As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

September 30, 2011

THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry, 1993

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does Jonas begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. (Amazon)

Review by Kim Harris Thacker, writer, mommy, and Bookshop Talk Host

Since it is my purpose in this review to examine possible reasons why Lois Lowry’s Newbery award-winning novel, THE GIVER, has been banned in many schools and libraries, I want to make it clear that there are a number of SPOILERS in this post.

Now.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

Jonas is, in so many ways, a normal, twelve-year-old boy.  He is certainly a boy readers can relate to, even if those who read THE GIVER are female.  He teases his sister, plays games with his friends, rides his bike, and attends school.  But Jonas lives in an unusual community. 

A few things you should know about Jonas’s environment:

** Almost everyone in the Jonas’s community has dark eyes, though the color itself is unimportant.  No one (aside from The Receiver of Memories) can see in color or even knows what color is.  Color vision was one of the things that was given up in order to have “Sameness.” 

** Young people who begin to have sexual “stirrings” are required to take a pill that suppresses those feelings. 

** At the age of twelve, children, who have been watched by a career-selection committee, are told what their careers will be.  They begin to train.  Some careers (such as birthmother) hold very little honor, but all are considered essential.

** When an adult desires to be married, he or she applies to be “matched.”  A council selects a suitable spouse for the applicant, taking into account all the important factors, such as disposition and intelligence when making their decision.

** Every December, children who were born the previous year turn one year old, are given a name rather than just a number, and are given to parents who have been approved to form a family unit.  A family can have only two children: one boy and one girl.  If identical twins are born to a birthmother, the smallest of the twins is “released” to Elsewhere—a place Jonas knows very little about, but imagines must lie somewhere beyond the community.

** After living in a form of retirement in the House of the Old, those who reach a certain age are “released.”

** Anyone can apply to be “released” at any time.

For Jonas, none of the above is unusual—until he becomes the next Receiver of Memories.  Under the guidance of the old Receiver (whom I will refer to from now on as “The Giver”) and through a kind of memory transfer, Jonas begins to see in color, learns the pain and sorrow of war, experiences love, and even tastes snow on his tongue for the very first time.  He begins to see how truly horrifying his community is, because he is exposed to memories of how the world used to be before “Sameness.”  And when The Giver has him watch a video of his father (who is a nurturer of babies) “releasing” a new baby, Jonas is horrified.  He learns that being “released” means being killed, by injection.  In this scene, Jonas’s father acts in a way that I think any reader will see as shockingly callous.  What’s tricky about this scene is that we learn that Jonas’s father truly does not realize the wickedness of what he is doing.  In fact, Jonas only realizes it because of the training he is going through with The Giver.

I think what is so disturbing about THE GIVER is that the characters (aside from Jonas and The Giver) are all very content with their lives, though we, the readers who live in the real world, know they shouldn’t be!  We know that the “Sameness” the leaders of Jonas’s community speak of sounds too much like Hitler’s racist Aryanism.  We know that humans have certain inalienable rights.  Jonas’s world, which is so accepted by the characters in it, feels so unethical and corrupt to the reader.  We long for Jonas to get out of there!  It is a very bad place, and while many of the characters in the book don’t realize that, the reader always does.  There is never any question whether or not Jonas’s world is ideal.  So why has this book been banned?

I did a bit of research on the internet and found references to the book being banned because of the “stirrings” that are mentioned.  In my opinion, that would be a ridiculous reason for banning this book.  The references to “stirrings” are milder than mild.  I found other references stating that this book promotes euthanasia.  This book does not show euthanasia in a positive light.

I don’t believe this book should be banned.  I do believe that parents and teachers should read it with their children and be prepared to talk about it, because of its themes.  I also believe it should be given to mature readers who can handle intense or violent scenes.  As an adult reader, I was rather disturbed by the scene where Jonas’s father releases the baby.  It is an intense book, overall.  Jonas’s world is twisted and horrifying.  But there is so much to talk about when reading this book, and it is so well written!

Market:  middle grade, dystopian
Language:  none
Sensuality:  extremely mild (a couple of references to sexual “stirrings”)
Violence:  moderate to extreme (The only reason I say this is that for a middle grade novel, the scene where Jonas’s father releases the baby seems a bit extreme.  I was quite disturbed by it.  But it was also very fitting for the book.  Jonas needed to see what was really happening right under his nose.  There is also a scene where Jonas witnesses, through memory, the death of a young soldier on a battlefield.  There are also many other references to people being “released,” but none are graphic.)
Mature Themes:  See above review!

Book formats:

September 26, 2011


It's BANNED BOOK WEEK, my friends, so let's celebrate by NOT burning books!

In lieu of a bonfire social, we're reposting one of our Gab Bag topics, on Censorship.

In addition, we'll soon be posting reviews of a dearly beloved banned book (THE GIVER by Lois Lowry), as well as THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, which takes us back to Hitler's Germany to tell us the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who risks her life day after day, just to get her hands on books!

But first, one of our guest bloggers and regular reviewers is going to get us all fired up on the topic:

Laura Madsen, mom, veterinarian and writer

Think book-burning died with Hitler? Unfortunately not. We may be into the second decade of the third millennium, but censorship is alive and well, rearing its ugly head in the banning of a title from a school library, the prohibition of a controversial author from school visits, and occasionally even in the burning of books.

The American Library Association maintains a list of the top 100 challenged books (here), which reads like a list of the best novels ever. ALA also tracks the top ten challenged books by year. In the past decade there have been challenges against some very popular middle grade and young adult series, including the TWILIGHT series by Stephenie Meyer, the HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling and the HIS DARK MATERIALS series by Philip Pullman.

Censorship also presents itself in the altering of classic literature to fit our modern interpretation of political correctness. It was recently announced that NewSouth Publishing is releasing a “sanitized” version of Mark Twain’s immortal HUCKLEBERRY FINN. In the new version, the “N” word has been replaced with “slave.” Auburn University professor Alan Gribben is the man behind the change. In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly (here) he explained that he is not trying to erase race from the book, but to save the novel from those who would pull it from library shelves because of the presence of the “N” word.

I admire Professor Gribben’s intent, but to me, it seems like trying to revise history. One of my writing group friends said, “Next they’ll be rewriting ROOTS into the story of an African boy on a pleasure cruise to America.” Yes, reading the “N” word gives one a squirmy, uncomfortable feeling, but it also prompts a righteous indignation—and a conversation that we must fight oppression.

To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary EditionIf we cover up the pain of our country’s racial history, how will our children understand? I think the vast majority of modern Americans would agree that slavery is morally wrong, but how many of us came to that conclusion through reading books? Reading books like HUCKLEBERRY FINN, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE COLOR PURPLE or BELOVED—and feeling the overwhelming despair, misery and pain—will teach our children about our country’s history.

How should we—parents, readers, writers, and supporters of freedom of speech—respond to censorship? I once worked with a guy who would read a novel with a black Sharpie marker in hand. If he came across a word he felt was offensive, he would cross it out with his Sharpie. If there was a longer passage that offended him, he would rip out the page. I thought his habit was quirky, but it worked for him and didn’t prevent others from reading the book (well, except for that particular copy). If you don’t approve of a book, just don’t read it. But to ban a book, preventing everyone else from reading it, is a threat to our society’s freedoms.

Is rating books like movies and video games the answer? If you’re a regular reader of Bookshop Talk, you’ll have noted the market notes after each review, explaining language, violence or sensuality that some might find offensive. That’s a great start.

What are your thoughts on censorship? Is Professor Gribben saving HUCKLEBERRY FINN or is Mark Twain rolling over in his grave?

P.S. Don't forget to enter the drawing for a chance to win up to TEN FREE BOOKS of your choice! Click here to read all about it!

September 22, 2011


Ten Questions with Jessica Day George, Featuring Gail Carson Levine

I am so delighted to have the chance to interview Gail, a delightful woman and beloved author! Among her most popular books are Newbery Honor Winner, ELLA ENCHANTED, and its companion book, FAIREST, THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE, her wonderful PRINCESS TALES, and the popular DISNEY FAIRIES series. My personal favorite, though, is DAVE AT NIGHT, and I’m excited to ask Gail about it, so let’s get cracking!

Jessica Day George: DAVE AT NIGHT is the utterly charming story of a young boy growing up in an orphanage in Depression-era New York, which makes it quite a departure from your fantasy and fairy tale books. We hear this novel was inspired by your father’s experiences as a child. Could you tell us a little more about that, and what sort of research you did to make the book feel so alive with the sights, sounds, troubles, and even the unexpected joys of the 1920's?

Gail Carson Levine: When I was little I knew my father had been an orphan and had lived in an orphanage. I was curious, but my father wouldn’t satisfy my curiosity. He told only one story about the orphanage, and that was of sneaking out and buying candy, which he sold to other orphans. He said he had a pretty good business going—till he was busted! I guess he told that anecdote because he was the hero of it and I suspect he was rarely the hero as a child, more often the victim. There’s a photo of the actual orphanage on my website, and you can see it’s a forbidding looking place.

After my father died I decided to satisfy my curiosity and keep him alive in my memory by inventing his childhood. Dave in the book (my father’s name was Dave) is portrayed as I think my father would have been as a boy, spunky, kind, defiant, brave. I made up the orphanage, but the other period details are accurate to the best of my knowledge. For my research I read several books about the period as well as poetry and a novel written at the time. I spent days going through the photo collection at the main branch of the New York Public Library, looked at street plans of the time, visited the Tenement House Museum and spoke to the curator, visited the New York City Transit Museum and talked to an expert on mass transit during the era. I even spoke with an authority on classic cars. And more. Best of all, I had two friends with excellent memories who were alive at the time.

JDG: As a child, did you have a favorite book that you can recall?

GCL: I can still recite stanzas from my favorite picture book, Wee Fishie Wun. When I started reading chapter books I read and loved the classics, like Heidi, Bambi, Peter Pan, Black Beauty, and anything by Louisa May Alcott and L.M. Montgomery.

JDG: Your books often incorporate new and unusual languages, FAIREST being one example. Do you make a little dictionary for each book to keep track of new words you’ve created?

GCL: Yes. I keep a glossary. If I use a word more than once the meaning is the same each time. The languages in Fairest derive from the ones I made up for Ella Enchanted, and each language has its own sound (like guttural or percussive or soft) and its own look in terms of punctuation and capitalization, but I didn’t establish grammatical rules, not even for pluralizing or past tense. The only book in which the made-up language consists of nonsense words is Ever. When Kezi visits Wadir, the underworld, she’s in a kind of dream place, where meaning is elusive and fanciful. If a word repeats in Wadir it’s an entirely different word. I just hit keys on my computer for that language.

JDG: ELLA ENCHANTED is loved far and wide for being one of the most humorous, original retellings of Cinderella. This story puts a very amusing twist on the gifts Fairy Godmothers can bestow—a blessing/curse to be unceasingly obedient, for example. If you were a Fairy Godmother yourself, what would be the fairy gift you would most often give to your lucky recipients?

GCL: Oh, gee. Deep feelings, excellent health, good teachers, kind parents, enough to eat, a safe earth. That would be quite a magic wand.

JDG: The sisters in THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE are very close. Do you have any siblings yourself?

GCL: Rani Carson is my sister, five years older than I am, a wonderful painter of people and scenes in Jamaica, West Indies. We’re very close, and I love her work.

JDG: Do you have any writing rituals? Music, no music? Snacks? A Persian cat on a velvet pillow to stroke while you think?

GCL: No music. No rituals. At home I write in my office or on the laptop in the kitchen where our puppy likes to sleep, and I love his company. But I’ve trained myself to be able to work anywhere, and I write on trains, planes, in automobiles (if I’m not the driver), airports, hotel rooms. I travel often. If I couldn’t write wherever I was I would get little done. I also can write in short bursts. Fifteen minutes are enough to move a story forward.

JDG: Many of your books prominently feature fairies, or are about fairies. What fascinates you about them the most?

GCL: I like that they don’t exist, so I can make them up. In The Two Princess of Bamarre they’re whorls of light. In my books about the fairies of Never Land they’re five inches tall; in The Princess Tales they’re seven feet tall and a little ridiculous. In Ella Enchanted and Fairest they look like us except for their ultra-tiny feet.

Their power can sometimes be a problem. In many traditional fairy tales, the fairy saves the day, which won’t do for me. The young main character has to save himself, so I have to explain why the fairy can’t do it.

JDG:  Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

GCL: I’m working on a sequel to my latest novel, A Tale of Two Castles, which is a mystery, and the second book will be a mystery too. At this point it’s a mystery to me, too, because I don’t know who the villain is. And next March my book of false apology poems will come out. The title is Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It, and all the poems are based on the poet William Carlos Williams’s poem “This Is Just to Say.” I think my poems are pretty funny, and the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are a riot. I can hardly wait it for it to come out.

JDG:  In addition to being a writer, what other jobs have you held?

GCL: I worked for New York State government for twenty-seven years, mostly in jobs that had to do with welfare. In the middle I worked for the Commerce Department, which is when I started writing. They had me writing their promotional material, and I loved it.

JDG:  You are to be buried in Egyptian splendor, and must take everything with you that you will need in the Afterlife. What five books would you want in your tomb?

GCL: Has to be six:
a dictionary,
a thesaurus,
Garner’s Modern American Usage,
the OED,
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes,
a compendium of the Lang fairy tale books.

I might manage to keep writing with these, but I’d want tons more!

Thank you so much, Gail, for spending time with us on Bookshop Talk!

Readers, be sure to check out for even more information about this fabulous author and her books. And her blog,, is especially helpful for writers.

ALSO, be sure to enter your name into our massive book giveaway, where you can win up to ten Gail Carson Levine books (or any other book that we've reviewed on Bookshop Talk)!

September 19, 2011

Does Jane Eyre Deserve Better?

Bookshop Talk would like to welcome a special Guest Blogger from, a site that we think is a pretty cool literary resourse, espcially for students!

Jane Eyre is widely regarded as one of the greatest love stories in classic literature. On the surface, it isn’t difficult to see why. A poor, orphaned girl who never really had much going for her lands a job working for a tall, dark, mysterious (not to mention wealthy) stranger, and the two are immediately drawn to one another. Their relationship is, of course, tumultuous and fraught with deceit (on Rochester’s part), but eventually all is mended and they ride off into the proverbial sunset (because the literal sunset would have been too hot). That certainly sounds like the stuff that true love stories are made of, but... is it really?

Photo from the BBC Mini-series of Jane Eyre
Point: Jane Eyre is a Beautiful, Enduring Love Story and Anyone Who Argues Otherwise is a Callous, Unfeeling Troglodyte

Anybody who knows anything about real, passionate love knows that it cannot be felt for someone who is simple, kind and without any drama or baggage. Yes, true - Rochester has a secret past, and true, he is not the classically handsome, charming prince of fairy tales, but that is just what makes him so intriguingly irresistible. A woman is drawn to a man’s faults and shortcomings as much as she is to his more traditionally attractive qualities - you don’t have to have aced your PSAT to know that.

The fact is that, despite Rochester’s lies (or untruths, whatever you’d prefer to call them) and the rocky road upon which their relationship travels, Rochester does love Jane, from the very beginning. He does not conduct himself ideally, but his intentions and his feelings are pure from the outset. Also, you have to admit that he finds himself in a pretty prickly situation. He had no idea when he married Bertha 15 years earlier that she was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. As crazy goes, there’s a big difference between screaming irrationally about the choosing of bathroom tile patterns and setting fire to your husband.

Given the circumstances, Rochester acted about as nobly and judiciously as one might, and he is surely to be forgiven when you consider how deeply and passionately he loved Jane, and all that he underwent in the process of winning her in the end. This guy literally gave his right eye to be with her.

Photo from the BBC Mini-series of Jane Eyre
Counterpoint: Rochester is a Huge Waste of Space, and Jane Should Have Kicked Him to the Curb

Excuses, Shmexcuses. Jane Eyre is just about the most perfect woman you ever could meet - she’s kind, intelligent (she was a teacher, after all), sweet and forgiving (perhaps a bit too forgiving?), and star of her very own novel. Talk about the total package!

On the other hand, you’ve got Rochester, who represents everything you should not be looking for in a husband. Secretive, brusque and rude in demeanor, capriciously violent and unsympathetically cruel - he locked up his poor, mentally disturbed wife for goodness sakes.  And he doesn’t even have good looks to make up for the rest of it! What does this girl see in him?

We’ll tell you what she sees in him. Danger. Unpredictability. Imperfection. She is attracted to something that needs to be fixed, not something real and lasting. That’s rudimentary AP Psychology for you. Theirs is the relationship that you have when you’re in junior high school and your parents beg you to drop the loser and pray you’ll grow out of it. While this may seem all well and good for a slice of unreality (it is good for the dramatic demands of fiction), does any of this sound healthy to you?

If these circumstances took place in real life, would we applaud this as a magical love story, or would we try and get this poor, misguided woman into therapy?

If you've read Jane Eyre, let us know your opinion on these points in the comments section!

About the Author:
Shmoop offers hundreds of free educational guides and references.  We believe that any topic, like Jane Eyre or PSAT, can be broken down in a way that is relatable and fun for students. . . We keep things more interesting by using television shows, video games, music, and fashion references throughout our guides. Our goal is not only to present the fundamentals, but to bring the material to life in a way that makes students ask more questions, instead of less.  Check out Shmoop's website to see how all of our free resources can make a difference in your study time.

September 15, 2011

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall, 1959

The Gammage Cup: A Novel of the MinnipinsA handful of Minnipins, a sober and sedate people, rise up against the Periods, the leading family of an isolated mountain valley, and are exiled to a mountain where they discover that the ancient enemies of their people are preparing to attack. (Amazon)

Review by Natalie Gorna, Writer for the Fresno Examiner

I remember where I found the first novels that pushed me to expand my literary library.  My local library sold used books everyday for less than a dollar, and what used copies they were.  Battered, old, beaten.  But I found treasures there, despite the not-so-nice-looking conditions of the books I found.  One was Carol Kendall's The Gammage Cup.  If you're a fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you will love this simple take on a similar history of a "Middle-Earth" world.  And if you didn't like Tolkien's bestsellers, you can still appreciate Kendall's creativity and her wit.

The Gammage Cup is set in a seemingly realistic world with certain elements of fantasy.  As each chapter passes your eyes, there are sayings and rhymes by the characters right above the returning text.  I have read this novel countless times, but from the very first time I could not forget the level of humor and direct wisdom that Kendall put into a sentence-long quote.  Anyway, there are human inhabitants, called Minnipins, who live quiet, simple lives in ordinary villages located in a land of plenty, the Land Between the Mountains.  Political conflicts arise in one village, Slipper-on-the-Water, between the town council and five individuals who dare to think and act differently.

There is Muggles, who tries to contain her very simple honesty by not being outspoken all the time; Walter the Earl, a hero-in-the-making who is a little pompous and who always does what he wants; Gummy, who is a seemingly lazy poet with touches of brilliance; Curley Green, the artist; and last but not least, Mingy, a grumpy, stingy bachelor who is more caring, brave, and generous than he lets on. These five boldly defy Minnipin traditions by adhering to their beliefs, and are subsequently "outlawed" by the entire village.  Forced to start new lives away from the established order, the outlaws must learn to be independent from the community that provided for their every need.  Accidentally discovering a hidden threat to the entire valley, they must decide whether to warn the very people who wrongly exiled them.

I was struck by the author's unique commentary on the numerous necessities of human life.  She not only shows the characters' practical solutions to the problems of survival, but also stresses the importance of not taking anything for granted.  I mean, how would you cope if your town expelled you, money was relatively unimportant, and you had almost no clue how to survive on nature and your brain alone without the dependence we humans have on society's inter-workings?  I don't know if I could.  Probably not.  That's how The Gammage Cup makes you think.

Also, aside from all the adventure, words of wisdom, and charming poetry that are skillfully intertwined with the main storyline, you can sympathize with the five main characters' most important decision, to either stick to their opinions or to humbly submit to their "government's" ideas.  When Walter discovers the Minnipins' propagated history is a fluke, he doesn't hesitate from revealing the depth of the lies to everyone he knows. The Gammage Cup is about necessary rebellion against authority, when you have no choice but to adhere to the truth you know to be the real truth.

Kendall also features a hefty handful of battles scenes, the Minnipins versus the Mushrooms (troll-like, carnivorous enemies who literally stink).  Besides, the Minnipins have some very sleek weapons, like swords that light up and scare off the Mushrooms, and they have courage underneath all that conceit and self-proclaimed superiority.  There is even romance in the story, but I'm not saying who gets together with whom.  It's fun to experience how the heroes get forgiven and recognized by…okay, I'm not giving away the ending here.

I know Kendall wrote a sequel to The Gammage Cup, entitled The Whisper of Glocken, but I honestly think it is inferior to its predecessor.  Kendall's rough criticism of the very characters that she praised in her first novel seems unfair and out of place, like she was purposely slandering them for no visible reason when all the characters in The Gammage Cup already have perceptible flaws.  The Gammage Cup is Kendall's best work, having such an interesting perspective on survival, change, and the truth.  I love this book, which is one of my all-time favorites and earns a spot on my comfort-reads shelf.

Market: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy Fiction
Language: Mild
Sensuality: None
Violence: Moderate
Mature Themes: identity, prejudice, exile, death, rebellion

Book formats:

September 12, 2011

AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale, 2007

Austenland: A NovelReview by Kim Harris Thacker, writer, mommy, and Bookshop Talk host

Do you like books that make you laugh out loud? Or books that make you wriggle with happiness when you get to the last scene? Or books that make you say, I totally feel like that successful thirty-something career woman who is obsessed with Mr. Darcy but not just any Mr. Darcy, we’re talking about Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy–you know, the 1995-A&E-cinematic-adaptation-of-Pride-and-Prejudice Mr. Darcy?

Pride and Prejudice - The Special Edition (A&E Miniseries)If you do . . . boy howdy, have I got a book recommendation for you! Here’s the description of AUSTENLAND from Amazon:

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen–or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Shall we sigh together, friends? Here we go. Siiiiiiiiigh.

This is a wonderful, happy book. I recommend it to Austen fans, of course, but also to anyone who wants a good laugh. Rest assured that it’s very well-written, too. The prose seems effortless, and the dialogue is spot-on. I completely lost myself in this book.

Here’s an excerpt so you can lose yourself, too, but then make sure you go find yourself so you can hurry hurry to buy a copy of this wonderful novel.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her. There was no husband, but those weren’t necessary anymore. There were boyfriends, and if they came and went in a regular stream of mutual dissatisfaction–well, that was the way of things, wasn’t it?

But Jane had a secret. By day she bustled and luncheoned and e-mailed and over-timed and just-in-timed, but sometimes, when she had the time to slip off her consignment store pumps and lounge on the hand-me-down sofa, she dimmed the lights, turned on her nine-inch television, and acknowledged what was missing.

Sometimes she watched Pride and Prejudice.

Midnight in Austenland: A NovelI really do hope you’ll give this delightful book a try! The sequel, MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND, comes out in January of 2012.

Note: I took my copy of AUSTENLAND to my very first Shannon Hale book signing, and now I have an autographed copy! I also own the Special Edition of the A&E Pride and Prejudice. Are you writhing with jealousy?

Market: adult fiction, realistic fiction (with wonderful references to classic Jane Austen novels)
Language: none
Sensuality: mild (plenty of kissing, but very pun intended) Violence: none
Mature Themes: romance, lies, stereotyping, misunderstandings of the most delicious and Austen-y kind, divorce

Book formats:

Another bit of cool news: The author, Shannon Hale, has spent the summer in England while the movie adaptation of AUSTENLAND has been filmed. You can read all about her on-set adventures on her blog.