November 4, 2015
I live in a small town in the Sierra foothills. I was out doing some shopping and stopped in to several of my favorite stores. Since it's such a small place, we all know each other, and these folks know I moderate the CapRadio Reads book club. In three different stores, people came up to me to say how much they loved A Master Plan for Rescue by our November guest, Janis Cooke Newman. As always, when we talk about books, a long conversation ensued, and also, as always, I learned something.
First, I learned that driving 100 miles to see Donna Apidone and Janis Cooke Newman in conversation on November 10 at 6pm at Capital Public Radio is not too far at all. Yay for my friends and book lovers.
Second, I learned that Anthony Doerr, who wrote All The Light We Cannot See, has another book we might enjoy about Rome. This came up in the conversation because we all see similarities between his book and A Master Plan for Rescue.
Third, I was reminded of something I already know: Book people are the best! We just can't stop talking about books that have really moved us.
I hope you will join us for the event with Janis Cooke Newman on November 10th. If 100 miles isn't too far, I'm sure you can get there. We'll have the usual delicious wine and snacks, and it goes without saying we'll have "The Cookie.”
October 28, 2015
Magical thinking is not just a tool for fiction writers. It is also a favorite topic of anthropologists and psychologists.
The website skeptic.com points to the work of one such scientist:
“According to anthropologist Dr. Phillips Stevens Jr., magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbols.”
The heroes in our November selection, A Master Plan for Rescue, seem to have the power of magical thinking. Jack loses one sense, his vision, and is imbued with a power to detect what he calls "undertone.” By listening to the undertone in voices, he is able to assess people’s integrity and intentions. Jakob also uses a form of magical thinking to get past his own heartbreak and achieve wonderful things. With the relentless obscenity of the war going on, it takes a lot for these characters to persist. We hope you are enjoying their journey.
Author Janis Cooke Newman is coming to CapRadio Reads to wrap up the year. Join us at on Tuesday, November 10, at 6 p.m., to hear her in conversation with Donna Apidone. Reservations at www.capradio.org/reads.
October 21, 2015
Moon Shapiro is a bully. Harry Jupiter works with photos. How can you not love a book with minor characters who have such fantastic names?
A Master Plan For Rescue, by our guest author Janis Cooke Newman, has fantastic character names AND true superheroes. In a comic book, a superhero is a person who appears to be just an everyday, ordinary, meek human being. The superhero in this book is almost blind, just a child who has lost his father. Jack is small for his age of twelve, but he has a huge heart. I will not give too much away, but suffice it to say your heart will melt for this New York City kid and what he accomplishes.
Janis Cooke Newman's book instantly rose to the top of my list of favorites, and I am so delighted she has agreed to join us on November 10 at 6 p.m. for an interview with CapRadio’s Donna Apidone.
Janis is just one of a growing number of talented writers in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have been fortunate to host several of her colleagues, including Cara Black and Galadrielle Allman, and now it is time to add Ms. Newman to the roster of esteemed CapRadio Reads guests.
Please join us.
October 13, 2015
We've saved the best for last!
With only one more month in the CapRadio Reads calendar for 2015, we have a remarkable grand finale. Janis Cooke Newman, the author of A Master Plan For Rescue, will be "in conversation" with Donna Apidone on Tuesday, November 10, at 6:00 p.m.
I had the opportunity to read A Master Plan For Rescue earlier this year (before its release last month) and immediately started the process of tracking down Ms. Newman to bring her to CapRadio Reads. This book is similar in some ways to one of our favorites, All The Light We Cannot See, and it stands on its own as one of my all time favorite books.
The book is set in 1942. In that period, radio was the best way for the public to get news of the war and to be entertained. A boy named Jack, who had a fast onset of almost total blindness "sees the radio" and loves the stories it holds. When he loses his father, he envisions his own story of trying to find his parent.
At the same time, in another part of New York City, there is a German Jewish refugee, dealing with the loss of the love of his life. Both of these characters are trying to keep their loved ones alive, and when they come together, we find there may be a way.
Perhaps it's magical thinking, or perhaps in this touching and beautifully-written book, there really is a way to overcome loss.
You will come away from reading this book with a sense of hope and pleasure that you have read one more very fine novel this year.
Hope to see you in November.