Friday, April 11, 2014

Next Book Club for Writers

The library will hold its next Book Club for Writers discussion on Thursday, April 24, featuring short stories by James Baldwin and Percival Everett.

Copies of “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and “The Appropriation of Cultures” by Percival Everett will be available from the library in advance. The discussion will begin at 7:00 PM at the library and will be free and open to the public.

In fiction, plays, and essays, James Baldwin (1924–1987) was one of the foremost social critics of mid- and late-twentieth century America, addressing issues of race, class, and sexual orientation. His non-fiction works include Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time (which put him on the cover of Time magazine), and The Evidence of Things Not Seen, while his novels include Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni’s Room, and If Beale Street Could Talk. “Sonny’s Blues,” which appeared in the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, is frequently anthologized.

Percival Everett is Distinguished Professor English at the University of Southern California and author of more than twenty books. Noted for the wide variety of his work, Everett has written novels with settings ranging from the American West to ancient Greece. He has won the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction and twice won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction. His most recent novel, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly. His other books include Erasure and I am Not Sidney Poitier.

Book Club for Writers is a fiction discussion program that meets four times a year. Discussions are open to all, and focus particularly on questions of craft and technique that will interest writers and aspiring writers. Created by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Book Club for Writers is sponsored locally by a fiction writing group that meets weekly at the Haverhill Corner Library.

The next Book Club for Writers discussion will be held on Thursday, July 31 and will feature “Servants of the Map” by Andrea Barrett and “Ancestral Legacies” by Jim Shepard.

Calvin Trillin Book Discussion

The library will host a discussion of Third Helpings by Calvin Trillin on Monday, April 21 at 7:00 PM. The program will be free and open to the public.

Readers will find Third Helpings collected in Trillin’s omnibus volume The Tummy Trilogy. This program is the third and final in the library’s discussion series featuring American food writing, led by writer and editor Linda Landrigan.

Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist, and food writer. He wrote the “U. S. Journal” feature for The New Yorker for fifteen years; a weekly, syndicated newspaper column, “Uncivil Liberties,” for over a decade; and a weekly column for Time magazine. Also a longtime contributor to The Nation, he currently writes the “Deadline Poet” feature. He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2012 and in 2013 was inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame.

Trillin’s essays on food were collected in American Fried; Alice, Let’s Eat; and Third Helpings, and these three books were subsequently published as a single volume, The Tummy Trilogy.

Though he has written extensively, and with participatory zeal, about food during his career, Trillin once explained to the New York Times that he had no desire to be a restaurant critic. “I’m not interested in finding the best chili restaurant in Cincinnati,” he said. “I’m interested in Cincinnatians fighting about who has the best chili.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MFK Fisher Book Discussion

The library will host a discussion of Serve It Forth by M. F. K. Fisher on Monday, March 17 at 7:00 PM. The program will be free and open to the public.

Readers will find Serve It Forth collected in Fisher’s omnibus volume The Art of Eating. The program is the second in the library’s discussion series featuring American food writing, led by writer and editor Linda Landrigan.

Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (1908 – 1992) is regarded as one of America’s premier food writers, the author of some 27 books of which the first, in 1937, was Serve It Forth. It was hailed by the New York Times as “erudite and witty and experienced and young . . . stamped on every page with a highly individualized personality.”

Raised in California, Fisher left college to marry and move to Dijon, France, at the time considered one of the culinary centers of the world. For the next several decades, she divided her life between California, France, and Switzerland, writing and publishing steadily, but slow to win wide recognition. As late as 1982, the New York Times Book Review lamented, “In a properly run culture, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher would be recognized as one of the great writers this country has produced in this century.” She died in 1992 in California at the age of 83, having long suffered from Parkinson’s disease and arthritis.

“It seems to me,” Fisher wrote, “that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it.”

The library’s series on food writing will conclude on Monday, April 21 with a discussion of Third Helpings by Calvin Trillin (collected in The Tummy Trilogy).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lincoln Program Postponed!

The February 5 program on Abraham Lincoln (noted below) has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The three-program series will now begin on Wednesday, February 12.

Our apologies for the last-minute change.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Abraham Lincoln Programs

The library will offer a series of programs in February exploring the character and inner life of Abraham Lincoln, presented by Haverhill Corner resident David Pruitt, a longtime student of Lincoln’s life and thought.

The programs will be offered on three Wednesdays: February 5, 12, and 19. They will be held at the Haverhill Congregational Church Parish Hall at 7:00 PM and will be free and open to the public.

The February 5 program will focus on “The Faith Journey of Abraham Lincoln.” Pruitt, himself a minister, will address such questions as:

  • Is it true that Lincoln never joined a church? 
  • Was he ever an atheist? 
  • Was he a Christian? 
  • What forces developed and deepened his faith? 
  • Was there anything central to his faith that we would find “hard to swallow”? 
  • Why was his second inaugural address one of the most astonishing sermons ever delivered? 
  • What can we learn from his journey? 

In two subsequent programs, Pruitt will draw on a wide range of sources to explore further aspects of Lincoln’s inner life and character.

Last fall, Pruitt presented a well-received program commemorating the 150th anniversary of the delivery of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, discussing its original delivery and subsequent historical and cultural significance. That brief speech is today regarded as one of the premier examples of American oratory.