Sunday, May 31, 2009

About Gardens of Water

Hello Readers!

Our Featured Book of the Month for June is Alan Drew's Gardens of Water.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through it right now and I'm really enjoying Drew's style.

The story is set against the backdrop of the terrible quake that devastated northwest Turkey in 1999, and it explores the clash of cultures between an American family and a family of devout Muslim Kurds--former neighbors (uneasy acquaintances, at that) who are forced closer together in the quake's aftermath. The clash is made even more intense by the secret romance that's going on between the American family's teenaged son and the Kurdish family's teenaged daughter.

I'm eager to see how it turns out, and I'm fascinated by the fact that Alan Drew actually lived in Turkey at the time of the 1999 quake. Maybe I'll even get a chance to talk to him about it when he visits the Main Library on June 21st!

Here's a link that provides some facts about the earthquake.

And here's one that provides some information about the history of the Kurdish people in Turkey.

I hope you'll join me in reading Gardens of Water.

Check back in a day or two for a profile of the author and some thought-provoking discussion questions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About David Benioff

You may not have heard of David Benioff, but you’ve probably seen, or at least heard of one of his movies: Troy, The Kite Runner or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. David Benioff is probably best known for his career as a screenwriter, although he has written several critically acclaimed books, novels The 25th Hour and City of Thieves and a collection of short stories, When the Nines Roll Over. Benioff was born in New York City in 1970 and attended Dartmouth College, the University of California Irvine and Trinity College in Dublin. He worked as a high school teacher, a bouncer and a DJ before his writing career took off with the publication of The 25th Hour.

David Benioff spent years working on his latest novel, City Of Thieves. Contrary to what many people think, the book is not a memoir, even though the main character, Lev, is telling the story to his grandson, David, who happens to be a writer. Benioff says that the book is “99.99% fiction” and encourages readers to “take everything between the two covers with a big dose of salt.” That being said, before writing the book, he traveled to St. Petersburg and did extensive research there, visiting many of the sites that are featured in the book, to ensure that the story was historically accurate.

Benioff lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Amanda Peet, and their daughter. To learn more about him and his work, check out this interview.