Friday, June 19, 2015

Amazing Book Friends, I NEED your Help.

I Need Help from My Amazing Book Friends.

Hey Everyone, I need your help.  I'm taking nine amazing high school students to Peru on Monday.  We are all so excited and scared at the same time.  I have been trying to raise money to help defray the costs of this expensive, amazing, life changing experience for my students but have fallen very short of my goal.  At this point we are at 17 percent.  I am praying that we can reach at least 50 percent by Sunday.  Here is why.

My teaching partner and I have written several grants this year and as a result are able to take five economically disadvantage students on this trip for a low cost.  This is the first time on a airplane for these high school students and the first time out of the country.  They all come from single parent homes that have multiple children.  Four of these students are Native American.  This GoFundMe campaign is to help pay for tips ($111.00 per student) and lunch, which is not included in the cost.  We also want some money to take them to cultural activities and to give them a authentic experience so they don't have to constantly worry about money and if they can afford to do this or that activity.

Here is the link for the Go Fund Me, I set up 6 months ago.
If you like what I do here on BookSnob and if I have helped you in any way with a book recommendation or a book review, can you please tip me by adding 5 or 10 dollars to this fund?. I have not earned any money while writing this blog.  Can you please spare some money to help these students out? $5.00 would cover lunch for one student.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!!!
I plan to post a Peru literary travel reading list when I return.
Please share this post and spread the word. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

I have fallen in love with a new author and his name is Benjamin Percy.  He has written this awesome book about the Lewis and Clark expedition that has been re-imagined, 150 years into the future in a post-apocalyptic America.

The Dead Lands is a place that exists outside the wall that surrounds St. Louis.  There are giant spiders that feed on criminals, and creatures morphed by the nuclear fallout.  There is disease and famine and a lack of water and resources.  People are forbidden to travel outside the wall unless you are one of the guard.  Mina Clark is one of the guard who longs to leave St. Louis and find a better place.  A place with fresh water and green grass and opportunities for a better life.

Inside the wall, St. Louis is called The Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary is stifled and repressed by Lewis Meriweather's former friend Thomas, whom is a selfish leader who indulges himself at the expense of his people. Lewis is the museum curator and keeper of knowledge.  He is odd and people tend to leave him alone.  Some think he has magical powers.

One day, a strange young girl named Gawea approaches the wall on horseback.  She has a unique appearance, with tanned skin and large dark pupils.  The guards on the wall are afraid and shoot at her and she is gravely injured.  She carries a secret message for Lewis.  Clark tries to protect her and plans to save her from impending death, because Thomas wants her hung in public as an example of the dangers outside of the wall.

Lewis and Clark with Gawea as their guide escape The Sanctuary and head West into the unknown.

The Dead Lands is a history teacher's dream, an odyssey of history and culture of a new America.  I kept comparing what happened in the 1800's to the futuristic America portrayed in the pages of The Dead Lands.  And it works.  The journey of Lewis and Clark is a quest of epic proportions that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

Like all great Odyssey stories there are monsters to fight and weather storms to battle and beautiful, dangerous women to lead the party astray.  There is slavery and violence and environmental concerns and mutant creatures and people eating polar bears, oh my.  I love Odyssey stories or stories of the hero's journey.  I love, love, love, The Dead Lands.  I was riveted to the page and enjoyed the fantastical elements as well as the historical ones.

Percy has created a cast of creative characters that parallel history for a modern era. I loved that Clark is a woman and Lewis has magical powers.  I loved all the characters, they are flawed and lovable. Reading this book was so much fun for me.  If you know your history there are secret messages and historical tidbits in The Dead Lands for you to uncover.

Dare to enter The Dead Lands and travel on the wild side with Lewis and Clark.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Free Audio Books!

Free Audio Books!

June is Audio Book month and you can find lots of free audio books on the internet if you know where to look.

My favorite place to get free audiobooks is Audio Book Sync.
They give away two free audiobooks a week all summer.  All you need to do is download the Overdrive app on your phone or tablet and download the audiobook.

Here is the website:

This is the list of free book titles.  Two per week until Aug 13th.

June 11 – June 17: The Living by Matt de la Pena, narrated by Henry Leyva (Brilliance Audio ) and The Perfect Storm: A True Story Of Men Against The Sea by Sebastian Junger, narrated by Richard Davidson (Recorded Books, Inc.)

June 18 – June 24: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, narrated by Sasha Pick (Bolinda Publishing) and Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies & Alison Leslie Gold, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (Oasis Audio)

June 25 – July 1: Monster by Walter Dean Myers, narrated by a Full Cast; Afterword read by the author (Listening Library) and Lord of The Flies written and narrated by William Golding (Listening Library)

July 2 – July 8: Echoes Of An Angel by Aquanetta Gordon with Chris Macias, narrated by Robin Miles (christianaudio) and Budda Boy by Kathe Koja, narrated by Spencer Murphy & The Full Cast Family (Full Cast Audio)

July 9 – July 15: The Explorers Club by Nell Benjamin, performed by Jack Cutmore-Scott, Carson Elrod, David Furr, John Getz, Martin Jarvis, David Krumholtz, Lorenzo Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt & Matthew Wolf (L.A. Theatre Works) and Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne, narrated by Michael Prichard (Tantor Audio)

July 16 – July 22: Crows & Cards by Joseph Helgerson, narrated by MacLeod Andrews (Brilliance Audio) and THE Adventures Of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain, narrated by Robin Field (Mission

July 23 – July 29: March by Geraldine Brooks, narrated by Richard Easton (Penguin Audio) and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, narrated by Kate Reading (Listening Library)

July 30 – August 5: Courage Has No Color: The True Story Of The Triple Nickles by Tanya Lee Stone, narrated by J.D. Jackson (Brilliance Audio) and John Ball's In The Heat Of The Night Adapted by Matt Pelfrey, performed by  Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Hammond, Kalen Harriman, Travis Johns, James Morrison, Darren Richardson & Tom Virtue (L.A. Theatre Works)

August 6 – August 13: Under A War-Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott, narrated by Elizabeth Wiley (Tantor Audio) and The Old Brown Suitcase by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz narrated by Sofia Newman (Post Hypnotic Press)

Another place to look for Free Audiobooks is  They are giving one free audio book per day in the month of June.

Here is the website:

Click on Free Book of the Day.  Download and listen.  Enjoy!

Have you listened to any great Audio Books Lately?  Let me know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Benjamin Percy Author Interview

Benjamin Percy Author Interview

Benjamin Percy is the May/June, Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob.  I got the chance to ask him some questions about books, the writing life, and of course his latest book (which I love), The Dead Lands.
Read on.

Hi Benjamin,

1.   Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a novelist, comics writer, and screenwriter. I grew up in Oregon—and the Pacific Northwest is a stage for much of my fiction—but married into the Midwest. The Dead Lands—a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga—is my fifth book. I taught for many years, but now I’m at the keyboard full-time. I write the Green Arrow series for DC Comics. I have a crime show—called Black Gold, set in the North Dakota oil fields—in development with Starz. I also write regularly for Esquire, where I’m a contributing editor.

2. What inspired you to write The Dead Lands?

I grew up in the shadow of Lewis and Clark. Visiting Fort Clatsop. Attending the bicentennial. Reading their journals. I always wanted to write about them—and originally I thought I might attempt to recreate their passage, joined along the way by different friends and family members, and crank out a nonfiction book about modern-day adventure. A publisher made a bid on his, alongside my novel Red Moon. But then I sat down with my wife and we figured out the logistics and cost and time away from home, and she said, very reasonably, “That ain’t happening.” So I decided to make some stuff up instead!

I considered a historical novel, but that’s been done many times, and done well. The post-apocalyptic angle felt fresh and exciting to me. An infant nation, trying to rebuild itself, with untold wonders and horrors awaiting the expedition and different forces vying for control of the country? That’s not so far off from what actually happened, but it’s a new angle that makes their journey relevant and perilous once more.

3. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book.  Did you do that?  Do you have anything in common with your characters?

I spend my nights dreaming and my days dreaming with my eyes open. I have a wildly overactive mind. Many fine short stories and novels are thinly veiled memoir, but that doesn’t interest me. If I write about myself, it always feels like a failure of the imagination. Most of the pleasure I take in writing comes from invention, drawing characters and narratives out of the ether.

With that said, there are always glimmers here and there drawn from life. Maybe an image—a barn burning, a tornado unfurling from the sky, a whale cresting near a boat—was inspired by something I actually saw. Or maybe a character has the knock knees of a neighbor, the voice of my grandfather, and the beard of my college roommate, but there’s always a healthy serving of imagination ladled over the top.

4.   How many books have you written? Can you tell us why you decided to become a writer?

I’ve published three novels and two books of short stories. I have a craft book—called Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction—coming out in 2016 with Graywolf Press. And another novel—called The Dark Net, which I’m describing as The Exorcist meets The Matrix—coming out in 2017 with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

I’ve always been a narrative junkie. Comics, novels, movies, TV shows—I gobbled up everything as a kid and continue to now. And that obsession has always been balanced: I’m as interested in the emotional impact of a story as I am its architecture and devices.

5.  What advice do you give to new writers?

Read your brains out and write your brains out. Malcolm Gladwell talks about how it takes 10,000 hours to even begin to master any trade—that’s absolutely true of writing. There are no prodigies in the field. The more you read, the more you write, the more you live and travel and work different jobs and love and hate different people (and and and), the better you get.

6. Do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

I read every night. I try to vary my literary diet as much as possible so as not to fall into an aesthetic rut. But some of my favorite authors include Flannery O’Connor, Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Kate Atkinson, Donna Tartt, Peter Straub, Daniel Woodrell, Neil Gaiman.

7. How do you carve time out of your busy day to read and write?

I used to have an insane schedule. I would teach all day. Then brew a pot of coffee at 11 PM. Write until 3 or 5 AM. Wake up at nine to begin prepping and grading. Obviously this wasn’t sustainable, but I grinded away for several years in this fashion, securing better teaching jobs with lesser loads. And finally I was able to quit teaching and the writing took over completely.

Now I sit down at 7, write until 3:30. After that, I’m a dad and husband. Eight hours a day—sometimes two more in the evening if I’m under deadline—just like any job, except that I’m playing with my imaginary friends all day, which is pretty cool (and weird).

8. What are some of the issues in The Dead Lands that you hope your readers will interpret as integral to the story?

I could rant about this for some time. How about two quick take-aways, since people are reading this on the Internet and probably want to hurry up and leave this interview to go rearrange their Netflix queue.
First, look at the way I managed the structure. It’s a quest story, sure. And I love quest stories. But the problem is, they’re so often episodic. Huck and Jim go down the river, get off the raft, hijinks ensue. They get back on the raft, go down the river, get off the raft, hijinks ensue. There’s not a strong sense of causality. I combatted this in a number of ways. One was to blend the quest with another type of story I admire very much: the fishbowl scenario. So I’m cutting back and forth—between the expedition and post-apocalyptic St. Louis—usually at moments of great emotional or physical peril (to enhance suspense).

Second, we’re inundated with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives. Maybe there’s a reason for that. California is drying up, knuckling upon itself like a date. A bomb goes off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Ebola rips its way through Sierra Leone. People are rioting in the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore. Russia invades Ukraine and dangerously eyes up its neighbors. In these environmentally, culturally, politically dangerous times, the end of the world has never been more popular because the end of the world has never seemed more probable. And though my novel takes place in the future, there are parallels to the contemporary world’s problems.

9. Name one book that you believe is a must read for everyone and tell us why?

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, the comic series collected into an omnibus that reads like an epic novel. It’s one of the greatest feats of imagination I’ve ever encountered.

10. In one sentence tell readers why they should read The Dead Lands?

Because if you don’t, you will be cursed; a crow will flap to an open window and croak out, “Seven days,” at the end of which time you will die horribly.

Thanks Benjamin.

You can find Benjamin Percy on his website at

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Time for Summer Reading-What to Read Next

Time for Summer Reading and What to Read Next

The Last day of school is tomorrow and then I have to work on Monday to finish grades, clean my classroom and interview for a new Social Studies teacher. Then it is time for summer reading.  OMG, I cannot wait.

On May 9th, I presented a list of what to read next at the YA Lit conference in Minnesota.  I wasn't sure what to expect but there were over 100 people there for my 45 minute session.  I wanted to post my list right away on BooksSnob but I have been busy with the end of the school year and a trip to Berlin.  So now I am going to publish my list of what to read next.  Finally.

The first book I talked about was How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon.  This is the best YA book I have read so far this year and I believe it will make my top ten reads of 2015.  So good.

I haven't read all the books on this list but many I have.  The ones I haven't read are getting rave reviews.

Here is a list of all the titles I handed out after my book talk session that is contained in the Google slide presentation.

2014 - 2015 Young Adult Titles (some adult titles thrown in)

*How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon
X. A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
*Eden West by Pete Hautman
*The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer
*Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
*The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tamia James
Ms. Marvel, No Normal by Alphona Wilson
Lumberjanes Vol 1 by Noelle Stephenson and Grace Ellis
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Mosquitoland. A Novel by David Arnold
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
None of the Above by I.W. Gregario
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles
Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Ghettoside. A True story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy
I will Always Write Back.  How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin
*The Martian by Andy Weir
*The 5Th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Last Leaving Falling by Sarah Benwell
Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani
Audacity by Melanie Crowder
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Hold Tight, Don’t Let go. A novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

*Books I have read and recommend.

Which books have you read?
What books do you recommend for summer reading?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Literary Journey to Berlin, Germany

Literary Travel to Berlin, Germany

I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Berlin.  I met some awesome teachers from around the United States and learned so much about the history of Berlin and experienced the unique German culture.  It was amazing.  The German people are so nice and friendly.  The public transportation system is awesome, the food is good and the history is memorable.

The are a multitude of books and films that take place in Berlin.  If you can't travel there in person, you can always take a literary journey.

Here are some of the books I found:

The Good German by Joseph Kanon

This is the book I took to Germany with me.  I always read a book that takes place in the area I am traveling to.  I knew I wanted a book that started after WWII and this was it.  It was perfect.  I visited many of the places I was reading about in the book.  It was so cool.  I learned so much about the occupation of Germany after the war and the devastation that permeated Berlin.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
With World War II finally ending, Jake Geismar, former Berlin correspondent for CBS, has wangled one of the coveted press slots for the Potsdam Conference. His assignment: a series of articles on the Allied occupation. His personal agenda: to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind at the outbreak of the war.
When Jake stumbles on a murder -- an American soldier washes up on the conference grounds -- he thinks he has found the key that will unlock his Berlin story. What Jake finds instead is a larger story of corruption and intrigue reaching deep into the heart of the occupation. Berlin in July 1945 is like nowhere else -- a tragedy, and a feverish party after the end of the world.

As Jake searches the ruins for Lena, he discovers that years of war have led to unimaginable displacement and degradation. As he hunts for the soldier's killer, he learns that Berlin has become a city of secrets, a lunar landscape that seethes with social and political tension. When the two searches become entangled, Jake comes to understand that the American Military Government is already fighting a new enemy in the east, busily identifying the "good Germans" who can help win the next war. And hanging over everything is the larger crime, a crime so huge that it seems -- the worst irony -- beyond punishment.

At once a murder mystery, a moving love story, and a riveting portrait of a unique time and place, The Good German is a historical thriller of the first rank.

Joseph Kanon has a new book out called Leaving Berlin, released in April 2015.  This one takes
place in 1949 and looks really, really good.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
From the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage, called a "fast-moving thinking man's thriller" by The Wall Street Journal, comes a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation.

Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors.

Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment is to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder?

Filled with intrigue, and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon's new novel is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.

The Innocent by Ian McEwan

Psychological thriller set in Berlin during the Cold War, based on an actual (but little known) incident which tells of the secret tunnel under the Soviet sector which the British and Americans built in 1954 to gain access to the Russians' communication system. The protagonist, Leonard Marnham, is a 25-year-old, naive, unsophisticated English post office technician who is astonished and alarmed to find himself involved in a top-secret operation. At the same time that he loses his political innocence, Leonard experiences his sexual initiation in a clandestine affair with a German divorcee five years his senior. As his two secret worlds come together, events develop into a gruesome nightmare, building to a searing, unforgettable scene of surrealist intensity in which Leonard and his lover try to conceal evidence of a murder. Acting to save himself from a prison sentence, Leonard desperately performs an act of espionage whose ironic consequences resonate down the years to a twister of an ending. Though its plot rivals any thriller in narrative tension, this novel is also a character study--of a young man coming of age in bizarre circumstances, and of differences in national character: the gentlemanly Brits, all decorum and civility; the brash, impatient Americans; the cynical Germans.
McEwan's neat, tensile prose raises this book to the highest level of the genre.

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
Translated by Michael Hoffman

This book was suggested by one of my tour guides in Berlin.

"The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis." -Primo Levi

This never-before-translated masterpiece-by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn't join the Nazi Party-is based on a true story.

It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

In the end, it's more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order-it's a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what's right, and each other.

Hans Fallada was one of Germany's best-selling authors-ranking with Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse-prior to the rise of the Nazis. But while those writers fled Germany, Fallada stayed. Refusing to join the Nazi Party, he suffered numerous difficulties, including incarceration in an insane asylum. After the war, he wrote Every Man Dies Alone based on an actual Gestapo file. He died just before its publication in 1947.

There is excellent Non-Fiction as well.  Several of the books here were suggested by one of my tour guides in Berlin.

Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945 by Marie Vassiltchikov

The secret diaries of a twenty-three-year-old White Russian princess who worked in the German Foreign Office from 1940 to 1944 and then as a nurse, these pages give us a unique picture of wartime life in that sector of German society from which the 20th of July Plot -- the conspiracy to kill Hitler -- was born.

Includes index.

In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men
of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947
by Christopher Munro Clark

Iron Kingdom traces Prussia's involvement in the continent's foundational religious and political conflagrations: from the devastations of the Thirty Years War through centuries of political machinations to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, from the enlightenment of Frederick the Great to the destructive conquests of Napoleon, and from the "iron and blood" policies of Bismarck to the creation of the German Empire in 1871, with all that implied for the tumultuous twentieth century.


Here are some movies and documentary films that one of the tour guides suggested to watch if you
want to learn more about Germany and Berlin.

The Good German was made into a film in 2006.
Girls in Uniform (also a book) was made into a film in the 1930s.
BBC- Behind Closed Doors on World War II
BBC - Frederick the Great and the Enigma of Prussia

The BBC films can be found on YouTube.

Are there other books and film you suggest?
Please comment.

Enjoy your literary journey to Berlin.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Eden West Giveaway Winners

Eden West Giveaway Winners

Pete Hautman was the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on BookSnob for the month of April and he has written several amazing Young Adult novels.  Eden West is his newest release. Along with his publisher, Candlewick Press, Pete Hautman is giving away 2 copies of Eden West to followers who live in the United States.  And the winners are......

Lindsay from Ohio
Lysette from California

Congrats Ladies.  I hope you enjoy your new book.

Here is an excerpt from my book review:

Pete Hautman has done it again. He has written a thought provoking, realistic novel for teens. Hautman's fiction always makes me think and look at the world in a new way.  Eden West really makes you think about faith and religion and the self imposed walls that we live behind.  Eden West contains a great cast of characters that you grow to care about.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Benjamin Percy Guest Post + Giveaway

Benjamin Percy Guest Post + Giveaway

Benjamin Percy is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight for the month of May and he has written a guest post about The Dead Lands and its origins. If you love History ( ah, you should love history) then this post will interest you.  I think I need to travel to Oregon someday and visit the places Percy talks about in his post.  In a unrelated note, I'm traveling to Berlin tomorrow.  Happy Dance.

The Rest is History
Benjamin Percy

I always wanted to write about Lewis and Clark. I grew up at the end of the trail—Oregon—where Fort Clatsop is, where the bicentennial was held, where so many statues and landmarks note the heroism and travails of the expedition.

My mother is a hobby historian. When I turned twelve, she gave me their journals as a gift, inscribed with the message “Seek adventure.” And every time we headed off to some canyon or mountainside on a weekend adventure—camping, hiking, fishing, hunting—she would make sure we paused to recognize this as the place where Lewis sneezed or Sacagawea voted or Clark shot a bear or whatever.

It was ingrained in me. The belief that theirs was the greatest adventure story in American history.

Initially I thought I would write a nonfiction account of their journey—by recreating it. I would paddle, pedal, hike my way from St. Louis to Astoria. And bring different people—friends, family—with me along the way.

A publisher caught wind of this and bid on the project as part of a deal for my previous novel, Red Moon. For whatever reason, I had neglected to mention the idea to my wife. We sat down and figured out how long the mission would take and how much it would cost and she very reasonably said, “That ain’t happening.”

So I decided to make some stuff up instead. I debated the possibility of a historical novel, but that’s been done and Ezra Pound’s charge to the writer is “Make it new.”

I made it new. Post-apocalyptic Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark 2.0.

Think about it for a moment. Here is this vast territory—Louisiana—that everyone coveted: Britain, France, Russia, America. Napoleon sold it for fifteen million to Jefferson and in doing so we doubled the size of this country. No one knew what was out there. (Correction: no white people knew what was out there.) Some believed wooly mammoths might roam the plains and mountains. It was the equivalent of blasting off for the moon.

So here they are hoping to reunite the states, build a new American. A post-apocalyptic wasteland felt like the right move, the best way to make the material new and relevant and perilous once more, not so far off from the way the expedition must have felt when setting off into untold wonders and horrors.

Benjamin Percy’s new novel is the The Dead Lands. He writes the Green Arrow series for DC Comics. His original television series Black Gold – a modern-day western set in the North Dakota oil fields – is in development with Starz. He is a contributing editor at Esquire. Follow him on Twitter at Benjamin_Percy and learn more about him at

If you would like to win a copy of Benjamin Percy's book The Dead Lands, please click here:  The Dead Lands Giveaway

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Dead Lands Giveaway

The Dead Lands Giveaway

Benjamin Percy is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the month of May, and along with his publisher, Hachette,  he is giving away one copy of The Dead Lands to a follower who lives in the United States.  Yay!!

Here is the Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Benjamin Percy's new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and
Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

Fill out the form.
Must live in the U.S.
No P.O. Boxes
Contest Ends June 6th at midnight.
Good Luck!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Tusk That Did the Damage Giveaway Winner!

The Tusk That Did the Damage Giveaway Winner!

Tania James along with TLC book tours and Alfred A. Knopf publishing is giving away one copy of The Tusk That Did The Damage to BookSnob followers who live in the United States.

And the winner is Anne B. from New Mexico

Congratulations Anne, enjoy your new book.

Here is an excerpt from my book review:

The Tusk That Did the Damage is a page-turning, can't wait to find out what happens next, sort of book.  It is devastatingly beautiful and tragic and brilliant.  I have fallen in love with Gravedigger and the poacher and the filmmaker.  My heart aches for each of them and I wish the story didn't have to end. Unfortunately every story must come to an end and so this is my recommendation;  Read slowly and tell everyone you know to read it.