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Thursday, May 14, 2015
Good Books and Marvelous May Events
Around the Shelves
I started reading Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See while on vacation a couple of weeks back, and finished it at home last week. I'm not sure I can find the words to express just how good this book is. Let's just say its the best novel I've read in many years. It has everything-plot, characters, writing, and depth. Its hard to put down, and when you've finished its hard to move on to another book. We've sold well over a hundred copies of this Pulitzer Prize winning novel already, so I came to it late. But if you have yet to read it, and are looking for a book to really get lost in, I can't recommend it too highly.
Another book that I think is really special is Raymond Barfield's new novel, The Book of Colors. Here I'll let my friend and colleague Gayle Shanks tell you about the book. (Gayle is co-owner of the marvelous Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Arizona):
"This book took my breath away. The writing is extraordinary and the characters, depraved and impoverished in so many ways, manage to not only care for one another but also find moments of grace and insight in their daily lives. A rack full of magazines becomes the link to other worlds and those moments of understanding are profound. Death, birth, porn, crack, a troll under a bridge, slightly rancid pork chops, Cadillacs, and a donkey named Jesus all play a role in this remarkable novel by a poet doctor. It should win every literary award in the universe."
Raymond Barfield is a pediatric oncologist at Duke, where he directs the Pediatric Quality of Life and Palliative Care Program for the Duke Children's Hospital. He was the founding director of the Duke Divinity School's initiatives in Theology, Medicine, and Culture. Barfield will read from and discuss The Book of Colors at The Regulator on Wednesday evening, May 27, at 7:00 p.m.
Upcoming Events: Jim Grimsley, Veterans for Peace, Raymond Barfield & Dan Ariely highlight our events through the end of the month.
READ LOCAL BOOK FESTIVAL
Lots of things will be happening downtown with this festival this weekend. The Regulator will be selling local books at an exhibitor fair at Durham Central Park Sunday afternoon, and co-owner Tom Campbell be a judge at the "Writers in the Ring" live speed-writing contest at Motorco Music Hall Sunday evening at 8:00. See readlocalnc.org for more info.
Monday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.
Michael Fournier's first novel, Hidden Wheel-a philosophical literary work about artistic self-promotion and the corporate infiltration of hipsterdom-earned him comparisons to such literary luminaries as Richard Russo, Jennifer Egan, André Dubus III, and Michael Chabon. Now, in Swing State, Fournier unveils the generally overlooked decades-long economic downturn in the rural Northeast. With an unflinching eye, Fournier lays bare the dim dreams and raw existence of the lives of three seemingly disparate residents of a small town in New Hampshire, who share the same goal: get out. Roy Eggleton, an Afghanistan vet, deals with emotional issues that hamper his ability to find work. Zachariah Tietz, an overweight friendless teenager, develops a reality game show he deludes himself into believing will be his ticket out. Fireworks freak, bully, and petty thief Dixon Dove works at a fast food restaurant managed by a known pervert to save enough extra money to leave.
Michael T. Fournier is a writer/critic/musician, and the author of two novels as well as Double Nickels on the Dime (33 1/3/Continuum), a book-length discussion of the 1984 Minutemen album of the same name. He is founder and co-editor of Calbido Quarterly, a broadsheet literary journal. His writing has appeared in the the Oxford American, Vice, Pitchfork, and the Boston Globe. He has taught literature and punk rock history at Emerson College, Tufts University, University of Maine, and beyond.
C. NICOLE SWINER
Wednesday, May 20, 7:00 p.m.
How To Avoid the Superwoman Complex: 12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body and Spirit provides an insightful, sometimes humorous guide to help abolish the notion that you have to be "Superwoman" in order for your life to matter. The idea of being "all things to all people" could be at least part of the reason why you are not truly happy and healthy. The goal of this book is to help you truly examine the elements in your life that serve as stressors disguised as "necessary evils." Let's face it-many of the "evils" we manage on a day-to-day basis are not necessary. Once you have identified the challenges, the next step is to determine how to work around, get over, go through, or simply ignore them-all for the greater good; a healthier, happier you.
Dr. Swiner is a wife, mother of two and family doctor in Durham.
Thursday, May 21, 7:00 p.m.
Told in short episodes, Frances Fuller'sIn Borrowed Houses: A True Story of Love and Faith Amidst War in Lebanon reveals the alienation, confusion and courage of civilians in civil war, introducing to the reader a variety of real people with whom the author interacts: editors, salesmen, neighbors, refugees, soldiers, missionaries, lawyers, shepherds, artists, students. With these people she works, studies, plays games, prays, laughs and cries, all to the accompaniment of gunfire. Together these small stories tell what war is like for civilians caught on a battlefield, and they create the impression of the Lebanese as a fun-loving, witty, patient and resilient people. They also compose, not a political history, but a historical document of a time and a place.
Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.
Thursday, May 21 7:00
The Center for Documentary Studies, 1317 W Pettigrew St, 27705
The novelist and eastern North Carolina native Jim Grimsley will read from and discuss his highly praised new book, How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood. Grimsley was 11 years old in 19666 when federally mandated integration of schools went into effect in North Carolina and the school in his small town was first integrated. In How I Shed My Skin Grimsley tells the story of that year and the subsequent years of his public school career in Jones County. "White people declared that the South would rise again. Black people raised one fist and shouted for black power. Somehow we negotiated a space between those poles and learned to sit in classrooms together...Lawyers, judges, adults declared that the days of separate schools were over, but we were the ones who took the next step. History gave us a piece of itself. We made of it what we could."
DURHAM MIGHTY PEN YOUNG WRITERS
Friday, May 22, 7 p.m.
Middle schoolers read from their original stories (about castaways, Halloween disasters, and sibling oversight) created in Durham Mighty Pen's Inaugural Writing Workshop at the Emily K. Center.
VETERANS FOR PEACE
Monday, May 25, 7 p.m.
As an alternative to the usual "glorification and glamorization" of war often accompanying parades and other Memorial Day celebrations, the Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) will offer an evening of reflection in poetry, prose, and song. Local U.S. veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflicts will be among the presenters. Founded in 1985 by U.S. military veterans, VFP is a national non-profit organization that works to "heal the wounds of war, expose the true costs of war, and build a culture of peace."
Tuesday, May 26 7 p.m.
Simply Vegetarian Thai Cooking: 125 Real Thai Recipes combines true Thai culinary spirit with delicious and magical dishes. Everyone loves Thai food, but truly meatless dishes are often difficult to find. Nancie McDermott has developed authentic yet innovative variations on traditional Thai recipes, providing health-conscious cooks with a repertoire of vegetarian dishes that capture the vibrant tastes and scents of Thailand. From appetizing salads and savory soups to flavorful and spicy mains to the wonderfully refreshing Thai Iced Tea, this definitive cookbook offers 125 delectable recipes for every meal and occasion.Vegans can also easily enjoy this food, since dairy products are virtually unused in the recipes.
Nancie McDermott is an expert on the food and culture of Thailand. She has written several cookbooks and contributes recipes and features on food and travel to national magazines and newspapers. She lives in Chapel Hill.
Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m.
In The Book of Colors, Yslea, is a 19-year-old, mixed-race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant. She is full of contradictions, seeming both young and old, innocent and wise. Her spirit is surprising, given all the pain she has endured, and that's the counterpoint this story offers-while she sees pain and suffering all around her, Yslea overcomes in her own quiet way. What Yslea struggles with is expressing her thoughts. And she wonders if she will have something of substance to say to her baby. It's the baby growing inside her that begins to wake her up, that causes her to start thinking about things in a different way.
Author Dr. Raymond Barfield is a pediatric oncologist at Duke University School of Medicine and an associate professor of philosophy at Duke Divinity School. He also works with the Institute on Care at the End of Life at Duke Divinity School. Ray has a book out from Cambridge University Press, The Ancient Quarrel between Poetry and Philosophy, and he's working on a nonfiction trade book that explores the intersection of spirituality, philosophy and science.
Thursday, May 28, 7:00 p.m.
How do class, ethnicity, gender, and politics interact? In what ways do they constitute everyday life among ethnic minorities? In "Getting By": Class and State Formation Among Chinese in Malaysia, UNC-Chapel Hill Professor of Anthropology Donald M. Nonini draws on three decades of research in the region of Penang state in northern West Malaysia, mainly in the city of Bukit Mertajam, to provide an ethnographic and historical account of the cultural politics of class conflict and state formation among Malaysians of Chinese descent.
Countering triumphalist accounts of the capitalist Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, Nonini shows that the Chinese of Penang (as elsewhere) are riven by deep class divisions and that class issues and identities are omnipresent in everyday life. Nor are the common features of "Chinese culture" in Malaysia manifestations of some unchanging cultural essence. Rather, his long immersion in the city shows, they are the results of an interaction between Chinese-Malaysian practices in daily life and the processes of state formation-in particular, the ways in which Kuala Lumpur has defined different categories of citizens.
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 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.