Back from Winter Institute

We’re back, just in time for the storm of the season! Batten down your hatches, everyone…

ABA’s Winter Institute in Louisville, KY was an amazing two days. Imagine 500 booksellers from all across the country talking with each other, attending classes on everything from events to website maintenance, and meeting with authors and publishers to find out the next great books of this year. Even I have trouble believing it, and I was there (you can tell, in fact, because I accidentally managed to get myself on the ABA Blog)!

Before I left, I mentioned two books whose authors were going to be at the conference and promised to give a full review for each. I’m going to postpone my promise on Loose Girl, because we’re working on getting a guest blog post out of Kerry Cohen and I don’t want to spoil anything!

The God of War was the other title; I got to speak with Marisa Silver, the author, at the Author Reception. She’s a wonderful woman — well spoken, friendly, and clearly passionate about writing, books, and everything that goes along with them! Her novel The God of War is the starkly-told tale of twelve year old Ares, eldest son of free-spirited single mother Laurel, and his autistic younger brother Malcolm. Ares believes that he is the cause of Malcolm’s disability, and is being eaten away by uncertainty, self-loathing, and his difficult and twisted love for his unconventional family. Silver spins a dark web of emotion and longing, touching on each character with a clarity and honesty that is increasingly rare these days.

The God of War doesn’t come out until May, but I wanted to mention it now because I see this as being a fantastic book club pick. There are a lot of layers to be discussed here — single parent choices, dealing with disability, rural life vs. urban or suburban, teenage difficulties, guilt, personal responsibility… I could go on and on. So all you book clubs out there that are still searching for a good summer pick: this one’s for you!

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