Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead and Wild Delicate Seconds by Charles Finn

Congratulations to Anisa Malek, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, This Close: Stories by Jessica Francis Kane.

This week's book giveaway is a pair of books which are both high on my To Be Read list: The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead from Algonquin Books and Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters by Charles Finn from OSU Press.

Robert Olmstead's novel about love and war, The Coldest Night, has just been released in paperback, but I've got a handsome hardback to give away to one lucky reader.  Publishers Weekly named it a Best Book of 2012 and Amazon chose it as a Best Book of the Month a year ago, saying:
Spare. Elegiac. Well-crafted. These are words used to describe Robert Olmstead’s novel The Coldest Night—and all of them are true—but what really makes the book special is the imagery and emotion throughout. A seventeen-year-old Henry falls in love with Mercy, the young daughter of a judge. They run away to New Orleans, where they create their own private Eden, but eventually Mercy’s family locates them and forces the two lovers apart. Seeing few alternatives, Henry enlists to fight in the Korean War. One could read far into this novel and think that it is a book built around young love. But when Henry goes to Korea, the language lifts off to a new level. Though spare in its presentation, The Coldest Night is a novel of surprises.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer also praised it in this way: “Olmstead writes with ferocious economy . . . The book’s continuities are a deep pleasure: a near-mystical regard for horses, for mothers, for weapons—all wrapped in a kind of elegiac masculinity. Olmstead has some of the Cormac McCarthy penchant for mixing tenderness into his terror.”

Charles Finn's lyrical meditation on his encounters with wildlife is simply a beautiful book--both in its physical design and in the way Finn spins his words on the page.  As the publisher's blurb for Wild Delicate Seconds tells us, "There are no maulings or fantastic escapes in Finn's narratives—only stillness and attentiveness to beauty. With profundity, humor, and compassion, Finn pays homage to the creatures we share our world with—from black bears to bumble bees, mountain lions to muskrats—and, in doing so, touches on what it means to be human."  Author Robert Michael Pyle had this to say about the book:
I don’t know when I have felt more captive to a suite of animal associations than I do in reading Wild Delicate Seconds. I think of Ernest Thompson Seton, both Adolf and Olaus Murie, and all of the Craigheads, written with the elegant concision of Penelope Fitzgerald and the wild whimsy of Tom Robbins. But this is Charles Finn, all by himself, except for the company of 29 memorable creatures—all the more memorable for his gem-like accounts of intimate meetings in the wild. Finn’s mastery of simile, his deep, deep attention to others around him, and his humility in the presence of his evolutionary peers make this a fine book, one I shall read over and over, give away again and again, and return to when I am lonely.
In case you didn't catch it earlier here at the blog, you should go read Charles' "My First Time" account of how that exquisite cover design came into being.  Also, for those of you in Butte and western Montana, a heads up alert that Charles and I will be doing a reading at the Butte-Silver Bow Library in the coming months.  I'll post the exact date and time at the events page on my website once we work out the details.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of both The Coldest Night and Wild Delicate Seconds, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to

UPDATE: I have extra copies of Wild Delicate Seconds and a paperback copy of The Coldest Night, so this week there will be two winners: one person will win a hardcover of The Coldest Night and Wild Delicate Seconds, and another person will win the paperback of The Coldest Night along with a copy of Wild Delicate Seconds.

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on March 14at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on March 15.  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 any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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