CapRadio Reads

Feed your curiosity and explore fresh perspectives with CapRadio Reads—our online, on-air and on demand resource for discovering your next great read.

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The Children's Crusade

May 2015 book selection

The Children's Crusade

by Ann Packer

May 6, 2015

We are almost ready to welcome Ann Packer, in conversation with Donna Apidone, to discuss her new book, The Children's Crusade. 

Having read the book, I can tell you this could be the story of many of our lives.  If you have siblings, chances are they are going to have something interesting in their lives or personalities. The more siblings, the more interesting it gets.....and then, as the saying goes, "If it's not one thing, it's your Mother!" 

Now, with all of these interesting people in the world, why can't we all write a book like The Children's Crusade?  NPR, in its review of the book, put it perfectly: "Packer's splintered narrative style and the richness of her characters and language illuminate the unexpected depths of the commonplace." 

If you are interested in hearing more about the book, about her writing experience, or maybe just more about this pretty amazing family, please join us.  We'll be serving the usual splendid appetizers, desserts and wine, and don't forget The Cookie. Tuesday, May 12 at 6:00pm in our Community Room.  Go to our web page at and get your tickets now. I'll see you there.

April 29, 2015

I was fortunate to obtain an early reader's edition of The Children's Crusade many months ago. My review and take on the book might be obvious.  I chose it, and its author Ann Packer, to be featured at our May CapRadio Reads event. 

I don't pick these things lightly. If I don't enjoy a book, I usually don’t pick it. Even when I DO like a book, even REALLY like it, I still have some thinking to do. Is the book something that would appeal to our very discerning readers at Cap Radio Reads? Is the author someone who, when interviewed by Donna Apidone, is going to be interesting? Something I have learned over the years: Someone who spends their entire working life alone in a room with a typewriter or a computer, or even a pencil, writing an incredible book, is not necessarily a master of conversation. 

So, after I read and loved The Children's Crusade, I still had some work to do. I read interviews, I asked around. I even went to the Bay Area and attended an event to hear Ann Packer. Guess what? She is not only a brilliant writer, but she's a great interview! If we put her in a room with Donna Apidone and 100 CapRadio Readers, we would have a pretty terrific event. If we add to that some delicious appetizers and a lovely glass of wine, we would have an amazing evening.

And do you know what the best part is? You are invited. Get your ticket now, so you can be in the room when this all happens, Tuesday, May 12, at 6:00 p.m. Be there. You won't regret it.

April 22, 2015

As we get further into The Children's Crusade, written by our next guest author, Ann Packer, we meet The Blair family. We get to know the father, who is a doctor, and the four children, but it is the mother, Penny, whose shadow is present in some way on practically every page.  We hear the family's voices throughout the book, but Penny rarely speaks. We know her through the eyes of her family, which really makes her into five people. Is she disturbed, sad or just selfish? Is she to blame for all the Blair troubles? Will Rebecca succeed in her crusade to find a project that interests Penny enough to bring her back to the family? The melancholy theme running through this well-written book seems to lure readers into cheering for a good and fair outcome. 

Join us for Ann Packer’s visit on Tuesday, May 12, at 6 p.m. at Capital Public Radio. Appetizers will be served and, as always, Donna Apidone will lead us into the world and thoughts of another fabulous author. 

April 15, 2015

Please join us as we welcome Ann Packer in conversation with Donna Apidone about Ann's new book, The Children's Crusade.

We are the final stop on Ms. Packer's book tour, and it promises to be the highlight of her journey.  As always, we will have delicious appetizers, lovely wines and a special treat from me. Best of all, we will witness a fantastic conversation with this renowned author and our own Donna Apidone.

The Children's Crusade follows Packer's The Dive From Clausen's Pier, which was a favorite from years past. Her new book is full of family dynamics, as seen by all the members of the Blair family. The family grows and then starts to rearrange itself. Throughout, we see the brilliantly-written thoughts and dreams, as well as a glimpse back in time of a lovely part of the peninsula.

Please join us for another in our series of author events. Each one is a look inside the book and its creator. Get your tickets now for this event, Tuesday, May 12 at 6pm.  We'll see you there.

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