Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Night of Sparkling Wit from Tatjana Soli and An Announcement


Last Thursday night I attended my first event with my new book club, Books, Babes, and Bordeaux hosted by the fabulous and wonderful Sandy of You've GOTTA read this! It was an amazing meeting and we got the chance to discuss our read for the month, which was none other than the unforgettable The Lotus Eaters. We were fortunate to have had Sandy arrange for the author, Tatjana Soli, to speak with the club and to share her ideas and influences for writing the book.

From the first moment she called in, I noticed she was quite a charming and disarming woman. Tatijana told us how her mother's work with the Vietnam Veterans and her experiences with them helped shape her interest in the period, and how she used her early memories to shape what would one day become The Lotus Eaters. Tatjana gave us a few insights behind her characters' motivations and related that most of the people who have read her book seem to have two very different interpretations and feelings towards her protagonist, Helen. She also shared how the Vietnam Veterans reacted to her book and questioned the club on which cover we found to be more visually appealing.

The women of the club were quite enamoured of Tatjana and found her to be a friendly and outgoing person. She was completely open to all of our questions and opinions and was honest about her intentions for the book. One thing I found interesting was that The Lotus Eaters took ten years to complete and was rejected many times before it was finally published. Tatjana had no idea it would garner the kind of success that it did, and she's now at work on her second book, tentatively titled The Wilding Tree. While talking with Tatjana she mentioned a few of her favorite books, two of which are Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. The club decided to take a chance on one of Tatjana's favorites and will be reading Housekeeping for our next meeting, which delights me to no end because I'm a huge fan of Robinson.

And now for an announcement! I was recently contacted by Susan Wegmann, a representative of the University of Central Florida, and she invited me, Sandy and Jenny of Take Me Away to participate in covering and promoting the UCF Orlando Book Festival, which is taking place on April 16th, 2011. The three of us are pretty excited about this development and I ask that you stay tuned as more information and spotlights on some of the featured books will be highlighted on our blogs in the weeks to come!

18 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

What a wonderful opportunity and fun event. I do plan to read this one, as I've been drooling over the reviews.

bermudaonion said...

Oh, a book club with you and Sandy in it would be heavenly! It sounds like you had a wonderful evening and a wonderful call from the author!

I'm so excited that you'll be covering the UCF Book Festival!!!

Jenny said...

I'm so excited about the UCF book festival!!!

And that sounds so cool to be able to really dissect the book like that with the author. I'm curious how the vietnam vets reacted!

I keep hearing so much about this goon squad book. Maybe I should look into it...

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Congratulations on the UCF festival gig - they couldn't have picked anyone better, I'm sure!!!

Marie said...

Congratulations!!! How awesome!! :-) Yay:-)

Trisha said...

That is so cool (both the author and the book festival)! I am so jealous that you guys get to hand out. :)

Suko said...

How exciting that your book club met with Tatjana Soli! I loved The Lotus Eaters, and was fortunate to interview the gracious author. Congratulations on your upcoming role in the UCF Book Festival, Zibilee! :)

nomadreader (Carrie) said...

Wow! I am so jealous of your group, but so glad to hear about it here! I loved The Lotus Eaters and am really looking forward to her next book. Congratulations on covering the event too; it sounds like a fantastic opportunity.

Steph said...

What an awesome sounding book club! I was in one for a while but it is now defunct and I haven't been able to find another one that really fits my style... I love the idea of getting to meet with an author and talk about her book in such an intimate setting!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Great recap Heather! You should have told them about your banana bread! My summary is coming on Friday. I am totally thrilled you are a part of our book group now, and also thrilled to be working on the UCF event. We just keep having more and more fun!

Darlene said...

Wow Heather, how exciting to have the author call in. We had that once with my book club and it just adds so much to the reading of the book. I can't wait to read this book! How I wish I could be in the book club with you!!!

Contests to you guys on getting to cover the festival - how exciting!

Pam said...

Sounds like an amazing book club meeting. My book club recently had an opportunity to have an author, Ann Hood, visit with our club. It was a great meeting! Congrats on being invited to cover the book festival. How exciting!

Jenners said...

I so wish I lived near you guys ... this sounds like the best book club EVER!!!

And I've actually been considering reading A Visit From The Goon Squad. Now that I have another recommendation for it, it "officially" goes on the list.

And so so so cook about the book festival!

TheBookGirl said...

Congrats Heather, that is wonderful news about the UCF festival. I'm anxious to see what books you spotlight in upcoming posts :)
I thought it was quite amazing that it took ten years to get The Lotus Eaters published and then it has won such critical acclaim...the author sounds she was a very interesting interview :)

Melissa M said...

I love that you and Sandy are in the same book group!!

Lisa said...

I love when my book club gets to talk to authors! It always gives me a much greater appreciation of the book. I have Housekeeping sitting in one of the piles in my bedroom. Your announcement is very exciting--can't wait to hear more!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

So much to be excited about! I love the name of your book group, and I can imagine that it's a fun group of women -- based on the two members whom I 'know!'

THE LOTUS EATERS was an incredible book, looking at a different side of war, and what drives it. Happy that it's in paperback now (book clubs will devour it, right?!). Awesome to have the author call in to your group.

And, wow! I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventures with the UCF book fest!

Aarti said...

Ooh, how fun you get to cover the festival! That's so great for you- I'm excited to see how it goes :-)

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