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Who Are Your Auto-Buy Authors?

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Hello everyone! The holidays are nearly here, but I have a treat for you! If you haven’t liked the Savvy Verse & Wit Facebook page yet, go do it now.

Beginning Dec. 12 (sometime this afternoon the first pick will be revealed), I’ll reveal one of the books on my Best of 2014 book list, through Dec. 24.

That’s one book from the list per day, with a tidbit about why I loved the book and a link to where you can buy it.

Today, I wanted to talk about those authors we love so much that we buy their books automatically no matter what the subject.  I used to have just a few of those authors, but my list is now growing!  I thought today would be a good day to share not only the older ones on the list, but also the newer ones that have joined the ranks.

My previous list:

  1. Yusef Komunyakaa
  2. Tim O’Brien
  3. Stephen King
  4. Anita Shreve
  5. Amy Tan
  6. Isabel Allende
  7. James Patterson
  8. Anne Rice
  9. Mary Oliver
  10. Billy Collins

My additions to the list:

  1. Beth Kephart
  2. Jeannine Hall Gailey
  3. Jane Odiwe
  4. Syrie James
  5. Abigail Reynolds
  6. Karen White
  7. Beth Hoffman
  8. Jill Mansell
  9. Janel Gradowski
  10. Diana Raab
  11. C.W. Gortner
  12. John Shors

I find it interesting that there are many more female authors being added to my auto-buy list. 

I’m not really sure why so many great female authors are being added to my auto-buy list these days.  It isn’t that I haven’t read some great male authors, but perhaps I need to read more of them to get a true sense of their work and whether I want to buy it automatically no matter the subject.

Do you have auto-buy authors? Who are they?  What attracts you to their work?

Don’t forget to like the Savvy Verse & Wit Facebook page to find out over the next 12 days which books made the 2014 Best list.

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

Source: Gift from Anna
Hardcover, 272 pgs
On Amazon and on Kobo

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve, which was the War Through the Generations August read-a-long book, is set during WWI.  When the novel opens, a woman who has been wounded finds herself in a field hospital in Marne, France, in 1916.  She was found in the uniform of a British nurse’s aide, but has an American accent and cannot remember her own name.  As she grapples with her lost memory and identity, she plucks Stella Bain from her mind and begins to call herself such, even though she knows it may not be her real name.  Stella continues to work alongside the French women near the front and eventually volunteers as an ambulance driver.  Her jumbled mind takes a back seat to her duties at the front, but eventually, she feels drawn to England and the Admiralty, though she’s not sure what she’ll find there or if she will uncover anything about who she was.

“‘No.  Nothing is normal.  How can it be? I don’t yet know who I am.  I may discover, when I know my identity, that I’m not a good person at all.  I fear that I’m not.  I seek my identity, and yet I’m afraid of it.  But I’m more afraid of never knowing.'” (page 75)

Stella learns her true identity, and her true name is a near-anagram of the one she had chosen for herself.  When she learns of her identity and all that she frantically left behind in the United States, she must make passage home.  While Dr. Bridge and his wife, Lily, helped her to be calm and recover her name and identity, they are left behind in England without so much as a goodbye from her.  However, she never forgets their kindness and through letters, readers are given insight into her gratitude.  Shreve’s prose in this novel is distant.  While we see Stella’s point of view, readers are still distanced from her, which could be intentional given the absence of her memories and true identity.  In many ways, as the mystery unravels and readers learn more about the woman without a name, she becomes an everywoman for those women leaving during the early 1900s — caged in by marriage and family, but yet yearning for something outside of their home and legally allowed to own their own property.

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve is not just about a woman with shell shock or a lost memory, but a woman in an era where the modern world was just beginning to take shape.  A world in which women were fighting for independence from their families and husbands, to live lives as they wished to without seeking permission or approval.  Overall, while the ending could leave some readers wanting more, the novel would make for an excellent book club discussion.

About the Author:

Anita Shreve is an American writer. The daughter of an airline pilot and a homemaker, she graduated from Dedham High School in Massachusetts, attended Tufts University and began writing while working as a high school teacher in Reading, MA.

Interested in the read-a-long discussions at War Through the Generations, go here; though there will be spoilers.

17th book for 2014 European Reading Challenge(Set in France, England)

 

 

27th book for 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

 

 

22nd book (WWI) for the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist.

Final Week: Read-a-long of Stella Bain

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August. Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Beware of spoilers.

Discussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters. Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

Week 3 of the Stella Bain Read-a-Long

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August. Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Beware of spoilers.

Discussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters. Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

Week 2 of the Stella Bain Read-a-Long

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August. Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Beware of spoilers.  Discussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters. Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

Week 1 of the Stella Bain Read-a-Long

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August. Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

iscussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters. Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

Read-a-Long of Anita Shreve’s Stella Bain

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August.  Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Discussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters.  Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

  • Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
  • Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
  • Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
  • Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

Mailbox Monday #254

mlkI’d like to take a moment to reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. I took my parents to see his memorial and was in awe of the quotes used in the granite and the massive nature of his stone-carved statue.  This is my favorite quote from the memorial:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Today in Washington, D.C., they will lay down a wreath before his memorial, and there also will be a parade, as well as a celebration at the National Cathedral through music and poetry.

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has gone through a few incarnations from a permanent home with Marcia to a tour of other blogs.

In 2014, it was decided by the community to have the meme remain at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos, which I received a second copy of and will give to my mother.  Check out my review.

Chloe Parker was born two centuries too late. A thirty-nine-year- old divorced mother, she runs her own antique letterpress business, is a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, and gushes over everything Regency. But her business is failing, threatening her daughter’s future. What’s a lady to do?

Why, audition for a Jane Austen-inspired TV show set in England, of course.

2. Stella Bain by Anita Shreve from Anna.

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

What did you receive?

2014 War Through the Generations Read-a-Longs

Here’s the schedule of read-a-longs for the 2014 War Through the Generations Reading Challenge With a Twist.

  • February: Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers for the Gulf Wars (this one is about Operation Iraqi Freedom).
  • April: I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn for the French and Indian War.
  • June: War Babies by Frederick Busch for the Korean War
  • August: Stella Bain by Antia Shreve for the 100th anniversary of WWI.
  • October: The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter for WWII.
  • December: Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien for the Vietnam War.

We hope that you’ll be joining us for at least one or more of these read-a-longs in 2014.

Mailbox Monday #164

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Metro Reader.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1. Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick, unrequested from Algonquin

2.  All Woman and Springtime by Brandon Jones, unrequested from Algonquin

3. Messenger by Lois Lowry from the library sale for 50 cents.

4. Resistance by Anita Shreve from the library sale for 50 cents.

5. Hunted by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast from the library sale for 50 cents.

6. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell for 50 cents from the library sale.

7. American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar, which I won from Under My Apple Tree.

8. The Devil Himself by Eric Dezenhall, which I bought at The Writer’s Center at the reading of Eric and Eric D. Goodman, author of Tracks (which I reviewed this year and loved). Thanks to both for a good reading and for signing my books.

What did you receive this week?

Testimony by Anita Shreve, Part Deux

I reviewed Testimony by Anita Shreve back in October 2008 when the book debuted; you can read my review here. My mom is always looking for a new book to read, so I shipped my copy up to Massachusetts for her to read.

She’s here today to share her thoughts on the book with you. Welcome, my mom, Pat:

At Avery Academy, a prestigious New England boarding school located in Vermont, the headmaster, Mike Bordwin, finds in his possession a video tape–a disaster in a small package waiting to stir up trouble for the students at the academy. The sexual acts displayed on the tape involve four older students–juniors and seniors–and a freshman girl. The headmaster also engages in illicit activity following the incident and its fallout.

The events are set in motion, and Shreve uses testimony from all the students involved in the incident, the headmaster, and numerous other characters to tell her tale. These stories are woven together to show how this one incident impacts all the students involved as well as others in the book. Additionally, readers will get a glimpse into what happens in the lives of these students after the scandal breaks.

I give this book 4.5 stars and declare it is a must read.

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony by Anita Shreve, which will be released on Oct. 21, was such a surprise in my mailbox from Hachette Group’s Miriam Parker. Thanks, Miriam! I met Anita Shreve at the 2002 National Book Festival signing in Washington, D.C. I’ve been in love with her writing since I first read The Pilot’s Wife many years before that, and I will admit here that I’ve tried to emulate her style in my own writing, though my writing has not met muster.

Testimony is one of those novels that slowly draws you into a prep school known as Avery Academy in Vermont where four boys and one girl make a decision that will change their lives and the lives of other students, teachers, administrators, families, and neighbors for years to come. Testimony is given throughout the novel from a number of characters–minor and major characters–illustrating the depth to which decisions of one or several people can impact others who are seemingly unconnected to the decision-makers. Jacqueline Barnard, a researcher from the University of Vermont, receives the interviews either in written form or through personal encounters with several of the characters.

The videotape that surfaces in Avery Academy Headmaster Mike Bordwin’s office is central to the story that unfolds in the novel, but another decision among a pair of adults also impacts the students and others in the town. Shreve is a master of character development and setting. I was drawn into the bitter cold winter snow of Vermont and the coziness of the town and the school, as well as the dark undercurrents in each of these characters’ lives. Shreve is adept at highlighting the nuances of how underage sex and drinking affects the students, the faculty, and others, while not preaching to the reader.

Silas and Noelle, two of the main adolescents in the novel, share a deep connection to one another at a tender age. It was tough to watch how this connection was tested and ultimately severed. Silas and his mother, Anna, also have a tight bond and naturally this connection is tested. Another adolescent boy, J. Dot and his bravado, serves as a foil to Silas’ hard-working, compassionate, and dutiful persona. Noelle is the naive and romantic girl-next-door, while Sienna is the wild girl looking for trouble even if it is on a subconscious level.

As always, Shreve has outdone herself in this novel, weaving a series of disjointed testimonies into a coherent and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, responsibility, and adolescence. I’ve often wondered if Shreve has ever tried her hand at poetry because the language she creates on the page paints a vivid image, and those images often conjure deeper meanings and emotions for the reader.

Also Reviewed By:
A Writer’s Pen
The Sleepy Reader
J. Kaye’s Book Blog
Reader for Life
At Home With Books
For the Good Times
CaribousMom
Bookshipper
S Krishna’s Books
Peeking Between the Pages
Breaking the Spine
Booking Mama
Literarily
Redlady’s Reading Room
B&B Ex Libris
Pop Culture Junkie
She Is Too Fond of Books