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Bethanne Patrick

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Writers, Glue Your Butt to That Chair!

Posted on 10/3/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentOprah Winfrey wants to hear what Dani Shapiro has to say about writing. That’s why “the Big O” has invited the 51-year-old novelist and memoir writer (left) to appear on her “Soul Sunday” show on October 20 [editor's note: The date of the show has changed from October 27 to October 20]. If you’re an aspiring writer of any kind, you may want to tune in as well: Shapiro’s points on the value of writing — even when you aren’t getting published …

Eggers’ New Novel Is the Story of Our Times

Posted on 09/25/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentIf you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work for Google, Facebook or even AOL (as I once did), you’ve got to read Dave Eggers’ new novel, The Circle. The 24-year old protagonist, Mae Holland, thinks she’s reached Nirvana — and who wouldn’t? The Circle, the Internet company where she’s just landed a job, lavishes cool perks on employees: brownies in the fridge,  clean, well-lit workstations, and a company store that stocks pharmaceutical-grade aloe. It takes a few …

Return of the Page-Turning Titans

Posted on 09/18/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentSome of the biggest names in American literature have been silent for quite some time now. Amy Tan? Hasn’t published a novel in eight years. Donna Tartt? Absent for 10. And the last time we heard from Allan Gurganus was in 1997. The drought ends this fall with a splash, as those three authors, among many others, bring out hotly anticipated new novels: Tan’s The Valley of Amazement (left) follows a virgin courtesan from turn-of the-century Shanghai to San Francisco; …

The Next ‘Hunger Games’ Is Worth a Read

Posted on 09/6/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentLooking for a juicy fall read? Then you’ve may already have heard about The Bone Season, the debut novel that’s being called the next Hunger Games. Written by 21-year-old English author Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season is the inaugural pick of the Today Show’s new book club.Does the novel — the first in a series projected to total seven — merit the hype? Elizabeth Word Gutting in The Washington Post thought mainly yes (though she carped that the novel’s back story …

‘Thursdays in the Park’: Don’t Call It ‘Gran Lit’

Posted on 08/30/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentNovelist Hilary Boyd is a grandmother. But don’t let her catch you uttering the term “gran lit.” That’s the genre name that U.K. Observer columnist Robert McCrumb coined on reading Boyd’s first published novel, Thursdays in the Park, in which middle-aged wife Jeanie begins an extra-marital flirtation at— surprise! — the local park’s playground. As far as I can tell, “gran lit” designates literature by older women. It thus manages to commit a double whammy — ageism and sexism — …

This Year’s “Gone Girl”?

Posted on 08/22/2013 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentHave you heard? This year’s Gone Girl is The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison. Or at least that’s how Julie Bosman of The New York Times recently anointed Harrison’s dark and engaging thriller. For my money, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes deserves the comparison instead, but there’s no denying the allure of The Silent Wife. Take, for example, the twisted dynamic between long-time companions Jodi and Todd, a successful 40-something couple in Chicago whose life starts to …