Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb

About the Book

In Wally Lamb’s pitch perfect novel, it is 1964. LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone’s turntable, and ten-year-old Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade—easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy. But there are several things young Felix can depend on: the birds and bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he’s never going to forget.
Harper Collins

About the Author
Wally Lamb's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Pushcart Prize XV: Best of the Small Presses; The Best of the Small Presses; The Best of the Missouri Review; Streetsongs 1: New Voices in Fiction; Northeast and The New York Times Magazine. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction, and is a Missouri Review William Peden fiction prize winner. A nationally honored teacher of writing, and a graduate of the Vermont College MFA's Writing Program, Lamb lives in Connecticut with his wife and their three children. He is also the author of I Know This Much Is True.

Book Reviews
The Independent 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Conversation with Cathy Marie Buchanan

For the past four years Fireside Readers have had one teleconference with an author per year.  While we have all enjoyed the experiences, we were unprepared for the intimacy and immediacy of our Skype Conference with Cathy.  Our members were thrilled to see and speak her.

In preparation, members sent in questions which were then grouped in a roughly logical order.  We do not like to rigidly follow the question list, but do like to be prepared should we become shy or should the conversation flag. Our questions were  grouped under the following headings: The Writer's Decisions, The Writing Process and the Environment.  As you can see the discussion ranged far and wide - there is far too little space here to do it justice.

Suffice to say, those members present declared it, "The best meeting ever!"

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

About the Book

Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this is
 an epic love story as rich, spellbinding and majestic as
 the falls themselves.

1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls.Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company.

After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near the falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from society ladies she once entertained, and, Isabel, Bess' vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom barely eating and harboring a secret....

Set against the tumultuous background of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel.

Harper Collins

About the Author
Cathy Marie Buchanan's stories have appeared in several of Canada's most respected literary journals: The Antigonish review, The Dalhousie Review, Descant, The New Quarterly  and Quarry. She holds a BSC (Honors Biochemistry) and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she grew up amidthe awe-inspiring beauty of the Niagara River and awash in the local lore. She now resides in Toronto.  Visit her website at

Book Reviews

The Globe and Mail 
USA Today

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

On November 16th we will have a Skype conference with Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Day the Falls Stood Still.  Members decided to add a "Bonus Book" for November - if we have time to talk about it, we will, otherwise we'll  post comments.   Following you will find information on our Bonus Choice.

Selected as the 2011 CBC Canada Reads Winner!

This book beat out work by Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson because it is very, very good — a terrific Canadian political satire.

Here’s the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide quits just before an election — but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock — an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers — to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose, and so on.

Then a great scandal blows away his opponent, and to their horror, Angus is elected. He decides to see what good an honest M.P. who doesn’t care about being re-elected can do in Parliament. The results are hilarious — and with chess, a hovercraft, and the love of a good woman thrown in, this very funny book has something for everyone.

Terry Fallis grew up in Toronto and went to McMaster University. Drawn to politics at an early age, he worked for Cabinet Ministers both at Queen's Park and in Ottawa. His first book, The Best Laid Plans, began as a podcast, then was self-published, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, was re-published to great reviews by McClelland & Stewart, and was selected the 2011 winner of CBC’s Canada Reads competition. His follow-up novel is The High Road. Terry Fallis is a skilled public speaker who relishes book promotion. He is the head of the public relations agency Thornley Fallis. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two children, and blogs about his writing life at

Book Reviews

The National Post 
The Montreal Gazette et al 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey

Image Source
About the Book

Wentworth is today a crumbling and forgotten palace in Yorkshire. Yet just a hundred years ago it was the ancestral pile of the Fitzwilliams -an aristocratic clan whose home and life were fueled by coal mining.

Black Diamonds tells of the Fitzwilliams spectacular decline of inheritance fights, rumours of a changling and of lunacy, philandering earls, illicit love, war heroism, a tragic connection to the Kennedys, violent death, mining poverty and squalor, and a class war that literally ripped apart the local landscape.

Image Source
About the Author

Catherine Bailey read History at Oxford University. She is a successful award-winning television producer and director, making a range of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth century history. Black Diamonds  is her first book. She lives in West London.

Book Reviews

The Guardian
The Telegraph