I just finished a book that I really loved. Main character is a cranky book seller on an island who – at the beginning of the story – is deep in grief over the death of his wife. It is The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
Compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, it is a lovely book full of the joy of reading and the opportunity for second chances. The book is worth reading just for the chapter introducing “reviews” by AJF.
for me – that’s southern writers. Most of them are actually from the south or are writing about it – but what seems most “southern” about these authors to me is their ability to tell a story. So when I saw this listing posted by Simon and Schuster on “50 best southern novels ever written”, I was hooked. As is always the case I could argue about some of the choices but there’s a lot of good reading here.
So what’s your reading soft touch?
Started with a wonderful presentation – including drawings – by George O’Connor who has a series, The Olympiads, on the Greek Gods and Goddesses along with many children’s book illustrations. He began with a funny story on how he had upset Poseidon and what the results were and then talked about his research, writing and drawing processes were. A poetry workshop led by Jennifer Barber had a table full of poets writing ambitiously.
The afternoon panel on The Short Form with moderator Kate Burak talking to authors (and she is one too) Jennifer Haigh, Ann Hood and C.B. Anderson focused on the special demands of the short form (essays, short stories, even poems) and it’s benefits and short comings. The authors had some very interesting (and often humorous) comments and shared details of their working styles and read a bit from some of their work.
The day closed with a presentation by Paul Harding talking about his Pulitzer winning novel Tinkers and his new book Enon – which has a similar location and is the story of a grandson of the character from Tinkers. Moderator Rob Mitchell had a number of questions on the Pulitzer experience and the reaction of readers and reviewers to the dark view in both of these books. Paul Harding read from both Tinkers – a very funny piece about a woman who wants the tinker to sell her the soap she has always used (he said that was his Grandmother) and a very touching piece from Enon in which the character is behind the gravestone of his daughter because he feels he has behaved in a way that shames him in front of her.
We are very grateful to the authors who are willing to share not only their writing with us in their books but personal details of how they create these wonderful books.
We are very excited about the Book Festival line up this year.
If you have a younger reader in your life, they should enjoy meeting George O’Connor author of The Olympians series of graphic novels and illustrator of many many children’s books at 10:30. The Olympians series is for the 9-14 reader group (although I find them quite enticing).
We have an exceptional workshop on poetry writing with Jennifer Barber who is both a teacher and the author of two books of poetry – Given Away and Rigging the Wind - you need to register for this (978-1010 x 103) but it’s free and will run from 11:30 to about 1:25. (bring your brown bag lunch)
At 1:30 you can step into the Roosevelt Room for a panel discussion called The Short Form with Ann Hood, Jennifer Haigh, C. B. Anderson and moderator Kate Burak.
At 3:30 the key note will be delivered by Paul Harding, Pulitzer winning author of Tinkers and Enon. Rob Mitchell, founder of the Concord Festival of Authors, will act as moderator for this talk.
Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Porter Square Books and refreshments (also free) will be available. Please Join us.
I suggested that you keep notes on what you read between now and October and where better to do it than this blog. Title and author, a few comments, a full blown review – whatever you like.
Why – you might ask – is there a recipe on a blog devoted to books? Because this group discussion ranges far and wide. In fact the discovery of a dinosaur being called the Chicken from Hell is actually relevant to our discussion this morning. So here’s the recipe – from Debra’s Natural Gourmet in West Concord.
1 Ripe Avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Serve chilled or put in the freezer for 1/2 hour for a frosty treat.
Plan to join us next October when we regroup – you never know what you’ll learn.