Thursday, April 17, 2014

A to Z Challenge: O is for Opera (and Linda Osmundson and "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger)

Holy cow! I'm getting this one in at the last second. Hopefully I can get a couple days ahead this afternoon so I don't start stressing out before the month is over.

Best to get to it.

Featured Author:  Linda Osmundson

Linda is a northern Colorado resident who developed a beautiful series of Western art books intended for kids from 5 to 105. From her website:

"At the age of fifty, she told her husband she wanted to take a writing course. Because of her many past interests, he asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She has grown up to publish many articles in local and national magazines and publish [three] books. Although she lived and attended college in Texas, she was never a cowgirl."

 Her books include How the West Was Drawn: Cowboy Charlie's Art, How the West Was Drawn: Frederic Remington's Art, and her new release, How the West Was Drawn: Women's Art. Any one of them would make a wonderful gift for a child or grown-up who appreciates Western art (or just loves pictures of cowboys and Indians and all things related).

Featured Book:  Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

I am a big fan of this author's Cork O'Connor mystery series set in Minnesota. The book I'm featuring today, however, is a standalone novel--one of the best books I read in 2013. Here's a shortened version of the blurb from Krueger's website:

"New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. ... Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years."

Ordinary Grace is a nominee for the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. It already won the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Best Fiction, Thriller Dilys Award (Independent Mystery Booksellers Association), and Left Coast Crime "Squid" Award for Best Mystery Set Within the United States.

Krueger will be a keynote speaker at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference in September.

Word of the Day:  Opera

I love rock opera. My favorite is Jesus Christ, Superstar. And I enjoy some traditional opera. Carmen is a favorite. So is La Boheme. I think of Porgy and Bess as opera, too, though the Gershwins were most likely happy to have their masterpiece called a Broadway musical.

Gilbert and Sullivan operettas are fun, too.

And I like most anything with a wonderful tenor in the cast.

Do you enjoy opera? If so, what's your favorite?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Probably not a big opera fan. I do like some musicals though. Saw Les Miserables in London with the original cast and it was powerful.

Trisha F said...

William Kent's book sounds great - if harrowing at times, perhaps. I'm going to check it out on GoodReads.

Thanks for the review. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I am not a big Opera fan. Though I like musicals. I will check out this book on Amazon.

Yolanda Renee said...

I enjoy opera or rather a musical, but only in a theater, I've caught several on TV but it just isn't the same as seeing it live! My fav musical is The Phantom of the Opera, does that count?

Don't stress, you're doing fine, just take a deep breath and give it a few hours and before you know it, it will all be over!

Dean K Miller said...

Opera's are an amazing display of talent, but I'm just not that cultured I guess to appreciate them fully. (Besides, I can't understand the words, either!)

Ordinary Grace sounds great.

And Linda's books/work are in a class by themselves and she does such a great job with the schools and her presentations.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I met William Kent Krueger last fall and bought his book. My dad read Ordinary Grace and really liked it. It's on my TBR pile.

Play off the Page

Grammy Staffy said...

Dear Pat,
Please drop by my O post today. I also picked Opera and featured my little grand daughter that was in your favorite opera, Carmen last fall. Opera is new to me but I've enjoyed attending 3 last year. It is our little singer that got us to attending and now we are hooked.

By the way, thank you for introducing us to so many good authors.

Rhonda Blackhurst said...

Pat, I really enjoy your Colorado Authors section. Makes me appreciate this great state even more. Question--have you ever participated in Critique Circle online? Thoughts?