LOUISE MILLER reads from The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living at Porter Square Books

Author and pastry chef LOUISE MILLER will read from her debut novel, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, now available in paperback. Q&A and book signing to follow reading.


“Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award” at the Boston Public Library

The Associates of the Boston Public Library cordially invite you to their Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award, a competition that weighs the enduring literary merits of three bestsellers, all published in 1917. Contenders for the prize are T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations, Mohandas Gandhi’s Third Class in Indian Railways, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes. The books will be defended by poet and author Charles Coe, Michael Patrick MacDonald, memoirist, and suspense author Jacquelyn Mitchard respectively. Author Stona Fitch will moderate the irreverent debate, after which the audience will vote to determine the winner. A reception with the panelists will follow.


Award-winning author JAMES MCBRIDE shares his latest: Five-Carat Soul

Harvard Book Store welcomes bestselling and award-winning author JAMES MCBRIDE for a discussion of his latest book, Five-Carat Soul, his first work of fiction since the National Book Award–winning novel The Good Lord Bird.

This event is free; no tickets are required. Also, this event includes a book signing.

About Five-Carat Soul
The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with MCBRIDE’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. MCBRIDE explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.
As MCBRIDE did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.


KL PEREIRA and MINNA ZALLMAN PROCTOR share their latest works

Harvard Book Store welcomes writer, poet, and teacher KL PEREIRA and writer, critic, and translator MINNA ZALLMAN PROCTOR for a discussion of their books, A Dream Between Two Rivers: Stories of Liminality and Landslide: True Stories.

This event is free; no tickets are required. Also, This event includes a book signing.

About A Dream Between Two Rivers
Both literary and speculative, both magically real and viscerally strange in the tradition of Angela Carter, Karen Russell, and Jorge Luis Borges. In this collection, KL PEREIRA weaves elements of fairy tale, folklore, and myth into the lives of women, children, and immigrants. Her lucid prose underscores the tenacity of those who are most vulnerable, who live on edges between neat and clear definitions of who they are and who they want to be. Free of normative ideas of gender, class, race, and sexuality, PEREIRA  explores rebirth amidst darkness.

About Landslide
MINNA ZALLMAN PROCTOR’s Landslide is a captivating collection of interconnected personal essays. These “true stories” explore the author’s complicated relationship with her mother―who was diagnosed with cancer at age fifty-seven and died fifteen years later―and the ways in which their connection was long the “prime mover” of PROCTOR’s life, the subtle force coursing beneath her adulthood. As such, these vibrant essays also narrate the trials and triumphs of PROCTOR’s own life―shifting between America and Italy (and loving “being a foreigner, the constant sense of unfamiliarity that supplanted all of my expectations and disappointments”), her bumpy first marriage, the profound pleasure she takes in motherhood, and the confounding experience of trying to arrange a Jewish burial for her “Jewish, not quite Jewish” mother.

PROCTOR has an integrity and humor that is never extinguished despite life’s mounting difficulties. She also slyly questions her own narrative throughout. “Not having told this story before means I never fixed many details in my memory,” she writes. “[I] have to rely on flashes, the transparent stills that hang in my mind, made of smell, the way the light casts, the wind on skin.” The essays in this book are a sharply intelligent exploration of what happens when death and divorce unmoor you from certainties, and about the unreliable stories we tell ourselves, and others, in order to live.


ALEXIS OKEOWO Discusses A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa

Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed journalist and New Yorker staff writer ALEXIS OKEOWO for a discussion of her new book, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa.

In the tradition of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, this is a masterful, humane work of literary journalism by New Yorker staff writer ALEXIS OKEOWO—a vivid narrative of Africans who are courageously resisting their continent’s wave of fundamentalism.

In A Moonless, Starless Sky, OKEOWO weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony’s LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women’s basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America’s most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary—lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.

This event is free; no tickets are required. Also, This event includes a book signing.

 


CLAIRE MESSUD, Author of The Burning Girl: A Novel

Newtonville Books is proud to present CLAIRE MESSUD, author of The Burning Girl. This event is free to attend.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality―crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.

CLAIRE MESSUD, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

 


Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century

Harvard Book Store welcomes KATHRYN SIKKINK—the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—for a discussion of her latest book, Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century.

Evidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work.  Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism.  They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere.  But respected human rights expert SIKKINK draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to the pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions.  She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.

This event is free and open to the public.

Evidence for Hope will be on sale at the event, 20% off.


PATTI SMITH on Devotion (Why I Write)

Harvard Book Store welcomes renowned performer and artist PATTI SMITH—author of the National Book Award–winning memoir Just Kids and the New York Times best seller M Train—for a discussion of her latest book, Devotion (Why I Write).

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met?  In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.

This event is ticketed.  You may purchase tickets here.  Every ticket purchase includes a pre-signed copy of Devotion.


Actor/author KARL GEARY reads his first novel: Montpelier Parade

Brookline Booksmith hosts novelist KARL GEARY for his first-time novel, Montpelier Parade.

The house is on Montpelier Parade: just across town, but it might as well be a different world.  Working on the garden with his father one Saturday in Dublin, Sonny is full of curiosity.  Then the back door eases open and she comes down the path towards him. Vera.

Chance meetings become shy arrangements, and soon Sonny is in love for the first time. Casting off his lonely life of dreams and quiet violence for this new, intoxicating encounter, he longs to know Vera, even to save her. But what is it that Vera isn’t telling him?

This event is free and open to the public.