Hump Day Chats with Janelle Brown discussion


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message 1: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
Hi everyone -

Just wanted to say hello and invite you to probe me with questions about the book, thoughts about great literature, and other general time-wasting inquiries.

To start out with - I'm curious to hear what everyone else is currently reading?

I just finished Harry Revised, by my friend Mark Sarvas, whose book came out just a few weeks before mine. It's funny how, as an author, you are extremely aware of all the other books that come out at the same time as yours - probably because you spend so much time at bookstores examining the front tables, praying that yours will be there. So I am intimately familiar with Atmospheric Disturbances, The Divorce Party, Harry Revised, Child 44, More Than It Hurts You, Dear American Airlines -- all books that came out when mine did. I've already read about half of them!

Anyway - I'm looking forward to chatting with you all --


message 2: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 1 comments Hi Janelle, I've been saving your book to read on an upcoming flight but it's been hard to resist the temptation to start it NOW!

I just finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson, whose books I usually adore but this one was a sort of over-explained tome that really dragged until about the last third. I'm so ready for something that is immediately engaging, and your book positively sparkles with promise. Can't wait.

message 3: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
Ah, yes - the quest for the perfect airplane book. I've been on 9 airplanes in the last 4 weeks - thanks to my book tour - and so have been thinking about this a lot. "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson, for example = not a good airplane book. (It put me to sleep). "Dear American Airlines"? A great one. (Which is perhaps why it's now prominently positioned in every airport bookstore in America).

I think the key to a good airplane book is that a) it has to be plot driven, so that you get so absorbed in it that time passes quickly; and b) it has to have clean, preferably bright prose, so you don't feel like your head is in a vise when you're reading it. (Do not tackle "Gravity's Rainbow" on a flight, for example -- I know, from past experience.) Page turners are preferable -- anything that makes time fly.

And I find I'm much more forgiving of books when I'm stuck in an airplane with nothing else to do -- when your only other option is an in-flight magazine with a crossword puzzle that was solved by the previous passenger, suddenly the latest Tom Clancy spy thriller seems far more appealing.

message 4: by Mim (new)

Mim | 1 comments Just finished What is the What, by Dave eggars. I don't know why i had never heard of it; it came out in 2006 so it's hardly a brand new book. But it was amazing... I feel like the word "tour de force" is overused, but this is one of those rare books I think deserves the descriptor. It's a fictionalized autobiography of a real Somalian "Lost Boy," detailing his difficult and inspiring journey, told in his voice but written by Eggars. I can't recommend it highly enough.

message 5: by Mishna (new)

Mishna Wolff | 1 comments Janelle, I am curious where the idea for the book came from and how hat idea evolved. Was a lot of that off the page for you? Or did you know you had a book right away and were at the computer hashing it out?

message 6: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
A lot of the book came to me as I was writing it. If you look at what I set out to write, and what I ended up with, they are pretty different. The characters, the plotline - it all evolved as I was writing it. I did have a general idea of the story I wanted to write, about a mother and her daughters holed up in the Silicon Valley family home after a summer of failures; but the specifics of the story changed over the four years that I worked on the book.

I found that as I developed the characters, they began to tell me what their stories should be. That sounds kind of hocus-pocus, but it's really true. I found that I couldn't impose a pre-conceived plot on these people, who were coming more and more alive as I worked on them. There were days when I sat down and started writing and by the end of the day I was utterly astonished by what I'd just ended up with. By the time I finished the book, my original outline was a musty relic of a past era.

message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Hi, Janelle! I'm looking forward to reading your book for a Summer Reading Series book club next month. They are both very excited about it so it's been hard not to skip over the things I need to read for June clubs.

message 8: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
Glad to hear it - I'm always curious to hear how book groups react to the book!

message 9: by Tiffany Lee (new)

Tiffany Lee (magdalen) | 1 comments kristin ~ i had the same reaction to Anathem. near the very end, i decided that i simply wouldn't finish reading it.

i'm in one of those moods: reading multiple books at once. a fantasy genre novel whose name escapes me; Livability (short stories by Jon Raymond); The Artist's Way; and a volume of e.e. cummings. i can't imagine what impression that must give of me. it might even be a correct one.

anyway, i'm looking forward to adding Janelle Brown's book to the list!

message 10: by Tamera (new)

Tamera Lawrence (tlawr66) | 3 comments I just wanted to say hello to everyone.

message 11: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
Hi Tamera!

I haven't read Anathem - I read Cryptonomicon, twice; but something about the subject matter of Anathem turned me off. Guess that wasn't such a bad thing.

I'm reading three books at once too, now; though, for me, that usually means that I'm *really* reading one and I have two others that I've kind of put aside because they don't really grab me although I haven't quite given up on them yet. So, in my case, I'm *really* reading Carter Beats the Devil, but am sort-of reading Tree of Smoke and Atmospheric Disturbances...

message 12: by Alka (new)

Alka Joshi | 1 comments Hi Janelle,
I could not put your book down and finished it in two days (carrying it with me on the train, to lunch, to bed). Loved the way your characters exploded (and imploded) on the page. I just finished reading Nami Mun's Miles From Nowhere, which you might enjoy. A Korean-American teen who lives on the streets b/c she's abandoned by her parents, gets addicted to heroin. Sounds tough but it's funny and sweet and ironic--much like the mood of your book.
Please keep writing!!! Cheers.

message 13: by Tamera (new)

Tamera Lawrence (tlawr66) | 3 comments I haven't been reading anything for the past month, just writing, writing, writing. Today, I searched through the books at my local grocery store and nothing grabbed my attention.

message 14: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
Glad you enjoyed the book, Alka. I've never heard of Nami Mun, but I'll put it on my "to read" list - sounds very interesting.

message 15: by Marlene (new)

Marlene  | 3 comments Hi Janelle,

I noticed you were reading Stieg Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and was wondering what you thought of it. I know it's the first book in his trilogy; the U.S. edition of his third one is due out in October of this year. Do you plan to read the other two books in the trilogy?

Anyone else have any feedback or comments?


message 16: by Janelle (new)

Janelle | 12 comments Mod
I enjoyed Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - it was a page-turner, for sure. I wouldn't say that it was brilliantly written - there was a little too much going on, story-wise, and the prose and characters felt stiff (which may be a translation issue). But it was definitely a gripping vacation read. I would pick up the second one if I was headed out on a trip, but I wouldn't say that it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

message 17: by Marlene (new)

Marlene  | 3 comments Thanks for your comments. I just ordered the book, and a vacation read is just what I was hoping for! :-)

Thanks again,

P.S. I was at the Alcove last week and thought of you!

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