Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Freebie: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Congratulations to Erin Golsen, winner of last week's Friday Freebie.  Erin will soon be enjoying Fires of Our Choosing by Eugene Cross, This Will Be Difficult to Explain: And Other Stories by Johanna Skibsrud, and This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor.  As part of last week's giveaway, I asked contestants to name their favorite short story or short story collection.  Here are some of their answers:

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Complete Stories of Richard Yates
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson
Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek
East of the West: A Country in Stories by Miroslav Penkov
I Knew You'd Be Lovely by Alethea Black
Come to Me by Amy Bloom
We're in Trouble by Christopher Coake
Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
Fun With Problems by Robert Stone
A Stranger in This World by Kevin Canty
Rock Springs by Richard Ford
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
"Big Two-Hearted River" by Ernest Hemingway
"The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol

Any of those will serve as a good starting point for your National Short Story Month celebration.  (You are celebrating NSSM, aren't you?)

This week's book giveaway is The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  I've previously mentioned my hardcore interest in this new novel by the author of The Center of Everything and While I'm Falling.  It's no secret I'm a fan of classic Hollywood movies and Moriarty seems to have written a novel that's designed to go right to the center of my black-and-white heart.  Here's the plot summary:
Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip. She has no idea what she’s in for: Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous blunt bangs and black bob, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will change their lives forever. For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might prove an answer to the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.
Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, had this to say about the book: “It’s impossible not to be completely drawn in by The Chaperone. Laura Moriarty has delivered the richest and realest possible heroine in Cora Carlisle, a Wichita housewife who has her mind and heart blown wide open, and steps—with uncommon courage—into the fullness of her life. What a beautiful book. I loved every page.”

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of the novel, all you have to do is answer this question:

What was Louise Brooks' film debut (in an uncredited role) in 1925?  (You can cheat by finding the answer at Wikipedia.)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on May 24--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on May 25.  (Please note: this week's contest is open only to those with a U.S. mailing address.)  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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