Thursday, February 19, 2009


Sway by Zachary Lazar

3/7/09 - My review copy of Sway showed up yesterday, and it's all I can do not to dive in right away because it looks so good! I especially like the cover art. Jagger was so gorgeous back then. (I am a sap for "bad boys," and that's sure his look in that photo.) Anyway, I started on the first page of the first chapter and when I got to page 7 I had to force myself to put it down and finish the books I'm already reading. The first chapter has to do with the Manson family, which is still one of the creepier things about the 60s. Anyway, my eyes keep getting drawn back to that cover art, but I'm holding firm (so far).

I hope to be able to start reading it on Monday after a weekend gorging on my other review books (see TBR sidebar).

Tomorrow's the drawing for the free copies of Sway, so be sure to leave a comment if you haven't already done so.


Oboy, oboy! Or, as we used to say back in the day, groovy! No, wait ~ I never really said "groovy," did I? God, I hope not. Cool. Hip. Bitchin' maybe. Never groovy. *shudders at the thought*

Anyway, back at the ranch (another 60s slang term ~ I'm full of 'em tonight, aren't I?!), I just heard about this really cool book about the 1960s scene. I have to say, I am excited about the chance to read it! I mean, it's about the era of my own misspent youth. How can I resist? I'll be reviewing it here as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is a description of the book from the Hatchette website:

Three dramatic and emblematic stories intertwine in Zachary Lazar's extraordinary new novel, SWAY--the early days of the Rolling Stones, including the romantic triangle of Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards; the life of avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger; and the community of Charles Manson and his followers.

Lazar illuminates an hour in American history when rapture found its roots in idolatrous figures and led to unprovoked and inexplicable violence. Connecting all the stories in this novel is Bobby Beausoleil, a beautiful California boy who appeared in an Anger film and eventually joined the Manson "family."

With great artistry, Lazar weaves scenes from these real lives together into a true but heightened reality, making superstars human, giving demons reality, and restoring mythic events to the scale of daily life.

"One hypnotic tone poem.... It is not the now-historic acts of violence that make Sway so riveting, but its vivid character portraits and decadent, muzzy atmosphere, all rendered with the heightened sensory awareness associated with drugs and paranoia.

The near miniaturist precision with which he describes Keith Richards's attempts to master his guitar, Brian Jones's acid trips and Anger's obsessive desire for Beausoleil bring this large-scale tableau into stunning relief." --Liz Brown, Time Out New York

I've got up to five copies to give away courtesy of the nice folks at Hatchette Book Group. To enter, please leave a comment here along with a way for me to get hold of you if your name is pulled from the hat. You can also blog about this contest for a second entry. Contest ends March 8 when I put all the names in the aforesaid hat and get my neighbor's cat to pick the winners. *mreow* >^..^<

Open only to U.S. and Canadian residents with a mailing address other than a P.O. Box.

*slouches over to pile of CDs to see if I can find my copy of Beggars' Banquet*

Friday, February 6, 2009

"The Italian Lover" ~ CONGRATULATIONS!

Well, we have our winners! There were three (because there were 15 comments):

Gwendolyn B.
Wendy aka Misswendiki

I'll be in touch via email to get your snailmail addys, and soon after that I hope to hear that you received your copy!

The winner of the candle was Gwendolyn B. (she was entered twice because of the West of Mars - Win a Book blog post). I'll get that out to as soon as she decides which candle or candleholder she prefers.

Happy Valentine's Day and my thanks to all who participated. I wish you all could have won the prize!


No, I'm not giving away a real, live, flesh-and-blood Italian lover. (I assure you that, if I had one, I'd keep him for myself. Yowza!) I am giving away up to five copies of Robert Hellenga's The Italian Lover, a novel of romance, art and food in Florence, Italy, which is almost as good, at least to those of us who love good books.

Anyway, thanks to the good folks at Hatchette Book Group, I'll be drawing names for a copy of The Italian Lover (now in paperback) on February 14, just in time for Valentine's Day. For every five comments I get, I'll add another copy of the book for up to five copies. If you blog about the contest and send me the link, it'll be counted as another comment and another entry. (So sorry, but winners are restricted to residents of the U.S. and Canada, and the book cannot be mailed to P.O. Boxes.)

Here is some information about the book, which I plan to review here in the near future. (I can't get enough of that cover art!)


An exhilarating novel of romance, art, and food in Florence, featuring the beloved Margot Harrington, who graced Robert Hellenga's The Sixteen Pleasures. Margot Harrington's memoir about her discovery in Florence of a priceless masterwork of Renaissance erotica - and the misguided love affair it inspired - is now, 25 years later, being made into a movie.

Margot, with the help of her lover, Woody, writes a script that she thinks will validate her life. Of course their script is not used, but never mind - happy endings are the best endings for movies, as Margot eventually comes to see.

At the former convent in Florence where "The Sixteen Pleasures" - now called "The Italian Lover," - is being filmed, Margot enters into a drama she never imagined, where her ideas of home, love, art, and aging collide with the imperatives of commerce and the unknowability of other cultures and other people.

For more about The Italian Lover , Robert Hellenga, and his other books (which sound fascinating and wonderful!), visit Robert's website.