Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Readers Group Guide - Barefoot Girls

Reading groups and clubs are one of the best, most foolproof ways to find great books. Why? Almost everyone who is in such a group is an avid reader. They've been around the block and back and can usually recommend a great novel for their book club to read and discuss. That means a much better lineup of books on your shelf or in your e-reader that you can look forward to reading with pleasure.

When Barefoot Girls was being read and evaluated by my wonderful group of beta readers, one of my readers and friends, Elise, said that a group discussion guide would be perfectly suited to this book: one that covers many issues that matter to women (while it entertains). As a result, said guide was created and included in the back of the book. Yet, it's not easy to reach unless you've downloaded the novel or bought a paper copy, so here it is in all its glory for book lovers out there who are looking for a guide for Barefoot Girls:

READERS GROUP GUIDE: Barefoot Girls by Tara McTiernan

Book Description
When her hometown newspaper reviews Hannah O’Brien’s newly released novel, the nature of her book is called into question when the reviewer suggests it is a memoir depicting her neglectful alcoholic mother – Keeley O’Brien Cohen, the most beloved of the Barefoot Girls -  a little too accurately for fiction, citing rumors rather than sources. Deeply hurt and betrayed, Keeley cuts Hannah out of her life. Desperate, Hannah does everything she can to apologize and explain, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the rest of Hannah’s life starts to unravel, pushing her to risk her engagement to Daniel, the one man who had been able to scale the high walls around her heart.

At the eleventh hour, the Barefoot Girls are able to convince Keeley to send Hannah the keys to the Barefooter house, the home and heart of their friendship. Barred from their clubhouse since she was twelve, Hannah grabs the chance to visit the little shack filled with memories and perched at the tip of Captain’s Island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York.

As Hannah battles to come to terms with her equally blessed and troubled childhood and understand her mother and her sister-close friends, she’s confronted with the power of forgiveness and the dangers of holding on to the past.

  1. There were several fascinating settings in the novel: Manhattan and Park Avenue society, the wealthy enclaves of Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut, and remote rustic Captain’s Island (a fictionalized composite of several small islands on Long Island, New York). Which one did you find most intriguing and why?
  2. Hannah is lost is the world at the beginning of the novel, slowly finding her way and growing more confident, even demanding, as the

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marilyn Monroe - The Woman Who Never Got Out of Character

"I have too many fantasies to be a housewife. I guess I am a fantasy."
-Marilyn Monroe

On the 50th anniversary of her tragic death questions still remain about Marilyn Monroe, but after reading many of her quotes and books about her, what struck me most was that she made me think of a character in a book or a movie: a lovely, otherworldly, and wise character, the kind of character every writer wants to create (I certainly do). And that led me to question: was Marilyn Monroe Norma Jean's creation? An artificial persona intended to excite and enchant others, to become their fantasy? A character she concocted and played for the rest of her life, onscreen and off?

I say, yes, without a doubt.

Norma Jean Baker played a character for most of her life, a character she called "her" who wiggled her hips and fluttered her eyelashes and spoke in a breathy voice. A beguiling character who was vulnerable and sexual at the same time - a rare thing in the fifties when vulnerability was tied up by the good girls and sexuality was considered "fast" and "tough" - and one that played to our hopes and dreams about the American woman.

Watch her in movies and then watch her in interviews: she is always playing the same character and no one ever played Marilyn Monroe, the star and legend, better (though many have tried). She lived to be a star and for her

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Get the Most Out of GoodReads

I love GoodReads. Not because I'm a writer - but because I'm a reader. Reading was and is my first love. Being caught up in a great story inspired me to dream of writing great stories myself.

Of all the sites out there for readers, nothing rivals GoodReads. However, many people join GoodReads, rate a few books, and forget about it, not understanding that the site is a tool for readers, not just a place to review books. Using GoodReads properly will help you find better books and find more enjoyment in them. It's easier to share what you're reading with friends and get fantastic spot-on book recommendations. It's a playground and a virtual book-loving heaven for bibliophiles!

So how do you use it "properly"?

Top Five Ways to Get the Most Out of GoodReads

1) Rate and Review
Everyone rates and reviews a few books, but what you really want to do is rate (review if you have time) every book you've read. This is important as GoodReads then recommends books based on those ratings. Automatically - just click on "recommendations" and there will be tons of them, all targeted to you. But the only way that GoodReads will yield the kind of results that will help you find the next book you want to read is if you rated enough books in the first place!

2) Giveaways
Under the "Explore" pull down menu is a wealth of GoodReads goodness, but one of the best things, especially for those of us looking for a risk-free way to try out new authors, is GoodReads giveaways! With a simple click,