DANIEL MENDELSOHN, “An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic”

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning memoirist and critic DANIEL MENDELSOHN (The Lost) for a discussion of his latest book, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic.

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual.  For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician’s unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his “one last chance” to learn the great literature he’d neglected in his youth—and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that the two men explore Homer’s great work together, it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too…

This event is free and open to the public.

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic will be on sale at the event 20% off.


Folk/Rock legend ART GARFUNKEL on his memoir

Harvard Book Store welcomes folk rock legend ART GARFUNKEL for a discussion of his memoir, What Is It All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man.  This event, taking place at First Parish Church, is co-sponsored by Harvard Square’s Club Passim.  GARFUNKEL will be joined in conversation by JARED BOWEN, WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts.

GARFUNKEL writes about his life before, during, and after Simon & Garfunkel…about their folk-rock music in the roiling age that embraced and was defined by their path-breaking sound.  He writes about growing up in the 1940s and ’50s (son of a traveling salesman), a middle class Jewish boy, living in a red brick semi-attached house in Kew Gardens, Queens, a kid who was different—from the age of five feeling his vocal cords “vibrating with the love of sound”…

This event is ticketed.  You may purchase tickets here, and all tickets come with a presigned copy of GARFUNKEL’s memoir.

This event is co-sponsored with Club Passim.


How does addiction impact family? A conversation between Granta publisher/editor SIGRID RAUSING and GISH JEN

Harvard Book Store welcomes Granta magazine editor SIGRID RAUSING—author of History, Memory, and Identity in Post-Soviet Estonia and Everything is Wonderful—and bestselling author GISH JEN for a discussion of Mayhem, Rausing’s memoir of the impact of addiction on family.

In the summer of 2012 a woman named Eva was found dead in the London townhouse she shared with her husband, Hans K. Rausing. The couple had struggled with drug addiction for years, often under the glare of tabloid headlines. Now, writing with singular clarity and restraint, Hans’ sister, the editor and publisher SIGRID RAUSING, tries to make sense of what happened.

This event is not ticketed.

Mayhem will be on sale at the event for 20% off.


Local author event with novelist MICHELLE HOOVER, memoirist PATRICIA HORVATH, and poet SAM WITT

Join Porter Square Books for a night with Grubstreet’s MICHELLE HOOVER (Bottomland), award-winning memoirist PATRICIA HORVATH (All the Difference), and English poet/journalist SAM WITT (Everlasting Quail).

At once intimate and sweeping, Bottomland follows the Hess family in the years after World War I, as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. But when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains.

HORVATH’s transformation from a visibly disabled young woman to someone who, abruptly, “passes” for able-bodied, reveals cultural and personal tensions surrounding disability and creates an arc that connects imprisonment to freedom. What transpires is both suffocating and liberating. HORVATH’s confinement keeps her from being seen, but also cocoons a deeply personal sense of self-hood and relationship.

In Everlasting Quail, WITT combines diverse conventions such as the confession and the sexual love poem, with structures and language to invent a psycho-political landscape in which the physical world is transformed and the energy of human relationships celebrated. What holds these poems together is not the act of confession, description, or memory. Rather, they draw their vocabulary from a perpetually transformative relationship with the physical world, and with human beings, which, when merged, approaches transfiguration.

This event is free and open to the public.

 


Why Thoreau Still Matters: Lessons on Environmentalism & Civil Disobedience

200 years after Henry David Thoreau’s birth in Concord, Massachusetts, a distinguished panel will consider Thoreau’s lessons for today’s world. Explore how Thoreau’s ideas have informed 21st-century civil disobedience and contemporary conversations about humans’ relationships with the natural world.

Panelists will include artist and filmmaker PAUL TURANO (Wander, Wonder, Wilderness), LAURA DASSOW WALLS, author of the new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, acclaimed memoirist HOWARD AXELROD (The Point of Vanishing), MARIA MADISON, president of The Robbins House: Concord’s African American History historic site, and the Rev. FRED SMALL, Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church.

This event is part of the series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District and co-sponsored by The Walden Woods Project. CHRISTOPHER LYDON (WBUR Radio host, “Open Source with Christopher Lydon”) will moderate the event.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute. Free and open to the public, registration is requested here.


Before I Had the Words: A Reading with Trans Memoirist SKYLAR KERGIL

Brookline Booksmith welcomes Youtuber Skylar “skylarkeleven” Kergil for a reading of his memoir Before I Had The Words.  KERGIL is a transgender activist, artist, and writer living in Boston.

Before I Had the Words is the story of what came before the videos and what happened behind the scenes. From early childhood memories to the changes and confusion brought by adolescence, KERGIL reflects on coming of age while struggling to understand his gender. As humorous as it is heartbreaking and as informative as it is entertaining, this memoir provides an intimate look at the experience of transitioning from one gender to another. KERGIL opens up about the long path to gaining his family’s acceptance and to accepting himself, sharing stories along the way about smaller challenges like choosing a new name and learning to shave without eyebrow mishaps.

This event is free and open to the public.


EILEEN MYLES on “Afterglow: a Dog Memoir”

Harvard Book Store welcomes renowned author and poet EILEEN MYLES for a discussion of their latest book, Afterglow (a dog memoir).

In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and their connection instantly became central to the writer’s life and work. During the course of their sixteen years together, Myles was madly devoted to the dog’s wellbeing, especially in her final days. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief.

This event is not ticketed.

The book will be on sale at the event for 20% off.


KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD in conversation with the New Yorker’s JAMES WOOD

Harvard Book Store welcomes KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD, bestselling and acclaimed author of the six-volume novel My Struggle, and literary critic JAMES WOOD for a discussion of Knausgaard’s latest book, Autumn—the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons. Boston University’s WILLIAM PIERCE, author of Reality Hunger: On Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, will provide the evening’s introductions.

Autumn begins with a letter Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world.  He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child.  Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Knausgaard shows us how vast, unknowable and wondrous the world is.

You purchase buy tickets here.

This book will be on sale at the event for 20% off.


Historian YURI SLEZKIN and TERRY MARTIN on the Russian Revolution

Harvard Book Store welcomes National Jewish Book Award–winning historian YURI SLEZKINE for a discussion on his latest book, The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution.  Professor Slezkine will be joined in conversation by TERRY MARTIN, George F. Baker III Professor of Russian Studies at Harvard University.

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, historian Yuri Slezkine tells the epic story of an enormous apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction.

The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment.  Yuri Slezkine’s gripping narrative tells the true story of the residents of an enormous Moscow apartment building where top Communist officials and their families lived before they were destroyed in Stalin’s purges.

This event is not ticketed.

The book will be on sale at the event for 20% off.


Feminist gamer ZOE QUINN and the fight against online hate in “Crash Override”

Brookline Booksmith welcomes ZOE QUINN, author of Crash Override: How Gamer Gate  (Nearly) Destroyed My Life. Through her story as both target and activist, QUINN delves into the controversies, threats, and cultural battles that permeate our online lives.

QUINN is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a vengeful blog post cobbled together from private information, half-truths, and outright fictions, and rallied online hordes to target her. Under the guise of #gamergate, they hacked her accounts; stole nude photos of her; harassed her family, friends, and colleagues; and threatened her with rape and murder. But instead of shrinking into silence, QUINN raised her voice and spoke out against the dark side of online culture in order to make the internet a safer place for everyone.

You may purchase tickets here, but tickets are free with a pre-order of Crash Override.