What’s On Your Nightstand: Karen DeGroot Carter

What's On Your Nightstand-From Left to Write

I didn’t mean to take a mini-vacation from posting, but it took me a couple of days to recover from BlogHer jet lag. I’m ok going from the east coast to the west coast because I’m a night owl, but coming back east after 4 days living in Pacific time–that hurt. 

We’re back to our regularly schedule programming today. Author Karen DeGroot Carter is here today to share what’s on her nightstand. I “met’ her online about a year or so ago (maybe longer?). We immediately hit it off, thanks to our love and desire for diverse literature. So I present to you, Karen’s nightstand books!

Karen DeGroot Carter

Karen DeGroot Carter

Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett. I love to support Colorado authors and often read fiction that deals with social issues, so buying Laura Pritchett’s current novel was pretty much a no-brainer! Stars Go Blue reveals struggles endured by a caregiver of a family member with Alzheimer’s—and also by the Alzheimer’s patient. This recent Denver Post feature on Laura and her third book reveals how this topic strikes very close to home for the author, who is currently caring for her ailing father. I just started reading Stars Go Blue and am completely enamored by Laura’s writing as well as her ability to capture the spirit of the West and the deep ties ranchers have to their land.

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House. In 1989 I visited a hybrid record store-bookstore in Nashville and came across Louise Erdrich’s The Beet Queen. By that time I’d pretty much left behind my creative writing endeavors. Reading The Beet Queen led me to fall back in love with fiction; eventually I joined a local writing group and started working on a short story that (many years later) became my first novel, One Sister’s Song. Louise Erdrich has written a dozen novels since The Beet Queen. In The Round House, she once again focuses on the lives of contemporary Native Americans while mining aspects of human nature that are universal.

I am avoiding Robin Black’s Life Drawing and it’s killing me! I took a week-long workshop with Robin two years ago at the Lighthouse Writers Lit Fest here in Denver and admire her short story collection, If I Loved You I Would Tell You This. I know when I pick up her first novel I will not want to stop reading!

One Sister's Song by Karen DeGroot Carter

My interest in social issues impacts my writing as well as my reading choices. One Sister’s Song explores challenges faced by people of mixed-race heritage. My husband is biracial, and we have three children. The main character of One Sister’s Song, Audrey Conarroe, is a biracial woman who returns home to upstate New York (where I grew up) to care for her teenage nephew after her sister dies. A series of discoveries—including the fact her sister’s house was once a safe house on the Underground Railroad—lead Audrey to face some tough decisions as she questions all she knows about love, race, and respect.

Many of the books I read are featured on my blog, BEYOND Understanding, which highlights resources (including Thien-Kim Lam’s I’m Not The Nanny blog!)that promote tolerance and celebrate diversity.

Thank you for sharing our books with us Karen! You can follow Karen DeGroot Carter on her website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

Cocktails For Book Lovers: Recipe & Giveaway

Cocktails For Book Lovers

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

Why not start happy hour early with Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tess Smith-McGovern. This little book is full of mouthwatering recipes inspired by a diverse selection of books. The book features a great mix of authors: Jane Austen, Dan Zevin, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, Gail Tsukiyama and much more.

Today I’m sharing with you Papi’s Rum Punch, inspired by Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her (which I loved!). Be careful, this recipe is for an entire pitcher of rum punch!

Cocktails for Book Lovers Junot Diaz

Accompanying each recipe is an author biography and an excerpt from the book that inspired the cocktail. Serve these cocktails at your next book club gathering or your in home happy hour.  You’ll get bonus points for literary references and for serving great drinks.

Cocktails for Book Lovers Junot Diaz

Who wants to win a copy of Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tess Smith-McGovern? 

Just leave a comment below telling me what beverage you enjoy drinking while you read. I’ll draw a winner on Wed, July 30. Giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. Winner must respond to email with 24 hours to claim prize.


If you can’t wait for me to choose a giveaway winner, grab your own copy of Cocktails for Book Lovers  and email your receipt to cocktails@sourcebookpr.com to receive a free cocktail recipe card and be entered to win a gift basket! (See details in image above.)

I received a copy of the book for review. Images courtesy of Source Books.

Book Club Discussion: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie & Chocolate Factory From Left to Write Banner

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  I asked From Left to Write members to reread this classic and/or to introduce their children to this childhood classic.  Many of our members enjoyed the bonding time as they read the books aloud or along with their kids. Take a look at what our […]

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Summer Reading Challenge COMPLETE!

From Left to Write Summer Reading Challenge

Pop the champagne! Toss some confetti! We did it! We completed the first ever From Left to Write Summer Reading Challenge for Adults! Four weeks of reading for at least 15 minutes a day wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It took me about a week or so to get into the habit […]

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What’s On Your Nightstand: Nadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi

After raving about The Pearl That Broke Its Shell last week, I reached out to author Nadia Hashimi to share what’s on her nightstand. It also turns out that she lives in the same state as I do. What a small world the internet can be, especially for us book nerds! Did you know that Nadia is […]

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Review: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson audiobook

Four days ago, I finished the audiobook Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson, but I cannot stop thinking about it. Samuelsson’s voice still runs in a constant loop in my head. His eloquent words bounce around my mind as I recall how he spoke of his his inspiration, his journey, and his ambition. I’ve read many books and it’s rare that […]

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