Books and More Books

Deadline status for Duchess of Sin: Crawling, scrabbling, clawing towards The End! If I could just push my stubborn characters off a cliff, I would be set. Luckily, just when I am at my lowest, Alex Logan, my lovely Grand Central editor, sent me a few ego-boosting quotes for Countess of Scandal. And I’m bursting to share, aren’t you blog readers lucky? 🙂

“Laurel McKee’s prose is lyrical, her pacing is flawless, and her talent for evoking a rich, sweeping historical atmosphere is second to none” –USA Today bestseller Julianne MacLean

“Laurel McKee has few rivals when it comes to blending an intriguing historical background with an exquisitely romantic love story” –John Charles, Chicago Tribune

“My kind of story! A very well-done book and a wonderful first offering of a planned trilogy” –Mary Balogh

There are a few others, too, but my characters won’t listen to me when I beg them to cooperate anyway…

And in between working on this book, working on the day job, etc, I’ve been busy packing for a move. This is taking a while because I keep stopping clearing the bookshelves to sit on the floor and re-read old favorites I haven’t encountered in a while. (Speaking of old favorites, have you seen this article by Meg Cabot about the Betsy-Tacy books? I loved these books when I was a kid! They were my absolute favorites, along with Anne of Green Gables, the Noel Streatfield “Shoes” books, and The Secret Garden. The last book in the series, Betsy’s Wedding, was probably my fave of the series. There’s also this great article about Edith Wharton’s Paris. As you can probably see, I’m also wasting time not packing and not writing by messing around online).

Now most of my books are snugly tucked into 97 boxes and a few plastic tubs and stored in the garage. A few volumes, ones that are valuable or currently being used for research, are still on the shelves and they look quite forlorn without all their friends.

I also like to visit to Roger Ebert’s site to check out his movie reviews every week and read his excellent blog. One recent entry is a wonderful essay titled “Books do furnish a life.” And I’ve been reading a book called Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books. I’m enjoying it immensely, and am thinking maybe I should consider a move to Hay-on-Wye. I recently read another book by the author, Paul Collins, The Book of Will, about Shakespeare’s First Folio, and that’s how I found this earlier work. Once I read the cover copy, I wondered where it had been all my life.

“Paul Collins and his family abandoned the hills of San Francisco to move to the Welsh countryside–to move, in fact, to the little cobblestone village of Hay-on-Wye, the ‘Town of Books,’ boasting 1500 inhabitants and 40 bookstores.”

Books just seem to be popping up everywhere in my life this week! What have you been reading lately?

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Jane Austen
12 years ago

I’ve actually been to Hay-on-Wye when they were hosting their huge book fair in June. It is amazing and also a little overwhelming. I need to move to Wales again.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

I need to move to Wales again, too, and I’ve never been there! Hay-on-Wye is definitely on the itinerary for my next trip to England, once I get the heat pump paid off….and all the other stuff.

Amanda, those quotes are to die for! John Charles is wonderful. Julianne MacLean is a great quote, but Mary Balogh???? Very very terrific.

I just read Happy For No Reason by Marci Shimoff, one of the authors of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. And The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn, both inspirational, self-help sorts of books. (a kick I’m on) and I’m currently reading Mary Blayney’s Stranger’s Kiss which I’m enjoying a lot!

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Ammanda, what fabulous reviews!!! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! You’ve made my day.

Sixpence House went up on my list.

I’m currently reading a Laura Kinsale I have been looking for in bookstores and libraries for months. Luckily, the bookstore at the Emerald City conference had new copies of the 1991 print edition. I snapped The Shadow and the Star up.

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Diane, unless the HH are filed alphabetically with the single titles, separating them from the Harlequins and the single titles puts them worse off than before. I should check out what Borders is going to be doing. Barnes & Noble is biased against mmpb and Harls in particular. Borders is much more romance-friendly.

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Amanda, I did want to say great quotations, but I already know what a fabulous author you are. So they come as no surprise.

Right now I’m reading “Seeing Me Naked” by Liza Palmer. A book that I changed my entire life over. I’m at the point where I need to read it again. It makes me realize things about my life.

I also just finished “Persuading Annie” by Melissa Nathan, which is an update of Persuasion. I LOVE it. And read it at least twice a year. I was reading now because I am working on the breast cancer reading event and Melissa died of breast cancer at the very young age of 33. I have never been able to get through her last book because the acknowledgments page just brings me to tears. She knows she’s dying and she leaves a note to her readers and her 5-year-old son.

Megan Frampton
12 years ago

I’m reading an anthology I’m not loving, but I’m planning on reading a certain A.M.’s book very, very soon.

Fantastic quotes, btw!

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

So, JA, what treasures did you find in Hay?? It sounds like the sort of fabulous place where all sorts of books are just piled up, waiting for us to dig through them and make fabulous finds. I definitely want to visit there. 🙂

Part of the book is also about Collins and his wife buying and renovating the old pub (Sixpence House) to live in–I’m not so envious of that, though the old Tudor beamed ceiling and huge fireplaces sound nice. The constantly flooding basement and rot does not sound so good.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

Oh, and besides reading this book I’m also making my way through “The Secret Wife of Louis XIV,” a new bio of Madame de Maintenon. I have Carolyn’s book and the new Liz Carlyle propped up on my shelf, waiting for me as a bribe for finishing the WIP…

Susan Wilbanks
12 years ago

My husband gave me a Kindle as a slightly belated 10th anniversary present, and my first purchase was Diana Gabaldon’s latest, An Echo in the Bone, which was waiting for me when my alarm went off at 6:30 on release day. I finished it in three days and have been taking a bit of a break from intense reading in the two weeks since!

However, I did read a really fun YA romance, Jennifer Echols’ The Ex Games. And I’m now in nonfiction mode, reading Simon Schama’s The American Future: a History, which is well-written and thought-provoking. Also Harold Parker’s Three Napoleonic Battles, analyzing Friedland, Aspern-Essling, and Waterloo. I got it mostly for the first two battles, since I already know Waterloo so well…and yet I just got to the Waterloo section and am finding it by far the most interesting part of the book! I don’t know what it is. It’s not like I don’t know what happens or how it’s all going to end, but put a Waterloo book in front of me and I’m as engrossed as I was with, well, a new Diana Gabaldon!

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Most of my treasures were about The Mabinogian, which is Wales oldest literature. It’s folklore and it is because of this book that I chose to study in Wales. It’s a very mystical place and very magical. I’ve always wanted to write a really long paper about The Mabinogian. Maybe one day I will.

Jane George
12 years ago

Congrats on the reviews and my sympathies on moving! Moving while finishing up a book no less. You are inspirational.

My daughter & I are sharing Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Like she says, “It’s seasonal!” And it’s an excellent book.

Amanda McCabe
12 years ago

I forgot to mention that our guest from last weekend, Emily Bryant, is having me as a guest on her blog tomorrow! I’ll be giving away a copy of my November book, “The Winter Queen,” so be sure and visit…