Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Let the Rain Keep You Away from Rainbow!

It's raining and there's even a bit of snow in the forecast. How appropriate because we have a Rainbow coming on Monday! I know it's a corny opening for our next AViD author but hey, you have to admit, it fits.

Rainbow Rowell is headed our way next Monday, April 18 and she will be here at the Central Library for a little reception (at 5:00 PM) prior to her free program which begins at 7:00 PM. So far, I haven't been able to discover the story behind her name but hopefully she will share that and many other fun facts about herself and her writing. I do know, from her blogs, that she is a great writer, loves all things related to Glee, and has a quirky sense of humor.

Her book, Attachments, has been described as a "romantic comedy" and is a quick but delightful read with a fresh way of considering the consequences of social media within the work environment. Suffice to say, that this first novel, promises a great start for Rainbow in the world of fiction. I keep thinking that it would be a great movie, sort of a Harry Met Sally type of light-hearted comedy.

I like how Alice Meyer from Beaverdale Books described it in this week's issue of Cityview: "The characters are likeable, and we wish them well. Then there's the subtext of how we tend to email the person in the next cubicle rather than speak with them, and the fact that we give up all privacy when we login at the workplace." She continues, "Attachments will put a spring in your step!"

If you'd like a chance to spend some time with Rainbow at a reception prior to her talk, give a call to the DMPL Foundation at 248-6402. The $35 reception includes food, drink, a copy of Attachments, and a lovely AViD tote bag. I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

AViDly Enjoying April—my favorite time of year!

The sun is shining, the daffodils are in bloom, and AViD starts next week—with two delightful author events! Patrick Carr on April 11 (Central Library) and Anne Lamott on April 13 (Hoyt Sherman Place Theater).

Patrick Carr teaches sociology at Rutgers University and is an Associate Member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. He and Maria Kefalas came to Iowa a while back to study the exodus of youth from rural communities. Their research led to their book titled, Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America. Patrick is also the author of Clean Streets: Controlling Crime, Maintaining Order and Building Community Activism. He is co-editor along with Mary C. Waters, Jennifer Holdaway and Maria J. Kefalas of the forthcoming book Coming of Age in America, based on a comparative in-depth study of young adults funded by the Network on Transitions to Adulthood. His research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including on NPR.

Patrick will be joined by moderator Dr. Paul Lasley. He is a professor of sociology at Iowa State University whose work focuses on farm and rural issues at the state and national levels. Paul is widely known across Iowa and the author of over 100 professional journal articles. His research focuses on the changing structure of agriculture, rural development, and community, so it promises to be a wonderful evening filled with thoughtful discussion of issues facing local communities.

Wednesday night’s program featuring Anne Lamott promises to be great fun. In preparation for Anne’s visit, I’ve been reading lots of reviews of her work and I must say, she sounds like someone I would love to have as a girlfriend. She tackles really tough subjects, like teen drug abuse and alcoholism, but has this wonderful sense of humor that emanates throughout her writing. I just can’t wait to meet her!

Here’s more information about Anne directly from her publicist: “Ann writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was ‘a present to someone I loved who was going to die.’ In all her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, ‘I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.’ Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.”

Anne Lamott is the author of six novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, All New People, and Crooked Little Heart (the sequel to Rosie), as well as four bestselling books of nonfiction, Operating Instructions, an account of life as a single mother during her son’s first year and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, a guide to writing and the challenges of a writer’s life, Traveling Mercies, a collection of autobiographical essays on faith, and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.

We asked Dr. Christopher Rossi from Humanities Iowa to be the moderator for Anne, and I must say he seemed thrilled to be asked. Humanities Iowa has been a fantastic supporter of our AViD Author Series and we are pleased to have Chris be a part of this year’s event. In addition to being the executive director of Humanities Iowa, Chris teaches courses in public international law at the University of Iowa.

Next week, I will share information about our event on April 18 with writer Rainbow Rowell. Visit our web site for all the details. I hope to see you at several AViD events this year!