Book News: Book Launch for Milk and Other Stories by Simon Fruelund

What: Santa Fe Writers Project Book Launch for Milk and Other Stories by Simon Frueland, translated by K.E. Semmel

When: Oct. 5, 2013, at 6 p.m.

Where: Jackie’s Restaurant (Back Room), Silver Spring, MD

There will be an open bar and plenty of food, if you need additional incentive.

Book description from GoodReads:

The 14 stories in this collection display the often quiet, inconspicuous way in which terrible truths and experiences are intimated: the death of a sailboarder makes a widower see deeper into love and loss; a young poet visits his former teacher only to discover he is literally not the person he used to be; a middle-aged man glimpses the terrible humdrum of his third marriage as his son embarks on a new chapter in his life. Conveyed without grandeur or pathos, the revelations in these minimalist stories demonstrate clearly and effectively Fruelund’s gift of subtlety and nuance; like scenes from life, characters’ dramas are played out in brief but brilliant flashes. Ranging across the wide arc of human experience, from the comic to the tragic, each piece explores the complex emotions of the human heart.

The other book launches that evening are for Black Livingstone by Pagan Kennedy and Charlotte Gullick’s By Way of Water.

Book News: National Book Festival 2013

The 2013 National Book Festival will be in D.C. again for the 13th year, and there is a stunning lineup.

I usually spend most of my time in the Poetry & Prose tent, and that’s unlikely to change this year, as the Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey will be there on Saturday.  One of my early morning favorites is also in the same tent, Poetry Out Loud, which is a bunch of high school students performing their own poems or those of others.

Sunday, if anyone likes Joyce Carol Oates, she’s scheduled to appear, but I’ve had bad luck with her at events — i.e. her not showing up as scheduled or at all.  But on Sunday, Alyson Hagy will be in town with her new book, Boleto, which I just received in the mail from the publisher this month.

For the rest of the lineup this year in the Poetry & Prose tent, check out this Washington Post list.

I’m also glad to see that Scholastic will be back with fun activities for kids, since my daughter will be old enough to enjoy them more this year.

“Scholastic will showcase a sneak peek at artwork by beloved children’s illustrators who were asked to demonstrate what “Read Every Day” means to them and will ask kids and parents at the festival to share their thoughts on why they love reading on a giant chalkboard. Festival-goers can visit Scholastic’s Storia™ reading corner for e-read-alouds from its new e-reading app, showcasing Scholastic’s exciting digital offerings and delighting kids. Scholastic also will host the popular “Build-a-Book” station that lets visitors turn a blank book into a masterpiece.”

And beyond Scholastic, PBS is always on hand with a variety of show characters for pictures, which enabled my daughter to meet the Cat in the Hat and some others.

What will you be seeing at the book festival this year?  I’d love to get some recommendations.

Book News: Hooray for Books!, Indeed

Hooray for Books! is a children’s bookstore in Alexandria, Va., to which I’ve never been.

I haven’t been to a bookstore in Old Town since Olsson’s closed and my husband and I went to our favorite pub, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, and their live music fun.  And it was always great to visit the Torpedo Factory.  In fact, my wedding dress was bought at Hannelore’s, which has the best seamstresses in the world, more than 10 years ago.

On Saturday, July 27 at 3:30 p.m., I’ll head down to Virginia with my small family in tow.  Local author Debbie Levy and Pennsylvania-based author Beth Kephart will talk about the fine line between truth and fiction as they discuss their latest books at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Va.

Debbie Levy will showcase The Year of Goodbyes and Imperfect Spiral, which was just released, and Beth Kephart will talk about her books, Handling the Truth and Small Damages. The authors will read from each book, discuss its creation, and share their thoughts on workshopping the fine line between truth and fiction. For those interested in participating, Kephart says, “We each have an in-store exercise for those who’d like to try their hands at a bit of writing—and to hear our thoughts about their work.”

Levy’s The Year of Goodbyes is a WWII narrative poem based on an actual book created by her own mother, Jutta Salzberg, who lived in Hamburg, Germany, when the Nazi’s took power and began to ramp up their persecution of Jews in 1938. The book is powerful and a great testament to her mother’s memory, her own family’s past, and the hope generated by that remembering, I said in a recent review. Levy’s new book, Imperfect Spiral, is a young adult novel about how tragedy can affect the life of a babysitter, especially when the boy who’s killed is an undocumented immigrant.

Meanwhile, Kephart has had a string of publications in the last year, including Small Damages (new in paperback), Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, and Handling the Truth (due out in August). Small Damages is a young adult novel set in Spain about the adult decisions that children sometimes must make for themselves, especially when they find themselves in situations that are beyond their comprehension. Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, on the other hand, is an illustrated, historical fiction, young adult novel that brings to life old Philadelphia in a way that contrasts the opportunities and drawbacks of industrialization in the background as one family struggles to survive when their father is jailed. Kephart’s Handling the Truth, on the other hand, is a book for those interested in writing memoir, which will likely reach the heights of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.

I’m ready for this event, are you? What events are on your agenda for the weekend?

Book News: 2013 Gaithersburg Book Festival and More

The Gaithersburg Book Festival — this year on Saturday, May 18, 2013 — started out as a small gathering with local vendors and authors that has grown over the years to include some nationally recognized names.

The 12 finalists for the teen short story contest the festival holds have been selected, and their pieces will be judged this year by best-selling novelist, Caroline Leavitt.  If you want to check out the entries, go here.  But fear not, there are things for adults as well, including writing workshops sponsored by The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md., and those workshops will take up to 20 students beginning with sign-ups on the day of the festival.

I’m really looking forward to meeting Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl (my review), in person.  And everyone has been raving about The Crooked Branch by Jeanine Cummins, and she will be there … not to mention Tatjana Soli has a new book out, The Forgetting Tree, and I just loved her book The Lotus Eaters.  The list of authors is growing daily, and I really hope that Beth Kephart is one of them, but I haven’t heard one way or another and I know she’s incredibly busy.  In terms of poetry, Sarah Arvio will be there as well.  This year’s festival is shaping up to be another wonderful event, thanks to the hard-working volunteers and the city of Gaithersburg.

The 2013 National Poetry Month Blog Tour is upon us. I hope that everyone will take the chance to check out the schedule and offer up a favorite poem, poetry of their own, or poetry vlogs/vidoes and collection reviews during April.

I’m really looking forward to the tour stops that are already scheduled, but I would love to see some more blogs sign up. April 5, 7, 11, 13, 15 are free at the beginning of the tour and I would love to see some volunteers for those dates. Just drop me a comment or an email about what date you’d like.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up thus far. It is much appreciated.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and please do share any book-related news you are excited about.

Book News: Kami Garcia, Co-Author of Beautiful Creatures, Comes to Bethesda, Feb. 23

Kami Bethesda Web 2

Kami Garcia, one of the authors of Beautiful Creatures, will be in Bethesda, Md., at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at 2 p.m. signing books and talking about the first book in a series of fantasy and science fiction novels, which was recently made into a movie, which opened in time for Valentine’s Day.

About the book:

A supernatural love story set in the South, “Beautiful Creatures” tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers:  Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl.  Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.

There is a ton of buzz about the movie as there was about the books:

“The Beautiful Creatures novels contain a potent mix of the gothic, the mythic, and the magical. Readers can look forward to more of what they love in the final installment, Beautiful Redemption, as they follow Ethan’s compelling journey to its bittersweet close. With original characters, complex world building, and crackling prose, this is masterful storytelling.” – Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

“In the Gothic tradition of Ann Rice…Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight of HBO’s True Blood series.” – School Library Journal

“Gorgeously crafted, atmospheric, and original.” – Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Lovely

About the Author:

Kami grew up outside of Washington DC, wore lots of black, and spent hours writing poetry in spiral notebooks. As a girl with Southern roots, she has always been fascinated by the paranormal and believes in lots of things “normal” people don’t. She’s very superstitious and would never sleep in a room with the number “13″ on the door. When she is not writing, Kami can usually be found watching disaster movies, listening to Soundgarden, or drinking Diet Coke.

Kami has an MA in education, and taught in the Washington DC area until she moved to Los Angeles, where she was a teacher & Reading Specialist for 14 years. In addition to teaching, Kami was a professional artist and led fantasy book groups for children and teens. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

I hope everyone considers heading out to Bethesda this weekend to catch Kami and pick up a book for themselves and a few friends.

Barnes & Noble (4801 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814)

Saturday, February 23 at 2:00 pm

Book News: Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Sunday’ on Feb. 3

Everyone knows how Oprah’s book club rejuvenated book sales across the country, but did you know that since moving to her new OWN network, she’s carried on with her book club.  Super Bowl Sunday, when husbands are preparing for the big game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, there’s more than just football on.

While I’m excited to say the Boston Celtics will be playing at 1 p.m., I’m equally excited that Oprah will have first-time author Ayana Mathis, who wrote The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, on her Super Soul Sunday show on Feb. 3, 2013, which will air 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN. But readers and Oprah fans also can catch the interview on Oprah.com or Facebook.com/SuperSoulSunday.

About The Twelve Tribes of Hattie:

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented.  Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.  She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Mathis’ novel already has received praise from The New York Times, which said the novel “gracefully” tells of not only The Great Migration in the mid-1920s when 6 million African-Americans fled the Jim Crow South, but also the hardening of Hattie as she experiences loss.  As part of Oprah’s interview with Mathis, the women are expected to talk about the large soul-searching aspects of the novel, particularly the struggles experienced in parenting, loss, and survival.  Also, “in this revealing interview, Mathis shares how she overcame criticism and self-doubt, and went on to create her critically-acclaimed first novel.   She divulges who from her own life inspired the book’s heroine, Hattie Shepherd, and how she developed each supremely human character,” says HARPO studios.

Interested in a sneak peak?  Check it out.

For a sneak peek of “Oprah’s Book Club: Oprah and Ayana Mathis Author of ‘The 12 Tribes of Hattie’” below are the downloadable link:

URL (with embed code): http://www.oprah.com/own-supersoulsunday/blogs/Ayana-Mathis-Life-Today

Or check it out here:

D.C. Area Book News: Politics & Prose Icon Retires

Today’s inaugural post about Washington, D.C., area book news is something I hope will become an occasional blog feature in 2013. I hope you find these posts interesting and that you’ll feel free to contribute book news or tidbits from the D.C. area — of course, I’ll credit you in the post if you supply some news.

Local bookstore and icon of the D.C. book scene, Politics & Prose, was founded in 1984 by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, but the store was sold in 2011 to Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine after a failed sale in 2005. Barbara Meade has been serving as an advisor to the current owners since the sale, and her frequent presence in the store was welcomed by the store’s faithful patrons. Moreover, her advice helped foster a smooth transition to the new ownership and helped Muscatine and Graham establish their own foundations in the book business.

barbara meadeHowever, recently, Meade has told the staff and others that she was officially retiring to make more time for her own reading. In a letter to the book community, Meade said, “I’ve been so tightly wrapped up in Politics & Prose for the last 29 years that I’ll never be able to totally leave. . . . So I’ll continue my involvement in the store by hosting events, hanging out in the coffeehouse, and leisurely browsing what’s new on the bookshelves. You may even find me sitting in a chair somewhere in one of P&P’s inviting alcoves, trying out a chapter before I commit to a book purchase.” Her departure as an advisor means that the latest incarnation of Politics & Prose can spread its new wings and fly solo.