I’m a writer, a lawyer, a bookseller, and an amateur musician. I invite you to read the articles on these pages, and I hope you’ll also read my new book The Circle of Thirteen. Let me know how you feel about the issues raised. Thanks for taking the time to browse through this website. Bill Petrocelli
Book News: KQED FM with Michael Krasny -
I will be on the KQED Forum in San Francisco with Michael Krasny on Tuesday, December 10, at 10:00 am. Call in toll-free with your questions at (866) 733-6786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Book News: Video of Bill Petrocelli with Isabel Allende -
When Isabel Allende volunteered to be in conversation with me for The Circle of Thirteen on Sunday, October 13, at Book Passage, I knew I was in for something special.
I didn’t know how special until I heard one of the first sentences out of her mouth: “Who knew that Bill Petrocelli was a bigger feminist than Gloria Steinem!” Wow! (Did anyone ask Gloria Steinem how she feels about that?).
With a beginning like that, how could the event not be special. My very deepest thanks to Isabel for such a gracious interview.
You can see it here:
Memo to Movie Producers:
Are you having trouble with the Swedish Film Institute? Do you need to improve your Bechdel Rating by including more women in important roles in your movies? Look no further. The Circle of Thirteen provides the perfect story for your next movie script. The Bechdel system gives high marks to films with important women characters who talk to each other about things other than men during the course of the movie. Based on that criteria, The Circle of Thirteen will guarantee you an A+ on your next score card.
If interested, please contact this website. We accept all major currencies.
The origin of the Bechdel Test was a line of dialogue from the great cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It may have started as a cartoon, but it was welcomed by critics of the film industry as the expression of an important truth: women are often relegated to second-class status in major movies.
This “Test” was mainly an underground phenomenon until the Swedish Film Institute seized upon it recently and started using it to rate films. That prompted a November 7, 2013, story on NPR. That’s where I first heard about it. Entertainment Weekly picked it up about the same time, and then Cory Doctorow wrote about it on Boing Boing. All of us, however, are playing catch up to the women on Bechdel Test Talk on Yahoo video, who have been discussing this issue on a regular basis for some time.
So what is the Bechdel Test for a movie? Here’s how Entertainment Weekly states it:
Do more than two female characters have a name?
Do they speak to each other?
And, if the two named female characters have a conversation, is it about something other than a man?
Seems pretty simple, you would think. But according to the women organizing the test in Sweden, “The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction, and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,”
Opportunity, hear it knock.
No one writes with an easier grace than Bill Bryson. He has the rare ability to take a single, seemingly inconsequential observation and weave it, work it, and knead it until you’re hooked on the story.
Ten days before he became so famous that crowds would form around any building that contained him and waiters would fight over a corncob left on his dinner plate, no one had heard of Charles Lindbergh.
Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 grabs the reader like a mug of hot chocolate, defying you to set it down before you’ve drained every drop. But for all of its warmth and easy familiarity, there’s a strangeness about the story he tells. America in 1927 was having an iconic moment – a time when a great many of our cultural legends were strutting around the stage and making their mark on history in a way that we still talk about today. Yet for all its familiarity, the America of 1927 seems to exist on some distant planet far away from our own world.
Foremost among the cultural legends who were having their moment in the sun was Lindbergh. The crowds and the adulation surrounding him dominate the narrative, weaving in and out of the story. But even as this was happening, Lindbergh himself remained an empty vessel – devoid of any real interest, significant ideas, or personal charm. Lindbergh’s competitors for the first flight across the Atlantic get their share of attention as well, but the story of their foolhardiness and naiveté often borders on the hilarious. Read more →
When you write a novel like The Circle of Thirteen, you open the door to a new part of the book business.
You’d think, in my case, that there wouldn’t be that much left to learn. After all, my wife and I have been in the book business for about thirty-five years as owners of Book Passage in Northern California. We’ve seen a lot, but neither of us had focused on the growing number of book-bloggers and their followers. I now realize that this electronic underground seems to have as much influence on the success or failure of a book promotion as anything else.
There are probably thousands of book bloggers operating in the U.S. Some are big enterprises with lots of book related activities. Others seem to be little more that someone sitting in front of a computer at a kitchen table. How do they make any money? How does anyone make any money in the book business? There seem to be a few ads and an occasional affiliate fee. But book-bloggers seem to be like other book lovers, putting up with lowered financial expectations because they love books.
My consultant in New York, Wiley Saichek, told me that he would contact several book-bloggers and send them advanced reading coies of the book. He was focusing mainly on mystery blogs, but since The Circle of Thirteen is so relentlessly cross-genre he’d pitch it to other blogs as well.
If they’re interested, Wiley said, he’d ask them to do an article. That sounded great. And once we got closer to the launch date for the book, the blogs would ask me for an original article. That sounded even better. But then that week arrived – and it suddenly hit me: I was back in college, and I had ten term papers due the week before finals.
The Circle of Thirteen is a true celebration of the power of women in the face of great odds. — , #1 NYT bestselling author of Dreams of Joy and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan