand why it is a challenged book. The sexual references are very slight, in my opinion, and not offensive (if you know anything about young teen girls this is certainly relevant to what they talk about). There is no cursing and none of the characters engage in sexual activity, drugs or drinking. Although I guess the word snogging is somewhat sexual, at least in the UK, although it’s practically a nonsense word here in the states. Which is prolly why I love it!
This is a delightful, fabby, marvy, and gorgey book. I give it four paws!
p.s. did i mention i got this used at a thrift store? SCORE!!