Friday Fiction Book Club: The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
Friday December 04 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM
We're looking at a long winter. Give yourself the gift of community and great books for the months ahead. Friday Fiction Book Club is a fun group of avid readers. Our lively discussions are happy thing to look forward to every month! Join us!
This month, we're reading The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. Here is a description:
Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart.
Charles is destined to succeed his father as an esteemed professor of history at Harvard, until an unorthodox lecture about faith leads him to ministry. How then, can he fall in love with Lily—fiercely intellectual, elegantly stern—after she tells him with certainty that she will never believe in God? And yet, how can he not?
James, the youngest son in a hardscrabble Chicago family, spent much of his youth angry at his alcoholic father and avoiding his anxious mother. Nan grew up in Mississippi, the devout and beloved daughter of a minister and a debutante. James’s escape from his desperate circumstances leads him to Nan and, despite his skepticism of hope in all its forms, her gentle, constant faith changes the course of his life.
In The Dearly Beloved, Cara wall reminds us of “the power of the novel in its simplest, richest form: bearing intimate witness to human beings grappling with their faith and falling in love,” (Entertainment Weekly, A-) as we follow these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, Wall offers a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives.
Friday Fiction Book Club is meeting on Zoom for the foreseeable future. If you'd like the link to the upcoming meeting, please email Kyra for it at email@example.com. Hope to see you soon!
Middle-Grade Book Club with Rebecca Caprara: My Life as a Potato
Tuesday December 08 | 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Looking for a positive, safe extracurricular activity for your middle-grade reader? We offer a monthly book club just for your young reader moderated by local middle-grade author Rebecca Caprara, author of The Magic of Melwick Orchard and upcoming Mission Multiverse (May 2021)! Participants read the book during the month, particpate in a fun discussion, and are encouraged to create their own fiction through fun activities.
This month, Middle-Grade Book Club is reading My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner. Here is a description:
Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good.
After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit…right?
If you would like your kiddo to participate in Middle-Grade Book Club, please send Kyra, our Events Coordinator, an email for the meeting's Zoom Link. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commonwealth Ballet: Nutcracker en Masque Virtual Event
Wednesday December 09 | 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Every year, one of our favorite events is when the Commonwealth Ballet troupe comes to the store and performs a sampling of their "The Nutcracker" show. The performance itself is always marvelous, but the real magic happens after, when ballet dancers -- most of whom have been dancing for a decade or more -- get to mingle with the littlest dancers, who are just starting out. The joy in the faces of the little ones is incomparable.
The pandemic has stolen so much joy from us this year, so not getting to witness this performance in person is just another in a string of events stripped away, but we're going to do our best to bring a little joy with a virtual performance and talk back for the littles. So join us on the afternoon of Wednesday the 9th, and we'll be together even though we're apart.
This is a special Zoom webinar event for the safety of the audience and young panelists. Participants WILL be able to ask the dancers questions at the end of the reading! Please follow this link to participate.
Deesha Philyaw and Megha Majumdar in conversation!
Wednesday December 09 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
We are beyond thrilled to welcome Deesha Philyaw and Megha Majumdar for a virtual event. Their books, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and A Burning, were two of the 10 books longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in fiction, and Philyaw's is one of the five finalists!
Their books are on everyone's must-read lists and now they are spending a virtual evening with us! You need to stop by the bookstore today to pick up Deesha Philyaw's The Secret Lives of Church Ladies and Megha Majumdar's A Burning so you can read them before this special author event!
Deesha Philyaw’s writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, McSweeney’s, the Rumpus, Brevity, Apogee Journal, Barrelhouse, Baltimore Review, Cheat River Review, Electric Literature, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, she currently lives in Pittsburgh with her daughters.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher’s wife.
At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta’s “same time next year” arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other.
With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.
Megha Majumdar was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She works as an editor at Catapult, and lives in New York City.
Here is more about A Burning:
Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely--an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor--has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.
Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting
This event is a Zoom webinar for the safety of our authors and for our viewers. Don't worry! There will be opportunity to ask questions of Deesha and Megha during the event! This is a free event, but still requires registration to receive the webinar link. Please click here to register for the event.
Special Sci-Fi Panel: Discussion of Dune with Sara Rivera, Marcella Haddad, and Peter Medeiros
Thursday December 10 | 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Are you excited about the Dune movie coming out in December? So are we! A lot of folk are re-reading the book in anticipation of the movie because we haven't read it since high school. If that's you, join us for the re-read and then a panel discussion with 3 speculative-fiction specialists!
It's an icon in the sci-fi canon, one of those books that every fan of the genre read at some point. There are people who loved it, people who hated it, and a bunch of people who are fuzzy on the finer details. If you saw the trailer and got goosebumps, but thought to yourself, "maybe I should read it again before I watch..." consider this your opportunity! We're reading the book and talking about it with 3 speculative writers and teachers from right here in Massachusetts!
Sara Daniele Rivera is a Cuban/Peruvian artist, writer, translator, and educator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her poetry and speculative fiction have appeared in the Loft Anthology, The Green Mountains Review, Embark Literary Journal, The Portal Prize Anthology (Easy Street Mag),The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of a 2017 St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award and the winner of the 2018 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry from Solstice Literary Magazine. Her collection of translated poems by the Peruvian poet Blanca Varela (The Blinding Star: Selected Poems of Blanca Varela) will be released in 2021 by Tolsun Books. A lover of desert ecologies, Sara is working on her own desert-based science fantasy novel, and has had a longstanding interest in the legacy of Dune. You can find her work in the upcoming anthology, Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology, which you can back on Kickstarter right now!
Peter Medeiros teaches writing and Kung Fu--though never at the same time. His teaching in and around Boston remains a major inspiration for much of his fiction. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. He been publishing fiction since 2013, and was most recently featured in the February 2020 issue of Red Planet Magazine. He is currently represented by JABerwocky Literary Agency. If you are a writer, consider taking Peter's upcoming Grub Street class, World Building Across Genres, which you can take remotely over Zoom. It starts April 5th.
Marcella Haddad is an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst, where she also teaches college writing. She's a creative writing instructor at Grubstreet and the Director's Assistant for the Juniper Institute. Her work has appeared in Apparition Lit, Moonchild Magazine, Rag Queen Periodical, Everyday Fiction, and others. She loves nutella, armadillos, and eldritch trees. You can find her on twitter @marcie_via or at marcellaphaddad.com