Join us for a discussion of debut novel, The Kept. Author James Scott will visit us at 7 pm for a discussion of the book. This event is free and open to the public - you need not have read the book for book club to come and listen to James discuss his novel at 7 pm.
About the book
In the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell arrives at her isolated farmstead in upstate New York to discover an unthinkable crime. The only survivor is her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who joins her in mourning the tragedy and planning its reprisal.
Their long journey leads them to a roughhewn lake town, defined by the violence of both its landscape and its inhabitants. There Caleb is forced into a brutal adulthood as he slowly discovers truths about his family he never suspected, and Elspeth must confront the terrible urges and unceasing temptations that have haunted her for years.
“Scott is a master of mood… This landscape is more mythic than historic, and Scott’s characters are dark brush strokes of appetite and deceit.”
—New York Times
“Scott’s prose is impressively informed by a powerful concoction of American fundamentalism spiked with the fervent belief in an eye-for-eye.”
“James Scott has written a riveting and memorable debut novel.”
About the author
James Scott was born in Boston and raised in upstate New York. He holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA from Emerson College. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction and other publications. He has received fellowships and awards from, among others, Yaddo, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the New York State Summer Writers' Institute and the Tin House Summer Writer's Workshop. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and dog. The Kept is his first novel.
Paul and Mary Liz Stewart, independent researchers and
Scholars in Residence at Russell Sage College, bring their seminal research on
the Underground Railroad movement to Hubbard Hall on February 15. The
Underground Railroad, often remembered as being characterized by tunnels, dark
of night escapes, coded language and hidey-holes, was far more extensive and
complex than these ideas have led us to believe. In the midst of
significant pro-slavery sentiment, New York State was home to many abolitionists
working to abolish the institution of slavery in our state and nation and it
was visited by many who had escaped enslavement and sought a life of freedom.
Join with the Stewarts as they share a new interpretation of a very old story
and explain the various initiatives in which Underground Railroad History
Project of the Capital Region, Inc. is engaged as it works to connect the
public with this local history and its relevancy for us today.
Please join us for a discussion of Nancy Horan's novel, Under the Wide and Starry Sky.
In her new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.
In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.
Please join us for the official book launch of Jon Katz's new book Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion.
In this heartfelt, thoughtful, and inspiring memoir, "New York Times" bestselling author Jon Katz tells the story of his beloved rescue donkey, Simon, and the wondrous ways that animals make us wiser and kinder people.
In the spring of 2011, Jon Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about mercy and compassion. An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. Jon wasn't planning to add another animal to his home on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connection. Simon touched something very deep inside of him. Jon and Maria decided to take him in.
Simon's recovery was far from easy. Weak and malnourished, he needed near constant care, but Jon was determined to help him heal. As Simon's health improved, Jon would feed him by hand, read to him, take him on walks, even confide in him like an old and trusted friend. Then, miraculously, as if in reciprocation, Simon began to reveal to Jon the true meaning of compassion, the ways in which it can transform our lives and inspire us to take great risks.
This radically different perspective on kindness and empathy led Jon to a troubled border collie from Ireland in need of a home, a blind pony who had lived outside in a pasture for fifteen years, and a new farm for him and Maria. In the great tradition of heroes--from Don Quixote to Shrek--who faced the world in the company of their donkeys, Jon came to understand compassion and mercy in a new light, learning to open up "not just to [Simon], not just to animals, but to the human experience. To love, to risk, to friendship." With grace, warmth, and keen emotional insight, "Saving Simon" plumbs the depths of bonds we form with our animals, and the rewards of "living a more compassionate, considered, and meaningful life."
Praise for Jon Katz
"With wisdom and grace, Katz unlocks the canine soul and the complicated wonders that lie within and offers powerful insights to anyone who has ever struggled with, and loved, a troubled animal."--John Grogan, author of "Marley & Me"
"Katz's world--of animals and humans and their combined generosity of spirit--is a place you're glad you've been."--"The Boston Globe"
"From Toto to Marley, our canine friends are a sure bet in the literary biz. But no one seems to speak their language like Jon Katz."--"San Antonio Express-News"
"Katz proves himself a Thoreau for modern times as he ponders the relationships between man and animals, humanity and nature."--"Fort Worth Star-Telegram"
"I toss a lifetime award of three liver snaps to Jon Katz."--Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio's "Fresh Air"
To order a signed copy of Jon's new book, see below.
Join us for a selection of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers.
"What if your life was upended in an instant? What if your spouse or your child disappeared right in front of your eyes? Was it the Rapture or something even more difficult to explain? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event? These are the questions confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to move forward, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbors, even as his own family disintegrates. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the town's streets as "living reminders" of God's judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a crooked "prophet" who calls himself Holy Wayne. Only his teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be.
Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. "The Leftovers "is a powerful and deeply moving book about regular people struggling to hold onto a belief in their futures.
Please join us for a reading, talk, and signing with author James Howard Kunstler, who will be sharing his new book, The History of the Future: A World Made by Hand Novel.
"A History of the Future" is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler's "World Made By Hand" series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove.
Following the catastrophes of the twenty-first century--the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos--people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones. It is a stormy Christmas Eve when Robert Earle's son Daniel arrives back from his two years of sojourning throughout what is left of the United States. He collapses from exhaustion and illness, but as he recovers tells the story of the break-up of the nation into three uneasy independent regions and his journey into the dark heart of the New Foxfire Republic centered in Tennesee and led by the female evangelical despot, Loving Morrow. In the background, Union Grove has been shocked by the Christmas Eve double murder by a young mother, in the throes of illness, of her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood.
"A History of the Future" is attention-grabbing and provocative, but also lyrical, tender, and comic--a vision of a future of America that is becoming more and more convincing and perhaps even desirable with each passing day.
James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestseller "The Long Emergency". After college he worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers and finally as a staff writer for "Rolling Stone". In 1975 he began writing books and lecturing full time.
To pre-order Jim's book (and receive an autographed copy), see below:
Date correction: Book Club will take place 9/4, not on 9/11 as previously published here.
Please join us for a discussion of Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things.
In "The Signature of All Things, " Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker--a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction--into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist--but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.
Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, "The Signature of All Things" soars across the globe--from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who--born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution--bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.
Join us for a very special evening with this year's recipients of the Sendak Fellowship: illustrators Harry Bliss and Nora Krug. In partnership with WAMC's The Book Show, this event will include a live taping of The Book Show with host Joe Donahue.
Harry Bliss is an internationally syndicated cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker magazine. His self-titled single panel gag cartoon, ‘BLISS’ appears in major newspapers across the United States and Japan. Growing up in upstate New York amidst a family of successful painters and illustrators, Bliss went on to study painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Illustration at The University of the Arts (BFA) and Syracuse University (MA). Bliss also illustrates books for children. Bliss's first children's book, A Fine, Fine School by Newbery-award-winning author, Sharon Creech, was a New York Times bestseller. Bliss went on to illustrate Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig, Countdown To Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth both by Alison McGhee. Bliss has also created the pictures for Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin, all New York Times bestsellers. Other bestsellers include Don't Forget To Come Back by Robie H. Harris and A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee andLouise: The Adventure of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo.
Bliss’s first cartoon collection, Death By Laughter, with an introduction by Christopher Guest was published by Abrams in the Spring of 2008. Luke On the Loose, Bliss’ debut award-winning comic book for early readers (edited by Francoise Mouly) was published by Toon Books in the Spring 2009. Recentlly published by Harper Collins is Invisible Inkling by Emily Jenkins with pictures by Harry Bliss.Bailey (A Parent’s Magazine award-winner)was published by Scholastic in September 2011 followed by Bailey at the Museum2012.Bliss’s next picture book,Anna and Solomon by Elaine Dillof will be published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in September 2013. Harry Bliss lives in Vermont.
Nora Krug is
a writer and artist whose drawings and visual narratives have appeared in
publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, le Monde Diplomatique
and A Public Space, and in anthologies published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
and Chronicle Books. She is the creator of the graphic novel, Red Riding
Hood Redux, and of Shadow Atlas, an encyclopedia of ghosts and
spirits, and the illustrator of the children’s book, My Cold Went On
Vacation, published by Penguin/Putnam. Krug is a recipient of fellowships
from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright, DAAD, and the Pollock-Krasner
Foundation. Her work is included in the Library of Congress and has been
recognized by American Illustration. It received three gold medals from the
Society of Illustrators and was awarded with merits and a silver cube by the
Directors Club. Krug’s story, Kamikaze, about a surviving Japanese
WWII pilot, was included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics and Best
Non-Required Reading. Krug's work has been exhibited internationally, and
her animated guide to Japanese business etiquette, How To Bow, was shown
at the Sundance Film Festival. She is an associate professor in the
Illustration Program at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.
About the Sendak Fellowship
The Sendak Fellowship was established in 2010 as a residency program for artists who tell stories with illustration. The Fellowship offers the time for artist to explore their craft outside the limitations of everyday life and in the relative isolation of a rural setting.
Between 2010 and 2013, the Sendak Fellowship was run at a house on Maurice Sendak’s property in Ridgefield, Connecticut. There, four resident artists received instruction and support from Mr. Sendak as well as from visiting artists of note.
This summer the fellowship is moving to Scotch Hill Farm, formerly owned by Mr. Sendak, in upstate Cambridge, New York. Two fellows will be provided their own fully equipped cottage with kitchen and studio space and receive a fellow’s stipend. At the same time, the two resident fellows will receive occasional inspiration from visiting artists in the field.
For many years Sendak wanted to create a formal program for what he’d been doing informally his whole career: helping promising illustrators As a young beginning illustrator himself, Sendak was nurtured in the Connecticut home of the artists Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. He saw the Sendak Fellowship as his “school”—a way to help others, and in 2009 enlisted the help of Caponera, as well as photographer and community activist, Dona Ann McAdams (now the fellowship’s director) to help realize his vision.
The goal of the Sendak Fellowship, in Maurice’s words, was for fellows to “create work that is not vapid, stupid, or sexy, butoriginal. Work that excites and incites. Illustration is like dance; it should move like—and to—music.”
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