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Life Lessons in Fiction November 12, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, inspirational fiction.
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MediaMonday for November 12, 2012: Imagery and the Third Eye, by Stephen King, from Wordplay (thanks to GalleyCat for posting this piece in its NaNoWriMo writer resources).

Many authors write because they’re driven to put words together in meaningful and creative ways. Other authors are haunted by stories that compel them to be told in prose. Some authors write because it’s a job they do well and it brings them a good income. Then there are authors who are inspired to teach lessons through their fiction. Mitch Albom is one of the fortunate few authors who successfully embodies each of these creative motivations.

We’ll begin a discussion of fiction written as a teaching tool for life lessons on Wednesday, November 14, and complete the topic on Friday, November 16 when Albom joins us as guest host to discuss his new novel, The Time Keeper.

The Time Keeper is one of those easy reads you can give your grandmother, your teenage niece, or your son’s soccer coach. Each of these people will glean something different, a lesson (or two, or many) that speaks to their individual place in life.

Albom introduces three characters as distinct from each other as autumn leaves on a maple tree. Reaching back to the dawn of human time, we meet Dor, a man who creates a means of measuring time. The means is not the message here; the obsession with the measurement is what traps Dor for an eternity as Father Time. Fast forward to the twenty-first century and we meet Victor, a man at the end of his long life who covets more time, and Sarah, a teenage girl who seeks an end to hers. Both Victor and Sarah have appointments with destiny, each of them contriving to manipulate time. Dor is given an opportunity to redeem himself from the eternal measurement of time if he can intervene in the tragic consequences that hang over Victor and Sarah. Time is stopped, an intervention is made. When time resumes its ticking, not only has the outcome changed for Victor and Sarah, but for Father Time himself.

Written in Albom’s signature prose, sparse and still pregnant with meaning, The Time Keeper, can be read in one sitting, yet will be remembered long after.

Albom is an internationally renowned and bestselling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold over 33 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Albom’s first book, the memoir Tuesdays with Morrie, is the chronicle of Mitch’s time spent with his beloved professor. Albom wrote the book as a labor of love to help pay Morrie’s medical bills. It spent four years on the New York Times Bestseller list and is now the most successful memoir ever published.  For One More Day debuted at No.1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and spent nine months on the list. In October 2006, For One More Day was the first book chosen by Starbucks in the newly launched Book Break Program, which also helped fight illiteracy by donating one dollar from every book sold to Jumpstart. Have a Little Faith was released in September 2009 and selected by Oprah.com as the best nonfiction book of 2009.

Follow Mitch Albom on Twitter: @MitchAlbom.


Second Chances September 20, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Christian fiction, faith, fiction, inspirational fiction, religion and mysticism, winners.
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Charlene Ann Baumbich


Starting over. Life is full of times when people leave behind one way of life to assume another. Whether a deliberate choice, an unconscious gravitation to what is needed/missing/wanting, or a life-altering event thrust upon a person without preference or desire, stories of second chances are excellent reading. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss books with themes of second chances.

Guest host on Friday, September 24, is Charlene Ann Baumbich. Divine Appointments, the second in her Snow Globe series, features a theme of second chances for more than one character in the novel.  In its July 26 review of Divine Appointments, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Josie Brooks [protagonist] is not interested in disruption. Everything in her life is organized, minimal, and efficient. A successful business consultant in Chicago with a type-A personality, she ruthlessly identifies and slashes any source of economic wastefulness with complete disregard for the employees themselves. Soon, everyone at Diamond Mutual calls her “The Dragon” as she orders the termination of decent, hardworking people for the sake of profit. Josie’s rigid life, however, mysteriously begins to unravel when a strangely alluring snow globe appears at her apartment. Soon afterward, Josie is forced to confront her own flaws and fears, beginning an emotional journey toward love, friendship, mourning, and new beginnings. A wide range of characters flesh out this latest installment of Baumbich’s (Stray Affections) Snow Globe series, most emerging impressively from the narrative. Particularly noteworthy is Baumbich’s ability to make Josie likable even at the height of her self-centeredness [LitChat emphasis]. Readers familiar with the first book in the series will note that the place, plot, and characters in the second book are all new, but having a second chance is still a central theme.”

Baumbich is an award-winning journalist who speaks and writes about the layers of life as she sees them, which is often slightly off center, mostly dead-on, and always through lenses of grace. Her highly successful Dearest Dorothy series of novels celebrate octogenarian spitfire Dorothy Jean Wetstra and the residents of small-town Bartonville. Her nonfiction titles range from Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This to Don’t Miss Your Kids!. Charlene speaks to the heart, the funny bone, and a broad age span. For more than a decade, Charlene has presented her most requested talk–“Don’t Miss Your Life!”–to audiences across the country and in Canada. Her creative pedal is to the floor, her energized words are ripe, her cranky gallbladder has been “left behind,” and her message is right on time.


Read chatscripts from this week’s discussions:

September 20 & 22, 2010:  Second Chances

September 24, 2010: author Charlene Ann Baumbich, topic Second Chances

Follow Charlene Ann Baumbich on Twitter: @TwinkleChar.