Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Author to Sign Books Saturday in RC

Brian Toolan, Class of 1972, will be on campus Saturday to sign copies of his book “Snubbed,” the season-long chronicle of St. Bonaventure’s omission from the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Toolan will be signing copies of his book from 1 to 4 p.m. outside the SBU Bookstore. The Bonnies host Duquesne at 4 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena that day.

Friday morning, Toolan will speak to the students who staff TAPinto Greater Olean as part of Anne and Richard Lee’s Journalists’ Workshop class. Friday. He also will be doing a podcast about his book with one of the Journalists’ Workshop students after the class.

Toolan had a 43-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor, including as senior vice president and editor of the Hartford Courant when it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999.

“Snubbed: A Basketball Season of Triumph, Crisis and Despair at St. Bonaventure University,” looks back at an Atlantic 10 championship year for the third-smallest college in NCAA Division I. His reporting began months ahead of the season’s tipoff, not long after the university had reaffirmed its commitment to remain a Division I program.

Amid this tumult, Coach Mark Schmidt prepared his team for the school’s 96th season of men’s basketball. It began with injuries depleting the roster and resulted in adjustments to the style of play. The Bonnies were predicted to finish eighth in the A-10 by league coaches.

Granting Toolan generous access, Schmidt, frank and strikingly unvarnished, is the book’s key figure. The soaring performances that resulted in a share of the conference championship and the crushing process that denied the Bonnies an NCAA Tournament bid are recounted in a manner difficult to achieve in daily coverage of any season.

“Snubbed” is published by NFBPublishing in Buffalo and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, NFBPublishing.com, Dog Ears bookstore, Talking Leaves bookstore and other outlets.

Lots of Author Interviews ...

Christina Baker Kline, Alex George, Nick Petrie, M.A. Lawson, Reed Farrell Coleman, Robert Knott, Herb Freed, Sebastian Barry, Eric Wiberg and the awesome Brad Taylor are the authors I've interviewed so far this year.

You can hear the interviews here: WESB.com/on-demand.

Among the authors I have scheduled in the next few weeks are Steve Clark, Christine Lennon, Rachel Abbot and the awesome Steve Berry. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mackowski to Speak at Pitt-Bradford

 Dr. Chris Mackowski ’91, an author and Civil War historian, will present a program on the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The talk, which is being sponsored by the Friends of Hanley Library, will take place in Rice Auditorium in Fisher Hall. It is free and open to the public.

The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse took place in Virginia from May 8-21 in 1864 and was part of Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. The goal of the Overland Campaign was for the Union armies to come between the armies of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the city of Richmond.

Although the battle ended with no conclusive winner, the number of casualties was staggering, with the two sides fighting in hand-to-hand combat inside Confederate entrenchments. The worst of the bloodshed occurred at an exposed portion of the line Confederates dubbed the “Mule Shoe” and a nearby curve that came to be known as the “Bloody Angle” where bodies piled up five deep in a driving rainstorm.

Mackowski’s talk is based on “A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21, 1864,” a book he co-authored with Kristopher White.

Mackowski is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University. He is the editor-in-chief of Emerging Civil War and managing editor of the Emerging Civil War Series, for which he has co-authored eight books along with editing five more.


He is also historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. He has also worked as a historian for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, where he gives tours of four major battlefields as well as the building where Confederate general Stonewall Jackson died.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Secrets, secrets and more secrets. This book is full of them -- and twists. They all make for a book I could not put down.

Anne and Marco Conti are at a dinner party when their 6-month-old daughter Cora is kidnapped. About halfway through the book we find out who was involved in the kidnapping and why but, it also gets juicier as the culprit tries to keep the secret even though this person has a feeling people know.

The police are treating Anne and Marco as suspects and, as they are questioned numerous times, secret upon secret is revealed.

I'm not going to say any more about the story because I really don't want to spoil it. But, I will say ... This is a debut?!? Holy smokes, Shari Lapena, I wish you'd started writing sooner. Keep it up. I'm looking forward to the next one.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan
Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst


These are two very different -- but very satisfying books.

You can listen to my interviews with both authors HERE.

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Review: Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book after I asked a book club full of fantastic members what they were reading. It didn't take me long to see why it's a great book club read. There are so many issues to discuss -- rape, date rape, consent, bullying, peer pressure, teacher/student relationships, friendship, and so much more.

The story is told from Ani's point of view and we learn very early on that something awful happened to her when she was 14 years old and going to a small private school near Philadelphia. Now 28 and a successful magazine editor, she's been asked to participate in a documentary about an incident at the school. We're led to believe -- or, at least I was -- it's about the incident involving Ani that we already know about. Turns out that it's not and the incident it is about is simply horrific and that -- not the first incident -- has had more of an effect on Ani's life.

One thing about her adult life is that she's engaged to a guy from -- as her mother would say -- a hoity toity family. But she's questioning whether he really is everything she ever wanted. She comes to what I believe is the perfect decision for the perfect reason.

I highly recommend this book, whether you belong to a book club or not.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Psychological thrillers are my favorite kind of book and -- WOW! -- this one really did it for me. I do have to wonder, though, how the author came up with such a sick, twisted villain. Jack Angel is right up there with the worst of the worst of all time.

One of the things that makes him so bad -- and I'm not giving anything away but outing him as the bad guy. I got a Sleeping With the Enemy vibe very early on. -- is that he's so charming. George Clooney-esque, even. (You'll get it when you read it.)

It's hard to write much about the plot without giving a lot away, but I will say I hope everyone loves Millie -- Jack's sister-in-law with Downs Syndrome -- as much as I do. And, I hope the books gives everyone a lot of issues to discuss at book clubs or with friends -- things like spousal abuse, disabilities, mental illness, and more.

I highly recommend this book!

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