I knew an audiobook was in the works–I signed a contract for it a while ago. I just had no idea when it was going to be coming out or who the reader would be. Well, apparently it’s finished because it’s available for purchase at amazon.com. I was thrilled to learn that Stefan Rudnicki did the reading. He’s one of the most talented readers in the business. Extremely fine actor. I could listen to him talk all day. I know Stefan well, having worked with him in LA on a series of one-act plays I produced for Scott. Small world. Here’s the cover of the audiobook. Pretty cool, I think.
The first signing was at the BYU Bookstore a few days before the book was released. It was wonderful to go back to BYU. I hadn’t been to campus in years. I got Jake a BYU t-shirt and Luke a BYU hat. Campus was even more beautiful than I remembered. Ah BYU. So many memories.
Here we are at the BYU signing. Kristine, Scott’s wife; Scott; and me. Notice the BYU bags in the foreground. Scott was kind enough to buy chocolate for everyone who came and stood in line. I thought that very kind. The signing was scheduled to go only for an hour, but it lasted three and a half hours. Most of the people in line didn’t buy a copy of our book; they were there for Scott to sign other books of his, which was fine with me. It was a thrill just to be there. I was really impressed with how kind and polite Scott is with of all his fans. Many of them expressed how much Ender’s Game (or other books he’d written) had influenced their lives, and Scott was touched every time. As a fan of Scott’s work myself, it made me love him as an author all the more. He’s really generous with those who read him.
Several of my dearest friends, who I hadn’t spoken to in far too long, were kind enough to come to the signing at BYU. Here’s me with three of them, all were in the the Garrens Comedy Troupe, a sketch-comedy/improv group I belonged to during my BYU days. We were quite the act, if I do say so myself. Pictured from left to right is me, Randy Tayler, Daryn Tufts, and the lovely Lisa Clark. A funnier yet classier group of people you will not find.
The great thing about the signing in Greenville, South Carolina was that a lot of my friends from work and family were able to attend. Here’s me with Aunt Vickie, Aunt Vonnie, and Uncle Steve. For some reason, the Barnes and Noble in Greenville held the signing at the very back of the store in the music section, hence the CDs there behind us.
Several of our friends from our Greensboro days came to signing. I thought that a very kind gesture. It was wonderful to see them all. From left to right: Leighanna Lindsay, Shena Arellano, Andy Lindsay, Cheeto Arellano, Ella, and Adam Lindsay.
In the Opal Deception, Colfer takes a dramatic turn in the universe he’s created: one of the main characters dies. I won’t say who or the circumstances of the death (I’ve already given too much away as it is), but it’s a shift in a series that is as lighthearted as it is action-packed. This is for kids, after all.
In Opal Deception, Artemis must face Opal Koboi again, the evil genius mastermind whose plans Artemis foiled in a previous novel. Since her capture Opal has been in sedation at a high-tech psychiatric ward. Her two goons help her escape, and Opal begins a nasty plot of revenge that targets everyone who brought her down last time. At Artemis’s side are his usual group of compadres on these adventures: his super-sized assistant/bodyguard Butler (my favorite character in the series), Captain Holly Short of the LEP, and Mulch Diggums, the dwarf with a criminal record and noisy bum flap.
In book four we also see Artemis step even closer to the dark side, a move he’s been resisting yet gradually making ever since the first book. But I hope Colfer doesn’t go to far. Much of Artemis’s charm comes from his dastardly deeds and criminal ways. Sure, he’s got a soul. But if he becomes a saint, than he’s lost everything that makes him so wonderful as a character. What’s the series about? Answer: A twelve-year-old criminal mastermind. One who struggles with his own moral compass, yes, and who inevitably does the right thing in the end. But he is still a criminal mastermind. Or at least I hope he continues to be.
If you’re accustomed to reading thrillers and action-packed young-adult novels like I am, Anne Tyler can be a bit of a shock to the system. There’s no impending doom, no ticking clock, no evil villain with plans of world domination. It’s just about people. The lives of real, believable people. The Wall Street Journal calls her a “master of the fine threads of human relationships.”
I say that like I’m expert, but truth be told, this is the first Anne Tyler book I’ve ever read … I mean, listened to. And if this is any indication of what her other books have to offer, this book will certainly not be my last.
Digging to America tells of two American families who each adopt a female infant from Korea on the same evening. One family is white-bred American. The other is Iranian American. The novel follows the two families as this meet at the airport on the night of the arrivals and then as they become close friends as the girls grow into toddlers and then young children.
The star of the novel (for me, anyway) is the widowed Iranian grandmother Maryam, who, like the young Korean girls must come to terms with what it means to be a foreigner in America.
The book was beautifully narrated by Blair Brown, who gave each Iranian character a slightly different voice, so that you, the listener, could distinguish who was speaking before it was qualified with a “he said” or “she said.” Brown is a pro, capturing the voice of a dying cancer patient without sounding forced or schmarmy. A wonderful listen. Moving and heartfelt. You actually believe these people exist.
I’ve since borrowed more Anne Tyler books from my mother-in-law. This is her 17th novel, and I’m looking forward to reading others.
I recently completed a campaign for United Way here in Greenville County. The photographer, Kevin Bana, is out of Chicago. Extremely talented guy. I think the images are stunning.
We did six posters. They all feature real people and real stories, save one. The child was a model. We couldn’t use a real kid for a message about child abuse.
The idea stems from the United Way positioning themselves as a barrier. They keep bad things away from good people. For that we used yellow police tape as a device. The ads were recently featured on adsoftheworld.com.