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Enter this contest at Chunkster Reading Challenge for a chance to win a copy of Beatriz Williams’ forthcoming novel Overseas. It looks like it will be a fantastic read–check out this link to enter the contest and read a guest post with Williams: http://chunksterchallenge.blogspot.com/2012/04/beatriz-williams-author-guest-post-and.html?showComment=1335962282973#c6633918982068924596

 

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After reading Chelsea Cain’s latest book, The Night Season, I wasn’t sure I could get into another thriller right away–hers are so excellently written. However, Think of a Number is an erudite thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. It wasn’t just another serial killer slasher–you actually had to use your brain to figure out this mystery. A really fun read from a debut author.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is an excellent, poetic telling of Hadley Richardson’s experience as Hemingway’s first wife. Makes me want to re-read A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises!

*It’s the 40th anniversary of James Dickey’s Deliverance. Get thee to a bookstore. I’m almost finished with my copy and it’s thoroughly engrossing.

*A new book is out about Mad Men and its cultural and historical significance. The Paris Review talks to the author.

*Check out this Millions essay about where writers write.

*Random House and the Wylie Agency have reached a compromise in their e-book battle.

*If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read or heard about the release of Mockingjay, here is PW’s starred review.

In addition to The Space Between Trees, I’m also reading James Dickey’s Deliverance, a book I’ve wanted to read for years. I love survival stories, and this may be the best one out there. It’s a harrowing tale about a Georgia canoe trip gone wrong, and is a thrill to read. Dickey was an established poet long before he wrote this book (he was elected Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 1966), and you can tell–the prose is taut, lyrical and engaging.

The Oregon coast is stunning–my family has a beach house there and it’s my favorite vacation spot. I commented on Anne K. Yoder’s article on The Millions this morning, which discusses the terrain of the Pacific Northwest. She’s been on the Oregon coast for nearly a month, writing and observing the beauty of the landscape. She  writes about how nature is a dominant part of life in Oregon and how the Pacific Northwest influenced writers like Ken Kesey, who grew up outside of Eugene. I’ve read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but am intrigued by his book Sometimes a Great Notion, which is set in an Oregon logging town. Yoder also mentioned the short story collection Livability by Jon Raymond. His story “The Coast” seems to get the descriptions of the beach just right. It was powerful enough to make me long for the rugged beauty of the Oregon coastline.

Anis Shivani’s 15 Most Overrated American Writers list on The Huffington Post has generated a lot of debate online. I, for one, want to generate a positive list. If you’re looking for a new book, check out the underrated work of Benjamin Percy. A native of Tumalo, a rural town in central Oregon, Percy packs his stories with fierce, lyrical language, angry yet empathetic characters and a stunning setting: the harshness and raw beauty of the Oregon landscape. His short story collection Refresh, Refresh is brave, unrestrained and exuberantly terrifying. An Oregon native myself, I appreciate his homage to an underrated state.

Percy’s first novel, The Wilding, is due out this fall from Graywolf Press, and it’s being heralded as a modern-day Deliverance. I can’t wait to read it.