April 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
In her twelve best-selling novels (Promises to Keep, To Have and to Hold, The Beach House), British-born writer Jane Green has consistently mined the very issues that LHJ readers hold most dear—marriage, motherhood, friendship, home. Green’s latest, Another Piece of My Heart, takes on the subject of blended families. Using alternating points-of-view, Green tells the story of how Andi’s marriage is threatened by the hostility and rebelliousness of her husband’s teenage daughter, Emily. Like Green’s other books, Another Piece of My Heart immediately shot to the top of the bestseller lists and has been released in an audio version. (We at LHJ are big fans of audiobooks! Can you say “multi-tasking”?) But this time, instead of having the book read by a professional actress, Green’s publisher agreed to let the author narrate the audiobook herself. Here’s Green’s account of the experience—and click here to listen to a sample of the result.
Despite my love of performing, I would have made a horrible actress. The last time I thought about acting was at University, where I followed my gang of friends—all actors—to their auditions, and somehow found myself on stage during a student production of Cabaret, doing a rather dismal and painfully self-conscious Sally Bowles.
I laid my acting dreams to rest, but have always indulged my secret desire by throwing myself fully into character when reading my books aloud at events, dreaming of the day I might be allowed to read my own audiobook.
The publishing people in charge smiled indulgently. Every author thinks they can read their own book, they said. Few of them are any good, they said. Eventually, skepticism written all over their faces, they agreed to let me audition, and I gave it my all as I became first Andi, then Emily, switching back to the narrator.
I passed the test, despite having a very British accent, for my very American book, and blocked several days out of my diary to sit in a small cubicle in New York to read the novel I had worked so hard on.
I loved every minute of the recording, but it was an eye-opener. Reading the book out loud threw up every mistake, every repetition, every flat sentence that could have been better. I made changes where I could—I still had two weeks to get final edits in—and vowed to read my books aloud in future before handing them in, if only to catch all those mistakes. Finding unique voices for each character was also hard for me, as a non-actress. Minor characters would appear whom I had completely forgotten about, leaving me with no idea what they were supposed to sound like in order to differentiate them from the others.
The response has been mixed, the biggest criticism being the issue of having an English voice read American characters, which I understand. I’d love to try again, although I recognize now how hard it is—and, perhaps, why novels should be read by actors. They bring a unique dimension to the task. Having said that, let me remind everything that it was my first time. And were I to be invited to read the next book, I would make two changes:
First, I would ensure I have a different voice for each and every character.
And second, at least one of those characters will be English!
Want to listen to Green read her fabulous book? You’re in luck! We’re giving away 10 copies of the Another Piece of My Heart audiobook! Just post a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win.
March 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm , by Catherine LeFebvre
So great that he can’t quite keep his eyes open.
This guy’s attitude would make any job more fun.
And he’s probably better at using it than you are.
Teenage best friends wow the judges on Britain’s Got Talent. I dare you not to choke up.
March 30, 2012 at 11:37 am , by Rachel Shippy
There is nothing I don’t love about a striped pattern – it’s clean, it’s playful, it can be edgy or preppy and let’s face it, the nautical stripes vibe just makes me feel one step closer to owning a boat (can you blame a lady for dreaming?). The Journal‘s fashion editors also had fun with the trend (and with 2 Broke Girls‘ Beth Behrs) in our March issue, and bloggers everywhere are coming up with their own eye-catching ways to feature this design staple. Check out some of my favorites from Pinterest this week…
You can find more on the Journal‘s Stripes board.
March 29, 2012 at 10:00 am , by Ladies' Lounge
The Good Wife is one of our top must-see TV dramas, so we were thrilled to talk with actress Christine Baranski for the In My Words interview in our May issue. One of our favorite soundbites? When asked what she loves most about her take-charge lawyer character Diane she says, “She can live in a man’s world, talk with them and have love affairs with them, without losing herself.” We love that about Diane too!
If you haven’t seen The Good Wife, which is currently in its third season, don’t fret—25 lucky readers will win seasons one and two on DVD! And if you’re already a devoted fan of the series, consider this an opportunity to re-watch some of your favorite episodes. All you have to do is comment on this blog post and you’re entered to win.
March 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm , by Rachel Shippy
Whether it’s my clothes or the walls of my apartment, it’s safe to say I’m typically drawn to bold, uniform colors but lately the ombré trend has really caught my eye. If you’re not familiar with the word ombré, it is a French term referring to the gradual gradation of color and is also quickly becoming a favorite of Pinterest boards everywhere. That’s right – it’s not just for paint chips anymore! Here are some of the best ombré pins that made LHJ’s board this week…
Find more colorful pins on our Om Sweet Ombré board.
March 22, 2012 at 10:16 am , by Lauren Piro
The ladies of the Edgewood Road Book Club have been meeting for four years, and in that time their group has grown from nine to 14 dedicated, book-lovin’ members. “Having long wanted to share my love of reading and discussion, I first brought the group together,” says member Sharon Daly. “We are a wonderful mix of middle-aged and thirty-something women, and I appreciate the different perspectives we bring to the group, in addition to the support and friendship we provide each other.”
Don’t they look like a fun bunch? I asked them a bit more about what they love about their group and for their favorite reads!
Is there anything special you’ve done for your meetings?
“We’ve had two theme dinners—a Southern feast for a discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help, and a French potluck for Julie & Julia. Authors have also called into our meetings to discuss their books with us, like Jeffrey Zaslow when we read The Girls from Ames, and Warren St. John when we read Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. I’m a writer myself, so it’s fascinating to hear what motivates and inspires these authors.” – Amanda Cuda Swavy
What’s your favorite book the club has read together?
“One of our favorite books was Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann, which is about Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974. It was one of the most profound books we have read, and we all felt that the way the characters’ lives intertwined was genius. It’s a commentary on life in New York in the 70′s, but there were also many parallels to life today.” – Sharon Daly
Everyone’s super busy these days. Why is it important to you to make time to read and get together?
“Discussing books with good friends over wine is enlightening, and a wonderful way to spend an evening. Plus, even though we have a TV with 3000 channels, I still find there is nothing to watch! So I love to read.” – Ann Marie Curtin
“Reading opens our minds to understanding the human condition, and sharing insights with other women is so affirming. The support we give each other is such a gift.” – Sharon Daly
“I’ve come to cherish the friendships I’ve made with the women in the group, and sharing our feelings about the books has led us to open up to each other in other ways, as well. The book group is a place where I feel safe and can relax. It’s one the few things I do just for myself, and it has made me happier.” – Amanda Cuda Swavy
Interested in a chance at having your book club featured on our blog or in the magazine? Tell us about your group here!
March 16, 2012 at 10:20 am , by Catherine LeFebvre
NOTHING BUT CUTE ANIMALS!