A book-minded cruise on the Internet highway led to a couple of fascinating stops:
▪ The Offing – www.theoffingmag.com – is “an online literary magazine and a place for new and emerging writers to test their voices, and for established writers to test their limits.” It highlights excerpts from novels and short stories, along with poetry, essays, memoirs and, in the “Wit’s End” department, funny and insightful tweets. This one is from comedian Molly Davis: “Yoga was amazing tonight because I curled up on my mat and took a nap.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books is the magazine’s “fiscal sponsor,” but the Offing is “editorially independent” of it. Yes, you can submit your work. Yes, the magazine will pay on acceptance ($20 to $50).
▪ LibraryThing – www.librarything.com – describes itself as a “cataloging and social networking site for book lovers (that) connects people based on the books they share.” It seems an ideal place for book clubs to find ideas. One example: A group message from a member reads: “Last year I read so much without really feeling like I was spending more time reading than previously. This year I hope I’ll read 100 books.” Then she lists them, with links that describe them.
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Thriller chooses finalists
If thrillers are your books of choice, get some recommendations from the International Thriller Writers’ list of finalists for its annual Thriller Awards, at www.thrillerwriters.org. The winners will be announced July 11. Meanwhile, here’s a sampling:
BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
“The Fever” by Megan Abbott
“Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes
“Suspicion” by Joseph Finder
“Natchez Burning” by Greg Iles
“That Night” by Chevy Stevens
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
“The Buried” by Shelley Coriell
“My Sister’s Grave” by Robert Dugoni
“Shadow Maker” by James R. Hannibal
“Whirlwind” by Rick Mofina
“Moonlight Weeps” by Vincent Zandri
Ready to read
“Modern master” Thomas McGuane continues his decades-long ode to Western life in Montana with “Crow Fair,” his first short-story collection in nine years (Knopf, $26, 288 pages).
In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews writes, “Seventeen stories, straightforward but well-crafted, that cement McGuane’s reputation as the finest short story writer of Big Sky country.”
“The Winter Family” by Clifford Jackman is a much darker but equally riveting Western that follows a gang of mercenaries from the Civil War to the Arizona frontier, with a stop in Chicago for a brutal bout with local politics (Doubleday, $26, 352 pages).
Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” was a surprise best-seller in 2007. Her new “At the Water’s Edge” stars a privileged couple in the 1940s who seek redemption by leaving high-society Philadelphia and adventuring to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster (Algonquin, $28, 350 pages). There, the wife discovers “a larger world than she knew existed.”
Terrance Donnell Taylor of Sacramento is a court bailiff and former New Orleans deputy sheriff who has followed his book of heartfelt and edgy poetry (“From My Thoughts to Your Thoughts”) with “Empty Shells” (Lulu, $17, 100 pages).
It’s the dialogue-dominant true story of a friend who is “struggling with his sexuality,” and trying to make his family understand his inner conflicts.
World tour of bookstore cafes
The editors of the all-things-food-and-drink website www.thedailymeal.com have assembled their take on “10 Amazing Bookstore Cafés From Around the World.”
The note: “Books and coffee go together like bread and butter, and these bookstores take this relationship to a whole new level. They are the ideal places for both quiet reading and stimulating conversation.”
The tour takes us from Budapest to Mexico City, with two stops in the U.S. — Every Thing Goes Book Cafe and Neighborhood Stage in Staten Island, N.Y., and Tident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston.
▪ Jack Parker for “The Valley of Tranquility” and his four-title “Adventure” series, 11 a.m. April 25 at the Orvis store in the Fountains center, 1017 Galleria Blvd., Roseville; (916) 783-9400.
▪ Elizabeth Varadan for “Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, a “middle-grade mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes,” 7 p.m. April 29 at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 447-5696.
▪ New York Times best-seller Bruce Henderson for “Rescue at Los Banos,” 11 a.m. April 26 at Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills, (916) 941-9401, www.getyourfaceinabook.com. Also: Lara Van Hulzen for “Get to Me,” 4 p.m. April 25.
▪ The Natomas Racquet Club will host four romance/mystery authors from 1 to 4 p.m. May 3, 2450 Natomas Park Drive, Sacramento; (916) 337-0692. Onstage will be Kristina Mathews (“Making a Comeback”) Cindy Sample (“Dying for a Dude”), Suzanne Whitfield Vince (“My Mother’s Journals”) and William P. Wood (“Sudden Impact”).
▪ Lalita Tademy for “Citizens Creek,” 2 p.m. May 3 at Avid Reader, 617 Second St., Davis; (530) 759-1599. Also: Catriona McPherson for “Come to Harm,” 7:30 p.m. May 8. McPherson, who has appeared for the Bee Book Club, is best-known for her 15-title Dandy Gilver series; www.catrionamcpherson.com.
Call The Bee’s Allen
Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter