Author Events: September 2017


September 2017 Author Events

Image by Mystic Art Design/Pixabay

What does having an amazing university, a plethora of fantastic local independent bookstores, and a pretty slam-bang public library system (if we do say so ourselves) bring to a town?

Authors. Lots and lots of authors.

In fact, so many authors pass through the area that sometimes it can be hard to keep track of who is speaking and when and where. To help guide you, Pulp curated a highlights list of September 2017 author events.

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Truth in Dares: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, "Finding My Badass Self" at Literati


Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, Finding My Badass Self

Bare all: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley challenged herself to try something new every week of her 52nd year.

When one of the main things you know about someone is that she visited a nude beach, participating fully, with her mother, it is extremely difficult not to imagine that person naked.

You might as well surrender.

On Friday, August 24, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley came to Literati to read from and answer questions about her book Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares. I had read part of the book; a light and funny read that chronicles her quest to, in her 52nd year, try something new each week. I hadn’t quite expected to be, based on appearances, the youngest person in the room with the exception possibly of bookstore staff and my 13-year-old son. As we waited for the event to begin, I examined Stanfa-Stanley, and overheard her say casually, “No one expects perfection out of me.”

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #649 & #650



Fabulous Fiction Firsts #649

With the melancholic lyrics of one of Japan's top singles threading through the narrative of Blue Light Yokohama * *, debut novelist Nicolás Obregón introduces Inspector Iwata in an atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful series opener. The story was inspired, in part, by an actual unsolved crime in 2000.

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Telling Tales: WordFest Two celebrates a multitude of storytelling arts


WordFestTwo

At left, a gesturing Josephine Rood and standing Lyn Davidge reheasrse for WordFestTwo.. Right: Bob Brill, Rood, Patti Smith, Lorelle Otis, and Davidge. Photos by Greg Napoleon.

What do the performers and writers for WordFest Two -- "a spoken word variety show, (with) original works by local wordsmiths" -- have in common? A limited investigation revealed overlapping histories that include performing on an Ann Arbor Civic Theatre stage, participating in the Ann Arbor Storyteller's Guild (AASG), or having written, then recited, poetry in public, doing improvisation, or producing small theater events.

Although the performers come from varied backgrounds, they all seem to have one thing in common: the desire for a live audience, which WordFest performers will get August 25 and 26 at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre (AACT).

"Live performance is about communicating -- sharing with the people in the room," says Catherine Zudak, one of the participants with extensive theater experience. "With film -- I've been in films, it's completely different. You lose a lot of intimacy. Facebook, YouTube -- it's like candy. Not very nourishing."

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Food Class: S. Margot Finn and "Discriminating Taste" at Literati


S. Margot Finn at Literati

U-M lecturer S. Margot Finn explores America's eating habits and how they relate to class in Discriminating Taste.

On August 10, S. Margot Finn spoke at Literati about her new book, Discriminating Taste: How Class Anxiety Created the American Food Revolution. Her book argues that over the last several decades, Americans have become interested in the way they eat as a result of class anxiety born from increasing income disparity between the middle class and the very wealthy. Finn says the professional and managerial class display their class status through food choices.

While I know Ann Arbor is a food town, I was surprised to find the event was standing room only. Maybe, though, I shouldn’t have been, considering the role food takes in so many areas of daily life, from sustenance and ritual to entertainment. And I suppose it's not a stretch that a town known both for dining and a liberal slant would show up for a book about food that mentions class anxiety in the subtitle.

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Leave the Kids at Home: Grown Folks Story Time at BookBound


Grown Folks Story Time

Clockwise from the upper left: Ken MacGregor, Patti F. Smith, and David Pratt will kick off the first Grown Folks Story Time on August 24.

As adults, we often forget how pleasurable it can be shut everything off, stop talking for a while, and just listen to someone read a story out loud.

But Ann Arbor educator -- and frequent Pulp contributor -- Patti F. Smith remembered that childhood joy while skimming local event listings.

“There were all these different storytimes for children, and I thought about how much I loved story time as a kid when I was in school,” she said, adding that she then noticed that a group of young Detroiters “had an event that had interesting people reading interesting things. I went to it, and a woman -- not an author -- brought a book she just really liked, a memoir, and read some quick little lines from it. There was a brunch with mimosas, and it was just a lovely event. It wasn’t political, it wasn’t deep, it only lasted about an hour, but it just made me remember that it’s really, really nice to be read to. So I thought, well, why not have something in Ann Arbor?”

With this in mind, Smith has planned Grown Folks Story Time at BookBound on Thursday, August 24, at 7 pm. The theme is “childhood,” since the three participants will read from books they loved as kids.

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Right on the Chin: Bruce Campbell on B movies, "Evil Dead," and hosting a game show

Bruce Campbell, Hail to the Chin

Bruce Campbell wants the "savages" to show up at his Michigan Theater appearance on Wednesday, August 30.

Actor Bruce Campbell has had some iconic roles in his life, but at age 65 he seems to have finally landed on the role he was truly born to play: that of a game show host.

The Royal Oak native is best known as the cocky zombie-dismemberer Ash Williams in the three original Evil Dead movies and the more recent Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead, and as the washed-up military man Sam Axe on Burn Notice. But after hosting a charity game show for the military in 2015, Campbell was inspired to start pitching what he calls "a game show for geeks": Last Fan Standing. The comic con-themed streaming platform CONtv produced 10 episodes of the show, which may now be viewed online. Campbell is clearly in his element on the show, mercilessly razzing his contestants, handing out dollar bills from his own pocket to those who do well, and generally reveling in his role as an elder statesman -- or perhaps just a dorky old dad -- of nerd culture.

Campbell has continued Last Fan Standing in select promotional appearances for his newly released second autobiography, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor. Following up on his 2001 New York Times bestseller, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, Campbell's latest tell-all proves that he's still just as willing to turn his smart-aleck sense of humor on himself. From his tale of wrecking a tank while on a USO tour in Iraq to his epic story of almost getting cut from his minuscule role in Evil Dead director Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful, Campbell maintains a level head, a sense of humor, and a true passion for his business.

Campbell will appear at the Michigan Theater on Wednesday, August 30, to host Last Fan Standing and talk about his latest autobiographical book. We chatted with him about game shows, changing perceptions of B movies, and whether he really cares about reviews.

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"The Belle of Two Arbors" is a historical novel that's heavy on research


The Belle of Two Arbors

The Belle of Two Arbors is about a U-M student in 1921 who wrestles with misogyny and meets with Robert Frost.

“Epic” is not a word to be thrown about lightly, especially in the literary world. But Paul Dimond’s gorgeous historical novel The Belle of Two Arbors, which details the towns of Glen Arbor, Ann Arbor, and a lifetime that spans decades, should at least be under consideration to be called as such.

Dimond graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969 and enjoyed a long career as an attorney (including a stint as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy) and is the author of three books on law and policy. He credits the Ann Arbor District Library and the Bentley Historical Library for helping him research The Belle of Two Arbors, and he'll give a talk at AADL's downtown branch about researching the novel on Wednesday, September 13, at 7 pm. He will also be at The Henry Ford on Thursday, September 14, from 6:30-9:30 pm to talk about turning the Frost house into a living center for innovation and the creation of poetry. Dimond and book contributor Martha Buhr Grimes will be at Literati on Monday, August 14, at 7 pm to discuss The Belle of Two Arbors.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #648



Balli Kaur Jaswal was named Best Young Australian Novelist by Sydney Morning Herald for her hardcover debut, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. The book is set in the Sikh community of Greater London.

A great disappointment to her Punjabi immigrant family, a "westernized" Nikki Grewa tends bar at the local pub after dropping out of law school. She is bewildered that her sister Mindi, a nurse, is willing to try arranged marriage. While at the community center to post Mindi's dating profile, she impulsively answers an ad for a creative writing teacher.

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Our Lady Georgie: Rhys Bowen's "On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service"


Rhys Bowen, On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service

For everybody's eyes only: Rhys Bowen visits AADL to celebrate the 11th release in her Royal Spyness series.

A lot happened in 1930s Great Britain: Neville Chamberlain became prime minister of England, the economy fluctuated as it tried to recover from the world war, and Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch, found herself broke and jobless forcing her to leave Scotland for London.

OK, the last part only happens in Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series -- but what an amazing ride it has been for the titled but insolvent Lady Georgie.

To celebrate the release of the 11th book in the series, On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, Bowen will appear at the downtown branch of the library on August 3 at 7 pm. The event, co-sponsored by Aunt Agatha’s, will present this New York Times bestselling author as she talks about the latest installment of her successful series.

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