This week at The Quivering Pen book blog: The best sentence I read all week, a writer's "first time," the Friday Freebie giveaway, and more.

The Quivering Pen
a blog about books

North of Hope

Friday Freebie
Enter to win a signed copy of Shannon Huffman Polson's debut memoir North of Hope.  Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about the book: "In her debut, Polson offers a memoir of her journey down a river of grief, set against the sparkling beauty of the wilderness of her native Alaska.  A year after her father and stepmother are killed by a bear in their remote camp, the author seeks solace in retracing their rafting route and visiting the site of the attack.  Her unlikely companions are her estranged and volatile adopted brother, Ned, and his colleague Sally, a virtual stranger.  Along the way, Polson rediscovers the Episcopal faith she abandoned.  The trip also sparks self-discovery, love for nature, respect for many religious beliefs, and memories of her father and his wife, made vivid in journal entries they recorded during their voyage over the same territory."
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Visit Fobbit on the web
"Abrams is at his most fluent and comic in the book’s excellent set pieces—a brilliant and excruciating chapter in which the truth is progressively written out of an official press release and, later, a similar passage in which a young infantryman who has survived a sniper attack is prepped for his forthcoming media exposure."
--The Times of London

From Quivering Pen HQ
From Quivering Pen HQ: This time next week, I'll be on a plane heading toward Los Angeles where I'll be attending the Los Angeles Times Book Awards ceremony Friday night.  My head is still spinning at the thought that Fobbit is nominated for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.  I'm in some good company in that category, too: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (which I just started reading today--excellent so far!), The Natural Order of Things by Kevin P. Keating, and Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine has since been moved to the Fiction category).  Who, me?  Nervous?  Let's just say, I'll be applying a lot of deodorant before the ceremony that night.  Right now, I'm sitting in another airport, on my way to Savannah, Georgia where I'll be celebrating my eldest son's graduation from Armstrong Community College with an arts degree.  I'm so proud of Deighton and the hard work he's put in to earning this degree.  While his actual graduation date is a month away, Jean and I will be attending his senior art show this weekend.  You can check out his Facebook page to see examples of his sculptures.  It's absolutely stunning work.  Who, me?  Biased?  Of course I am.  Proud papas are allowed to have that right.  Speaking of familial pride, I'm also excited to announce that Jean will be opening up a shop here in Butte, Montana this coming week.  The brick-and-mortar version of The Backyard Bungalow has been a long time in coming (three years to be exact) and now the rest of the world will see what I've always known: Jean Abrams is a talented artist in her own right, transforming (or "repurposing," if you prefer that catch-word) vintage furniture into stylish works of art for the modern home.  If you ever find yourself passing by Butte on the interstate, please stop in to 1305 Kaw to check out her work.
Your Pen Pal,
David Abrams
You Are One of Them

Judging a Book
The cover of Elliott Holt's debut novel You Are One of Them cleverly obscures half the face of a person standing at a train window with a black cloud of what could be spray paint, an ink blot, a smear of violent graffiti.  Designer Janet Hansen takes advantage of that dark blot of negative space by filling it with the title and author's name.  The partial black mask is, of course, a nice play on the title's implied theme of identity, assimilation, and homogeneity.

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Terese Svoboda

My First Time: Terese Svoboda
Getting Cannibal between boards took fifteen years, from first draft to finish, and three agents.  Its subject attracted their attention: a woman stuck in the middle of Africa with the wrong man, a topsy-turvy of the usual white-man-in-Africa-for-romance.  But I was a poet, what did I know about novels?       
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North of Hope

Trailer Park Tuesday
"There is a time in each of our lives when we are hurled into the terrible understanding that bedrock can crumble in the blink of an eye."  For Shannon Huffman Polson, that bedrock suddenly crumbled in 2005 when she received a phone call informing her that her father and stepmother had been killed by a bear while camped in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during a two-week kayaking trip along the Hulahula River.
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National Treasures

Sunday Sentence
Simply put, this is the best sentence I read all week, presented to you without commentary or context.  This week's selection comes from a woefully-overlooked short story collection which came out in the U.S. last year.  National Treasures is highly recommended reading. 
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