Tag Archives: Ann Arbor

Michigan Voices Represent at 2011 Kerrytown Bookfest

It’s that wonderful time of year again! Since Borders has more or less closed their doors for the last time, why not embrace and relish our own literary greatness at this year’s Kerrytown Bookfest?

The Bookfest will take place in Ann Arbor again this year on Sunday, September 11th, with events beginning at 11:00am. While the date itself has grave undertones, the Kerrytown Bookfest is a time to celebrate indie bookstores, amazing authors and the remarkable talent and perseverance of the written word in Michigan.

This year proves to be something special due to the fact that much of the country has decided to sit up and take notice of the flourishing literary voices pouring forth from Michigan. Authors and poets such as Jaimy Gordon, Laura Kasischke, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Michael Federspeil, William Whitbeck, M.L. Liebler, Jeff Vande Zande, Jack Dempsey and Doug Stanton are just a sampling of those who will represent at Kerrytown this year.

Regardless of your literary appetite, the Bookfest has offerings for people of all genres.  The full events schedule offers children’s programs, book making workshops, illustrator samplings, indie bookstore displays, panel discussions and of course, books.

Michigan acts as host and home to a rapidly growing, ever-thriving literary community. The Kerrytown Bookfest is a great way to hear from Notable authors and those whose work we admire while making connections with readers and writers who share a passion for fine literature.

Kerrytown Bookfest takes place on Sunday, September 11, 2011. Travel directions, event times, speakers and more can all be found on the Kerrytown Bookfest homepage.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Bonnie Jo Campbell, Laura Kasischke

On the Side: Gabrielle Hamilton’s ‘Blood, Bones & Butter’

Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir Blood, Bones & Butter currently sits at #18 on the NYT Bestseller list. Not bad for a writer who happens to also be a full-time chef (and mom) running her own restaurant in New York City. While you can read a full review of Hamilton’s work here, I thought it might be nice to have a little extra book info “on the side” to spice things up. And by the way, I highly recommend.

As a child Gabrielle Hamilton’s mother called her by the pet name Prune, and it’s Prune that appears on Hamilton’s thriving restaurant at 54 East 1st. Street in New York City’s East Village. In her kitchen at Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton is now well known for serving up American fare that she shares is “very personal, it’s food that I grew up eating or that I have a very close experience cooking, or that I personally know from the ground up and have made and loved.”

The East Village rests in the borough of Manhattan and lies east of Greenwich Village. Much like the maverick chef herself, the East Village has a rich history of both rebellion and creative vision, making it the perfect location for Hamilton. Once the upper part of the Lower East Side, the East Village began its transformation in the 1940’s as a hub of countercultural thought and artistic activity that drew bohemians from around the globe and continues to house the avant-garde to this day.

For more on Gabrielle Hamilton, try this podcast on Splendid Table or this video of Gabrielle at Prune from Savory New York. For more on the area’s fantastic history and bohemian culture, try this episode from the PBS series American Masters.

*Quote from Video: Savory New York

-Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Authors, Blood Bones & Butter, Book Reviews, Gabrielle Hamilton

‘The New Yorker’ Offers Taste of Chef Hamilton’s Style

After catching Gabrielle Hamilton’s personal history piece The Lamb Roast in my favorite mag last week, I thought I would re-run NLR’s recent post on the famed chef/author. If you are tempted by Hamilton’s upcoming book release, you can get a “taste” of her writing style by linking above or to the January 17, 2011 issue of The New Yorker.

It is far more likely that foodies rather than lit-junkies recognize the name Gabrielle Hamilton, particularly if one lives in NYC. In her digs on 54 East 1st. Street, the touted chef and owner of Prune is soon to toss up her first book titled Blood, Bones & Butter:  The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.

“Before Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York City restaurant Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find the purpose and meaning in her life,” divulges the Random House site. “BLOOD, BONES, AND BUTTER recounts this unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton inhabited. The result is an unflinching and lyrical work that marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.”

So where does a busy chef get her literary muscle? Turns out a few of those “hard-living years” were spent right in our own backyard. Ms Hamilton joins the growing ranks of published authors who have pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing at the University of Michigan. To make those MFA writing ends meet in Ann Arbor, Ms. Hamilton picked up a part-time catering gig in the process, ultimately launching her dual career.*

Already receiving high praise, Random House promises: “Hamilton will appeal to both foodies and literary audiences alike as she deliciously divulges her experiences in love, life, and food.”  The memoir “Blood, Bones, & Butter” is slated for release by Random House on March 1, 2011.

*Food & Wine piece:  A Mentor Named Misty

-Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Authors, Gabrielle Hamilton

‘Blood, Bones & Butter’ in Our Own Backyard

It is far more likely that foodies rather than lit-junkies will recognize the name Gabrielle Hamilton, particularly if one lives in NYC. In her digs on 54 East 1st. Street, the touted chef and owner of Prune is soon to toss up her first book titled Blood, Bones & Butter:  The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.

“Before Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York City restaurant, Prune, she spent twenty fierce, hard-living years trying to find the purpose and meaning in her life,” divulges the Random House site. “BLOOD, BONES, AND BUTTER recounts this unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton inhabited. The result is an unflinching and lyrical work that marks the debut of a tremendous literary talent.”

So where does a busy chef get her literary muscle? Turns out a few of those “hard-living years” were spent right in our own backyard. Ms Hamilton joins the growing ranks of published authors who have pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing at the University of Michigan. To make those MFA writing ends meet in Ann Arbor, Ms. Hamilton picked up a part-time catering gig in the process, ultimately launching her dual career.*

Already receiving high praise, Random House promises: “Hamilton will appeal to both foodies and literary audiences alike as she deliciously divulges her experiences in love, life, and food.”  The memoir “Blood, Bones, & Butter” is slated for release by Random House on March 1, 2011.

*Food & Wine piece:  A Mentor Named Misty

-Official link to memoir Blood, Bones & Butter

-Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Authors, Gabrielle Hamilton

‘Bad Things Happen’ with author Dolan at Borders in Ann Arbor

Cover ImageSorry for the last minute info but it’s not too late to catch Harry Dolan, author of the Ann Arbor hit Bad Things Happen this evening. Mr. Dolan will be appearing at Borders in Ann Arbor (Liberty Street location) for a reading and signing tonight, August 5th, 2010 at 7:00 PM.  As always, check all event details before heading out the door. For those of you who might have missed my review a few months back I have attached it below for your enjoyment.

It’s true that bad things happen, but are we supposed to enjoy them so much when they do? In Harry Dolan’s Bad Things Happen, half the fun is waiting out the next “bad thing” (of which there are plenty) while the other is enjoying the ride.

Bad Things Happen is…well…sexy. From the alluring, yet solitary main character David Loogan right down to the seductive college vibe of Ann Arbor itself, Mr. Dolan hooks you up with a delicious murder that fills you with a sweet, edgy unease. As his sultry characters glide in and out of focus, you are left wondering beyond wonder, who in the world can you trust?

After David Loogan becomes inadvertently involved with the mystery magazine Gray Streets, his quiet low-key life somehow slips into a sea of complicated suspicion. However, Mr. Loogan’s appeal lies in his subtle, easy dialogue and blithe manner towards all things homicidal.

As Loogan makes his way through the maze of Gray Street personalities in hopes of solving his friend’s murder, he encounters one Elizabeth Waishkey. Elizabeth is a cop who is also intent on solving the murder, but is saddled with the snag of distancing herself from the ambiguous Loogan, who is a promising prime suspect with each turn of the page.

As Waishkey works on Loogan, and Loogan works on his own, this shadowy tale is spun on pure Ann Arbor background, bringing about a well-deserved nod for this progressive midwestern pocket. Matched in sophisticated tones, Ann Arbor provides the perfect setting for Dolan’s sleek, hard-boiled fiction.

“Ann Arbor has the street life of a much larger city. When the weather is fair, and sometimes when it’s not, the sidewalks along State Street and Liberty and Main bustle with people:  hip, arty, confident people who walk to theaters and shops, bookstores and coffeehouses, who gather at sidewalk tables that spill out of restaurants.

David Loogan found them fascinating. He thought it must be the university that produced them. The university made the city more prosperous and young and good-looking. It gathered all these people to itself and then it sent them out into the city where they ate fine meals, and attended plays, and greeted one another on the street with hugs and cheery shouts and back-slapping.”

Bad Things Happen brings in the sharp, classic styles of other noir lit authors such as Raymond Chandler, whom is mentioned more than once in the book. But even if you are not a seasoned mystery reader (like myself) Harry Dolan’s seductive style easily translates. Mr. Dolan’s work is fun, and mentally unspools itself in close-up, pan-back fashion. Like a smooth, smoky Hollywood flick, Bad Things Happen definitely has movie rights potential, but for now I highly suggest kicking back and enjoying it just the way it is.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Authors, Bad Things Happen, Book Reviews, Harry Dolan

Nicola’s Books to Host Elizabeth Kostova

Bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova will return to Ann Arbor on Wednesday night for a reading and signing of her new novel The Swan Thieves. No stranger to the area, Ms. Kostova holds an MFA from the University of Michigan where she won a 2003 Hopwood Award for her novel-in-progress.

The Swan Thieves, Kostova’s second novel, was released on January 12th with great anticipation after her widely embraced first work, The Historian. “It was a huge risk, but it was also very exciting,” Kostova shared on NPR’s Weekend Edition. “My first novel was heavily plotted, and although it’s a deeply felt novel for me, it’s kind of an intricate puzzle that I had to work out ahead of time. And this book I really wrote imagining the scenes almost the way you would stand in front of a painting. And it was a moving experience to be sort of there with the reader, not knowing exactly how this would turn out.”

Besides penning two novels, it’s important to note Elizabeth Kostova’s literary activities off the page as well. Through her Foundation for Creative Writing, which was created to “provide further opportunities for Bulgarian writers to foster their own work”, Kostova uses her considerable talents and opportunities to encourage and connect aspiring writers around the globe.

Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor will present bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova this Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 7 PM. Nicola’s is considered one of the premier independent bookstore in the area and a proud member of IndieBound. Please remember to call and confirm all details prior to the event.

*Support your local bookstores and universities. It matters!

-Post by Megan Shaffer

NLR’s review of The Swan Thieves

Kostova’s intro to The Swan Thieves on YouTube

NPR’s Weekend Edition: Kostova’s ‘Swan Thieves’: Art, Love and Crime

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Filed under Elizabeth Kostova, Whimsy

Borders Hosts Jeannette Walls

For those of you who liked her memoir The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls will be appearing at Borders in Ann Arbor for a reading and signing of her latest book Half Broke Horses. Though I recently did a Quickie Review of Half Broke Horses, feel free to enjoy  my full review on BookBrowse. Ms. Walls will be appearing at the 612 E. Liberty Borders location in Ann Arbor, at 7:00 on Tuesday, January 5, 2010.

*As always, double check dates and times and support your local bookstores!

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Filed under Authors, Jeannette Walls