Sunday, July 21
Poetry Reading: Angela Trudell Vasquez
In Light, Always Light
Spectral presences flit in and out of In Light, Always Light, Milwaukee poet Angela Trudell Vasquez's first chapbook. Ghosts appear with purposeful messages, the voices of dead ancestors echo, and human remains float over a city. But In Light, Always Light is at the same time a very corporeal book, rich in the experiences of friends and family cooking and eating, planting and harvesting, working and playing, and, of course, dying. Trudell Vasquez is a careful observer of transformational moments both personal and cultural.
Midway through the book, her poem "Sea Burial" recounts the time when the poet and a companion traveled with only "backpacks...[and] a week of groceries" to an isolated island. There is "no hospital / for 200 miles" and "no wheels" available to quickly cover the great distance. Looking back on what can only be described as an early-term miscarriage, Trudell Vasquez writes of being comforted by "Female island ghosts" who spoke to her: "sit in the water let life wash out and back / cool stone slabs your throne. We know." The way that Trudell Vasquez relates the experience makes for an intimate and stoic vision in which females have the last word, even if they are ghosts.
From this collection's early pages, the poet's acute socio-historical awareness is on full display. For instance, in "Arboretum" the lives of the poet's family and forebears are considered in terms of the broad historical forces that excluded, even exploited, them:
bodies who built railroads
with broken backs, raw hands.
An 1880 census conceals us
These are the same people who attend to "an arboretum of sweet pink light. /Whose perfume carries itself uptown." Their malefactors may not have included them in the census, but these people counted then - and, the poet reminds us, they count now. Their senses of beauty and purpose shine in Trudell Vasquez's poem.
Similar concerns animate "What Sea Tentacles Did Not Tangle," with its civilians trapped in war zones and dead refugee children washed ashore. Their "blood floods psychic landscapes" while "world leaders" (Trudell Vasquez encloses these two words in scare quotes) pursue "piles of gold or oil" with their "store bought arms manufactured in the U.S."
Trudell Vasquez speaks for those who have no voice, and her well-crafted poems face injustices both global and personal. Readers can feel the weight of deep moral center at work in this collection by a fine poet who deserves their regard.
Angie Trudell Vasquez received her MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017. Her work has been published in Taos Journal of Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Raven Chronicles, and Cloudthroat. She has poems on the Poetry Foundation's website, and was a Ruth Lilly fellow as an undergraduate at Drake University. She has new work forthcoming from RED INK: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts & Humanities. In 2018 she was a finalist for the New Women's Voices series and her book, In Light, Always Light, was published by Finishing Line Press in May 2019.
Tuesday, July 23
Mystery Book Club
Come join this group that has been meeting for over 20 years! New members always welcome; all you need is a love of mysteries and a burning desire to talk about them with a fun group of folks!
Selection this month: Siracusa by Delia Ephron
Thursday, July 25
Meet the Author: Laura Byrne
Tater Tot at The Chase: A Happy Helper
We all know learning life lessons can be hard to swallow. Tater Tot takes the heat for not doing what he said he would do so we could all learn this valuable lesson before suffering any real consequences of our own. His friends also show those of us mentoring others how patience and kindness are the most powerful teaching tools. This book is a must for those who think deadlines are optional.
Laura Byrne's first children's book, Tater Tot At The Chase: A Happy Helper, was inspired by the overwhelming joy her bulldog, Tater Tot, brings everyone he meets and her not-always-fond memories of when she personally learned character-building life lessons.
Laura believes Tater Tot's smushy charm provides the perfect "fall guy" to prepare, reinforce, or simply discuss how we personally can create respect for ourselves and others in every situation.
A Happy Helper focuses on "doing what you said you would do," which builds trust from others, confidence in ourselves, and respect for everyone. You can see what Tater Tot is up to at MrTaterTot.com.
A healthcare marketing executive for the last 23 years, Laura also sees her children's book as an excellent reminder for big readers to practice respect - building life lessons every day, in every way.
Tater Tot's #yourpurchasehonored gift, (for every book sold at the event, Tater Tot gifts a book where a book is needed) will go to Drake University's Boys & Girls Club, opening in late August.
Tater Tot has also invited another furry friend who loves reading and meeting people as much as he does. You'll have to come by to see who??!?!?!?!
Friday, July 26
NOTE DATE CHANGE!
Environmental Book Club
This book club was formed out of an interest in raising not just awareness, but interest and the "environmental IQ" of our local community. Group members represent a range of interests and knowledge about environmental issues, and have set out to create and maintain a place where ideas and information can be shared in civil and welcoming ways. The community is welcome to attend, listen and discuss.
Selection this month: The Hidden Life of Trees Chapters 9-16, by PeterWohlleben
Saturday, July 27
Meet the Author: Alicia Dill
In Squared Away, one phone call in the middle of the night changes the life of former soldier Joelle McCoy. Her best friend and battle buddy, Concepcion Chapa, is dead and Joelle isn't taking the alleged car accident at face value. Determined to discover the truth, Joelle sets out on a mission to find her best friend and bring her home.
Joelle has questions and these questions launch her into the arms of an FBI agent - one of Concepcion's former colleagues - and into an investigation for her friend that brings her from small-town Missouri, to Miami, and then on to Kosovo. Over the course of her search, she tries to come to terms with what their battle-tested friendship really means in her life and why Concepcion would disappear without so much as a goodbye.
Alicia Dilll spent six years as an Army soldier and globally published print journalist. She remains involved with many service members who continue to put their lives in harm's way throughout the world. It's because of that bond, the Missouri native wrote her debut novel centered around the relationship of two sisters in uniform. She joined the Army National Guard at the age of 17 and received her degree in journalism and international studies at the University of Iowa. After her service, she was published by several weekly newspapers in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois with over 75,000 readers. She continues writing in Iowa City, Iowa and enjoys traveling the world with her next book in mind.
Sunday, July 28
Meet the Author: Tim Diebel
Home by Another Way
In 2011 Tim Diebel left a familiar vocational work in congregational ministry and, with his wife Lori who was serving as a public school administrator, sold their comfortable and convenient town home in the city and moved to a rural acreage to learn how to grow food. In this tender and often humorous memoir, Tim shares the joys, the bafflements and perennial challenges of learning first-hand - as a complete novice - where our food comes from. His openness to his mistakes and nature's tricks as well as earth's bounty give us a chance to, vicariously, feel our own taproots grow deeper and our hearts expand for the earth and all its creatures.
Tim Diebel is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), with over 30 years of service as a parish pastor. A native of west-Texas, since moving to Iowa in 1993, Tim has come to appreciate the rhythms of nature and the importance of organic systems and sustainability. In 2011 his calling shifted from congregational leadership to the establishment of Taproot Garden, a 10-acre classroom where he cultivates a large garden, tends laying hens, and is restoring a prairie. Together with his wife Lori, Tim shares a common delight in music, deep ideas, food, cooking, and hospitality, along with an aversion to squandering any of the wonders of earth and community.
Monday, July 29
Meet the Author: Henry Gurr
A WOMAN OF QUALITY: Sarah Vinke, ‘The Divine Sarah’, and the Quest for the Origin of Robert Pirsig's 'Metaphysics of Quality', in his Book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
The Mystery...The Mystique...The Enigma...of Sarah Vinke has only increased with time, since the "brilliant beyond belief"..."work of a genius," historic arrival of the 1975 book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance(ZMM). In ZMM, author Robert Pirsig, tells us that Sarah, in essence, asked three times "Are you teaching Quality?" This was especially intriguing, because originally, there is no clear pattern from Sarah's life as to why she would do this. Not knowing Sarah's origins, Pirsig himself initially has no idea, and offers his readers no clue as to her motivation for asking him this. ZMM becomes for author Pirsig, a vehicle by which to carry us with him on a journey of inquiry into the full meaning this very question. "Are you teaching Quality?"
Sarah Vinke (1894-1978), born Sarah Winifred Jennings, plays an enormously important, indeed paramount, role in Mr Pirsig's world-famous and hugely influential book, which has since attained status as a Classic of Literature. Sarah and Pirsig were teaching colleagues when they were Professors of English Rhetoric, at Montana State College from 1959 to 1961. Sarah had been the head of the English department, and was thirty-four years older than Pirsig. A mentor relationship developed, because they were kindred souls in their supreme intellectual sensitivity to culture and to experience. And because there was also a sense in which they were both largely misfits in the formal organizational structure of Montana State College, since renamed Montana State University.
Henry S. Gurr has, for 16 years now, researched the history, of Robert Pirsig's book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM). In 2002, he also photo-documented the physical road trip sites mentioned in ZMM. From this large body of Research Findings, Henry has assembled considerable ZMM Resource Information, which is presented in an extensive series of Internet ZMM Research Information Pages and Internet ZMM Research Photo Galleries.
Tuesday, August 6
Beaverdale Writers Group
Join this group of lively area writers started by local author Jerry Hooten in 2008. Jerry recently "retired" from the group, but it is now in the capable hands of Maggie Rivers and Mike Wilson. New writers are always welcome! This is not a critique group; discussion centers around the publishing process and marketing your work once it's published. Come learn some of the tricks of the trade and get started on your publishing journey, or share your experience with someone just starting out.
Topic this month: Back to the Basics - Techniques of Writing A Best-Selling Novel!”
Dig out those great pieces of writing advice you've learned along the way and choose the one or two you've found most helpful and be prepared to share information with the group.
Wednesday, August 7
Meet the Author: Meredith Jordan
Below the Line: Anatomy of a Successful Movie
Below the Line: Anatomy of a Successful Movie is a nonfiction narrative about how major motion pictures are made today using one movie as a vehicle. The author, a journalist embedded with the production of Last Vegas, follows the people behind the scenes and stops along the way to explain process and different aspects of the business. The movie stars are well known - Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen - but in this book they play supporting roles. Instead, the leads are the people behind the camera, the director (Jon "The Meg" Turteltaub) and a huge cast of artists and artisans, designers and creators, overseers, office and logistical support, editors and musicians. Below the Line proves movies are a collaborative art form.
Meredith Jordan is an award-winning journalist who spent 25 years working for East Coast news organizations. They ranged from small local papers to Dow Jones & Co., Cox Communications and National Geographic. She is the author of Below the Line: Anatomy of a Successful Movie (Citation Press), which was published Feb. 13, 2019. Jordan wanted the inside story of contemporary movie production and couldn't find anything that explained it all, start to finish. There was good reason for that:: Hollywood doesn't let reporters roam freely around its movie sets. After a nearly ten-year effort, Jordan embedded with the production of Last Vegas. The movie starred Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen but for a change, this book isn't about them. Below the Line turns the lens on the crew so we see the real people, jobs and business of Hollywood. Once the movie wrapped, Jordan began researching what she had seen, visiting places like Panavision and Warner Bros. costumes, almost any place that had done business with the movie. She went to libraries and interviewed people on how practices began. Below the Line is old-style gumshoe journalism, with a writer on the ground every day without signing anything to limit the scope of the narrative. The result is a rare book that takes the time to understand industry history, the creative talent of its crew and artists, and its drive for profitability.
Thursday, August 8
Beaverdale Book Browsers Book Club
Beaverdale Books' original book club is once again open to new members!
This book club was at capacity for a while, but as people come and go there are openings for new readers looking for a book club. The club started when the store opened in 2006 and has been going strong ever since. What began as a group of strangers has been a testament to the power of books to bring people together. Selections are eclectic and the discussion is always interesting. Food and wine are always part of the fun as well. Anyone is welcome!
Selection this month: Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs
Tuesday, August 13
Beaverdale Books Book Club
Formerly the Hunter's Picks Book Club takes its inspiration from Paul's Book Club at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, which Hunter attended while in college. This book club will read primarily literary fiction. Hunter will still be making the monthly selections and leading the discussion. Come join this group for an evening of enlightenment!
Selection this month: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh