Upcoming Lectures

november

2018mon12nov7:30 pm9:00 pmDiana Abu-Jaber7:30 pm - 9:00 pm John H. Mulroy Civic Center Event Organized By: The Friends of the Central Library Event Type :24th Season 2018-2019

Event Details

Photo by Scott Eason

Diana Abu-Jaber was born in Syracuse to an American mother and a Jordanian father. When she was seven, her family moved to Jordan for two years, and she has lived between the US and Jordan ever since. Life was a constant juggling act, acting Arab at home but American in the street. The struggle to make sense of this sort of hybrid life, or “in-betweenness,” permeates Abu-Jaber’s fiction.

Her first novel, Arabian Jazz—considered by many to be the first mainstream Arab-American novel—won the 1994 Oregon Book Award. Jean Grant of The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs wrote, “Abu-Jaber’s novel will probably do more to convince readers to abandon what media analyst Jack Shaheen calls America’s ‘abhorrence of the Arab’ than any number of speeches or publicity gambits.”

Her second novel, Crescent, inspired by Shakespeare’s Othello, is set in contemporary Los Angeles and focuses on a multicultural love story between an Iraqi exile and an Iraqi-American chef. Lush and lyrical, suffused with the flavors and scents of Middle Eastern food, Crescent is a sensuous love story as well as a gripping tale of commitment and risk. It won the PEN Center Award for Literary Fiction and the American Book Award, and has been published in eight countries.

Again using food as the fulcrum of her narrative, Abu-Jaber’s next book—the culinary memoir The Language of Baklava—chronicles her own experiences growing up in a food-obsessed Arab-American family. O, The Oprah Magazine called The Language of Baklava “a fascinating memoir of confused exile, great food, and home truths” that explores the rootlessness and constant pressures of assimilation. Each chapter of the memoir is developed around one of her father’s traditional Middle Eastern recipes.

Origin, a page-turner set in the author’s hometown of Syracuse, explores issues of memory and identity. Origin was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chicago Tribune. Abu-Jaber’s next novel was also an award-winner: Birds of Paradise, which won the National Arab American Book Award, is a deeply moving portrait of a family falling apart after their teenage daughter runs away.

Abu-Jaber’s most recent memoir is Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Funny, touching, and smart, Life Without a Recipe is a celebration of improvisation, of unexpected detours, and of living life on one’s own terms. Ruth Reichl has called it “indispensable to anyone trying to forge their own truer path.”

“I grew up inside the shape of my father’s stories. A Jordanian immigrant, Dad regaled us with tales about himself, his country, and his family that both entertained us and instructed us about the place he’d come from and the way he saw the world. These stories exerted a powerful influence on my imagination, in terms of what I chose to write about, the style of my language, and the form my own stories took.” —Diana Abu-Jaber

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Time

(Monday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

Organizer

The Friends of the Central Library

march

2019mon04mar7:30 pm9:00 pmLouise Penny7:30 pm - 9:00 pm John H. Mulroy Civic Center Event Organized By: The Friends of the Central Library Event Type :24th Season 2018-2019

Event Details

Photo by Jean François-Bérubé

Louise Penny is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of 14 Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Before she began writing, Louise embarked on an 18-year career as a radio host and journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, working in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and Quebec City. She entered her first novel, Still Life, in the “Debut Dagger” competition in the United Kingdom and placed in second. The novel won other awards, including the “New Blood” Dagger award in the United Kingdom, the Arthur Ellis Award in Canada for best first crime novel, and the Barry Award for Best First Novel in the United States. The book was eventually adapted into a film and aired on CBC TV in 2013

Her novels follow Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, who was created in the image of several people Louise meet throughout her life, as he digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life in Three Pines, finds long buried secrets, and faces a few of his own ghosts. The novels in the series are Still Life, A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone, The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, The Long Way Home, The Nature of the Beast,  A Great Reckoning, Glass Houses, and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Blind. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

“My books are about terror. That brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.”

“If you take only one thing away from any of my books I’d like it to be this: Goodness exists.” —Louise Penny

Website – Facebook – Tickets

Time

(Monday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

Organizer

The Friends of the Central Library

april

2019tue02apr7:30 pm9:00 pmDavid Grann7:30 pm - 9:00 pm John H. Mulroy Civic Center Event Organized By: The Friends of the Central Library Event Type :24th Season 2018-2019

Event Details

David Grann, author, Lost City of Z

David Grann is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. His upcoming book, The White Darkness, is a true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic.

His previous book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, documented one of the most sinister crimes and racial injustices in American history. Killers of the Flower Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award and a winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best true crime book, a Spur Award for best work of historical nonfiction, and an Indies Choice Award for best adult nonfiction book of the year. A #1 New York Times bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon was named one of the best books of the year  and is being adapted into a major motion picture.

Grann’s first book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the book was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by the New York Times, and  won the Indies Choice award for the single best nonfiction book of the year. New York Times critic Michiko Katukani described The Lost City of Z as “suspenseful” and “rollicking,” reading “with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.” The book was adapted into a critically acclaimed film directed by James Gray and starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, and Tom Holland.

Grann’s other book, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, contains many of his New Yorker stories, and was named by Men’s Journal one of the best true crime books ever written. The stories in the collection focus on everything from the mysterious death of the world’s greatest Sherlock Holmes expert to a Polish writer who might have left clues to a real murder in his postmodern novel. Another piece, “Trial by Fire,” exposed how junk science led to the execution of a likely innocent man in Texas. The story received a George Polk award for outstanding journalism and a Silver Gavel award for fostering the public’s understanding of the justice system, and the piece was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in his opinion on the constitutionality of the death penalty.   Several of his stories have served as source material for feature films.

“Early in my career I was much more confident in the almost omniscient powers of a reporter, because you could find anything out and then write the definitive piece about it. And as I got older, I got much more humble about trying to learn everything, with what eludes you, especially with history.” David Grann

WebsiteTwitter – Tickets

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

Organizer

The Friends of the Central Library

may

2019tue07may7:30 pm9:00 pmColm Tóibín7:30 pm - 9:00 pm John H. Mulroy Civic Center Event Organized By: The Friends of the Central Library Event Type :24th Season 2018-2019

Event Details

Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in 1955. He studied at University College Dublin and lived in Barcelona between 1975 and 1978. Out of his experience in Barcelona be produced two books, the novel The South (shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and winner of the Irish Times/ Aer Lingus First Fiction Award) and Homage to Barcelona, both published in 1990.

When he returned to Ireland in 1978 he worked for several years as a journalist, then returned to novel writing with: The Heather Blazing (1992, winner of the Encore Award); The Story of the Night (1996, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Prize);  The Blackwater Lightship (1999, shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prize and the Booker Prize and made into a film starring Angela Lansbury);  The Master (2004, winner of the Dublin IMPAC Prize; the Prix du Meilleur Livre; the LA Times Novel of the Year; and shortlisted for the Booker Prize);  Brooklyn  (2009, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year).

Tóibín’s short story collections are Mothers and Sons (2006, winner of the Edge Hill Prize) and The Empty Family (2010), shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. His book of essays on Henry James, All a Novelist Needs, appeared also in 2010.

In 2011, his play ‘Testament’ was performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival and his memoir, A Guest at the Feast, was published by Penguin UK as a Kindle original. In 2012, ‘New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers & Their Families’ was published, as was his edition for Penguin Classics of ‘De Profundis and Other Writings’ by Oscar Wilde.

His novel The Testament of Mary (2012) was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. In 2013 ‘The Testament of Mary’ opened on Broadway, with Fiona Shaw, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Colm Tóibín’s 2014 novel Nora Webster, won the Hawthornden Prize, and On Elizabeth Bishop, published in 2015, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His ninth novel, House of Names, appeared in 2017.

“The sentences I write have their roots in song and poetry, and take their bearings from music and painting, as much as from the need to impart mere information, or mirror anything. I am not a realist writer, even if I seem like one.”Colm Tóibín

Website – Tickets

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

Organizer

The Friends of the Central Library

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