Inspired by my friend Kate, who decided to make a concerted effort to see one live music performance each month, I’ve decided to attend one live literary event each month. “Literary event” can be broadly defined; it doesn’t have to mean strictly author event/book signing. For instance, in February I attended the Bookbuilders of Boston‘s first 2011 Spring Forum (on children’s publishing, had a great time, nice to see familiar faces and meet new people).
For the month of March, I’m turning to the great Harvard Book Store to see what their events calendar offers. Would anyone care to join me? Here are the two (2! Ambitious!) events I’m hoping to attend:
Ron Rash, author of Burning Bright, on Thursday, March 24
Having greatly enjoyed reading and recommending Serena (for my review, click here), and being a huge fan of short stories, what’s not to love (price point included!) about this new paperback original from a brilliant Southern writer. Here is the Harvard Book Store description:
In Burning Bright, the stories span the years from the Civil War to the present day, populated by raw characters mined from the landscape of Appalachia. In “Back of Beyond,” a pawnshop owner who profits from the stolen goods of local meth addicts, including his own nephew, comes to the aid of his brother and sister-in-law when they are threatened by their son. The pregnant wife of a Lincoln sympathizer alone in Confederate territory takes revenge to protect her family in “Lincolnites.” And in the title story, a woman from a small town marries an outsider; when an unknown arsonist starts fires in the Smoky Mountains, her husband becomes the key suspect.
For information on this (free!) Harvard Book Store event, click here.
Sarah Vowell, author of Unfamiliar Fishes, on Friday, March 25.
9781594487873, Riverhead Books (Penguin), $25.95
I’ve been reading Sarah Vowell on-and-off since 2006, and there’s absolutely no denying that she’s smart, witty, and not only makes sense of history but really brings it into context for today. In my personal opinion, in addition to all of Howard Zinn’s works, high school students should be assigned Sarah Vowell for an alternative, true, perspective of American history.
Here is the new book’s description from the Harvard Book Store website:
Many think of 1776 as the defining year of American history, when we became a nation devoted to the pursuit of happiness through self-government. In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as defining, when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded first Cuba, then the Philippines, becoming an international superpower practically overnight.
Among the developments in these outposts of 1898, Vowell considers the Americanization of Hawaii the most intriguing. From the arrival of New England missionaries in 1820, their goal to Christianize the local heathen, to the coup d’état of the missionaries’ sons in 1893, which overthrew the Hawaiian queen, the events leading up to American annexation feature a cast of beguiling, and often appealing or tragic, characters: whalers who fired cannons at the Bible-thumpers denying them their God-given right to whores, an incestuous princess pulled between her new god and her brother-husband, sugar barons, lepers, con men, Theodore Roosevelt, and the last Hawaiian queen, a songwriter whose sentimental ode “Aloha ‘Oe” serenaded the first Hawaiian president of the United States during his 2009 inaugural parade.
This event is ticketed and costs $5, but if I can swing it, so can you. For more information, click here.
Now for some clips:
Sarah Vowell reads an excerpt from her new book.
Sarah Vowell on The Daily Show talking about one of her previous books, The Wordy Shipmates