Happy Simon Van Booy Day

Today is Simon Van Booy Day!  At least in Middleboro, Massachusetts, where I am meeting with my book club to discuss Everything Beautiful Began After.

I get to bring along my mother.    I made her read Everything Beautiful Began After as soon as she got off the plane from Kansas.

But what will be so thrilling (and obnoxious), is that I will be able to show off and say I met Simon Van Booy last week.   He was kicking off the Author Talk Series at the Boston Public Library.  I coerced Nancy the BookFool to go with me as we braved the wet rainy streets and highways to drive into Boston to meet with him and hear his talk.

We had a blast!

Here are a few pics:

Photo credit for first two pics goes to Nancy.  I snapped the last one.

Happy BBAW and Happy Simon Van Booy Day!


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Everything Beautiful Began After

Thoughts    Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy, Harper Perennial 2011, 402 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  Oh boy. I can blame all of this on my good friend Nancy the Bookfool. She’s the one who first told me about SVB and I think she may have even sent my the story collection which I fell hard in love with (for?) and gave a whopping big 5 stars to. AND THEN?! Why she tells me that our SVB will be in Boston in September! OH JOY! So I suggested that she should just come and go WITH me to see Mr. Van Booy at the Boston Public Library and lo-and-behold, she bit. She will be my guest that week as I drop her off in the center of old towns to take millions of pictures of buildings and flowers (and dogs since I don’t have any cats), make her run errands with me, be a taste tester for my wonderful husband’s creative cooking, and who knows what else.

But WAIT!  There’s MORE!

Since all the stuff is being planned to go SEE the author, I suggested to my book club that we READ the book for our September choice (it was my month to pick and since I had to read it anyway…)  I was hoping to invite any/all of my sister-clubbers to attend with us but alas, it is first week of school so I don’t think anyone has the energy to blip in something like this that week. Of course, they are still invited to meet us there. Nancy and I have to take a little detour to Boston College that morning and hurry in for lunch plans.

AND? Yep, more. My parents will be visiting during the week of my book club meeting so I will make Mom read the book and bring her along! My mother is a hit at these things. Should be a quite fun. Right, Mom?  🙂

Which brings me to the part about this book. In one word, EVOCATIVE.

evocative |iˈväkətiv|adjective – bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind : powerfully evocative lyrics| the building’s cramped interiors are highly evocative of past centuries.

Quickly, it is about a girl who goes to Athens because Athens is a city with a personality that calls to lost souls.  She befriends one man who falls for her and yet she falls for another man and in the meantime, these two gentlemen become friends and don’t realize their connection and then stuff happens and time goes on and there is MUCH traveling which was one of my favorite parts even though the style of writing was different. Overall? It is short by epic. It is emotional, beautiful, philosophical, quiet and powerful. Then POW!  We are back at the beginning and the urge to start reading it again right away is huge.

I’m now going to pull Nancy’s words off her post first mentioning this novel:

It seems to be a love triangle, at first, and it begins a little slowly. Apart from the beauty of his writing, you may even be tempted to think it’s not going to be anything special. And, then Simon yanks the rug out from you and turns the story on its head. Suddenly, what you thought was a love triangle becomes a story of grief and hope. It’s almost a tapestry — about love and death and friendship, the fleeting nature of life and how much every single moment counts. Everything Beautiful Began After is awe-inspiring, uplifting, authentic, hopeful, beautiful. It’s everything I hoped Simon’s first novel would be. Prepare to have your heart broken and then put back together with sparkles and rainbows. Everything Beautiful Began After is a book you simply must read.

Also, I must bring you to Literate Housewife’s words AND photos her experience reading this book.   Any blogger that brings up John Cusack in a review is tops with me.   So click on the link and read what she has to say.    My favorite?   When she says the important theme is “The hope of love returning.”    Yes.


and finally, I must say again that I am VERY excited to meet Simon Van Booy.  

For my review of SVB’s Love Begins in Winter, click here.

It is likely that I will not post between now and then.   I’ll be back, don’t worry.    Happy Back to School!  Happy September!   Happy Labor Day!   Happy Happy Happy.


Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Love Begins in Winter

Thoughts   Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy, Harper Perennial 2009, 227 pages

SPACE/TAB Do I have a book to recommend to you!

Dear Friend-Who-Reads-Poetry,
SPACE/TAB Have you ever read any Simon Van Booy?   His writing is poetic…

Dear Friend-Who-Reads-Mostly-Patterson-&-Picoult,
SPACE/TAB Oh, I’m sorry?  Did you say something?  You asked me what’s the best book I’ve read lately?  OH, um, you probably have never heard of it; but it’s REALLY GOOD!     But, it’s… um,  moving.  But not a lot happens, really.   AND quietly almost sad?     Um – Actually, it’s a short story collection – but they’re beautiful!     Want  me to loan it to you?

Dear Friend-Who-Lives-in-Mississippi-Who-Rec’d-SVB,
SPACE/TAB Oh, THANK YOU!   I loved it!   And it’s SO COOL to see your name in the Acknowledgements.   *SMILES*

Dear Reader-Of-This-Post-Who-Is-Still-Here,
SPACE/TAB Would you like me to quote a bit?

“It’s true the people we meet shape us.  But the people we don’t meet shape us also, often more because we have imagined them so vividly.
There are people we yearn for but never seem to meet.  Every adult yearns for some stranger, but it is really childhood we miss.  We are yearning for that which has been stolen from us by what we have become.”

This is from one of the stories (Tiger, Tiger) that was most haunting for me, and yet not in a scary ghostly way but in a thought-echoing way.  Simon Van Booy’s writing makes you feel like you are underwater and every thing is crisp-clear and the rest of the world is muffled-sound.   I can’t describe the solemnness I felt while immersing in the world of these stories.   And yet, you might think the next emotion to jump to would be ‘depressing’ and these stories are NOT.

I was moved.  I was awed.    Some stories – there are only five – I liked more than others which is fine, to be expected, welcomed even.   And I was both entranced by the simple sentence (subject -> verb, subject -> verb, etc) structure of the very first story and also caught by it;  I was in a net – I was a fly in the spiderwebbed words.    I will re-read this, I will.*

I ended one story and caught myself stifling the burst of a sob!

Dear Friend-Who-Loves-Those-Half-Flaps-for-BookMarking-Pages,
SPACE/TAB This book itself is beautiful to hold and feel and touch.    Which is not a usual thing to say about a tradeback.

Dear Friend-Who-Wants-the-Chance-to-WIN-This-Book,
SPACE/TAB Visit Nancy, the BookFool’s blog – she is hosting a giveaway – but you have to hurry because it ends March 7, Sunday, TOMORROW! Sorry, I have been trying to write this review for days but have been quite intimidated.

I really loved the writing.     Five Pieces of Chocolate Silk Pie with Dark Chocolate Curls topping the Meringue (I don’t know if Chocolate Silk Pie HAS meringue but I would if I made it…)

P.S. Do you want to read some REAL reviews?       Nancy, Wendy, Lesley, GavinThe-Book-Blog-Search-I-Found-Most-of-These-Reviews

P.S.S. Oh! If/when you read this! Read the section in the back about Meeting the Author and the What I Do When I’m Not Writing Books – Simon Van Booy shows that he is a fascinating FUN guy and more than just an amazing story writer! I cannot wait to try the recipes.  And to read ALL of his books.

* I’m only now (maybe) starting to be a re-reader….


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.