Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Club Exchange: Karin Slaughter

I'd like to welcome author Karin Slaughter to Book Club Exchange, a feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! Yesterday, I featured the latest novel by Ms. Slaughter called FALLEN with a fantastic review from Booking Pap Pap.

Ms. Slaughter has written a very interesting guest post about her experiences with book clubs from the point of view as an author. In addition, she gives some great book recommendations... and you know how I love discovering what others are reading!

One of the weird parts about being an author is suddenly, when you talk about a book, people actually listen. I guess folks think being in the “business” of writing confers upon authors some sort of magical talent for separating the wheat from the chafe, but I have to admit I’m as clueless as the next reader. I’ve been burned by something I’ve plucked from the “top ten” shelves, and I’ve found gold buried in the bottom of a sale bin. Still, I have to be careful about what I say. Having had a few mean reviews myself, I’m reticent to say anything negative about someone else’s work. So, mostly, I keep my mouth shut or find positive things to say, like, “Well, no one else could’ve written that story!” or “My goodness. There were words on every page!”

All this being said, It’s always with great pleasure that I find a book I love—and love talking about. Fingersmith, Slammerkin, Case Histories, the Help…these were all books I trumpeted until my throat was sore. I bought copies to give to friends. I mentioned them in every interview I gave. I called friends up and told them to go out and get them NOW. There is nothing more exciting than finding a good book, which is why I have always loved book clubs.

There are lots of jokes about book clubs being an excuse for women to get together and drink (like we’ve ever needed an excuse for that!) but the ones I’ve spoken with have always felt like home to me. No one can convince me that it’s ever a bad idea to sit around talking about stories. Let’s face it, we don’t have to read in order to live, but I feel t reading makes our lives more livable. Sitting around with a group of friends and discussing your likes and dislikes about a certain story brings you closer to what being a human being is all about. I’ve always felt that readers approach a book with two questions in mind: How is this like my life? How is this not like my life? It’s through exploring those similarities and differences that we get a better understanding of ourselves.

So, let me pass on some good reads that I’ve found lately: The End of Wasp Season by Denise Mina was absolutely fabulous. Denise is a meaty writer, not afraid of taking on social issues and looking at crime from the criminal’s perspective. Another good book is Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder. I will freely admit to anyone who asks that I worship Mo Hayder. She is a writer’s writer, the sort of artist who’s not afraid to take risks. There are other authors whose books I am eagerly awaiting: Lee Child never disappoints. Lisa Gardner gets better and better with each book. Sandra Brown keeps delivering the sort of stories that make it impossible to stop turning the pages. With the economy in the toilet, buying a book represents more than a risk of wasting time. We want something that moves and engages us. We want to get to that last page and feel breathless. We want to know that we got our money’s worth. Take it from an insider: as far as these writers are concerned, we are living in prosperous times.

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of several novels, including the Grant County series. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.

A huge thanks to Ms. Slaughter for writing this awesome guest post. I especially love her list of favorite authors!

Giveaway alert: I have one copy of FALLEN to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before Tuesday, July 5th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. Contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada addresses only. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading what Karin Slaughter had to say about book clubs. I agree that, as a reader, I approach a book saying "how is this like my life?". Took me while to figure that out, but I think that's why certain books speak so loudly to me, ones that may not to others. They don't live my life, so how can the book talk to them the same way?

Anyway, I finished FALLEN last night and I'm very excited about sharing my love of it with others. So, other people, enter the contest for FALLEN, or go out and buy FALLEN or go to your library and check out FALLEN. You won't be sorry!!

bermudaonion said...

I figured Slaughter had to be Southern when I saw the comments she makes about books!! Great guest post!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great post! I felt the same way when I read Fingersmith, and it's so fun to find books like that! said...

Wondeful post. Love the haircut Karin.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful guest post, I'm going to pass on the giveaway because I want to start the series from the beginning.

Dolly said...

I've tried to find a book club to join in my area but it seems to be closed groups around here, or they all meet in the daytime during the week. :( My hope is to one day win one of the large giveaways with multiple copies of books, and 'encourage' my local library to let me start an evening club!