PaperBackSwap Blog


Winner! The Winner of The Love Book by Nina Solomon is

December 22nd, 2014

 

The winner of Nina Solomon‘s brand new book, The Love Book, is:

Susan C. (couponchampion)

 

Congratulations Susan, your book will be out to you shortly!

Thank you Vostromo for introducing us to another great author and thank you to Ms. Solomon for agreeing to be interviewed by Vostromo and thank you for the copy of your new book to give away to one of our members!

To read the interview click here.

 

Author Interview and Book Give-Away – Nina Solomon

December 16th, 2014

 

An Interview with Author Nina Solomon by Greg (VOSTROMO)

 

NINA SOLOMON is a die-hard New Yorker, Columbia graduate, BFF to our previous Vostrinterview subject Elizabeth Crane, could stand to snack on some Entenmann’s from time to time (just saying), and I don’t trust her mother. She is the subject of one of my more potentially embarrassing male moments, which affords me a great story when people ply me with frozen margaritas, and what makes it even better is I’m not completely sure she knows what I’m referring to. Her debut novel SINGLE WIFE was a Literary Guild, Book-of-the-Month Club and QPB selection, and was praised by Elle as having “both flair and heart” — which pretty much describes her too. Only skinnier. Her new novel THE LOVE BOOK will be published in January by Kaylie Jones / Akashic Books. More at ninasolomonbooks.com.

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VOSTROMO: Welcome, Nina, and thanks for spending some time with us. Reading through the press materials for your new novel The Love Book I was struck by an incident you relate where an admirer “began showering me with pastries.” I’m wondering: where did this take place, and do you think he’s still there? What kind of pastries were these? cheese danish? coffee cake? muffins? were they muffins? were the muffins iced? buttercreme, or the cheap stuff? Did you eat them all? If you did, did you gain any weight?

NINA SOLOMON: Did I eat them all? Did I eat them all? I thought you knew me better than that. I have never been known to leave a dessert unfinished, unless it’s laced with rum, which makes me nauseous. The pastry-plying admirer was the guard at my son’s school, but on the side he studied at the Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA) and besides fancy pastries like mille-feuille, Napoleons, almond croissants, he used to bring me entire cakes. Did I gain weight? No, not an ounce.

V: Also in the kit are references to finding a kitten in a grocery store and a man’s mock marriage proposal in a supermarket; your acknowledgments mention a friend’s saffron risotto; and in the novel itself one character is moved to ask “Are there any pizza bagels left?” while another stops at a deli for cookies on her way home. Indeed, of the thirty-four chapters comprising The Love Book, thirty-four of them have some type of eating and drinking. Given this focus on the notion of love as food for the soul, a question: how do you stay so thin?

NS: I only gain weight during football season when Edy’s makes Touchdown Sundae ice cream.

 

V: Your first book Single Wife is shaped by the structural outlines of the mystery novel, while The Love Book begins as a classic winding road trip. Given this appreciation of genre contours, tell us a bit about your own exercise regimen and how you maintain that youthful, girlish figure.

NS: Thank you, V, no other reviewer has ever asked me that. My mother, whom you do not trust, once saw me reaching for a second piece of fudge and said, “Don’t ruin your boyish figure.” You can’t both be right. I guess I respond to shaming. The “friend” who makes the amazing saffron risotto is also an exercise fiend and gets me to climb one hundred flights of stairs every day by telling me that if I don’t, I’ll start responding to “Lard-ass.” I think he’s also a bit of a sadist. He calls me a sugar smack head, then brings home three half-gallons of Edy’s Touchdown Sundae and a two-by-four mega Toblerone bar. A few days later he’ll innocently ask me where the ice cream went. You have to be fast around here.

 

V: You’ve been quite open about the inspiration behind The Love Book, namely your own experience looking for new romance after the end of your marriage. You describe finding a real-life “love book” and following its methods to a happily fruitful outcome. Given that dining out is a universal aspect of dating, and that your current boyfriend is French — we know ze French love ze gastronomie — can you offer our readers any advice from your own journey on staying slender while on the market?

NS: Staying slender while I was on the market was easy. There was no one to cook for me.

V: A major theme underlying much of Western literature is the quest for personal value — identity, place, purpose — outside of that set and defined by social expectation. In both Single Wife and The Love Book a woman revises and expands her sense of self beyond being wife, mother, object of male attention. Would you say that one’s inner journey burns as many calories as jogging, or spin class? Is carrying emotional baggage as effective as free weights?

NS: From personal experience, I would say that emotional baggage is at least as effective at burning calories as sleep.

 

V: We’ve mentioned that you are very close friends with Betsy Crane, herself a successful author. How’s Betsy’s weight these days?

NS: Betsy is successful and svelte. She recently suggested I begin calculating points. I’ve found it a useful tool to help moderate my intake of food. As Oprah says, nothing tastes as good as thin feels! Did you know that one cup of premium Edy’s Touchdown Sundae ice cream is only 20 points? That leaves me 6 points to splurge on rainbow sprinkles (and it’s not even noon)!

 

V: You’re on the faculty of Wilkes University — on their website is a “Healthy Dorm Cookbook” which I have to tell you is awesome. Which do you prefer, the Apple Sandwiches or the Curried Tuna Salad, and which would you say is more effective at losing the “freshman fifteen?”

NS: Apple Sandwiches? Really? There’s a recipe for that? The good news is that a 16 Handles has recently opened in beautiful Wilkes-Barre. They have a totally awesome non-fat, sugar-free frozen yogurt. If you only add twelve ounces of caramel and sprinkles, you’ll be beach body ready before long.

 

V: Finally, I too am slender — why haven’t I been published?

NS: I just calculated your BMI — it’s a gift — and determined that you are indeed at your ideal weight! It shouldn’t be long before you too have a book deal and then I’ll be interviewing you. Only better.

 

 

Nina Solomon has generously offered a brand new trade-size paperback copy of her new book The Love Book, to a member who comments on the blog. Winner will be chosen at random, Friday, December 19, 2014 at 12 noon EST.

Thanks to Vostromo for another valiant attempt to grapple with the definition of “interview” and to Nina Solomon for playing along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books for Schools 2014

December 6th, 2014

Dear Members,BFS 2014 click apple

So many of you have asked when our school donation program will launch again – we’re happy to announce that Books for Schools 2014 is now live!

Each year PaperBackSwap, through our generous members, donates brand-new books to selected deserving elementary schools across the country.

The goal of the program is to provide children with books that they can read for pleasure. Most of us in the club learned the love of reading at an early age, and this is a great opportunity to share that joy. In the past three years PaperBackSwap and our members have donated over 70,000 new books!

Last year, we reached our goal of 25,000 books sent to 24 deserving elementary schools. Check the details of last year’s recipient schools to see wonderful photos of the children receiving the books (here is an example from last year), and see their thank-you cards. If you know of an elementary school in need, suggest it here and we will consider it for our next Books for School donation drive.

Your donation of credits and/or PaperBackSwap Money (which is used to defray some of the shipping costs) or both help us to put books in the hands of children. Together PaperBackSwap and our wonderful members do make a difference!

Most of the participating schools this year are large, with enrollments of between 400 and 700. The school roster includes a special-ed school in AL, and a school in WV that does not actually have its own library – the local library they visit weekly has stepped up to collect and distribute books to the students (bravo to them for helping with this)!

And those of you who read the blog post about our visit to the Belize Children’s Home might want to look in on the Adopt-a-School drive for the abused and abandoned children who are being lovingly cared for there.

Thanks in advance for your help – the kids really appreciate the books!

Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team

 

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The Joy of Books, A Word from our Founder

November 17th, 2014

By Richard Pickering, PBS FounderThe Joy of Books

I knew that the 2014 PaperBackSwap Cruise would be a great time to meet club members, participate in book-themed events, and share in our love of reading. It was going to be fun (and it was)! But I never expected that our itinerary held an event that would affect me deeply.

As the cruise ship pulled into Belize, I was informed that there was a surprise event scheduled, in which I would be needed to participate.  “Dress appropriately, as a representative of PaperBackSwap,” Cheryl G. (Poncer) said. That was all I was told.

About a dozen of us —PBS members and some staff — got off the boat and made our way to the taxi stand, where we boarded a van that whisked us away. As the roads became bumpier and turned from asphalt to hard-pack dirt and stone, my curiosity mounted. “Where are we going?” I asked. The rest of the group smiled knowingly, and Cheryl G assured me that this would be an adventure that I would never forget for the rest of my life.

We headed into the heart of the country, passing small farms and an occasional building that boasted some small trade or service for the local population. Finally the van slowed, and the driver leaned out the window to ask directions. We were in the middle of a very rural area – I could see thatched roofs around us, and I learned later there was no running water and almost no electricity. We were in the proverbial “middle of nowhere.” Liberty Children's Village in Ladyville, Belize

The van turned down one last dirt road. There was a gate at the end, and beyond that, the building that was apparently our destination. Finally, I was let in on the secret: this was a small orphanage, home to 42 children whose parents had died of AIDS.

The staff greeted us with open arms and thanked us for coming.  Many of the older children were in school, but the younger ones were there, and anxious to meet us.  We went into the day care center, which was very clean and nicely appointed. The high ceilings and fans kept the room cool, and the walls were covered with drawings that the children had made and gold stars for good behavior or outstanding scholarship.

Another surprise! The group (led by Gail P.(TinkerPirate and Cheryl G. Poncer) had brought along over 100 books for the kids, carrying them in their luggage onto the cruise. That was enough so that each child would get a couple of books, with plenty more to share with each other. I read a story aloud to the kids, about a farmer with a problem – cows that could type! The cows had a lot of demands for the farmer. It was a fun story, and the kids were very attentive. After the story, our team distributed the books and also gifts that the group had brought, and then we spent some time playing games with the kids.  After goodbyes and hugs, it was time to leave.

Click Clack Moo, Cows That TypeCheryl had been right — I would never forget the day, the kids, the orphanage staff who took such loving care of them, the appreciation for the books and our visit. It was so moving to consider the life that the kids had led, the circumstances that brought them to this place, and the life ahead of them.  I was proud of our group for coming up with the idea to visit the orphanage. On top of planning all the fun events of the PaperBackSwap Cruise, they had gone deeper and found a way to give back. How typical of PaperBackSwap members! It’s been 10 years since the club’s launch, and the generosity and kindness of our membership continues to amaze me.

It’s the kind of giving that makes our Books for Schools campaign such a success every year. So many members have asked us when the next Books for Schools will go live. We’re happy to say that BFS 2014 will be launching very soon! We are planning to begin right after Thanksgiving.


You can read about Books for Schools,  see a list and details of previous participating schools, suggest schools for future inclusion, and if you want to get a head start on donating before the BFS 2014 launch, you can use the Give Credits button on this page.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with those children in Belize. May God bless each and every one of them, and guide them in their lives going forward. And may God bless each and every one of our club members. We love your giving spirit!

cari

Thanks to all those who made the Orphanage visit happen: Gail P (tinkerpirate), Cheryl G (Poncer),  Ajay I., Barbara S (barbelaine1), Cari (ladycari), Kareena I., Len S (lens), Marie N (pottergal), Rick (RickMatt) , Sonal S (ComeGo), our driver Stanley, the staff at the orphanage including Director Agatha Valentine, and of course the kids!!!

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Veterans Day 2014

November 10th, 2014

Nonfiction Review - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

 

Review By Mirah W. (mwelday)

Every year Americans remember the devotion and sacrifice of our military personnel on Veterans Day. Every day I am proud and honored to be a military spouse and, at the same time, it is incredibly humbling to be a part of a group of such strong and amazing men and women.  I recently read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and was, once again, reminded of the overwhelming pain and suffering some of our service members experience.

Unbroken is the story of Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini. Louie was a prankster teenager with a penchant for petty theft and he was quickly spiraling out of control.  His brother Pete convinced Louie to direct his energy into running and Louie found his stride and focus.  Louie’s skill as a runner surpassed what he or Pete ever imagined. Louie set high school track records in California and made it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

In 1941, Louie joined to the US Army Air Forces and became a bombardier on a B-24.  In 1943, during a search for a lost aircraft and crew, Louie’s B-24 crashed into the ocean and Louie was one of the three survivors.  Louie spent over 40 days in a raft lost at sea before reaching the Marshall Islands and being captured by the Japanese.  Louie then was forced to endure torture, humiliation, starvation, and other horrible acts of brutality in Japanese POW camps.

The entire book was so meticulously researched and delivered; it was both amazing and difficult to read.  While reading I kept thinking, ‘what else could he possibly have to endure?’ and then something else would happen; it was gut-wrenching to get through some portions of the book but, in the end, it left me feeling hopeful.  I simply cannot fathom the mentality of the individuals who were responsible for the atrocities Louie experienced.  In addition to Louie’s struggles, his family lived with the grief and doubt of whether he was alive or dead. During Louie’s service, his mother wore a set of aviator’s wings pinned to her clothing every day and at night she moved the pin to her nightgown.  The depth of her love and devotion was touching and memorable.

Unbroken is about resiliency, courage, heartbreak, and strength.  While I believe Louie’s experience is one-of-a kind (I simply cannot imagine others going through this same series of events), there are men and women of our armed forces who endure extreme hardships, injuries and tragedies every day and we hear little about it.  Unbroken serves as a very stark and saddening reminder of what some of our service members go through while protecting our freedoms.

Every year we lose more of our World War II veterans, who many Americans consider to be our greatest generation of military heroes.  I remember visiting Pearl Harbor, hearing World War II veterans sharing their stories with visitors and being riveted by the magnitude of all they lived through. Their stories need to be heard and remembered so we can understand our past and hopefully learn from those events. I believe Hillenbrand has created a masterful tribute to Louie Zamperini and all of our military personnel.  I give 5 stars to this incredibly moving, detailed account of the life of a great American hero.

 

 

News From The Cruise – PBS 10th Anniversary Celebration

November 2nd, 2014
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Hard to believe it is already Sunday, again! Times flies when on a cruise ship in the Caribbean with some of our wonderful PaperBackSwap Members!

Last Sunday was just a few moments ago, when we scallywags climbed aboard the Norwegian Sun cruise ship, and off we sailed from Tampa.

After stops in Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel we are now steaming north, full speed ahead, back to Tampa. Back to our real lives.

The weather has been, well, weather. We have experienced rain, humidity, warm breezes, sunshine, hot temperatures, more rain, hot temperatures, even more rain, hair-frizzing humidity, sunshine and really hot temperatures. Then really, really high humidity with really, really hot temperatures and sunshine galore. And it all has been glorious!

The sunrises have been stunning, the sunsets even more so. We have eaten great grub, drank much grog, secured much booty, danced quite a few jigs, and discovered treasured friendships that will last us lifetimes.

We have had a blast!

We wish you were here and hope you consider joining us on the next cruise for PaperBackSwap Members!

May your seas be calm and your distant shores filled with treasured moments.

Richard “PegLeg” Pickering and his band of merry mates.

 

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Mystery Monday Review – An Oxford Tragedy

October 20th, 2014

An Oxford Tragedy by J.C. Masterman

 

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

 

This 1933 novel feels authentic because its author was an academic all his life. Like the historian author, the narrator Francis Wheatley Winn is the Senior Tutor in History at fictional St. Thomas’s. He probably speaks for the author when he avers “My life is bound up in the life of the college.” Familiar elements of the classic mystery are a large number of suspects, an amateur detective, and a lengthy anti-climactic discussion of the puzzle in the last 25 pages.  In A Catalogue Of Crime (1989), critics Barzun and Taylor list it as one of the 90 best mysteries and say of it, “A first rate story, which…projects the genuine atmosphere, establishes plausible characters, and furnishes detection, logic and discussion of ‘method’ in admirably simple and attractive English…a masterpiece.”

I’m not sure I’d go that far. But I heartily recommend it to readers that like classic mysteries set at Oxford-type universities. It’s rather more intellectual than Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, with sometimes stiff vocabulary and ruminations on how a quiet community of scholars is rattled by a killing. It is, however, less flippant than Michael Innes’ The Weight of the Evidence in which while sunning himself in a courtyard Professor Pluckrose is crushed to death by a meteorite that the culprit has shoved out a window. At least, in this novel, one has a sense that murder has been done and that violence has dark consequences nobody can guess.