Thursday, July 17, 2008

Autumn is a Great Time for Author Visits

Fall is always an exciting time for new books being published and it seems like we usually have a flurry of author visit inquiries about this time. So we already have some wonderful programs planned. Stephen Bloom and Peter Feldstein will be visiting on September 22 to talk about their joint project and new book on the Oxford Project.

We are very excited to welcome author Richard Russo to Des Moines on October 6. I absolutely loved Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs and look forward to hearing what he is working on now. Our good friends from Drake University David and Maddy Maxwell have agreed to act as joint moderators for that program so it promises to be fun!

Then Don Lago, a fellow Scandinavian descendant, will share stories from him book called, On the Viking Trail. He wrote the book to capture stories from his dad who had developed Alzheimers. I wish my dad had lived long enough to read the book. Don's descriptions and research should make anyone who has Scandinavian blood proud of their heritage and it may surprise folks to know that so many Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians brought so many talents and ideas to this country. He will be here on October 23.

Then we just booked Iowa author Douglas Bauer for a visit on November 6 to talk about his book called Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home. And we still have a couple more folks that we may be bringing in so watch here for further details.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Here it is --almost the Fourth of July and we are already set with several author visits for fall. First up, is a program celebrating the launch of a new book on the Oxford Project. Photographer Peter Feldstein and author Stephen Bloom will be visiting Des Moines to talk about their new book on Monday, September 22 at 7:00 PM at the Central Library.

We have been thrilled to add an AViD Extra! event featuring writer Richard Russo, who will be on book tour for the paperback version of Bridge of Sighs, on Monday, October 6. His program will be held at Hoyt Sherman Place Theater and begins at 7:00 PM.

And anyone with a Scandinavian heritage won't want to miss the upcoming program by author Don Lago who will share his experiences while writing On the Viking Trail. Many of the spots he visits and writes about are located in Iowa and the midwest. It made me proud to know that so many of our fellow "Scandihoovian" ancestors were brave and intelligent folks who brought great ideas and abilities to this country. He wrote the book to capture many of his dad's memories and I kept wishing that my own dad would have had a chance to read it before he, like Don's father, also succumbed to the indignities of Alzheimers.

We are just beginning the process to select AViD authors now so there will be lots more to tell you soon. We already have booked one author, Steven Biel, who will discuss his book, American Gothic. More details soon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Predictably Irrational!

One of the fun benefits of working at the library is that Carla, our selection librarian, puts many of the advance reader copies she receives down in our staff room for employees to read and share. I make a pretty regular visit to the book shelves because if it great fun to read books before they are available to the public, they are often the books that the publishers are really pushing, many times the writers are going to be on book tour, and best of all, the books are free. Because they are advance reader copies, they often have typos so we are not allowed to add them to the collection, so, best of all, they are free!

Recently I picked up a book called Predictably Irrational by Dan Arielly. It's a great book for anyone that is into consumer behavior, marketing, or that just likes to read about how people think. The basic premise of the book is that humans are often very irrational but that they often they they are making rational decisions based on past history. Great book, quick read, fascinating.

Mysteries by Laura Lippman

Sometimes I like to read for an escape. Considering the weather we have had these past few days, escape sounds pretty good. So I have been enjoying a couple of mysteries by Laura Lippman. Laura is one of our AViD authors and I always like to read several books by each of our authors so that I have a better handle on what they've written. It's always fun to talk books with the authors while I am driving them from the airport, to dinner, and such.

Laura's books are all set in Baltimore and although I have been there once a long time ago, I don't know much about the city. Laura writes in great detail and makes the city sound so interesting. The book I am reading right now is based on the tradition of a visitor that leaves a half bottle of Cognac and some roses on the grave of Edgar Allen Poe. It's a fun read. Tess Monaghan is quite a character. Reminds me alot of Stephanie Plum in the Janet Evanovich mysteries.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Here Comes AViD 2008!
Mark Your Calendar! The following is a list of authors and the dates we expect them to appear. We are still working out some of the details, so check often for complete and updated information on venues, dates, and times.

Laura Lippman – April 1
Meet award-winning mystery author Laura Lippman who will discuss her new book, Another Thing to Fall; A Novel. A former journalist for the Baltimore Sun, Lippman bases her stories around her own personal experience in the city, usually featuring reporter turned private investigator Tess Monaghan. She became a New York Times bestselling author following the release of her novel, What the Dead Know. Lippman has also won numerous awards for her mystery fiction, including the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Nero Wolfe, and Shamus.

Mildred Kalish – April 8
Retired professor and author Mildred Kalish will share excerpts from her memoir, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. Reflecting upon her experiences growing up in Garrison, Iowa, Kalish shares how her family coped and survived during the Great Depression. From running barefoot across the fields of her family’s farm to learning how to prepare the world’s best head cheese, she beautifully describes life’s simple pleasures and how her grandparents kept a spirit of hope and joy alive in her five-year-old self for years to come. Kalish has served as a professor of English at a host of different colleges, including the University of Iowa, Adelphi University, and Suffolk Community College.

Alexander McCall Smith – April 21
Bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith will stop in Des Moines to discuss his life and literature. Well-known for both his The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and The Sunday Philosophy Club series, McCall Smith has authored more than sixty books, ranging from the academic to short story collections and popular children’s books. Greatly influenced by his birth and childhood in Zimbabwe, as well as his professorship in Botswana, his literature captures the life and culture found within the two African nations. His bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series has garnered international acclaim, having been translated into thirty-nine languages and selling more than seven million copies nationwide. In addition to being an internationally known author, he has been a professor of law and medical law at the University of Botswana and the University of Edinburgh, respectively, as well as having been a visiting professor at various universities within Italy and the United States. Currently, he resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, Lucy and Emily.

Joanne Harris – May 1
Joanne Harris will be here on book tour for her sequel to Chocolat, entitled The Girl with No Shadow, which will be published on April 8, 2008. She is the author of the Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Jigs & Reels, Sleep, Pale Sister, Gentlemen and Players and, with Fran Warde, The French Kitchen: A Cookbook, and The French Market: More Recipes from a French Kitchen. She lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with her husband and daughter.

Paul Shirley – June 11
Author and professional basketball player Paul Shirley will share his experiences writing his book, . Listen to his personal and humor-filled insight into the highly competitive world of professional basketball in the United States and abroad. Graduating from Iowa State University in 2002 with three Academic All-Big 12 selections, a place of second-team Academic All-American, a 4.0 GPA, and a degree in mechanical engineering, Shirley set his sights on professional basketball, starting out as a player for the Atlanta Hawks. Since then, he has played for professional teams across the United States and Europe, chronicling his adventure through his book, online journals, and a television pilot, The Twelfth Man. He currently plays for the Menorca Basquet of the Spanish ACB. Off the court, Shirley writes his “My So-Called Career” column for

Funding for the 2008 AViD Author Series is provided by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation with support from generous corporate and individual donors.

Start an Adventure

Check out the great author programs featured at the Central Library during the library’s 2008 Adventure Series beginning January 29! Hear the real-life experiences of fascinating adventurers, from climbing the highest mountain peaks to kayaking the frigid waters of Alaska. Share incredible sights and sounds as reported by world-wide travelers and
photojournalists. Fly to exotic countries, scale mountains, sail across an ocean without ever leaving town—simply pick up a book and let your adventure begin. Start with a short trip to any of our six convenient locations and sign up for this year’s globe-trotting reading program, available February 17 through March 29. Every participant receives a free backpack (while supplies last). Then start reading! Every time you complete a brief review form for a book you have read, you will automatically be entered in our Grand Prize Drawing. Six grand prize winners will be drawn to receive a $50 gift certificate. Twelve winners will receive a $25 gift certificate. Winners will be announced on March 31.