literature

  On November 29, 2007 Joseph Luzzi's life forever changed. His wife, Catherine, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was killed in a car crash.

Before she died, doctors delivered their daughter, Isabel. His new memoir is In A Dark Wood. It tells the story how he dealt with his grief in part through the writings of Dante.

  On the eve of the publication of Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, we speak with Marja Mills about her book, The Mockingbird Next Door.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where she has lived part of the year with her sister Alice for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills.

  Thoreau or, Return to Walden is a world premiere play running at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

Longtime BTG Alum, David Adkins takes the stage as transcendentalist, poet, and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. BTG Artist, Eric Hill, who most recently wrote and directed Adkins in the wildly well-received Poe, is directing this production.

The writing of Henry David Thoreau comes to life in this dramatic and uplifting tale as he battles with himself, with his own thirst for blood and for the soul of our American conscience.

We are joined by David Adkins.

  Alexander McCall Smith, best known for his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, is one of four writers part of The Austen Project which looks to rework Jane Austen's novels with a contemporary twist as part of a project to open up the stories for modern sensibilities.

The project was launched in 2013 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.

The first published updating was Sense and Sensibility, written by Joanna Trollope. Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and American Wife is already at work on Pride and Prejudice.

In Emma: A Modern Retelling, Alexander McCall Smith brings us Miss Emma Woodhouse -- and she wears blue jeans.

  Nearly twenty-five years ago, Nicholson Baker published U and I, the fretful and handwringing—but also groundbreaking—tale of his literary relationship with John Updike.

U and I inspired a whole sub-genre of engaging, entertaining writing about reading, but what no story of this type has ever done is tell its tale from the moment of conception, that moment when you realize that there is a writer out there in the world that you must read—so you read them.

B & Me is that story, the story of J.C. Hallman discovering and reading Nicholson Baker, and discovering himself in the process.

  In Huck Finn’s America, award-winning biographer Andrew Levy shows how modern readers have been misunderstanding Huckleberry Finn for decades.

Twain’s masterpiece, which still sells tens of thousands of copies each year and is taught more than any other American classic, is often discussed either as a carefree adventure story for children or a serious novel about race relations, yet Levy argues convincingly it is neither.

    Tim Federle was a dancer on Broadway until a few years ago. Now he’s an author who has has - so far - released 4 books. (His fifth - a picture book, is due out later this year.) Two of his books, Better Nate Than Ever! and Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, are about Nate Foster - a small-town boy with big Broadway dreams. The books are aimed at middle school theater-geeks trying to find their footing. Better Nate Than Ever! was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Publishers' Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Slate Favorite Book of the Year.

  Federle's other two books are Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist and Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist. The former containing instruction for boozy-bevs with names like Love in the Time of Kahlúa, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita, and Vermouth the Bell Tolls; and the latter sharing shaker-ready recipes for Old MacDonald Had a Flask, Baa, Baa, Black Russian, Jack and Coke (and Jill).

On Thursday, February 5th, the Campaign for the New Hudson Area Library will be hosting Federle at Café Le Perche in Hudson, NY from 6 – 8pm. The restaurant will offer a selection of Federle’s drink recipes for sale to guests and The Spotty Dog Books and Ale, will be selling Federle’s books. 

    When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.

Molly Guptill Manning joins us to talk about her book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with MASS Humanities and learn about “Literature, Medicine and the Experience of War” - a six-month, scholar-led, humanities reading and discussion program for health professionals and staff in medical facilities administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and/or veterans and military service organizations.

Allan Amato/Coilhouse

  Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are a fascinating, artistic, and talented couple who - lucky for us - live part-time in our region.

Amanda Palmer's new book The Art of Asking, is part manifesto, part revelation and a little bit "how-to" guide. Gaiman's most recent release is his adaption of Hansel and Gretel. They join us to discuss asking and audiobooks.

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