Please join us for an afternoon of lively conversation about books with twenty extraordinary American authors while enjoying delectable desserts and libations on Sunday, March 15, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the AC Marriott Hotel. Guests will have a unique opportunity to chat with a variety of writers about their work and all things literary in a relaxed, elegant setting.
Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die. At eighteen, Brian, like so many other promising young gay men, arrived in New York City without much more than a love for the freedom and release from his past that it promised. But within six short years, AIDS would claim his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape. Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death shifted the public consciousness of the epidemic and brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, The Prettiest Star is part Dog Years by Mark Doty and part Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. But it is also an urgent story now: it's a novel about the politics and fragility of the body; it is a novel about sex and shame. And it is a novel that speaks to the question of what home and family means when we try to forge a life for ourselves in a world that can be harsh and unpredictable. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, and zeroes in on the moments where those two forces reach for each other, and sometimes touch.
Wild Words is an invitation to explore the intersection of your writing practice with everything else in your busy life. Through personal stories and practical lessons you’ll learn how to enter a new relationship with your creativity, one that honors where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and where you are today. Discover methods to support a sustainable writing practice, clarifying and nourishing routines, an understanding of your own creative history, and guidance on how to make small but powerful mind-set shifts (such as how to see a career as a partner rather than an obstacle). Above all, Wild Words encourages you to approach creativity through a seasonal lens and helps you untangle the messy process of embracing your circumstances, trusting your voice, and making time to put pen to paper, season after season.
A timeless, mythical, spiritual tale of love and harm, of unforgiving justice and elusive grace set amongst the enigmatic kudzu of rural Mississippi. The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who've held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county's aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself- when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good. The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts- of regret and violence- transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still. Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who's returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with the local bar owner Celia. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gifts of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. The vagabonds represent the vagabond hearts of the townsfolk themselves; the evil in the woods, the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.
How can you forgive the unforgivable?
The instant her phone rang, Reverend Sharon Risher sensed something was horribly wrong. Something had happened at Emanuel AME Church, the church of her youth in Charleston, South Carolina, and she knew her mother was likely in the church at Bible study. Even before she heard the news, her chaplain's instinct told her the awful truth: her mother was dead, along with two cousins. What she couldn't imagine was that they had been murdered by a white supremacist. Plunged into the depths of mourning and anger and shock, Sharon could have wallowed in the pain. Instead, she chose the path of forgiveness and hope - eventually forgiving the convicted killer for his crime.
When a woman—known only as Mother—moves her family from Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small Southern town. Despite the intervening decades, Mother is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrants, she finds that her answer—Here—is never enough. Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a violent and unfounded police raid on her home, she finally refuses to be complacent. The Atlas of Reds and Blues grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, and a sister, a wife, and a mother to daughters in today’s America. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own terrifying experience of a raid on her home, Devi S. Laskar’s debut novel explores, in exquisite, lyrical prose, an alternate reality that might have been.
What she initially thought might turn into a small mail-order business took off like wildfire across the country, throwing Lisa into the then mostly male world of business, of which she knew almost nothing. An artist, her formal business education consisted of a post-collegiate one-year program at the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School. She couldn’t drive a car due to having epilepsy. She seemed an unlikely candidate to become a business success story and agent of change.Yet, within the span of a decade, the sports bra would not only create the lucrative new athletic, ready-to-wear category that many women now turn to for daily fashion, it would literally “unleash the girls.” Together, the sports bra and Title IX proved to be the one-two punch that finally knocked out old attitudes about and restrictions for women.This is the untold story of the invention of the sports bra and how it quite literally changed the world for girls and women – and, along the way, Lisa.
Jack Patterson returns to Little Rock at the request of his boyhood friend Sam Pagano, but when Jack arrives, he’s abducted and taken to a remote swamp where he’s beaten and lynched by men set on revenge. As Jack recovers, he learns Sam’s college sweetheart, Jana Hall, is now a doctor who established and ran Arkansas’s health clinics for the poor, including one in Little Rock’s East End. Jana’s efforts stepped on the toes of some powerful people, including someone who wants her clinics shut down, her medical practice ended, and for her to spend the rest of her life in prison. Meanwhile, someone has killed the men who tried to lynch Jack, and Jack is the prime suspect in the murders.
For seventeen years, fees have lived separate from beasts. The division of the sexes has kept their world peaceful. Glori Rhodes is like most other fees her age. She adores her neighborhood's abandoned Costco, can bench her body weight, and she knew twenty-seven beast counterattack moves by the time she was seven. She has never questioned the separation of the sexes or the rules that keep her post-nuclear hometown safe. But when her mother secretly gives birth to a baby beast, Glori grows to love the child and can't help wondering: What really is the difference between us and them? When her brother, at the age of five, is snatched in a vicious raid, Glori and her best friend, Su, do the unthinkable - covertly infiltrate the City of Beasts to get him back. What's meant to be a smash-and-grab job quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime as the fees team up with a fast-talking, T-shirt cannon-wielding beast named Sway, and Glori starts to see that there's more to males, and her own history, than she's been taught. Glori, Sway, and a motley cohort of friends will go to the ends of the earth to find her little brother. And maybe save their divided world while they're at it.
Is repaying a debt of gratitude worth the cost of sanity? Ben Bramley must answer that question when a fall day phone call beckons him back to the farm of his youth, to the land that scarred him to the bone. If he rescinds his resolution of lifetime avoidance, he will be returning to the postcard mountain hamlet of Abundance where townsfolk are long on judgment but short on sympathy. Clueless that their black-or-white world of Southern Baptist status quo is in jeopardy should Ben decide to unload his repository of dark secrets and completely unravel the pious fabric of the close-knit community, which includes the handful of those who care for him most. Complex relationships fuel a story in which hypocrisy is an art form, change is impossible, and to love someone is to give them the power to destroy.
Harry Houdini. Say his name and a number of things come to mind. Escapes. Illusions. Magic. Chains. Safes. Live burials. Close to a century after his death, nearly every person in America knows his name from a young age, capturing their imaginations with his death-defying stunts and daring acts. He inspired countless people, from all walks of life, to find something magical within themselves. This is a book about a man and his extraordinary life, but it is also about the people who he has inspired in death. As Joe Posnanski delves into the deepest corners of Houdini-land, visiting museums (one owned by David Copperfield), attractions, and private archives, he encounters a cast of unforgettable and fascinating characters: a woman who runs away from home to chase her dream of becoming a magician; an Italian who revives Houdini’s most famous illusion every night; a performer at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles who calls himself Houdini’s Ghost; a young boy in Australia who, one day, sees an old poster and feels his life change; and a man in Los Angeles whose sole mission in life has been to keep the legend’s name alive. Both a personal obsession and an odyssey of discovery, Posnanski draws inspiration from his lifelong passion for and obsession with magic, blending biography, memoir, and first-person reporting to examine Harry Houdini’s life and legacy. This is the ultimate journey to uncover why this magic man endures, and what he still has to teach the world about wonder.
Unsinkable and wrecked by grief, motherless and aimless and looking for connection, Helen Dedleder is a girl with a gift she doesn't want to use and a pack of friends who are all just helping each other get by. So cut off from the rest of the world that even the internet is blocked (never mind traffic in and out), Rosary, California, is run by evangelicals but was named by Catholics. It’s a town on very formal relations with its neighbors, one that boasts an oil refinery as well as a fairly sizable population of teenagers. For Helen and her gang of misfits, the tire yard, sex, and beer help pass the days until they turn eighteen and leave town. Her best friends, Win and Rainbolene, late arrivals to Rosary, are particularly keen to depart―Rain because she’ll finally be able to get the hormones she needs to fully become herself. Watching over them is Aunt Bev, an outcast like the kids, who runs the barely tolerated Psychic Encounter Shoppe and tries to keep Helen connected to her own psychic talents―a gift passed down from her mother. Tensions are building, though, in every way. Threats against the Psychic Encounter Shoppe become serious actions. One of the kids gets in trouble, and then another. And Helen can see some things before they happen, but somehow can't see the most important things happening right in front of her.
Set in the summer of 1979, when America was running out of gas, The Lines tells the story of a family of four—the mother, the father, the girl, and the boy—in the first months of a marital separation. Through alternating perspectives, we follow the family as they explore new territory, new living arrangements, and new complications. The mother returns to school. The father moves into an apartment. The girl squares off with her mother, while the boy struggles to make sense of the world. The Lines explores the way we are all tied to one another, and how all experience offers the possibility of love and connection as much as loss and change.
Reduce anxiety, relieve stress, and live a calmer, more balanced life. The practice of mindfulness has been gaining popularity amid our fast-paced world, and this entry in our successful gilded and guided journal series will help you reconnect with the earth and nature. Featuring writing prompts and daily words of wisdom from popular luminaries throughout history—from the Buddha to Bob Marley—every page brings joy and peace into your routine.
Bells for Eli is a tender and engaging Coming of Age story in which fate takes with one hand and gives with the other in a time and place of social constraints. It is a world where family secrets must stay hidden, present and past. The novel explores the power of culture, family, friends, bullies, scars, and lovers on two cousins devoted to each other. Though cruelty and pain threaten to dominate, determination, otherworldliness, and most powerfully love, hope, and connectedness combine to enact their mysterious forces.
How do you go about caregiving for an ill and elderly parent with a lifelong history of abuse and control, intertwined with expressions of intense love and adoration? How do you reconcile the resulting ambivalence, fear, and anger? Welcome to Wherever We Are is a meditation on what we hold onto, what we let go of, how we remember others and ultimately how we’re remembered. Deborah Cohan shares her story of caring for her father, a man who was simultaneously loud, gentle, loving and cruel and whose brilliant career as an advertising executive included creating slogans like “Hey, how ‘bout a nice Hawaiian punch?” Wrestling with emotional extremes that characterize abusive relationships, Cohan shows how she navigated life with a man who was at once generous and affectionate, creating magical coat pockets filled with chocolate kisses when she was a little girl, yet who was also prone to searing, vicious remarks like “You’d make my life easier if you’d commit suicide.”
In this gripping memoir, Cohan tells her unique personal story while also weaving in her expertise as a sociologist and domestic abuse counselor to address broader questions related to marriage, violence, divorce, only children, intimacy and loss. A story most of us can relate to as we reckon with past and future choices against the backdrop of complicated family dynamics, Welcome to Wherever We Are is about how we might come to live our own lives better amidst unpredictable changes through grief and healing.
“The Road to Healing” is a first-person account of Woodley’s crusade to bring healing to Prince Edward County, Virginia. The town closed its public schools in 1959 in “massive resistance” to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board decision of 1954. The editorial pages of the family-owned Farmville-Herald led the fight to lock classrooms rather than integrate them. The school system remained closed until the fall of 1964, when the county at last was forced by the courts to comply with Brown-mandated desegregation. Meanwhile, most white children had attended a private, whites-only academy, in part with state-funded tuition grants. But more than two thousand black and a few white students were denied a formal education during the five-year closure. Lives were forever changed. The narrative unfolds in Virginia, but it is a deeply American story. Prince Edward County’s ongoing journey of racial reconciliation blazes a hopeful and redemptive trail through difficult human terrain, but the signs are clear enough for a divided nation to follow.
Every summer, Jessie and Emma leave their suburban home in the Central Valley and fly north to Baymont. Nestled among Mendocino's golden hills, with ponies to love and endless acres to explore, Baymont should be a child's paradise. But Baymont belongs to Laurel, the girls' birth mother, whose heedless parenting and tainted judgement cast a long shadow over the sisters' summers - and their lives. Caught in a web of allegiances, the girls learn again and again that every loyalty has its price, and that even forgiveness can take unexpected turns. Luminous and poignant, Give is the story of one family's troubled quest to redeem the mistakes of the past and a stirring testament to the bonds of sisterhood.
A True Likeness showcases the extraordinary photography of Richard Samuel Roberts (1880–1935), who operated a studio in Columbia, South Carolina, from 1920 to 1935. He was one of the few major African American commercial photographers working in the region during the first half of the twentieth century, and his images reveal the social, economic, and cultural realities of the black South and document the rise of a small but significant southern black middle class.
The nearly two hundred photographs in A True Likeness were selected from three thousand glass plates that had been stored for decades in a crawl space under the Roberts home. The collection includes “true likenesses” of teachers, preachers, undertakers, carpenters, brick masons, dressmakers, chauffeurs, entertainers, and athletes, as well as the poor, with dignity and respect and an eye for character and beauty. This new edition of A True Likeness features a new foreword by Elaine Nichols, the supervisory curator of culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. A new afterword is provided by Thomas L. Johnson.
There is a strange beauty at the heart of every mystery, and the mystery of the Carolina Bays is an enigma that is lushly, uniquely beautiful. How did these odd geomorphological features come to be formed in the landscape in the first place, with their uniform shapes and matching elliptical orientations scattered across the Carolinas? There are many hypotheses but no definitive answers. Why are these inland phenomena even called "bays?" There is no clear answer to that either. These wetlands are unique and almost immeasurably ancient; as is to be expected in the modern world, they are threatened by human intervention. Such diverse habitats and their rich, unmatched biodiversity call out for preservation and restoration. The bays are not only visited and documented by the authors; they make an impassioned case for respecting how important these singular formations are for the health of the planet. You could not find more able guides.
$45.00 / seat, $40.00 for Hub City Members
Registration is limited to 120.