Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Only a few tickets left for Tom Wolfe on Thursday

Tom Wolfe, the man who brought us "Bonfire of the Vanities," "The Right Stuff" and "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," speaks in Charlotte Thursday, Oct. 28, as part of a major Charlotte Mecklenburg Library fundraiser.
Wolfe will discuss his upcoming novel, "Back to Blood," with Rolfe Neill, retired publisher of The Charlotte Observer. The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Booth Playhouse in Founders Hall. It'll be followed by a dinner in the Urban Garden, One Bank of America Center on College Street.
Tickets are $300 each, and only a few remain. To purchase, contact Dick Pahle at 704-416-0617 or dpahle@cmlibrary.org.
All event expenses are being covered with donations, including support from three corporate sponsors -- Bank of America, Barry Evans Josephs & Snipes and TIAA-CREF. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for early childhood literary services.

A poetry reading, with recipes

Let's start with a stanza:

Aunt Wilma's fabled spoon bread sits
Beside Aunt Martha's perennial grits;
Here Sissie's chicken a la king
Companions Darla's Jell-O ring,
While Cousin Willoughby has brought in
A gay attempt at haute cuisine,
And next -- the terror of the soul:
Aunt Lavinia's casserole.

-- from "Pot Luck Supper: Aunt Lavinia Strikes," by Fred Chappell

Yes, you get poetry in "The Sound of Poets Cooking," (Jacar Press, $15.95), a new anthology edited by Richard Krawiec. The collection includes about five dozen poets. Among them are some of North Carolina's best, including Chappell, Joseph Bathanti, and Kathryn Stripling Byer. Every poem is about food, of some sort or another.
But this anthology offers more.
You also get recipes, written, in some cases, only as poets would write them. (For a French bread recipe, Susan Ludvigson directs us to toss the yeast, sugar and sea salt "as if you were scattering seeds for wildflowers.")

And if that's not enough, consider that the book functions as what Krawiec calls an "arts-stimulus program." He's using proceeds from sales to pay stipends to writers to conduct free community writing workshops.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark hosts a poetry reading at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. Among the poets attending: Charlotte's Julie Suk, Diana Pinckney, Allison Elrod and Gail Peck. Krawiec tells me there will be food, of course.

Monday, October 25, 2010

N.C. writers to converge in Charlotte, and you can join them

More than 300 writers, editors and literary agents gather in Charlotte next week for the N.C. Writers' Network's 25th annual fall conference. Want to join them? You can.
The conference runs Nov. 5-7 at the Omni Charlotte Hotel, 132 E. Trade St. It offers more than 25 workshops and panel discussions on topics ranging from creative nonfiction and children's books to critiquing work and promoting yourself. N.C. Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers will teach a poetry master class. Michael Malone, bestselling author of "The Four Corners of the Sky," will give the keynote address. And Georgann Banks, author of "Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont," will lead a walking tour.
The cost runs from $100 to more than $400, depending on the conference package you choose. For the best prices, register by Friday, Oct. 29. Check the N.C. Writers' Network web site for a complete schedule and details.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What did David Sedaris write in your book?

Humor writer David Sedaris wowed the crowd at Charlotte's Blumenthal Monday night, reading stories, diary entries and jokes collected from folks he met on the road. Then, afterward, he sat behind a table and autographed books for hundreds of adorning fans.
I'm no expert on the autographing habits of authors, but I think it's safe to say Sedaris is one of a kind. As is his habit, he brought a canvas tote bag filled with gifts he doled out, especially to his teenaged fans. They included hotel soaps and shampoos, hand sanitizer and stretchy bracelets, purchased in bulk. (In the past, he has gifted teenagers with condoms. A fine idea, I think, but he caught flack.)
His autographs are equally unique. He wrote in my friend Lesa's book: "We see eye to eye." (An amazingly true statement.)
He wrote in my 17-year-old daughter's book: "Let's throw sticks at vulnerable old people together."
So, now I'm desperate to find out what else he wrote. If he signed your book, leave a comment and let me know what said.

Abigail DeWitt reads from "Dogs" Sunday at Joseph-Beth

North Carolina's Abigail DeWitt launches her new novel, "Dogs" (Lorimer Press, $25.95), 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark.
The story of Molly Moore and her troubled Texas family, "Dogs" is "dark, sexy and profoundly original," author Lee Smith says.
DeWitt, the award-winning author of "Lili," lives in the N.C. mountains.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One Circus Poem for now, more on Friday

Chapel Hill poet Alex Grant reads from his new collection, "The Circus Poems" (Lorimer Press, $16.95), 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at Joseph Beth Books in SouthPark Mall.
Grant won the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best collection by an N.C. poet and the 2006 Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize. And yes, his new collection does mostly revolve around circus themes. Here's one:

The Dwarf

A full-grown man looking up at the world -- riding the trains
with the children -- they think him a child, ask why his beard
doesn't move when they tug it -- offer pink and white bunches
of stale cotton-candy. In his trailer at night, he looks up at the moon and imagines his body, enormous and celestial, lighting
half of the night sky -- casting its immense glow on the world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chelsea Handler coming to Park Road Books

New York Times bestselling author and comedian Chelsea Handler ("Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang") will sign books 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.
Some restrictions apply: Books must be bought at Park Road Books, and receipts are required. No memorabilia will be signed. Pictures may be taken of Chelsea, but not with her.
Also, you might want to wear something nice. We're told the signing will be filmed.

Mary N., you've won David Sedaris' new book

I've got a copy of David Sedaris' new "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary" to send out to Mary N., who says she's going to give it to her son -- after she reads it.
Thanks to everyone who posted. Loved the comments, and clearly, many folks are as crazy about this author as I am.
Mary, email your address, and I'll get the book to you in time for Sedaris' appearance in Charlotte Monday night.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lots more used books for sale

Check out two more used book sales this week to benefit the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library:
Resourceful Books on Gardening, Birds, Nature & Ecology
Wing Haven Educational Building
248 Ridgewood Ave.
Tuesday, Oct.12, 3-7 p.m.

Fascinating Books on Music, Theater, Film and Dance
The Meadows Clubhouse, 4315 Simsbury Road
Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Win David Sedaris' new book, "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"

Do you love the humor of David Sedaris? Then you'll want to read "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary," his new, very funny collection of animal stories.
If you'd like to win a copy, post a comment on this blog with your name or some way to identify you -- not just "anonymous."
Then, make sure to check back on Tuesday, Oct. 12, when I'll randomly select a winner.
Sedaris will be in Charlotte Monday, Oct. 18, as part of his lecture tour. I recently had a great chat with with him by phone, so if you're hankering for his wit and wisdom, read my Q&A.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Check out children's and young adult authors at Saturday's Tribute to Novello

This year's Tribute to Novello wraps up Saturday, Oct. 9, at ImaginOn, 300 E. Seventh St., with a day devoted to children's and young adult authors. The morning kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with appearances by book characters Max and Spot.

Saturday's impressive lineup includes Newbery Honor Book winner Stephanie Tolan ("Surviving the Applewhites") and Gloria Houston, author of the classic "Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree." And if you know any young-adult readers who are partial to zombies, make sure to meet Carrie Ryan, author of the beautifully written and wonderfully creepy "Forest of Hands and Teeth."

Check out the full schedule.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dinner with four authors? It's BiblioFeast.

Conversations with authors, dinner and a glass of wine. That's the enticing lineup at BiblioFeast, coming up 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Sante, 165 N. Trade St. in Matthews.
Organized by the Charlotte chapter of the Women's National Book Association, the event features Carolina-based authors Minrose Gwin ("The Queen of Palmyra"), Rick Rothacker ("Banktown"), Jay Varner ("Nothing Left to Burn") and Kim Wright ("Love in Mid Air").
They'll travel from table to table discussing their work. And I'm delighted to be hosting.
Tickets are $35 and available in advance at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.

Monday, October 4, 2010

When the United States spoke French

Even though some Americans got so peeved with the French a few years back that they renounced French fries, the fact remains: This nation's ties with France are deep.
Francois Furstenberg, author of "In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation," explores some of those ties when he gives a free talk at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 in Sykes Auditorium at Queens University.
Furstenberg, a history and American studies professor at the University of Montreal, will trace the outlines of his book in progress, tentatively titled "When the United States Spoke French: Land, Émigrés and Politics in the Age of Revolutions."
It follows a group of émigrés who fled the French Revolution and took refuge on American shores. Check here for details.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tribute to Novello starts tonight

Enjoy four local authors who've all written about the Charlotte area and its history, 7-8:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 1, at the Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St.
The event is the kickoff to Tribute to Novello, a volunteer-organized literary festival that's filling in for the Novello Festival of Reading. The Charlotte Mecklenburg library's festival was a victim of this year's budget cuts.
Tonight's authors: History writers Mary Norton Kratt ("Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History"), Tom Hanchett ("Sorting Out the New South City"), John Grooms ("Deliver Us From Weasels") and Mike Lassiter ("Vanishing Americana").
Everything's free -- though library donations are welcome -- and the schedule of events continues from noon to evening on Saturday at the Main Library, 310 N. Tryon St. I'll be there at noon to introduce fantasy writers A.J. Hartley and Faith Hunter. Join me!