Articles on this Page
- 10/08/14--05:00: _Eight Gods from Gre...
- 10/08/14--08:55: _Celebrate Space Week
- 10/08/14--14:55: _Test Your True Crim...
- 10/09/14--08:00: _A Look at LGBT Issu...
- 10/09/14--08:25: _In Memory of Zilpha...
- 10/09/14--09:00: _The Cold War and th...
- 10/10/14--05:00: _Depression Awarenes...
- 10/10/14--09:48: _The Dual Career of ...
- 10/10/14--10:21: _William Styron's St...
- 10/13/14--06:25: _Domestic Violence A...
- 10/13/14--10:00: _Reshaping Reality T...
- 10/14/14--05:44: _Newbery Medal-Winne...
- 10/14/14--07:02: _Easy Fall Recipes t...
- 10/14/14--10:29: _M. E. Kerr on Writi...
- 10/16/14--06:00: _Karen Vail: FBI Tou...
- 10/17/14--05:00: _Mythological Marvel...
- 10/17/14--05:39: _Halloween Treats to...
- 10/17/14--07:15: _Lincoln's Laugh Lin...
- 10/17/14--07:56: _12 Important LGBT A...
- 10/17/14--12:00: _John Yount: Off the...
- 10/08/14--05:00: Eight Gods from Greek Mythology Your Child Should Know
- 10/08/14--08:55: Celebrate Space Week
- 10/08/14--14:55: Test Your True Crime Knowledge
- 10/09/14--08:00: A Look at LGBT Issues on College Campuses
- 10/09/14--08:25: In Memory of Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- 10/09/14--09:00: The Cold War and the Thriller Novel
- 10/10/14--05:00: Depression Awareness Month: 8 Quotes from Darkness Visible
- 10/10/14--09:48: The Dual Career of William J. Mann
- 10/10/14--10:21: William Styron's Story of Recovery for World Mental Health Day
- Information and Facts about Depression from Screening for Mental Health
- More about World Mental Health Day via the World Federation for Mental Health
- PsychCentral’s World Mental Health Day 2013 Coverage
- More inspirational books from Open Road Media
- 10/13/14--06:25: Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Untold Stories
- 10/13/14--10:00: Reshaping Reality This Teen Read Week
- 10/14/14--07:02: Easy Fall Recipes to Make Now
- 10/14/14--10:29: M. E. Kerr on Writing Night Kites
- 10/16/14--06:00: Karen Vail: FBI Tough Woman
- 10/17/14--05:00: Mythological Marvels: Four Stories for the Young Hero in Us All
- 10/17/14--05:39: Halloween Treats to Make At Home
- 10/17/14--07:15: Lincoln's Laugh Lines and Other Presidents' Before and After Photos
- 10/17/14--07:56: 12 Important LGBT Activists You Need to Know About
- 10/17/14--12:00: John Yount: Off the Main Road
The King of the Gods, powerhouse of the Pantheon, Zeus is the ultimate rags to riches story. Sixth child of Cronos, the First One, Zeus found his life in danger before it even began. Acting in accordance to a prophecy that his children would rise up against him, Cronos had consumed each of his previous offspring, much to the dismay of his wife, Rhea. Zeus narrowly escaped the fate dealt to his older siblings when his mother spirited him away from the heights of Mount Olympus and placed him in the safekeeping of a common shepherding family. When he came of age, the pariah prince returned to his rightful home, and conspired with Rhea to free his siblings and overthrow his father. Disguised as a service boy, an unrecognizable Zeus presented his father with a concoction noxious enough to overcome the strongest constitutions with sickness. Upon drinking the devilish elixir, Cronos erupted, spilling out Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. The emancipated siblings rallied around their youngest brother and overthrew their father, just as prophecy predicted. As the instigator of the uprising, Zeus assumed his place as the ruler of the Pantheon, and oversees most happenings from his heighty throne. Though occasionally quick-tempered, and seemingly never satiated, Zeus is a main player in the majority of Greek mythological iterations.
Hera and Zeus married shortly after her liberation and his ascension to the throne (old habits die hard among the Gods). Their quarrelsome relationship is the stuff of legends—Zeus continually enraging her with his infidelities, Hera incessantly irritating him with her suspicions. The Queen of Intriguers, she often outwitted her busy husband and exacted some form of retribution for his adultery. She birthed three children: Ares, the God of War; Hephaestus, the Blacksmith God; and Eris, the Goddess of Chaos. Always jealous of Zeus’s extramarital affairs, Hera went to great lengths to blot out all symbols of his infidelity, most notably Hercules!
Athena is the first of Zeus’s children, born from her father’s skull. Because of the nature of her birth, she became masterful in the intellectual domain, teaching man how to provide for himself, strategize before battle, exact fair and honest judgment, and pursue higher knowledge. She preached that compassion was the highest form of wisdom, a sentiment misunderstood by the Gods but appreciated by mankind. Sovereign over owls, crows, and other birds, the goddess would use her avian comrades to monitor the comings and goings of Poseidon, her sea-faring uncle. Perhaps the most beloved in the Pantheon, it is to her that man dedicated their grand city of Athens, a mecca of human innovation.
When Zeus ascended to the seat of power atop Mount Olympus, he divvied up the remaining realms of the Earth amongst his siblings. Zeus himself would rule the air, while his sisters would share dominion over all land. Unlucky Hades would rule the Underworld, which left the sea to Poseidon. With a disposition as unpredictable as the tides, the sea god was quarrelsome and difficult to please (you don’t have to tell Ulysses twice). But if won over, his favors flowed freely and the beneficiary would receive most generous gifts. Ever the creator, Poseidon was once challenged to craft the most beautiful creature on land—out of his realm—in order to win the affections of another goddess. From this trial came the camel, the hippopotamus, the giraffe, and the zebra, until he finally molded the most divine creature the goddess had ever seen: the horse.
Cruel and unrelenting, Hades was well-suited to rule the Underworld and right to be feared. For those who had offended the Gods, he fashioned cunning punishments. One unfortunate soul was made to push a boulder up a hill until he reached the very top. But each time he made it halfway, the rock would split in two, rumbling to the bottom and condemning the laborer to an eternal uphill battle. Another soul was cursed with eternal thirst and placed next to an ever-shrinking stream that prevented him from drinking. In his devilish domain, Hades erected a terrifyingly magnificent citadel made of onyx and pewter—his own deviant throne to preside over the dark kingdom. He was prone to violence and possessiveness, at one point kidnapping his sister’s daughter in order to make the lively young woman his Queen.
Also known by her Roman name Diana, Artemis quickly earned passage into the Pantheon, despite her illegitimate birth. A clever child who put no stock in her prescribed gender role, Artemis would ask for bows, arrows, and dogs in her childhood and developed such an affinity for the hunt that she and her assembled troupe of scavenging maidens would travel throughout the forest, striking fear in the hearts of boars, stags, and indecent men . . . all suitable prey. Famous for her vows of chastity, Artemis took her modesty, and the modesty of her nymphs, quite seriously. Which was unfortunate for a young man named Actaeon, who met his untimely demise after stumbling upon the maidens while they were bathing after a hunt.
Twin brother of Artemis, the handsome Apollo was god of the sun, patron of music and poetry, and eventually promoter of prudence. But it seems more than anything that Apollo was the saint of smooth-talking, seamlessly navigating around the repercussions for the erratic and trademark savage behavior of his youth. It was only after his sophomoric tempers evened out that Apollo was able to gain an appreciation for and love of the arts, a development that has repeated itself countless times over the course of history.
The Goddess of Love, Aphrodite might be one of the most professed of the Pantheon, besides Zeus himself. A product of primal cruelty, the goddess emerged out of the gore of war and betrayal, inciting life and joy with her every step. Fields bloomed with brightly colored flowers wherever she walked, and dried sands turned lush and green. When she first entered the Pantheon, Hera insisted that Zeus orchestrate a marriage match for her, posthaste. The beautiful divinity had many handsome and charismatic suitors, but selected the humble and homely smithing god, Hephaestus, to be her husband. But passion being her all-consuming hobby, the convincing offers of her other suitors did not go to waste—she was fortunate that her husband worked late.
Want to learn even more about the classics and mythology? Our Bernard Evslin titles are great for young, inquisitive readers and parents alike! We recommend Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Mythsand Gods, Demigods and Demons to get started.
It's World Space Week! Unfortunately, private space travel is still a distant dream for most of us, but these books can help ease the pain a little bit. Each takes the reader behind the scenes of the space program and brings us one small step closer to the cosmos.
A revised edition of the New York Times bestselling classic: the epic story of the golden years of American space exploration, told by the men who rode the rockets
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, and the space race was born. Desperate to beat the Russians into space, NASA put together a crew of the nation’s most daring test pilots: the seven men who were to lead America to the moon. The first into space was Alan Shepard; the last was Deke Slayton, whose irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until 1975. They spent the 1960s at the forefront of NASA’s effort to conquer space, and Moon Shot is their inside account of what many call the twentieth century’s greatest feat—landing humans on another world.
Collaborating with NBC’s veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, Shepard and Slayton narrate in gripping detail the story of America’s space exploration from the time of Shepard’s first flight until he and eleven others had walked on the moon.
Get up close and personal with science as Andrew Kessler narrates his hilarious journey inside NASA’s Phoenix Mars mission—a historic enterprise manned by a motley crew of rocket scientists
The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic. Its purpose was to find out how climate change could turn a warm, wet planet (read: Earth) into a cold, barren desert (read: Mars). Along the way, Phoenix discovered a giant frozen ocean trapped beneath the north pole of Mars, exotic food for aliens, and liquid water, and laid the foundation for NASA’s current exploration of Mars using the Curiosity rover.
This is not science fiction. It’s fact. And for the luckiest fanboy in fandom, it was the best vacation ever. Andrew Kessler spent the summer of 2008 in NASA’s mission control with one hundred thirty of the world’s best planetary scientists and engineers as they carried out this ambitious operation. He came back with a story of human drama about modern-day pioneers battling NASA politics, temperamental robots, and the bizarre world of daily life in mission control.
On the evening of April 13, 1970, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 were just hours from the third lunar landing in history. But as they soared through space, two hundred thousand miles from earth, an explosion badly damaged their spacecraft. With compromised engines and failing life-support systems, the crew was in incomparably grave danger. Faced with below-freezing temperatures, a seriously ill crew member, and a dwindling water supply, a safe return seemed unlikely.
Thirteen is the shocking, miraculous, and entirely true story of how the astronauts and ground crew guided Apollo 13 to a safe landing on earth. Expanding on dispatches written for the New Yorker, Henry S. F. Cooper Jr. brings readers unparalleled detail on the moment-by-moment developments of one of NASA’s most dramatic missions.
With over fifty years of experience with NASA’s missions, Harris presents the story of the Challenger tragedy as only an insider can. With by-the-second accounts of the spacecraft’s launch and a comprehensive overview of the ensuing investigation, Harris gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the devastating accident that grounded the shuttle fleet for over two years. This book tells the whole story of the Challenger’s tragic legacy.
Recently, LGBT college students have been at the center of countless discussions on campuses nationwide. George Fox University in Oregon denied housing for a transgender student on the basis of religion, sparking national debate. And earlier this year, the College of Charleston risked losing thousands of dollars in funding for assigning a homosexual graphic novel to freshmen. Increasingly more campuses are taking initiative to create LGBT support groups, resources, and courses to allow LGBT students to feel welcomed and included.
Many colleges and universities now offer courses in LGBT studies, some even offering LGBT studies as a minor. These courses are varied, ranging in topic from America in the 1960s and the Stonewall Riots to representations of gender in literature. San Francisco State University has a Sexuality Studies department offering a minor in sexuality studies as well as a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies for undergraduates. Through the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Dartmouth hosts the Annual Stonewall Lecture, inviting well-known LGBT-focused speakers to campus. Macalester College offers courses through the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department covering sexuality in literature, history, and film. The list of colleges now offering courses and developing departments for LGBT studies is already lengthy and is continuing to grow.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers gender free housing and has the Stonewall Center, a resource center for LGBT students and allies, Rutgers holds safe space training sessions for LGBT students and allies, and the University of Maryland offers the One Program, ensuring LGBT students a safe and comfortable transition to college life. Dozens of colleges and universities are following in these footsteps by creating more accommodating and inclusive bathrooms, living spaces, and health centers.
Campus Pride released findings for the top 50 LGBT-friendly campuses earlier this year, ranking schools using the Campus Pride Index. Rankings are determined by factors such as LGBT-friendly policies, programs, and availability of resources. Campus Pride has seen a shift in college campuses in past years towards more accepting and safe campuses for the LGBT community. According to Campus Pride, “annually campuses update and use the Campus Pride benchmarking tool to improve LGBT life on campus. For the third year in a row, over 80% of participating colleges improved their ratings from the previous year. In addition, the number of campuses located in the South increased this year, as did the number of religiously-affiliated campuses and Minority Serving Institutions.”
LGBT History Month is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the many colleges and universities across the country that are taking the steps to become LGBT friendly. To celebrate LGBT History Month, many of our great LGBT titles, including works by Christopher Bram, May Sarton, George Whitmore, Mary Renault, and Paul Monette are on sale here throughout the month of October.
Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1927–2014) was a three-time Newbery Honor–winning author of adventure and fantasy novels for children. Her smart, honest, and accessible narrative style has made her books beloved by generations.
Tim Travaglini, Director of Children’s Acquisitions, remembers Zilpha Keatley Snyder and the impact her stories had in school and throughout his career in children’s publishing.
When I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade, my teacher read to us a book that stayed with me for the rest of my life. That book was Black and Blue Magicby Zilpha Keatley Synder. The story of a boy who is granted, miraculously, for a short time, the ability to grow wings and fly through the night—not that he’s particularly adept at it (hence the title). Not only did this story mesmerize me at the time, but it fixed itself in my imagination so strongly that I would frequently recall the book’s scenes, its characters, its tone, the ending—especially the ending. It was one of those books that I can credit as inspiring a lifelong love of reading.
Since I began my career in children’s publishing—20 years ago now—I always include Black and Blue Magic in my lists of middle-grade favorites, in my lists of must-reads. No matter that the year Black and Blue Magic was published was the same year Zilpha also published The Egypt Game, the first of her three Newbery Honors. No matter that her novels The Velvet Roomand The Changeling are easily as popular and as widely read as The Headless Cupid and The Witches of Worm. For me, Black and Blue Magic was the book that should be a part of every reader’s collection. On my list of recommendations, it sits amongst infinitely better known, and more successfully published, standards. I always had to add the caveat that Black and Blue Magic was a "must-read; if you can get your hands on a copy."
I had barely been Open Road’s director of children’s acquisitions a week when Zilpha’s longtime agent, George Nicholson of Sterling Lord Literistic, came in to our offices with a stack of her books. There on the very top of the pile was Black and Blue Magic. Without hesitation, without even reviewing the full body of work he was offering us, I brashly proclaimed that we would publish them as ebooks. I felt a momentary twinge of apprehension that my bosses who sat in that room with me would think me rash, but Zilpha ultimately epitomizes everything I love so much about my job: preserving legacies, breathing new life into backlists, and introducing great authors and great works to ever-expanding new audiences.
Welcome, my dear students, welcome. Do come in and don’t by shy! For many of you, this may be your first lecture—hopefully it won’t be your last. My name is Dr. Open R. I. Media and this is my class, Books 101. Come to my office hours at #DoctorMedia on Twitter.
The Sigh (of Relief) Heard Round the World
Today, we’re going to talk about the Cold War. For much of the 20th century, it wasn’t unusual for people to fear that the world might end at any moment.
You might only be familiar with such a thing in the context of those thriller books and movies where the protagonist has to stop someone from pressing that big red button. Yet while such foreboding doom may seem exaggerated, it was a part of daily life for everyone who lived through the Cold War. For those who experienced the fallout shelters, the race to the Moon, and the constant threat of a nuclear bomb hanging over their heads, the imminent end of the world was not so far fetched. Nor, for that matter, were the incredibly bizarre measures taken to avoid it. If you ask your grandparents, many of those “over-the-top” spy novels may have a little more truth to them than you might think.
Take, for instance, Operation Acoustic Kitty. In the 1960s, the CIA decided since cats were so good at catching mice, maybe it was time we trained them to catch moles—human moles that is. The cats were implanted with microphones and a radio transmitter and sent off to do their American duty. Unfortunately, the first test cat became the first casualty as it was run over by a car on its very first mission.
A few years prior, the CIA had tried to play a different, sexier game of cat-and-mouse with the president of Indonesia. In an attempt to undermine his authority, the CIA made a fake pornographic film allegedly featuring the Indonesian president and a Russian lover in an attempt to stir the wrath of the Indonesian public against their leader. The film was never used.
While that first foray into film was unsuccessful, however, the US government had bigger goals for the 1980s: make Star Wars real. Through the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as “Star Wars,” the US planned to develop a system of defensive lasers that could be used to neutralize potential missile strikes. Of course, this, too, did not work out.
So when reading your mysteries and thrillers, keep in mind that the US government may very well have been reading them, too—and that they might not be as fictional as you thought! See some of the very best of Open Road’s Cold War mysteries and thrillers below.
Dr. Media’s Syllabus of Suggested Readings
The Alpha Deceptionby Jon Land
A space-borne super weapon rains death down on an American small town, and Blaine McCracken races to learn who pulled the trigger before the fearsome beam turns on Washington.
Trouble Is My Nameby Stephen Marlowe
A missing politician sucks Chester Drum into the three-ring circus of Cold War Germany.
The Kremlin Conspiracyby Brian Freemantle
In the throes of the Cold War, the Soviet Union engineers the financial collapse of the West.
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?by Ed Gorman
In the thick of the Cold War, Sam McCain investigates death threats against an alleged red.
The Pale Betrayerby Dorothy Salisbury Davis
Grand Master of crime fiction Dorothy Salisbury Davis delivers a thrilling tale of Cold War–era espionage and murder.
The Kennedy Imperativeby Leon Berger
While the construction of the Berlin Wall challenges JFK with the first major crisis of his presidency, young CIA agent Philip Marsden is sent into East Berlin on his first mission.
The Triumph of Evilby Lawrence Block
An assassin targets the political leaders of the United States, causing a domino effect that could bring down the government and alter our way of life forever.
The Minotaurby Stephen Coonts
At the height of the Cold War, Captain Jake Grafton becomes entangled in the hunt for a spy selling high-tech military secrets to the Soviet Union.
Rockets’ Red Glareby Greg Dinallo
Combining the narrative drive of the best of Clive Cussler with the knowledge of Tom Clancy, Rockets’ Red Glare is the techno-thriller of the year about an ingenious coup that would change the balance in the world’s arsenal forever.
Hollywood and LeVine by Andrew Bergman
A trip to the West Coast lands Jack LeVine in a tangled Hollywood murder web.
Six Days of the Condorby James Grady
The novel that inspired the Robert Redford film Three Days of the Condor. After a massacre at his office, Malcolm is the only person who can root out the corruption at the highest levels of the CIA.
The Garden of Weaponsby John Gardner
A shocking defection draws Herbie Kruger back to the most treacherous city on earth: Berlin.
Any Last Questions?
If you want to share some cool book facts or have a topic you want us to cover, contact me using the hashtag #DoctorMedia on Twitter!
October is Depression Awareness Month, and October 10 is World Mental Health Day.
In 1989, the writer William Styron became one of the first celebrities to publicly acknowledge his battle with depression, in a magazine article that would, the following year, be extended into the memoir Darkness Visible. People suffering from depression around the world appreciated Styron’s act, and many wrote to him to say so. His description of his experience spoke to people in a profound and deep way, and over the following decade, the author of Sophie’s Choice and other bestselling novels became an advocate for and prominent face of the depression awareness movement.
This month, we’d like to share some of the most resonant passages in Darkness Visible, based on highlights from ebook readers. Perhaps one or more of these will resonate with you, too:
On what depression is: “Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self—to the mediating intellect—as to verge close to being beyond description.”
On the origins of his own depression: “Loss in all of its manifestations is the touchstone of depression. . . . I would gradually be persuaded that devastating loss in childhood figured as a probable genesis of my own disorder; meanwhile, as I monitored my retrograde condition, I felt loss at every hand. . . . One dreads the loss of all things, all people close and dear. There is an acute fear of abandonment. Being alone in the house, even for a moment, caused me exquisite panic and trepidation.”
On how depression feels: “In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come—not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”
On the struggle: “In the absence of hope we must still struggle to survive, and so we do—by the skin of our teeth.”
On the manifestations of depression: “Of the many dreadful manifestations of the disease, both physical and psychological, a sense of self-hatred—or, put less categorically, a failure of self-esteem—is one of the most universally experienced symptoms, and I had suffered more and more from a general feeling of worthlessness as the malady had progressed.”
On the physical side of depression:“The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.”
On educating others: “The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne. The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain. Through the healing process of time—and through medical intervention or hospitalization in many cases—most people survive depression, which may be its only blessing; but to the tragic legion who are compelled to destroy themselves there should be no more reproof attached than to the victims of terminal cancer.”
On recovery: To quote Dante, as Styron does at the end of Darkness Visible, “And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.”
To further explore the memoir, download the book club guide for Darkness Visible here.
Open Road Integrated Media is celebrating LGBT History Month by publishing the fictional works of William J. Mann, including The Men from the Boys,Where the Boys Are,The Biograph Girl,and All American Boy.Best known for his historical Hollywood biographies of Katharine Hepburn, William Haines, and Barbra Streisand, Mann has the ability to crossover from nonfiction to fiction effortlessly. His investigative career began as a journalist for Hartford Monthly magazine, later freelancing for Architectural Digest, Men’s Fitness, Frontiers,the Boston Phoenix,and Metroline magazine.
Mann’s first nonfiction account, Wisecracker: The Life & Times of William Haines, won a Lambda Literary Award in 1999. His interest in Hollywood’s history is both personal and vital for the LGBT community. In an interview with Ragemonthly.com, he states:
“The gay experience and involvement in Hollywood was tremendous on so many different levels. . . . My struggle was, I want to document this as best I can. To do it without sensation or scandal and really try to study it as seriously as somebody who would study the Jewish experience in Hollywood or the experience of women in Hollywood, to look at it with that same kind of reasoned and open-minded consideration. I think it’s important to give someone his or her full due.”
Mann’s first novel, The Men from the Boys,describes Provincetown, Massachusetts, a gay destination in the 1990s during the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Through the relationships of Jeff, Lloyd, and David, the reader is immersed into the minds of three gay activists who fight together in friendship, love, and sickness. The sequel, Where the Boys Are,continues to explore the lives of Jeff and Lloyd after David loses his battle to AIDS. Reintroducing this time period to a newer audience helps the younger gay community recognize and understand the struggles of the men and women before them.
All American Boy explores the return of Wally Day who must face the dark truths of his family after leaving his hometown for 20 years. The use of All American Boy to describe Wally complicates what the term has come to mean in everyday language; dismantling the idea that there is only one way of measuring what an American boy can be.
Lastly, The Biograph Girl is a blend of fiction and nonfiction, describing the life and times of Florence Lawrence, a vaudeville star, in the early 20th century. Once her initial stardom wears off, Lawrence’s struggle to stay relevant consumes her entire being, ultimately leading to suicide. The tale is told through twin brothers Richard and Ben Sheehan as a part of a documentary project.
William J. Mann’s dedication to exposing LGBT involvement in the history of Hollywood and his explorations of gay culture in fiction are what makes him a pivotal member in the community. Both sides of his writing offer the same level of investigation into his characters and the surroundings that shape them. He is a historian in every sense of the word, using his writing to expose parts of the past that are often overlooked and bridging the gap between generations in the LGBT Community.
No career path or level of celebrity immunizes those affected by depression—professional athletes in peak physical condition and writers who have enjoyed incredible critical acclaim experience illnesses just as the general population does. Many find strength in sharing their stories to help destigmatize mental illness.
In the summer of 1985, author William Styron (Sophie’s Choice) became numbed by disaffection, apathy, and despair, unable to speak or walk while caught in the grip of advanced depression. His struggle with the disease culminated in a wave of obsession that nearly drove him to suicide, leading him to seek hospitalization before the dark tide could engulf him.
Styron went on to share with readers the story of his recovery, laying bare the harrowing realities of clinical depression and chronicling his triumph over the disease that had claimed the lives of so many great writers before him. For those suffering from mental illness, Styron represented the hope that it was possible to emerge from even the deepest abyss of despair and “once again behold the stars.”
Open Road Media is proud to recognizeWorld Mental Health Day.
Watch renowned psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, discuss her friendship with writer William Styron, author of Darkness Visible, and learn about his personal struggle with depression in this touching video.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time where we remember victims of domestic violence, celebrate survivors, and connect those who work to end violence with the ones who need their help.
Read on for one woman’s haunting story from Wounded to Death.
FEMALE QUOTASIt’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a woman manager to get on a board of directors. But I finally did it. It was pretty tough; battles like that leave you scarred, they harden you, can even make you mean. See this worry line on my forehead, for example? It never used to be there. Well, everything has a price. Plus, there’s Botox if you can afford it; a little touch-up, and you’re almost as good as new.
Like so many women of my generation, I gave up children for a career. I don’t regret my choice. I have wonderful friends. It’s just not true that women have to have kids to feel fulfilled, don’t believe the baby-diaper ads. Plus, there are always men to keep you warm. I actually married one of my work colleagues. It was great working side by side as partners, true equals. Both with a ton of emails to get through every night before going to bed, same iPads, same working hours, same stress, the same iPhone or BlackBerry (yeah, some people actually prefer the BlackBerry! …), same business trips, same high-speed trains, same VIP lounges, same salaries … Well, as long as we earned the same money, everything was fine and dandy. Of course, it took me a while to catch up to him: everyone knows that even with the same qualifications, women are passed by, considered less authoritative. We have to work three times as hard for the same results. Still, in the end I made it.
The problem is that then I started earning even more than him. I didn’t do it on purpose; actually, I felt a little embarrassed about it … I didn’t even tell him right away, can’t explain exactly why; deep down I guess I felt guilty, like outdoing him economically was a slight to his masculinity. I was afraid he’d feel humiliated. Still, I told myself, times have changed. My father never allowed my mother to work, even though she’d gone to college. It was a question of respectability, of decency: he didn’t want people to think he wasn’t man enough to support her. She would’ve loved a job outside the house, but she would never have done anything to displease her husband.
I did. I finally “came out” and told him I’d been promoted, and I did it in style—treated him to a weekend in Paris at a five-star hotel. That’s when the trouble started. Slowly but surely, a subtle poison turned our relationship toxic. He didn’t seem to find me as fun and brilliant as he used to; now any excuse was good for aiming a blow at my self-esteem, which, me being a woman, had never been that great to begin with … First in private, then in public, in front of friends and colleagues, he began to wound me again and again and again. He was constantly belittling me. There was some deep-seated resentment there. The sarcasm was biting, the criticism endless, merciless, no matter what I did.
It was a constant onslaught, no holds barred, until one May night, when we’d just gotten home from a conference on interest rates, he dealt me the final blow: with a heavy cut-glass ashtray thrown straight at my forehead. I was still alive; he could have saved me, but he just stood staring. I lay there struggling to breathe, finally powerless and docile. He’d brought me down to size.
He hadn’t meant to take it that far, but he had no other way to explain his feelings of inadequacy … I’d grown too fast for him; he just couldn’t keep up, couldn’t stand the comparison. He felt inferior. The only thing he had left to regain the upper hand was brute force. In that department, he was still superior to me.
At least he won the final match.
In 1998, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) started an initiative to encourage teenagers and young adults to utilize library resources and become regular readers. Hosted annually during the third week of October, Teen Read Week celebrates the formative Young Adult literature crucial to shaping the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators. These dreamers will build our reality—let’s have it be fantastic!
Have you ever been so taken with a story that you can’t escape the world of the book, even when you turn the final page? A casual walk to the bus stop becomes an adrenaline pumping flight to Rivendell. Air circulation aside, the attic suddenly seems like the most enticing place to enjoy an after-school read, with a book in one hand and an apple in the other. The wildest imaginings become reality through the realms of the novels you read. This Teen Read Week, we’re showcasing stories that highlight the unexpected and unimaginable, and offering teen favorites for $1.99 each through October 18!
Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Since they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At the initiation of a powerful magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. When Kate refuses the drink, the chocolate burns through her dress and the witch disappears. It seems that strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot.
The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The last three years of Robin’s life have been very difficult. She’s had to move with her large, poor family multiple times as her father seeks jobs as a migrant worker. Now, her father has a new job at the McCurdy Ranch. Nearby is the Palmeras House, an old abandoned building that Robin is told not to explore. However, when she finds herself inside the building, she discovers the one place it seems she has always been looking for: the Velvet Room. Robin is fascinated and enchanted, but she can’t help but wonder: Why is it there?
Ransom by Lois Duncan
Valley Gardens is known for its wealthy families, perhaps the richest in town. Marianne, Bruce, Glenn, Dexter, and Jesse have no trouble guiding the new bus driver to the last stop of the day—but the strange substitute keeps driving. Soon the five teenagers are hostages deep in the mountains. Their kidnappers demand stacks of money from their families, even though most of the students aren’t as well off as the abductors assume. Without hope of raising the ransom money, the five teens must find a way out or face terrifying consequences.
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Chicken Soup for the Soul
This first batch of Chicken Soup for Teens consists of 101 stories every teenager can relate to and learn from—without feeling criticized or judged. This edition contains important lessons on the nature of friendship and love, the importance of belief in the future, and the value of respect for oneself and others, and much more.
Being Henry David by Cal Armistead
“Hank” is 17 years old and has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything—who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David—or “Hank”—and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of—Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.
What are your favorite YA reads? Share them in the comments section below! And visit our website for more Teen Read Week recommendations and deals. Happy reading!
(New York, NY—10/14/2014)—Eight seminal works of fantasy by Robin McKinley will be released as ebooks on November 18, 2014, including the Newbery Medal-winner The Hero and the Crown.
Robin McKinley has been praised for her contributions to the fantasy genre and noted for her novels featuring strong heroines who appeal to both children and adults. She is known for reimagining classic fairy tales; her novel Beauty, for example, recasts “Beauty and the Beast” into the story of an independent young woman who must face danger in order to save her father’s life.
In addition to The Hero and the Crown and Beauty, Open Road Media will release the titles Deerskin, Rose Daughter, Sunshine, The Outlaws of Sherwood, and two short story collections, The Door in the Hedge, and A Knot in the Grain. Combining elements of folktales with sweeping fantasy and her signature strong-minded heroines, McKinley has written celebrated fiction that crosses genres and audiences.
“It’s an honor to publish an author whose work has influenced the lives of so many readers, especially those of young women,” said longtime editor Betsy Mitchell, who acquired the books for Open Road Media. In addition to a Newbery Award, Robin McKinley is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Phoenix Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.
About Open Road Media
Open Road Integrated Media is a global digital publishing company that creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, Bette Greene, Octavia E. Butler, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
More about Robin McKinley is available at www.openroadmedia.com/robin-mckinley
In celebration of LGBT History Month, author M. E. Kerr shares insight into the importance of writing her novel Night Kites, and the impact it had on her life during a time when she was losing friends to the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s.
“When I wrote Night Kites in the early 80s there was no book—hardcover or paperback—featuring gay men with AIDS. There were a few about blood transfusions and the early belief in a Haitian connection, but Night Kites was the first book to deal with AIDS transmitted by homosexual men. I felt frightened and brave writing it, and I know my editors felt the same way. I had already lost several close friends and my story was important to me: that I tell it well and hope it would be received that way. Ultimately it was, but it took awhile for people to realize that we would lose friends and loved ones, that AIDS would change us all, one way or another.” —M. E. Kerr
Night Kites by M. E. Kerr
What do you do when your whole world is blown apart? A 17-year-old confronts love, betrayal, and his brother’s illness in this brave, deeply compassionate novel.
M. E. Kerr was born Marijane Meaker in Auburn, New York. Her interest in writing began with her father, who loved to read, and her mother, who loved to tell stories of neighborhood gossip. Unable to find an agent to represent her work, Meaker became her own agent, and wrote articles and books under a series of pseudonyms: Vin Packer, Ann Aldrich, Laura Winston, M. E. Kerr, and Mary James. As M. E. Kerr, Meaker has produced over 20 novels for young adults and won multiple awards, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her lifetime contribution to young adult literature.
Explore more LGBT books, with select titles on sale for $2.99 each through October 31!
Praise for Alan Jacobson’s brazen FBI profiler Karen Vail:“A knockout, tough and brilliant.” —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times–bestselling author
“My kind of hero.” —Michael Connelly, New York Times–bestselling author
“So cool and could definitely beat up any dude.” —Kyle Davis, not a bestselling author
Karen Vail, skilled in combat and equipped with wit, isn’t your typical FBI-employed butt-kicker . . . because Karen Vail isn’t a man. Vail is brash, crass, and more than capable of taking on any man (see Davis’s review, above)—making her an atypical female heroine. That being said, she’s not the first female government agent equipped with typically “masculine” traits. Film and television characters like Law and Order: SVU’s Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Zero Dark Thirty’s Maya (Jessica Chastain), and The Silence of the Lambs’ Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) have proven that police detectives and FBI agents can be both beautiful and brutish, female and forceful. It’s characters like these, as well as Vail and popular YA literary heroines like Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, who are helping to pave the way for even more strong female butt-kickers in the same vein.
Consider the following excerpt from Jacobson’s The 7th Victim as an example of Vail’s character:“As she rose, a couple of thumps struck her in the left thigh. The deep burn of a gunshot wound was instantly upon her, and a wide bloody circle spread through the nylon fibers of the stretch fabric of her tan pants. She didn’t have time for pain, not now. She grabbed the back of her leg and felt two tears in the fabric, indicating the rounds had gone right through. Assuming they didn’t hit a major artery, she’d be okay for a bit....it sure hurt like hell.”
Karen Vail proves an exemplary female heroine not only because she speaks her mind, unabashedly slipping in an expletive here and there, but because she’s also a physically dominant, agile, and skilled FBI agent. Vail can talk the talk (as many literary characters do) and walk the walk (which many a literary character cannot). Her skilled combat capabilities compliment her strong, sometimes abrasive, personality—making her a force to be reckoned with in every way. Vail is helping to pave the path for well-rounded female heroines, not only in literature but other forms of media, too. With her help, we can hopefully say goodbye to the notion that a female heroine can either be quick-witted or strong, pretty or tough. Jacobson’s Karen Vail isn’t only breaking bones—she’s breaking boundaries.
The latest in the Alan Jacobson's Karen Vail series is titled Spectrum and it's out now.
Before they were heroes, they were kids! Stories that speak to the adventurer in us all, the Young Heroes series by award-winning author Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris are great for readers eager to burn the midnight oil with the tales of yesteryear.
Stories about the classics are wonderful foundations for any bookish kid to enjoy, laying the framework for movies, television, and the cultural scripts of our everyday lives. Iron Man and Captain America aren’t the only Marvels your child could be reading.
Go on an exciting journey with:
Atalanta and the Arcadian Beast
Abandoned by her parents and raised by bears until the age of four, Atalanta has led a life of adventure. After her adoptive father is slain by a ferocious beast, the 12-year-old Atalanta sets off on a journey of revenge, accompanied by the bear she sees as a brother. She discovers that a monster is terrorizing the land of Arcadia and that the king has assembled a party to track it down—led by the legendary huntsman Orion. Atalanta wins a place at Orion’s side, but the hunt for the beast is also a hunt to uncover the secret of her own past. And that may prove to be the greatest danger of all.
Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons
An ancient prophecy states that any Amazon who bears two sons must kill the second, lest he grow up to destroy all the Amazons. But Queen Otrere can’t bear to sacrifice her baby, so she gives him to her daughter, 13-year-old Hippolyta, begging her to take the child to his father, Laomedon, King of Troy. In order to save her baby brother’s life, Hippolyta must find a lost city and lift a goddess’s curse. Along the way, she will need help from an unexpected source: a newly discovered brother. But can Hippolyta bring herself to trust a boy in order to save the Amazons?
Jason and the Gorgon’s Blood
Jason is an orphan training to be a warrior under the instruction of the centaur Chiron. But when wild centaurs steal Chiron’s most precious possessions—two jars of Gorgon’s blood, one with the power to heal any wound and the other a poison deadly enough to massacre multitudes—Jason must recover the blood before it can destroy the city of Iolcus. As he undertakes the quest with a band of unruly companions, Jason learns he’s actually the true heir to the throne of Iolcus. Only by proving himself worthy of leading this troop of young heroes can Jason stop the savage centaurs and save his city from slaughter.
Odysseus in the Serpent Maze
Young Prince Odysseus longs to be a hero. But when he and his travelling companions are captured on their way home to Ithaca, Odysseus learns that being a hero isn’t always easy. Now he must fight dastardly pirates, survive the enchanted songs of sirens, slay monsters, and defeat a treacherous king. Worse still, Odysseus has to deal with girls: snooty, spoiled Princess Helen of Sparta and her companion, the annoyingly sensible Penelope. Odysseus must use his strength and cleverness to save his friends, and he must sacrifice more than he ever expected to become the hero he is destined to be.
Did you read the classics when you were growing up? What were your favorite stories? Comment below or share using the hashtag #MythMarvels on Twitter.
Delight trick-or-treaters and party guests with homemade Halloween confections. These spooky desserts come from master pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado's Sugar Baby. (Bonus: You can download it for 75% off through Halloween!)
As we gear up for the 2014 midterm elections, remember that being the president is a tough job! If you don’t believe us, here are pictures of American Presidents at the beginning and end of their terms.
To help you get a firm footing in American political history before November, select ebooks are on sale for $1.99 throughout the month of October.
Abraham Lincoln, 1861 and 1865
Theodore Roosevelt, 1902 and 1908
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 and 1942
John F. Kennedy, 1958 and 1963
Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963 and 1968
Richard Nixon, 1968 and 1974
George H. W. Bush, 1988 and 1993
Hillary Clinton in 2013. Could she be next???
While you have probably heard of Harvey Milk and the Stonewall protesters, there are many other influential people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities who have fought hard to promote LGBT rights and equality. As part ofLGBT History Month, we’ve compiled a list of prolific activists who helped ignite change. It’s important to know just who the game-changing players were (and still are) who ultimately changed the course of history. Lynn Conway Lynn Conway is notable for her pivotal engineering achievements, which she attained during her time working at IBM. However, once she expressed her desire to transition to female, IBM fired her. In 2013, Conway and a colleague successfully lobbied the Board of Directors of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest engineering professional society, to include protections for transgender people in their code of ethics. In January 2014, the code became fully inclusive of LGBT people. That same year, Time magazine named Conway one of the “21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture.” Richard Isay Richard Isay was a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and gay activist who is credited with changing the way psychoanalysts view homosexuality. When he threatened to sue the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) over its discriminatory policies towards LGBT people, the APsaA changed its position on homosexuality and allowed gays and lesbians to become training analysts. APsaA became the first national mental health organization to support gay marriage in 1997. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon met in 1950 and were the first people married in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in 2008. Together in 1955, they helped form the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization in the US. Martin Duberman Martin Duberman is the author of more than 20 books, including three memoirs about his experience as a politically active gay man. He is a distinguished professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and Lehman College, where he founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies. José Sarria In 1961, JoséSarria became the first openly gay candidate for office when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (and won). He was known for performing as a drag queen at the Black Cat Bar, which he continued to do while in office. He’s also the founder of the Imperial Court System, which is the second largest LGBT organization in the world. Bayard Rustin Although Bayard Rustin is better known as an influential advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and for helping to initiate the 1947 Freedom Ride, Rustin was also a gay rights activist and testified on behalf of New York State’s gay rights bills. Sylvia Rivera Sylvia Rivera was a bisexual transgender activist and trans woman who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. She also helped found Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries. Rivera fought for drag queens when gay rights leaders sought to remove drag culture from the gay rights agenda, wanting to make the community look more appealing to the heterosexual majority. Leonard Matlovich Leonard Matlovich was a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. In 1975, he became the first service member to out himself to the military and fight their ban on gays. He fought to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out and became a national sensation, landing on the cover of Time Magazine. Chad Griffin After dropping out of college at the age of 19, Chad Griffin became the youngest ever member of a presidential staff when he was appointed as a White House Press Office manager during Bill Clinton’s administration. Griffin founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights in order to overturn Proposition 8, which tried to ban same-sex marriage in California. Griffin was later appointed as the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights organization in the US. Janet Mock Janet Mock is a bestselling author, LGBT activist, and trans woman. Her memoir, Redefining Realness, debuted at #19 on the New York Times bestsellers list. She is now a contributing editor at Marie Claire, where she first came out as a trans woman in a 2011 article. She continues to speak about transgender issues and advocate for the rights of transgender people, especially trans women of color. Dan Savage Dan Savage is an activist and journalist who writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love and the podcast by the same name. He began the It Gets Better Project in 2010 to help prevent suicide among LGBT youths. The project went viral, resulting in thousands of videos of encouragement for teenagers, including many by prominent LGBT celebrities, with more than 50 million views to date. Feeling Inspired?Pick up ebooks from our most notable LGBT Authors, $2.99 or less through October.
As part ofLGBT History Month, we’ve compiled a list of prolific activists who helped ignite change. It’s important to know just who the game-changing players were (and still are) who ultimately changed the course of history.
Lynn Conway is notable for her pivotal engineering achievements, which she attained during her time working at IBM. However, once she expressed her desire to transition to female, IBM fired her. In 2013, Conway and a colleague successfully lobbied the Board of Directors of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest engineering professional society, to include protections for transgender people in their code of ethics. In January 2014, the code became fully inclusive of LGBT people. That same year, Time magazine named Conway one of the “21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture.”
Richard Isay was a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and gay activist who is credited with changing the way psychoanalysts view homosexuality. When he threatened to sue the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) over its discriminatory policies towards LGBT people, the APsaA changed its position on homosexuality and allowed gays and lesbians to become training analysts. APsaA became the first national mental health organization to support gay marriage in 1997.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon met in 1950 and were the first people married in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in 2008. Together in 1955, they helped form the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization in the US.
Martin Duberman is the author of more than 20 books, including three memoirs about his experience as a politically active gay man. He is a distinguished professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and Lehman College, where he founded the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies.
In 1961, JoséSarria became the first openly gay candidate for office when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (and won). He was known for performing as a drag queen at the Black Cat Bar, which he continued to do while in office. He’s also the founder of the Imperial Court System, which is the second largest LGBT organization in the world.
Although Bayard Rustin is better known as an influential advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and for helping to initiate the 1947 Freedom Ride, Rustin was also a gay rights activist and testified on behalf of New York State’s gay rights bills.
Sylvia Rivera was a bisexual transgender activist and trans woman who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. She also helped found Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries. Rivera fought for drag queens when gay rights leaders sought to remove drag culture from the gay rights agenda, wanting to make the community look more appealing to the heterosexual majority.
Leonard Matlovich was a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. In 1975, he became the first service member to out himself to the military and fight their ban on gays. He fought to stay in the United States Air Force after coming out and became a national sensation, landing on the cover of Time Magazine.
After dropping out of college at the age of 19, Chad Griffin became the youngest ever member of a presidential staff when he was appointed as a White House Press Office manager during Bill Clinton’s administration. Griffin founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights in order to overturn Proposition 8, which tried to ban same-sex marriage in California. Griffin was later appointed as the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights organization in the US.
Janet Mock is a bestselling author, LGBT activist, and trans woman. Her memoir, Redefining Realness, debuted at #19 on the New York Times bestsellers list. She is now a contributing editor at Marie Claire, where she first came out as a trans woman in a 2011 article. She continues to speak about transgender issues and advocate for the rights of transgender people, especially trans women of color.
Dan Savage is an activist and journalist who writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love and the podcast by the same name. He began the It Gets Better Project in 2010 to help prevent suicide among LGBT youths. The project went viral, resulting in thousands of videos of encouragement for teenagers, including many by prominent LGBT celebrities, with more than 50 million views to date.
Feeling Inspired?Pick up ebooks from our most notable LGBT Authors, $2.99 or less through October.
Open Road Integrated Media is honored to be publishing the works of John Yount, the author of five critically acclaimed novels: Wolf at the Door, The Trapper’s Last Shot,Hardcastle,Toots in Solitude, and Thief of Dreams. Yount is an avid researcher and respected University of New Hampshire teacher. His testimonials of Southern life weave the fabric of American history together. Hardcastle is an incredible example of his keen interest in preserving fact in fiction. Yount describes the seven-year writing process before the book could be written:
“Except for names of people and places, Hardcastle is more fact than fiction. It took some years of research before I could even begin to write. And even after I had read all I could find about coal mining, coal companies, the efforts of the miners to unionize, mine guards, company stores, and the rest of it, I still couldn’t begin until I took time off and went down to Kentucky to interview all the old-timers I could find who had lived through those hard and dangerous years. One of them—whom I met in a one-room post office—patiently, generously, and with incredible integrity, answered my questions for almost five years. A great many of his experiences—like, for example, cutting off his toes with his wife’s sewing scissors after a loaded coal car ran over his foot—became the experiences of one or more characters in the novel. In many ways, this modest, genuine, and deeply religious man became the soul of the book.
“I was very nearly born in the coalfields of Kentucky where my father worked during the dark days of the Depression—would have been but for my mother’s determination to be taken back to North Carolina, which involved a desperate car ride while she was in labor. She hated the coalfields, so my father never went back, and instead, took a job as a lineman for Watauga Light and Power Company for 10 cents an hour. But he told me many stories about his times in Kentucky, and they ultimately cost me seven years of hard labor to produce Hardcastle.”
You see it every time you’re on an airplane taking off from city to city: those few houses with crop circles in the backyard. You wonder how people got there, or maybe you don’t. You close the window shade and rest your head on the seat, thinking about the city that awaits you. John Yount keeps the shade open, tracing his roots with ink. He is considered one of the best sentimental realists of our time. Yount is a champion for the forgotten American, sharing the dreams and aspirations of families in houses on forsaken roads.