Monday, April 30, 2007

I spent the day with Jonathan Santlofer!

Friday, April 20, 2007

If you haven't read my reviews then you may not know that I am enamored of this gifted artist and writer - and if you haven't read him, please do.

Jonathan was in Miami for Sleuthfest, the annual mystery writers' convention (more about Sleuthfest on the BookBitchBlog.) We met shortly before lunch, and got to chat a bit. While we were chatting, Jonathan got a phone call from his mom. She lives nearby and drove down with a friend to see him, so I got to meet her too.
Mrs. Santlofer is gorgeous, gregarious and smart. She told me that when Jonathan was about 7 years old, his teacher told her he would end up working in the arts. That was some smart teacher, and some smart mom. She encouraged his artistic talent, finding a summer program for him at Adelphi College when he was about 13 years old. He was the youngest student in the program, by far. Mrs. Santlofer told me that she almost fainted when she walked into the class to see him drawing a nude, from a live model! But she continued to encourage him, and said that her home is filled with his art, and his books.

Jonathan's wife did not accompany him on this trip, but you can hear the love and pride in his voice when he speaks of her, and his daughter. His wife is a former librarian turned food historian, and is hard at work on her own book. His daughter is also a writer with a dream job; she writes a fashion column for a popular New York magazine - she gets to shop, write about it, and get paid for it!

Jonathan told me he dreams of someday doing a graphic novel, but that his knowledge of computer graphics is limited so would have to draw all the illustrations by hand, a monumental endeavor, so that project remains just a dream, for now. His latest novel has over 100 hand drawn illustrations though, and he worked hand in hand with the publisher to get the pictures as he wanted them in the book. He actually drew several more, but only left in the illustrations that he felt furthered the plot. It is a unique and incredible book.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

ATLANTA “Save the Book Review” READ-IN!

WHAT: ATLANTA Save the Book Review READ-IN! Bring a book (or many books!) you love, and let’s create a critical mass of readers to put the pressure on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to reverse its terrible decision to “reorganize” its book review out of existence! They got rid of the book review editor, and without an official champion for books within the paper, the quality of books coverage is endangered! It will become disorganized and sporadic, if not simply perfunctory, until, worse, it’s no longer there.

TIME: 10:00 AM until…you decide!

*rain or shine

LOCATION: Converge in front of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hold open your book and read aloud or to yourself. Trust me, you won’t be the only one. Picture hundreds of people doing the same thing! [*directions below]

WHO: Open to any and all readers and lovers of books and newspapers. Come one, come all Atlantans (or ATLiens), Georgians, and maybe even some of you hardcore out-of-staters.

WHY: Because the city of Atlanta wants a robust, reader-friendly, intelligent book review, not just a section run on auto-pilot from above. Teresa Weaver has created and run exactly this kind of section for almost ten years now and we want the AJC to reward her expertise, not eliminate her job.

Again, if you haven’t signed the "Protect Atlanta's Book Review " petition yet, here’s the link to it:

"Protect Atlanta's Book Review "

This week, the National Book Critics Circle’s launched a big campaign to help save book review sections in newspapers nationwide, and the momentum will continue next week. Read what authors, critics, and many other voices in the world of books and publishing have been saying about the issue.

Thank so much for your support, and PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.

Bet you never thought of book reviews in terms of the endangered species list!

Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners

LOS ANGELES, April 28 (UPI) -- The winners of the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced at UCLA, with the Robert Kirsch award going to William Kittredge.

The Kirsch award is considered one of the Times' most prestigious awards and is given to a writer who has made a distinguished contribution to American letters, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Other awards given out at the ceremony, hosted by author and PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, went to:

Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua for "A Woman in Jerusalem"

Neal Gabler for "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination"

Lawrence Wright for "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"

Ian Buruma's "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance"

Michael Connelly for "Echo Park"

Each prize included a $1,000 cash award.

Also the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction went to Alice Greenway for "White Ghost Girls" and the poetry award went to Frederick Seidel for "Ooga-Booga."

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