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Other Thoughts


Looking for a good book?

You might try . . .

Ashton Hall, the latest novel by Lauren Belfer. A young mother whose life has been rocked by a long-kept secret pursues the identity of a skeleton entombed in a British manor house where she is staying. The two stories unfolding in the novel suggest women have always been constrained and have always fought those constraints.


Still Life, by Sarah Winman. Set mostly in Florence, the novel follows an ever-growing group of friends as they cobble together new lives after WW II. The novel brims with characters and their intertwining stories, many of them love stories. The love of long-time friends prevails, one reason, perhaps, this novel is so winning.


Chouette, by Claire Oshetsky. In this "harrowing and magnificent fable" [NYT], a woman who gives birth to an owl fights to protect her feral child.


A Man's Place, by Annie Ernaux. This novel, Ernaux's second, brought her widespread acclaim. The novel (La Place in French) describes the cultural forces that tended to keep her father, son of a peasant, in his place. Ernaux herself overcame those forces, becoming a teacher and a writer, solidly bourgeois. The cost? The growing sense that in succeeding Ernaux betrayed her father and her origins. She just received the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney. Though I'm not the demographic for this novel, it captured me, even when I argued with it. The novel follows two nearly-thirty-year-old women wrestling with their futures. Whom will they love? What work will they do? Will they find the beautiful world they knew when young? Many of the chapters are expansive e-mails from one friend to the other. And those might carry you back to the years you and your bestie exchanged long letters about books and life.


At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, an incantatory novel narrated by a Senegalese rifleman, Alfa Ndiaye, fighting for the French during the Great War. Finding his dearest friend mortally wounded in no man's land, he must choose: end his friend's life himself or let him suffer a slow, agonizing death.


Leaving Guanabara, Denise Dailey's memoir, brings you to Brazil during the 1940s where Dailey and her sister spent their childhood. Daughters of a French father and a French Chilean mother, they knew a World War raged somewhere, yet their lives seemed charmed. Only later, when Dailey had already survived her own losses, did she learn what her family lost when Paris and Bordeaux fell.


Cell of Cells: the Global Race to Capture and Control the Stem Cell, by acclaimed science journalist Cynthia Fox, who traveled worldwide to report on research into human embryonic stem cells—cells that can mature into any kind of human embryonic cell and can replicate endlessly—and their therapeutic uses. In vivid and dramatic scenes, Fox carefully reports the promising science. A great read praised by both scientists and nonspecialists alike.


My Wife's Affair, by Nancy Woodruff. This gripping novel tells the tale of an affair and its tragic aftermath.


Falling Landscape, the newest collection of poems by Silvia Curbelo.

What good books have you read lately?


This page used to be interactive but is no longer. Wish it were. I loved the responses to this question.


I just finished "Dogsong" by Gary Paulsen. I enjoyed it very much, especially the dream sequences. I like your website. See ya, Paul Cayler




Hi Ann, I enjoyed meeting you at Camilla's reading, and I'm looking forward to reading your book! Love the website, Celeste



Love your comprehensive website. It gives me an outlet to rave ecstatically about the fiction workshop you taught at the Cape Cod Writer's Conference. Thank you for your attentiveness, humor & kindness to each student, without mincing on the craft of writing. In 24 years of taking writing classes, I've never experienced such a unique, memorable & effective approach to scene setting. In fact, the dry cleaning shop & a main character I developed there are in my novel-in-progress. Nor can I say enough about our personal conference where you gently broke through my resistance to disciplined writing in a funny, down-to-earth way. The notes I took that day are still have on my refrigerator.

Wonderful website..so glad I found it. I learned alot and I can't wait to read your next novel. RB....




Oops, forgot to sign my comments . . . Morgan Finn




Hi Ann,


I just wanted to say I read THE ORPHAN GAME many years ago and, throughout all the moving I have done in the time since and all the books I have purged along the way to lighten my load, I was thrilled to find your book still on my shelf this weekend. I have recently begun writing bits and pieces of my own recollections from childhood and felt as if I could benefit from familiarizing myself with how other authors have approached the adolescent point-of-view. Your book was one of two to come to mind and, of the two, the only one still on my shelf.


I am three or four chapters into my second read. Not only do I love your writing style, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how much it reminds me of my own voice. I think I was writing stageplays the first time I read THE ORPHAN GAME -- or perhaps I was in that long black period between stageplays and my first attempts at fiction. In the years after, however, I started a fiction writers' group in the San Fernando valley (it went for about 2.5 years), and proved to myself that I do have a voice as a fiction writer too.


Anyway, I was trying to find other books by you this morning when I stumbled upon this "talk to me" link, so I thought I would just let you know I'm a fan and can't wait to read THE SWEET, SAD SONGS... (Coincidentally, I was born and raised in Kansas and am going to be there for a niece's weddding this weekend. Do you have ties to the area? I'm from the Southeast corner -- Parsons, Pittsburg, etc.)


Good luck with your work!! Take care.




I like your Web page very much. All writers should make themselves so accessible. Thanks.
Angus Brownfield




Hi Ann,


I was a classmate at John Muir all those foggy decades ago. The last time we met was at your reading at Vroman's. I remember feeling very proud of you.


I'm writing for some advice regarding a novel I wrote, DEATH OF THE QUEEN OF HEARTS. It's about a young European Prince uncovering the truth about his mother's death in an auto crash. It's based on Prince William and Princess Diana though all the names are changed. The book is a roman 'a clef and coincidentally I used the pen name, Roman A. Clay. Surprised no one has ever used it before.


The book is self published by Archway, a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster and they lined me up with a marketing company, Bohlsen Group. Their 12 week, $10K campaign was pretty cookie cutter i.e. sending out a press release to 2,000 media entities and waiting for requests for the book. The results were underwhelming except for one request two weeks ago from Harpo Productions, Oprah Winfrey's company. I haven't heard back from them yet.


I was wondering if you could recommend a book marketing company. I am willing to pay for an effective campaign.

I know you're in the middle of your book so time is precious but if you're interested I could mail you a copy. On the book's Amazon site you can see the Customer Reviews and if you Look Inside the Kindle version you can read first 7 chapters. To get the gist just read


As someone said, "I spend 10% of my time writing and 90% of my time marketing." Not sure if it was JD Salinger, Bob Dylan or GW Bush.


To our health,


Tim Sasaki






Hi Ann!!


I love you and so proud of you, too.


XOXO Barby