Wednesday, December 30, 2009

House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

We always enjoy hosting home-grown Iowa writers, but it's going to be especially fun to include this bright, young writer in our 2010 AViD Author Series! His name is Peter Bognanni and for anyone familiar with our library system, that name may ring a bell. Peter is the son of Kathy and Sal Bognanni and Kathy is the branch manager of our Franklin Avenue Library. She told us last year that her son's book was slated to be published and it comes out next March!

House of Tomorrow is a delightful story, set in Iowa, about Sebastian Prendergast who lives in a geodesic dome with his eccentric grandmother. adds:
Jared Whitcomb is a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart-transplant recipient who befriends Sebastian, and begins to teach him about all the things he has been missing, including grape soda, girls, and Sid Vicious. They form a punk band called The Rash, and it's clear that the upcoming Methodist Church talent show has never seen the likes of them. Wholly original, The House of Tomorrow is the story of a young man's self-discovery, a dying woman's last wish, and a band of misfits trying desperately to be heard.

The book just received a starred review in Publishers Weekly--a indicator that it's a book worth reading and Peter was recently asked by the New York Times to write a blog about some of the music that has influenced him.

We are pleased as punch to include Peter in our lineup, so mark your calendars to attend his talk at the Central Library on Monday, May 10 at 7:00 PM (timed so that Peter can spend Mothers Day with his mom!) Books will be available for sale and signing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Half Broke Horses

I just finished reading Jeannette Walls delightful new book called Half Broke Horses and give it the highest of recommendations. If you liked her first book, The Glass Castle, you must read this one because it is all about her mother's mother who grew up during the depression on a ranch in Arizona and provides wonderful insight to Jeannette's mother's life.

I wish my dad, who was a cowboy himself, could have read this book. There were many descriptions and comments that reminded me of him--roping calves, taming wild horses, wearing Levi's until they develped a fine patina of dirt, manure, and grease. This was one book that I read during the middle of the night and could hardly stop reading. It transported me back to many of the places we have often visited in Arizona and reminded me of the grit of some of our ancestors.

Enjoy the holidays and take some time to read!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peter Hedges Switched to April 13

Planning the AViD Author Series is a lot like putting together a jig saw puzzle. Every year, we start out with a blank slate and then we quickly fill a variety of slots with fascinating, nationally recognized authors. This year will be no exception.

We always begin by looking at the authors that our current audiences have suggested. There are always the predictable suggestions for authors--like John Grisham and Jodi Picoult--but our AViD budget is not large and their honorariums are.

So first we review a list of authors submitted by people that attended our series this past year. Then we look through various publications and catalogs to see which authors will be headed out on book tours. Then we talk to our various publishing contacts to see who they might recommend. We also talk to authors--who recommend their own favorites. Finally, our Selection Committee meets to go over a short "wish list." Then we begin booking the authors!

Ten years ago, when we first started the AViD Author Series, I would call the publishers and they would say, Des Moines where? Now, we sometimes get calls from publishers asking US to include their authors in our series--and that's fun!

This year, we had such a call from Peter's publicist. Of course, Peter is from Des Moines originally, so he asked his publicist to include us in his upcoming book tour. In addition to doing a program for us on April 13, Peter has also agreed to do one in Ames and he will be speaking at a Rotary event on Thursday, April 15.

He will be discussing his new book, The Heights. Here's a short blurb from the back jacket cover: Peter is the critically acclaimed author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape, the Oscar(TM)-nominated screenplay About a Boy, and the writer-director of Dan in Real Life. Now he turns his keen eye for the surprising truths of daily life to a story of middle-class parents, rich parents, private school, real esteate, and a good marriage turned upside-down when a new neighbor moves into town.

Watch here for more information about additional AViD writers once we have them confirmed.