Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dan Ariely, Harry Golden, Sarah Dessen and more!

Our cup overflows with a week of marvelous events!


Saturday evening Dan "Predictably Irrational" Ariely informs and amuses with his unexpected insights into the wacky ways we think and behave. His new book, Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickups Lines and Other Existential Puzzles is a highlight show drawn from his Wall Street Journal "Ask Ariely" advice column. With wit and wisdom Dan weighs in on everything from grandparents to complaining to giving to the poor. Here's one of my favorites: When asked why we use the word "service" with things like the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, cable TV service, etc, Dan responds:


"When I was much younger I got to spend some time on a farm, where I heard farmers saying that they were going to have to hire a bull to "service" their cows. Maybe this is the answer to your question?"


Come with a question of your own Saturday night! We'll have some wine, beer and snacks on hand to help everyone enjoy the evening.


Monday we learn about a civil rights legend and a true character--Harry Golden. Golden grew up Jewish on New York's lower east side but moved to Charlotte in the 1950's where he founded the "Carolina Israelite," a one-man weekly newspaper that he used as a vehicle to lay into segregation with verve and a marvelous sense of humor. Golden was one of six white writers that Martin Luther King singled out in his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" for having "written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms."


Golden usually had his tongue (and often a cigar), placed firmly in his cheek, as when he proposed "The Vertical Negro" as a solution to segregation. Noting that whites and blacks could stand together while waiting to board a bus, but had to be segregated once seated on the bus, and that this behavior occurred while waiting for seats at lunch counters, etc., Golden proposed that the answer to segregation was simple-just take away all the seats on buses, at lunch counters, in schools, etc!


I have immensely enjoyed Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett's fine new biography, Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care About Jews, the South and Civil Rights. Her book is every bit as wise and witty as its subject.  


Then next Thursday we host the best-selling YA author Sarah Dessen, with her new book Saint Anything. A new Sarah Dessen! What more do all her young adult fans need to know?



Quite a week! All this, plus an event about 300 years of Southern rebels, and poetry with sangria. See below for more details.




Saturday, May 30, 7 p.m.

In  Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles, three-time New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely teams up with legendary The Ariely New Yorker cartoonist William Haefeli to present an expanded, illustrated collection of his immensely popular Wall Street Journal advice column, "Ask Ariely". Using their trademark insight and wit, Ariely and Haefeli help us reflect on how we can reason our way through external and internal challenges. Readers will laugh, learn, and most importantly gain a new perspective on how to deal with the inevitable problems that plague our daily life.

In his books Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, behavioral economist Dan Ariely revolutionized the way we think about ourselves, our minds, and our actions. Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, and is the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and elsewhere.

To help keep us from getting too rational during this Saturday evening event, we'll be serving some beer, wine and snacks.



Monday, June 1, 7 p.m.

Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett's Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights is the first comprehensive biography of Jewish American writer and humorist Harry Golden (1903-1981)--author of the 1958 national best-seller Only in America.  During World War II, the cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and founded the Carolina Israelite newspaper, which was published into the 1960s. Golden used his celebrity to editorialize for civil rights as the momentous story unfolded. Hartnett's spirited chronicle captures Golden's message of social inclusion for a new audience today.  



Wednesday, June 3, 7 p.m.

In 1891, when coal companies in eastern Tennessee brought in cheap convict labor to take over their jobs, workers responded by storming the stockades, freeing the prisoners, and loading them onto freight trains. Over the next year, tactics escalated to include burning company property and looting company stores. This was one of the largest insurrections in US working-class history. It happened at the same time as the widely publicized northern labor war in Homestead, Pennsylvania. And it was largely ignored, then and now. Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South, edited by North Carolina natives Neal Shirley and Saralee Stafford, engages seven similarly "hidden" insurrectionary episodes in Southern history to demonstrate the region's long arc of revolt. Countering images of the South as pacified and conservative, this adventurous retelling presents history in the rough. Not the image of the South many expect, this is the South of maroon rebellion, wildcat strikes, and Robert F. Williams's book Negroes with Guns, a South where the dispossessed refuse to quietly suffer their fate. This is people's history at its best: slave revolts, multiracial banditry, labor battles, prison uprisings, urban riots, and more.


Neal Shirley grew up in Winston-Salem and now lives in Durham, where he is involved in several anti-prison initiatives and runs a small publishing project called the North Carolina Piece Corps.

Saralee Stafford was born in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Her recent political work has focused on connecting the struggles of street organizations with those of anarchists in the area. She teaches gender-related health in Durham.




Thursday, June 4, 7 p.m.

In Saint Anything, the uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change. Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and-lately-concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world.


Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular writers for young adults. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold more than seven million copies. She lives in Chapel Hill.



Saturday, June 6, 7 p.m.

Celebrate Summer by sipping Sangria and listening to the poetry of four fine North Carolina poets:

  • Debra Kaufman, Delicate Thefts (Jacar Press) who NC Literary Hall of Fame member Kathryn Stripling Byer calls " One of our best contemporary American poets."  Fred Chappel says Delicate Thefts is "Passionate in its angers as well as in its affections and as closely tuned as a clavier."
  • Kevin Boyle, Astir (Jacar Press), whose poems, according to Dorianne Laux, "In language both fluent and metrical... explore what it's like to be alive and awake..." Full of, as Joseph Millar says "...generosity and humor...shining through the lines"
  • Richard Krawiec's, Women who Loved me Despite (Press 53) is a book Lola Haskins describes as "a dog song on the edge of the abyss...honest and (containing) eloquent tenderness, especially about love."
  • Ralph Earle won the 2015 Sable Books poetry chapbook competition for, The Way the Rain Works, a book where  "...despite broken branches, clumsy home repairs, a despairing wife, and unanswered prayers, the poet finds solace in nature and solitude, showing us glimpses of fragile beauty." -- Debra Kaufman


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Tom Campbell
Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 286-2700
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