PaperBackSwap Blog


Author Interview with Frania Shelley-Grielen

April 15th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Author Frania Shelley-Grielen by Greg (VOSTROMO)

Frania Shelley-Grielen is an expert on animal behavior, training and environments. She holds two Master’s degrees and has taught for the ASPCA, NYU’s Langone Medical Center, and vocational schools. Her company AnimalBehaviorist.us offers consulting services on many animal issues for both individuals and companies. Her new book Cats and Dogs: Living with and Looking at Companion Animals from Their Point of View has just been published and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Frania has a ridiculously endless smile, a quick wit, and a dangerously high IQ, which is what makes her friendship with me so weird. She bears (see what I did there?) a strong physical resemblance to Bebe Neuwirth, except that Bebe’s Facebook page does not include a picture of her covered in brown bear saliva. That I know of. We used to pass notes back and forth in class. I probably still owe her money. Frania, not Bebe.

 

Q: We met years ago when we were young and cute. We’re both older now, but you’re still cute. What’s your secret?

 

A: Well if there’s any truth to that, it might be that I’m still drinking that New York City tap water!

 

Q: You have an MA in Urban Planning from New York University. Assuming you took this degree so you could plan a workable getaway from me, to a location I could not possibly find you, was it shocking to get my Friend Request on Facebook? Which do you regret more, joining Facebook or wasting all those years in college?

 

A: I did think that Planning degree had relocation potential with all those cities out there, and in addition to planning for human animals I kept wanting to know what the non-human animals – not you, Greg – in the city might have to say about things – so no choice there except for more university! And these days you get friend requests from every single person you went to high school with. And guys like you.

 

 

Q: You also have an MA in Animal Behavior and Conservation from Hunter College. It’s impressive to have TWO Master’s degrees, and it obviously means you worked extremely hard throughout your schooling. Since this likely limited your time for the more… social… aspects of college life, did you get my selfie? Sorry it’s a little blurry, the dog was licking my leg, he loves the taste of olive oil. So, um, what are you doing next Saturday (see Question 1)?

 

A: I was married in graduate school, so Spring Break was out of the question. I did work hard but being an animal behavior nerd I loved it, and my husband got to hear about animal behavior all the time, every day… *sigh* it’s the little things that make a marriage work. Also, if you think Fido loves olive oil, use the old actor’s get-the-dog-to-act-happy-to-see-you trick: bacon grease!

 

[Editor’s note: astute readers will note that Ms Shelley-Grielen has not actually answered either of Vostromo’s questions. Calls to the NYU Alumni Association and Bebe Neuwirth were not returned as of this writing; we do not believe “Hunter College” is a real place.]

 

 

Q: Your book Cats and Dogs does not mention me at all. Have you fired your editors? Will there be a Revised Edition with this material restored?

 

A: Now that you have brought that to my attention I will be looking into it.

 

[Editor’s note: Vostromo is in error. He is mentioned in all editions of Cats and Dogs, except the Revised Latvian verse translation, in Chapter 42: Why Pets Pee On Your Stuff.]

 

Q: You’ve worked on research projects on such fascinating topics as canine and equine domestication for the Museum of Natural History in New York. Are the bathrooms there as clean and pleasant as I’ve heard?

 

A: So the secret’s out! They are, all those great old porcelain fixtures and windows and such. And the exhibits are pretty cool too.

 

 

Q: If you were in a lifeboat and could save only your pets or me, would you promise to let my mom know I died a hero?

 

A: Of course. She will be very proud of you.

 

 

Q: I have developed significant lower-back problems from years of being emotionally unable to move the cat a few inches towards the edge of the bed. Does this make you respect me more, or less?

 

A: So much more! – for I not only share this affliction, I also suffer from an inability to move the dog from the couch.

 

 

Q: Finally, if you could live with only one animal for the rest of your life, would it be a cat, a dog, a horse, or Russell Crowe?

 

A: A trick question, because everyone knows that Noah gets to take two of every animal with him!

 

 

 

 

 

Q: So not me, then? Hello? … Hello? Frania?

 

 

 

Q: … Bebe? What are you doing here? What five dollars?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Greg gets that straightened out, we are very glad that Frania Shelley-Grielen has generously offered a copy of her book, Cats and Dogs: Living with and Looking at Companion Animals from their Point of View as a prize to a member of PaperBackSwap!

 

To enter to win, please leave a comment here on the Blog. You have until Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12 noon, EDT to enter. Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 19th.

 

 

 

Good luck to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday – Master of the Day of Judgment

April 14th, 2014

Master of the Day of Judgment by Leo Perutz

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

This classic fantastic mystery by Leo Perutz is set in Vienna in the early 20th century. The themes and devices will be familiar to us post-modern readers. A romantic triangle in the era of the late Hapsburgs as in Sándor Márai’s Embers. Guilt over sexual transgressions as in Arthur Schnitzler’s stories from decadent Vienna.  The secret revealed in a manuscript as in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. The phantasmagoric atmosphere as in William Kotzwinkle’s Fata Morgana. The unreliability of an unsympathetic narrator – well, name your favorite modernist writer from the early 20th century.

Our narrator, the often ruthless and brutal Baron Yosch, narrates the events surrounding the suicide of actor Eugene Bischoff, the latest in a mysterious series of suicides. His chronicle is plagued by semi-confessed guilt over adultery. We readers receive tantalizing hints as to who is behind the eponymous “The Master of the Day of Judgment.” As the amateur detectives Solgrub and Gorsky reconstruct the dead man’s final hours, we realize we have to read this slowly so as not to be more confused than the author intends us to be.

Pretty creepy, with a surprise ending. Readers looking for a slightly lighter Kafkaesque mystery won’t go wrong.

 

 

From the Page to the Stage – Winners!

April 9th, 2014

 

The Winners of the cast-autographed copies of the book,

The Bridges of Madison County are:

 

Tricia A. (tricia316)

 

jlcarroll

 

Richard M. (algernon99)

 

 

And the winner of the ticket contest:

Mary G. from the Bronx!

Mary, we have sent you an email, you have until Thursday
to reply to the email, or to send an email to:
Blog@paperbackswap.com to claim your prize.

 

And don’t forget, you don’t have to be our lucky winner to experience BRIDGES on Broadway.The producers of the musical have shared a coupon code for PaperBackSwap members to purchase tickets for the Broadway show at a special rate – the code is BRBLST125 and can be used at BroadwayOffers.com.

 

 

 

 

From the Page to the Stage….Part 3 – Ticket Contest!

April 4th, 2014

 

One of the most romantic novels ever written is now Broadway’s most irresistible love story. Four-time Tony®  nominee Kelli O’Hara stars with Steven Pasquale in the most romantic musical Broadway has seen in years.  New York Magazine hails BRIDGES as being “gorgeous, powerful, and rapturous” and NPR says that it’s “an evening you will cherish long after the show’s over.”

 

In conjunction with the producers of the play, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see The Bridges of Madison County on Broadway!
We will choose one lucky winner to experience this lauded new Broadway production!

 

To enter to win, leave a comment on this Blog. Winner must be able to travel to NYC to see the show at the historic Schoenfeld Theater. Tickets are based on availability, and may be used for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening performances through May 22, 2014.

We will choose a winner at random, on Wednesday April 13, 2014.

We will announce the winner here on the Blog and via email. We must hear back from the winner by Thursday, April 14, 2014 or we will choose a new winner! This contest is only open to PaperBackSwap Members.

Please do not enter if you are not able to travel to NYC on the available dates! Prize is for tickets only. (We are not providing travel to the show, including but not limited to airfare, cab fare, bus fare, subway fare or bridge and tunnel tolls, not even covered bridge tolls ;) )

Good Luck!!

 

You don’t have to be our lucky winner to experience BRIDGES on Broadway.The producers of the musical have shared a coupon code for PaperBackSwap members to purchase tickets for the Broadway show at a special rate – the code is BRBLST125 and can be used at BroadwayOffers.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 


From the Page to the Stage…….Part 2 – Book Give-Away

April 3rd, 2014

 

The Bridges of Madison County:  The Broadway Musical tie-in

by Robert James Waller

 

If you’ve ever experienced the one true love of your life, a love that for some reason could never be, you will understand why readers all over the world were so moved by this small, unknown first novel that they made it a publishing phenomenon and #1 bestseller. The story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY gives voice to the longings of men and women everywhere-and shows us what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again.

ISBN 9781455554294, Trade-Sized Paperback

 

To celebrate the new Broadway Musical of The Bridges of Madison County,

we are offering 3 brand new copies of this book, autographed by the  Broadway cast! 

 

To win, please leave a comment here on the Blog. 3 winners will be chosen at random.

You have until Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

 

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, April 13, 2014.

 

You must be a member of PaperBackSwap to enter.

 

 

In addition to providing the prize books, the producers, Stacey Mindich Productions are offering an exciting opportunity for anyone who is planning a visit to NYC! The producers of the musical have shared a coupon code for PaperBackSwap members to purchase tickets for the Broadway show at a special rate – the code is BRBLST125 and can be used at BroadwayOffers.com.

 

 

Voices from the Creative Team on the process of going from Page to Stage…

A WORD FROM DIRECTOR, BARTLETT SHER

Q: What drew you to the story of The Bridges of Madison County?

A: A story that makes sense as a musical is one that must be sung- that crazy place where speaking will not suffice. This is why romance, the ineffable expression of love and loss, finds its way into music, and I think Bridges is a perfect story for music.

Q: How will the musical differ from the book and film?

A: It is really important when making a musical with sources like a book and film to somehow carefully build from the bones of a story, but to not feel that you are remaking either. This is a musical which releases through music very different things, and so we are really finding a new expression for a great story (one that belongs comfortably and uniquely in a theater). I like to think of it like Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” in its simplicity and am looking for what makes this perfect for our medium.

Q: What makes this musical relevant today?

A: Freud says that life is a struggle between freedom and responsibility. This notion, which lies beneath relationships, choices and marriages, also can be found in what we love about this musical. A story like Bridges allows us to question and maybe somehow experience things we would never do in real life and feel refreshed or renewed. Our story imagines how you can have a great love, a hard won marriage, and kids who turn out okay- and that we can make it fully through life. Musicals express these longings, and Bridges especially captures this joyfully and like you’ve never heard it before.

 

A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIRECTOR AND AUTHORS

Q: Why make a musical out of the Bridges of Madison County?

Marsha Norman: It has something in it that is very powerful that people respond to. That is the kind of opportunity that you want for adaptation. People would like a different experience of something that they already love. And those are the kind of things that I like working on: The Color Purple, The Secret Garden, and now Bridges.

Jason Robert Brown: In the months before I started writing “The Bridges of Madison County,” I wanted more than anything to write something full of what I call “big music”: long, soaring lines; huge dynamic range; large structures with a lot of emotional waves. The novel immediately suggested all of that and more – there is such passion in Waller’s writing, such yearning, and even more importantly, so much left unsaid. The lyric theatre felt like the perfect vehicle to tell the story of Robert and Francesca.

Q: In “Another Life,” you have Robert Kincaid’s ex-wife singing a song, while simultaneously across the stage Francesca and Robert are falling in love over a shared dinner. Tell us about this on stage blending of the past and present.

Bartlett Sher: “Another Life” was one of the first songs that Jason wrote for the musical and it is very striking because it is from an unexpected character, which is the ex-wife of Robert Kincaid. And it comes right at the point when the two people are having their first dinner together. So it offered a dramatic opportunity to blend two theatrical moments into one. And I think for me what helps make a musical special is looking for those opportunities where something you are not used to seeing happens. So the unfolding of his past, of his ex-wife talking about the troubled history in their past while he is discovering a new love brings out both the idea of another life and the beginning of another life between he and Francesca.

Marsha Norman: Also, “Another Life” states in a very oblique way one of the big themes of the show. That there is always, at any moment, this big question that we have about, “What if I were living that other life?”

 

MARSHA NORMAN ON THE BRIDGES OF MADISION COUNTY

You cannot make a musical out of just anything. When I’m teaching musical book, I often say that a musical is a love story with a great final scene. But you also need a property that “sings,” a story whose characters feel things they cannot say, and thus must sing them. And it has to take place in an exotic location, in our case, Iowa, and then all you need are gorgeous stars, collaborators you can trust, millions of dollars, and a great title.

The Bridges of Madison County, the novel, sold 60 million copies starting in 1992 and wasn’t replaced as America’s favorite novel until The DaVinci Code came out 11 years later. There was also a movie version that featured Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep as the passionate lovers. So clearly, there is something in the story that people respond to. But you don’t choose a popular title because it will sell tickets. You choose it because its popularity means it’s one of the old stories somehow, one of the stories we need to hear again and again.

But I was drawn to this material as a human being, not just as a writer. By 1965, when the musical takes place, women across the country were beginning to come out of the kitchen and take an active role in their communities. Women’s voices began to be heard on the radio; Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Aretha Franklin, and Patsy Cline. Women began joining war protest movements, as they had during the Civil Rights movement, and as they would again in the Women’s movement. Francesca’s growing awareness of her isolation in her house, and her ability to express this to her husband is hard for her, culturally and personally. What she doesn’t know is that she is joining the chorus that will make a different life possible for all the generations of women who come after her, including me.

You can read more of this interview and conversation on the web-site: www.bridgesofmadisoncountymusical.com

From the web-site:

One of the most romantic novels ever written is now Broadway’s most irresistible love story. Four-time Tony® nominee Kelli O’Hara stars with Steven Pasquale in the most romantic musical Broadway has seen in years. This stunning new musical features a gorgeous, soulful score by Tony Award®-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years). Directed by two-time Tony® winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is the unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance at so much more.

 

Please check the blog tomorrow for our final installment and a very exciting ending to this Blog series!

 

 

 

 

 

From the Page to the Stage….Part 1

April 2nd, 2014

 

 

“There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads. This is one of them. – Robert James Waller
And so begins a story that you will never forget. . .”
- inside book-leaf, 1992

“When The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller came out in 1992, it was THE book to read. Everyone was talking about it’with good reason. It’s a good book, a short but satisfying read. It’s a love story–an affair to remember, so to speak. In the summer of 1965 Francesca Johnson was a farm wife who meets Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer, passing through town. He’s interested in photographing the covered bridges in the area and asks Francesca for directions. When she offers to show him, there’s an instant chemistry spark that slowly ignites into full-blown passionate fireworks. Her family is out of town, which is quite convenient for them. But this isn’t just a “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” relationship. Robert and Francesca find true love. He heaps on the romantic mush she longs for and her husband is not built for. He tells her he loves her and cinches the deal by saying things like: “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.” Or how about: “I’m no longer sitting next to you here on the grass. You have me inside of you as a willing prisoner.” Great stuff for a lonely farm wife.”
- Annette S. (annette-s), PaperBackSwap Member

 

The Bridges of Madison County was a book I had had sitting around for a while. I had a day or evening with no plans, so I decided to read it to see what it was all about. I ended up reading it in one sitting. I laughed, I cried, I ached, and I (mentally) pleaded for what I wanted to happen. Sometimes I was right, sometimes the author went a different way. The author did an excellent job of making the characters seem real. Tears were streaming down my face by the end. I know I sat for a while after I’d finished, just pondering the story.”
- Cathy W. (Firefly), PaperBackSwap Member

 

“My favorite book of the year . . . one of the most romantic, stirring tales of true love I’ve ever read”.
-Oprah Winfrey, 1993
“I was in college when I read The Bridges of Madison County. I was full of hope and excitement. I was young, in love, and believed the world was full of endless possibilities. Reading the love story of Robert and Francesca was so poignant and expressed all of the intense emotions that go into love unexpected but embraced. I felt almost like I was eavesdropping into their moments that should have been their own but it was too beautiful to look away.
- Mirah W. (mwelday), PaperBackSwap Member

 

“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces.”
- Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County

 

“If you have ever had a love that you knew would never work out but would last forever in your heart you will be able to relate to this beautifully written story. Somehow knowing that it can not be more than the moment, makes your feelings a million times stronger for the times you are together. I cried thru almost the whole book. Beautiful love story, brings out lots of emotion, well worth reading over and over.”
- Connie A. (jazzysmom), PaperBackSwap Member

 

The one true love, from a small chance meeting. Touches anyone who has ever found and lost the love of his/her life.
- Nancy B. (AcornNancy)

 

“The Bridges of Madison County, the novel, sold 60 million copies starting in 1992 and wasn’t replaced as America’s favorite novel until The DaVinci Code came out 11 years later. There was also a movie version that featured Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep as the passionate lovers. So clearly, there is something in the story that people respond to. But you don’t choose a popular title because it will sell tickets. You choose it because its popularity means it’s one of the old stories somehow, one of the stories we need to hear again and again.

But I was drawn to this material as a human being, not just as a writer. By 1965, when the musical takes place, women across the country were beginning to come out of the kitchen and take an active role in their communities. Women’s voices began to be heard on the radio; Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Aretha Franklin, and Patsy Cline. Women began joining war protest movements, as they had during the Civil Rights movement, and as they would again in the Women’s movement. Francesca’s growing awareness of her isolation in her house, and her ability to express this to her husband is hard for her, culturally and personally. What she doesn’t know is that she is joining the chorus that will make a different life possible for all the generations of women who come after her, including me.”
- Marsha Norman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright and Author

 

And if all of this has made you curious, please check back here on the Blog tomorrow when more will be revealed!

Free Book Friday Winner!

March 30th, 2014

 

 

Our Winner of this week’s Free Book Friday is:

 

 Sallie M. (oldrockandroll)

 

Congratulations,  Sallie!

Your Book will be out in the mail to you shortly

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog, stay tuned for more great book reviews, author interviews and contest!