Friday, April 5, 2013

April in Charlotte brings Ron Rash and a big book sale

The timing couldn’t be better for Ron Rash’s free appearances April 17 at Central Piedmont Community College’s Sensoria arts festival. He’ll speak twice, at 10:30 a.m. in Halton Theater and 7:30 p.m. in Pease Auditorium.

The New York Times’ Janet Maslin recently lauded Rash’s new short story collection, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” as his best book since “Serena,” his 2008 novel. That’s high praise, since Maslin has described “Serena” as “one of the greatest American novels in recent memory.”

And that’s not all. The movie version of “Serena,” starring Bradley Cooper and Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in the title role, comes out this fall. Rash, who teaches at Western Carolina University and hails from Boiling Springs, will have much to discuss. Check out Sensoria’s full schedule of events:
Big book sale starts next week
What would John Grisham think about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library’s upcoming used book sale?

Would he be upset when he saw how many copies of his novels people have donated? There are a lot, Nikki Moore tells me. Moore is president of Friends of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

 My guess is that Grisham, bestselling master of the legal thriller would be pleased. The sale is, after all, an excellent cause.

The group has conducted a used book sale for years. But the fundraiser took on new importance when the recession prompted drastic cuts in the library’s materials budget, which went from $3.2 million in 2009 to $1.9 million in 2011. It’s now back up, near pre-recession levels, but with library usage up too, per capita book spending is less than it was in 2001.

This year’s sale, at 1330 Central Ave., next to Bistro la Bon, starts Friday, April 12, and runs through April 20. Check for hours and details. If you’re a Friends of the Library member, or if you make a $25 donation to become a member, you can show up 6-9 p.m. Thursday to get first dibs.

There will be thousands of books from which to choose – recent bestsellers, such as Stieg Larsson’s “Dragon Tattoo” novels and Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” lots of children’s books, good beach reads, books on tape and CD, DVDs – you name it. Grisham’s novels are in very good company. And you can’t beat the prices: Most items are less than $5.

Volunteers hope to match or even beat their previous fundraising record of $43,000 set in 2010.