Tag Archives: Meg Cabot

New books by writers I have met in real life and interviewed

Olivia, subject of From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Illustration by Meg Cabot.

Olivia, subject of From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Illustration by Meg Cabot.

Meg Cabot has recently returned to the world of the Princess Diaries with two new books, one for adults and one for middle schoolers. As an (alleged) adult, I can attest that Royal Wedding is a fun read. Princess Mia is all grown up and facing some regular grown-up issues as well as some only-royalty-of-a-small-European-principality issues. And interesting fact about From The Notebooks of a Middle School Princess: Meg illustrated the book — which is copiously illustrated — herself. I talked to Meg about the books, as well as about why she lives in and sometimes writes about Key West. The interview ran in one form on WLRN and in another in The Miami Herald.

I can’t help, while I’m talking about Meg Cabot, to give a shout-out to a couple other series by her that don’t get anywhere near the attention of the Princess Diaries or some of her other books but that I think are worthwhile reads. The first is Insatiable and its sequel, Overbite. They’re vampire books for adults that both riff on and gently satirize Bram Stoker’s original. They’re fun and funny, without being outright satire. The other is the Abandon trilogy, which is a YA series of books based on the Greek myth of Persephone — and set in Key West!

And I recently read the The Fatal Flame, the final volume in Lyndsay Faye’s excellent trilogy about Timothy Wilde, an early New York policeman or copper star. I interviewed Lyndsay for Littoral, the Key West Literary Seminar’s blog, before she came to the 2014 Seminar about crime fiction. When I got hold of this final volume, The Fatal Flame, I read it as slowly as possible, savoring my first immersion. I almost never do that, especially with crime fiction. If you’re interested in historical fiction, historical crime fiction, 19th century New York or any of the above, give these books a try. Can’t wait to see what Lyndsay gets up to next.


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Filed under fiction, Key West, Literary seminar, recommended reading

Mostly local

Key West writers are in the news, folks. First of all, there’s James Gleick, the esteemed science writer who has recently published his book about information called The Information. And so far it’s getting boffo reviews, in Big Important Publications like The New York Times and the New York Review of Books and coverage on NPR’s All Things Considered. I only hope future generations of library and information science students get to read this book instead of the … stuff I’m having to read for my current course. But the less side about that on a public forum the better. Another interesting read is Gleick’s blog, Bits in the Ether. I’m told he’ll be doing a reading and signing at Voltaire Books some time this month; I’ll update here when I learn more.

The other item of local interest which I cannot resist posting is this video of our own Meg Cabot, promoting her forthcoming young adult novel Abandon, a modern take on the myth of Hades and Persephone. I like this because it’s shot in one of my favorite places in our tiny town, the Cemetery — which, by the way, is now open to access at the Frances Street gate again. Thank you, City Commission!

Finally, on the subject of local authors, please keep in mind that this week is the final week of One Island One Book, which will wrap up on Thursday morning with the library’s Cafe Con Libros program — featuring a talk by Alison Lurie herself about her novel set in Key West, The Last Resort.

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Filed under book groups, fiction, Key West Library, nonfiction, recommended reading, YA

Win a free book! Plus some thoughts on vampire lit

I tried to resist the vampire lit thing. I really did. I have successfully avoided reading a word by Stephenie Meyers. I haven’t even seen any of the movies.

Then True Blood came out. Curse you, Alan Ball! I was hooked. So hooked I read the first of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, on which the series is based. It was a fun read — very different in tone and even in plot from the series but still, I quit reading after the first book because I didn’t want to spoil plot points from the show.

Over the summer, lured by Salon’s first online reading club, I read The Passage, Justin Cronin’s big (in many ways) dystopian page-turner. The vampires in that are in no way sexy — they’re predators, infected with a virus in … wait for it … a military experiment GONE HORRIBLY WRONG. No tuxes or seductions for these vampires — they’re just the enemy for the few remnant regular humans left in North America. It’s a good book, and I’ll definitely be reading the next installment.

So after Cronin’s dark dystopia I was ready for the lighter side of vampire lit — and along came Key West’s own Meg Cabot with Insatiable. I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t previously read anything by Cabot, who is an extremely nice and generous person. So I figured this was my chance to start making up for that.

And I enjoyed it thoroughly. Insatiable is a bit of an homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a heroine named Mina Harper who has a brother named Jonathan (and a dog named Jack Bauer). It’s a bit of a romp, something of a romance and a great send-up both of pop culture (besides Jack Bauer, Mina is a scriptwriter for a soap opera) and vampire lit. And it’sfunny. If you like Jennifer Crusie, chances are pretty good you’ll like this, too.

When we decided to focus on vampire lit for the October Book Bites book club at the library, we contacted Cabot with some questions about the book. She was extremely generous in her response — answers to our questions can be found here on the library website — and in giving us two signed copies of Insatiable.

And if you’re in Key West and you’re interested in reading the book, here’s your chance: Cabot generously donated two signed copies of the book to us. And we’re giving them away — all you have to do is come to the library and fill out a form with your name and contact info. Winners must collect the book from the library — we can’t mail them out. So stop by, and take a chance — and try out some other vampire lit while you’re here. We have a big display up with all kinds of vampire books.

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Filed under fiction, Key West Library, recommended reading