Category Archives: Events

A Recap of the Boston Book Festival 2011

If you’re wondering how the Boston Book Festival went this past Saturday, it was kind of a dud. It was my own fault for a late start and poor planning. We browsed the tents, went to the wrong event then went to the correct event, which by that point had been deemed at capacity. After that we browsed the Google book tent and waited for the Local Talent reading at the Old Trinity Church.

Let me tell you, this event was worth waiting for and pretty much redeemed the day for me. Steve Almond, Laura Harrington, and Michael Klein read from their forthcoming or already released projects. They were each funny and personable, and the Q&A session at the end was laid back and informative. I wrote about the experience for TNGG Boston, a blog that I write for along with other 20-somethings. So, if you’re interested, check out the three lessons I learned as a young writer at the Boston Book Festival.

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The Boston Book Fest is tomorrow!

And like last year, I’m overwhelmed by the sessions I want to attend. I’ve more than procrastinated, and now I’m scrambling to figure out what will take priority. Last year, my favorite parts were the fiction open mic where Steve Almond gave quick feedback to aspiring writers who read aloud in front of the group, and Joyce Carol Oates’ keynote that closed out the day.

Here’s what I’m thinking for this year’s Boston Book Fest:

Fiction: Time is…

12:45pm Old South Church Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street

A river? A prison? Money? Jennifer Egan says time’s a goon in her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. Our times seem particularly trying, what with economic and political turmoil and major transformations to the very way we define ourselves. Egan’s novel, Peter Mountford‘s debut A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, and Lawrence Douglas‘s The Vices take in the recent past as well as the near future, and span Europe, the US, and South America as they reflect on our world. Moderated by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum.

Flash Fiction Open Mic

2:00pm Old South Church Mary Norton Hall 645 Boylston Street

It’s your turn behind the microphone in this flash-fiction recording session. There’s no need to sign up ahead of time–just take a number when you arrive, and be ready to step up to the mic and read your very, very short story out loud for an eager audience. The Drum, an audio literary magazine, will be recording each story, choosing the best ones for publication in the magazine. Each piece must be no longer than three minutes, so rehearse! Emceed by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum.

New England Stories: Readings in the Forum

2:15pm Trinity Church Forum 206 Clarendon Street

Authors whose spellbinding stories take place in New England read from their work. Holly LeCraw‘s searing debut novel, The Swimming Pool, is an intimate portrait of a family drama. British-born author James MacManus‘s beautifully crafted debut novel The Languages of the Sea brings Celtic myth to New England waters. Dawn Tripp, in her assured third novel Game of Secrets, weaves a tale of murder, romance, and family secrets in a small New England town. Hosted by Michelle Hoover, whose latest novel is The Quickening.

Local Talent: Readings in the Forum

4:15pm Trinity Church Forum 206 Clarendon Street

Two talented debut authors and one local favorite read from their new works of fiction. The inimitable Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal and Candyfreak, called “strangely endearing” by Publishers Weekly, will read from his latest, a short story collection titled God Bless AmericaLaura Harrington will read from Alice Bliss, her heartbreaking debut novel about a teenage girl whose father is deployed to Iraq. Michael Klein will read from Something for Nothing, his amusingly trenchant debut novel about the trials of a small town economics professor. Hosted by novelist and TV host Kim McLarin.

Other interesting sessions at the Book Fest…

Alone Together: Anti-Social Networks?

Fiction: Truth and Consequences: Authors who write from the headlines
True Story: Three wildly different amazing-but-true stories from masters of the craft.

Memoir: Writing a Life: Hear from four memoirists whose styles range from poignant to hilarious.

One City, One Story: This year’s story is Richard Russo’s “The Whore’s Child,” which I read on the train one morning on the way to work. A great story, but unfortunately this overlaps with the local talent readings, so I’ll have to miss it.

What are your favorite sessions at book fests? Will I see you there tomorrow?

Check out the Boston Book Festival 2011 entire schedule.


Monday, Monday.

Soooooo… Friday’s Porter Square Book Blogger Event was a success! I arrived a little early and scoped out the crowd. Sadly, there seemed to be no one there, which actually eased my nerves a bit. I met Josh Cook of Porter Square Books, Ann from Books on the Nightstand and Marie from The Boston Bibliophile. Sadly, the other bloggers couldn’t make it, but it was a nice intimate event with a kick-ass group of people there to see it. The whole thing sort of turned into a chat about book recommendations, with members of the audience telling us what they’d recommend, asking about blogging, and the three of us telling stories about blogging. Among the audience members was Tahleen of Tahleen’s Mixed Up Files. I’d highly recommend checking out these blogs for great (and a wide range) of book recommendations and thoughtful book reviews. Books on the Nightstand also offers a weekly podcast, so if you’re more interested in listening to book talk, that’s where you should go.

The event lit a fire under me to spruce up the blog, so expect a few changes coming. There are some things I’ve had on the docket that I figured would make the whole operation run more smoothly and make the site easier to navigate, but I’ve yet to incorporate them. I’m excited to update my calendar with book events coming up around Boston that I can write about and more up-to-date books that I’ll be reading.

What functionalities or topics would you like to see covered on the blog?

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Today’s the day! Porter Square Book Blogger Event

Come see me and several other book bloggers at Porter Square Books in Cambridge tonight at 7pm. Need some ideas for summer reading? You’ll want to jot down everyone’s suggestions tonight as I plan to. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing; it’s a perfect day for a bike ride to the bookshop! See you there? (I’ll give you a sticker!)

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One Week Away!

The list for the Boston Book Bloggers Summer Reading Suggestions is up at the Porter Square Books blog! I’ll presenting alongside some wonderful book bloggers, which means a very nerve-wracking and humbling experience, for sure. If not to see my sweaty hands, come for these guys and gals: 3 Guys One Book; Books on the Nightstand; Boston Bibliophile; and Boston Book Bums. Check them out, check out their recommendations, and get excited. Come join us at 7pm at Porter Square Books for book talk and The Things They Read stickers!

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Typewriter-writers, unite!

So jealous I won’t be in New York/own a manual typewriter when this event occurs. Thinking of planning a Boston/write-by-hand-a-thon for the summer months. Would anyone be interested in this sort of event/something similar? Share thoughts in the comments!

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Another weekend, over. Okay, so the weekend was over well before today, but still. Today it’s really real.

I’m so close to finishing Joyce Carol Oates’s memoir, it’s sickening. The chapters are getting shorter and shorter, and she’s starting to use closure language. I feel silly saying this, but I’ve actually been preparing myself for the end of this book. I’ve become so invested, and it’s been such an emotional ride that I fear I may need a week or two to recover afterward. And as much as I want to read Joan Didion’s memoir, but the wiser part of me tells me I should space them out about a year. What books have you read that have left such an impact you needed a recovery period afterward? Suggestions of good transition reads for after?

Well, today’s my final day to contemplate what books I’ll be discussing at the Porter Square Book Bloggers Event on June 3 at 7pm. I think I have it narrowed down to three… but, you’ll just have to come to the event to find out what they are! I’ll update you with pictures and a list of the other bloggers’ picks after the event. But until then, soak in that suspense, baby!

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Short Story Month 2011 > May Flowers

Okay, so maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges, but let’s get stoked for what May’s really all about: Short stories! Check back here and at TTTR’s Tumblr for short stories you should check out all month long.

Other places celebrating Short Story Month 2011:

Get the latest:

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The Things They Present!

I still consider myself and this blog babies in the blog world. And so, when opportunities to broaden my experience and outreach in the book world present themselves, I get real excited and nervous. Recently, I was contacted by Josh at Porter Square Books about a book blogger event he’s organizing. Book bloggers from around Boston will present their summer reads at Porter Square Books on Friday, June 3, at 7 pm. I will be among the presenters!

I’m stoked to meet other bloggers and to be able to reach out to new readers, not to mention add to my list the recommendations of other avid readers.

But since I’ve never done anything like this before, and I tend to be on the shy side about public speaking, I’m freaking out about what to say. I’d love suggestions for summer reads. If you’ll be in the area, you should definitely come out and say hi! I’ll have stickers to hand out and hopefully some other swag I can round up.

Here’s to new things…

(Photo of Porter Square Books from their website)

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Pop Up Bookstores?!

By Melanie Yarbrough

One of the squares near my house – Central Square – has been undergoing some serious revisions as of late. They’re not all good revisions; they’re major changes and emptying out of local businesses and staples. I lived there almost two years ago, and it no longer feels like home the way it used to. One of the most dreary parts about Central now are all of the empty sites with “For Lease” signs hanging in the windows. So when I read Karen the Small Press Librarian‘s announcement of a traveling bookstore that’s planning to pop-up in a recently closed Borders in Pittsburgh, I thought, “Aha!” Just what Central Square needs. But that’s not where the goodness of this story ends.

The bookstore, Fleeting Pages, seeks books by indie presses and self-publishers from all over, and even have a Submit section on their website. Get more information on the project and how you can get involved here.

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