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Friday, October 24, 2014
Paul Austin, William Gibson, Hal Crowther and more!
There's not enough space on this email's subject line
...to do justice to the incredible line-up of authors coming during the first two weeks of November. Every one of them is worthy of a headline. Like these:
--Paul Austin's Beautiful Eyes is flat out the best book I've ever read about being a parent.
--Eula Biss's On Immunity has made "Best books of the fall" lists in the New Yorker, Publisher's Weekly, and the Huffington Post.
--William Gibson. Yes, THE William Gibson is coming to town. You've heard about cyberspace, right?
--Tom Maxwell. Oh, Hell. You've heard of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, no?
--Hal Crowther on H..L. Mencken. If there was anyone who has a sharper pen than Hal, it's Mencken. An author/subject pairing made in ...
--If Bill Powers can slow down and live simply in New York City then maybe some of us can do that in our loveable, laid-back (maybe formerly laid-back?) Durham.
--Orrin Pilkey warns that our beaches may be doomed if we don't change our ways. No more beach vacations? It's time for action!
--And Paul Roberts says we are living in The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification. (Oh sorry, I shouldn't have listed this here. We are going to have to wait almost three whole weeks to hear from this author!)
You can learn more about these events, and lots more on our snazzy new web site, which we are adding to every week. Check it out!
See below for more about each of the author events mentioned above. Come early and come often!
Wednesday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
Join us to welcome Durham author Paul Austin to share his latest memoir, Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed. "A poignant and candid father's memoir," Beautiful Eyes tells the story of Austin's relationship with his daughter Sarah, who has Downs Syndrome. Paul Austin, an emergency-room doctor, is the author of a previous memoir, Something for the Pain (the 2009 pick for Durham Reads). His essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Southeast Review, and the Gettysburg Review. Beautiful Eyes is one of the best books--no, make that THE best book--I have ever read about the wonderful, scary, satisfying, humbling job of being a parent. Austin's marvelous daughter Sarah has Down's syndrome, but many of the challenges he faces with her will be familiar to anyone who has children. Austin's writing is candid, humane, funny and heartfelt--just like the loving relationship he shares with Sarah. I can't imagine a parent being able to put this book down once they have started it. And I can't imagine a parent not being touched and changed by the experience.
Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.
Kenan-CDS Visiting Writers Series in Ethics, Society, and Documentary Art
Nelson Music Room / Duke University East Campus, 1304 Campus Dr.
Acclaimed author Eula Biss is visiting visit Duke to launch the Kenan-CDS Visiting Writer Series in Ethics, Society, and Documentary Art, established by the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Center for Documentary Studies to present new, unique, and diverse voices in nonfiction literature. "We could not have picked a better person to kick off this new series," said CDS writer-in-residence Duncan Murrell, who described Biss as being at the forefront of a worldwide renaissance of the critical and personal essay. "The comparisons between Biss, Susan Sontag, and Joan Didion are apt." Biss's new book is On Immunity: An Inoculation,which The New Yorker called "An eloquent consideration of the anti-vaccination movement. . . . [Biss] lays out an argument for vaccination that encompasses literature, history, science, and her fears and questions when deciding to vaccinate her own children. She brings a sober, erudite, and humane voice to an often overheated debate."
Friday, November 7, 7:30 p.m., Motorco Music Hall, please note the time and location
This is a ticketed event. One $30.00 ticket admits two people and is good for the purchase of one book.
The Regulator Bookshop proudly presents William Gibson, The New York Times-bestselling author and "god of speculative fiction" (New York Magazine) whose new book, The Peripheral, is a high-tech thriller set partly in a decadent post-apocalyptic future. The "peripherals" of the title are quasi-human drone bodies, with full tactile feedback, operated from any distance, which have erased any lingering distinction between the Web and the world. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Gibson's award-winning debut novel, Neuromancer, which predicted, via his original concept of "cyberspace", much of today's Internet. William Gibson is the author of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Liza Overdrive, Burning Chrome, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, and Distrust That Particular Flavor. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Saturday, November 8, 7:00 p.m.
Tom Maxwell, Hillsborough resident, musician and former member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and the force behind their smash hit "Hell," has delivered a fascinating memoir about the band's rise to success in Hell: My Life in the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Reading like an Almost Famous of the Swing Revival period of the 1990s, Maxwell describes detailed recollections of conversations with Squirrel Nut Zippers members like James "Jimbo" Mathus and Andrew Bird to fascinating appearances by Grammy-winning producer Trina Shoemaker and jazz guitarist Al Casey. Maxwell also provides fascinating looks into the band's beginnings in Chapel Hill, delving into the history behind the band's name, derived from a chewy peanut caramel candy first introduced in 1926 by the Squirrel Brand Company. After an almost ten year hiatus, he released a new album this fall, Tom Maxwell & The Minor Drag, featuring guest vocals by Ani DiFranco. And yes, there might just be some music at this event.
Sunday, November 9, 3:00 p.m. (please note the time)
Hal Crowther on H.L. Mencken-the perfect match of author and subject! The controversial career of H. L. Mencken, the most powerful individual journalist of the twentieth century, is a critical text for anyone concerned with the balance of power between the free press, the government, and the corporate plutocracy. Mencken, the belligerent newspaperman from Baltimore, was not only the most outspoken pundit of his day but also, by far, the most widely read, and according to many critics the most gifted American writer ever nurtured in a newsroom-a vanished world of typewriter banks and copy desks that electronic advances have precipitously erased. Hal Crowther followed in many of Mencken's footsteps as a reporter, magazine editor, literary critic, and political columnist. In An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken, Crowther focuses on Mencken the creator, the observer who turned his impressions and prejudices into an inimitable group portrait of America, painted in prose that charms and glowers and endures. Crowther examines the origin of Mencken's thunderbolts-where and how they were manufactured, rather than where and on whom they landed. Hal Crowther is a critic and essayist, and a former syndicated columnist and newsmagazine editor at Time and Newsweek. His most recent collection of essays, Gather at the River, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in criticism. He lives in Hillsborough, with his wife, the novelist Lee Smith.
Monday, November 10, 7:00 p.m.
In New Slow City: Living Simply in the World's Fastest City, William Powers recounts his season spent in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin off the grid in North Carolina. Could he live a similarly minimalist way in the belly of the go-go beast - New York City? To find out, Powers and his wife jettisoned 80 percent of their stuff, left their 2,000-square-foot Queens townhouse, and moved into a 350-square-foot "micro apartment" in Greenwich Village. Downshifting to a 20-hour workweek, Powers explores the viability of Slow Food and Slow Money, technology fasts and urban sanctuaries, rooftop gardening and beekeeping. Discovering a colorful cast of New Yorkers attempting to resist the culture of Total Work, Powers offers an inspiring exploration for anyone trying to make urban life more people- and planet-friendly. Born and raised on Long Island, William Powers has worked for over a decade in development aid and conservation in Latin America, Africa, Native North America, and Washington, DC. He is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and is on the adjunct faculty of New York University. Powers has also spent two decades exploring the American culture-of-speed and its alternatives in some fifty countries around the world. He has covered the subject in his four books and written about it in the Washington Post and the Atlantic. An expert on sustainable development, he is a freelance writer and speaker.
Tuesday, November 11, 7 p.m.
The Last Beachis an urgent call to save the world's beaches while there is still time.
The geologists Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper sound the alarm in this frank
assessment of our current relationship with beaches and their grim future if we do not
change the way we understand and treat our irreplaceable shores. Combining case
studies and anecdotes from around the world, they argue that many of the world's developed beaches are virtually doomed and that we must act immediately to save imperiled beaches. Acknowledging the challenge of reconciling our actions with our love of beaches, the geologists offer suggestions for reversing course, insisting that given the space, beaches can take care of themselves and provide us with multiple benefits. Orrin H. Pilkey, deemed "America's foremost philosopher of the beaches," by the New York Times, is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, based at Western Carolina University. The Orrin Pilkey Marine Science and Conservation Genetics Center opened at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, in 2013.
Wednesday, November 12, 7 p.m.
From award-winning journalist Paul Robert comes The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification, an era-defining account which answers the question: how, in our current "culture of narcissism," does one cope with a socioeconomic system that is almost too good at giving us what we want? Here in the United States it is now entirely normal to demand a personally customized life. We fine-tune our moods with pharmaceuticals, craft our meals around our allergies and ideologies, customize our bodies with cross training, ink, surgery, and wearable technologies, we can choose vehicles to express our hipness or hostility, we can move to a neighborhood that matches our social values, find a news outlet that mirrors our politics, create a social network that "likes" everything we post. The world becomes our world. Drawing on the latest research in economics, psychology, political philosophy and business management, Roberts shows how a potent combination of rapidly advancing technologies, corrupt political ideologies, and bottom-line business ethics has led us across a threshold to an unprecedented condition: a virtual merging of the market and the self. The result is a socioeconomic system ruled by impulse, by the reflexive, id-like drive for the largest, quickest, most "efficient" reward, without regard for long-term costs to ourselves or to broader society. Roberts is the author of The End of Oil and The End of Food. He was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 1999, and for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award in 2005. Roberts appears regularly on TV and radio. He lives in Washington state.