Tuesday, January 7
Book Launch/Meet the Author: Sean Adams
Blending the piercing humor of Alexandra Kleeman and the jagged satire of Black Mirror, an audacious, eerily prescient debut novel that chronicles the rise and fall of a massive high-rise housing complex, and the lives it affected before - and after - its demise.
Standing nearly five hundred stories tall, Los Verticales once bustled with life and excitement. Now this marvel of modern architecture and nontraditional urban planning has collapsed into a pile of rubble known as the Heap. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, and a small living stipend, a vast community of Dig Hands removes debris, trash, and bodies from the building's mountainous remains, which span twenty acres of unincorporated desert land.
Orville Anders burrows into the bowels of the Heap to find his brother Bernard, the beloved radio DJ of Los Verticales, who is alive and miraculously broadcasting somewhere under the massive rubble. For months, Orville has lived in a sea of campers that surrounds the Heap, working tirelessly to free Bernard - the only known survivor of the imploded city - whom he speaks to every evening, calling into his radio show.
The brothers' conversations are a ratings bonanza, and the station's parent company, Sundial Media, wants to boost its profits by having Orville slyly drop brand names into his nightly talks with Bernard. When Orville refuses, his access to Bernard is suddenly cut off, but strangely, he continues to hear his own voice over the airwaves, casually shilling products as "he" converses with Bernard.
What follows is an imaginative and darkly hilarious story of conspiracy, revenge, and the strange life and death of Los Verticales that both captures the wonderful weirdness of community and the bonds that tie us together.
Sean Adams is a graduate of Bennington College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His fiction has appeared in Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Normal School, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Arkansas International, and elsewhere. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, Emma, and their various pets.
Thursday, January 9
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: What She Left Behindby Ellen Marie Wiseman
Tuesday, January 14
Are there some "classic" books you have always wanted to read? Or maybe that you read some years ago and would like to read again? Whether you’re catching up or want to read with a new understanding and perspective, the Classic Club might be for you! Join Hunter the second Tuesday of the month to converse, compare and contrast, with no high school flashbacks!
Selection this month: the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Saturday, January 18
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: Braiding Sweetgrass (to page 117), by Robin Kimmerer
Monday, January 20
Urbandale UCC Book Club
The Urbandale United Church of Christ Book Club meets every month here at Beaverdale Books! Membership is open to anyone, so if you like good books and a good discussion, this could be your book club!
Selection this month: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Friday, January 24
Meet the Author: Steven Moore
The Longer We Were There: A Memoir of a Part-Time Soldier
The war in Afghanistan creates an urgency for telling stories-between soldiers, as they hand off missions to each other, and between soldiers and civilians, trying to explain what is going on - while also denying a lot of the context that is important for the telling of that story. The landscape is so mountainous and isolating that one incident or anecdote might not fit into a bigger picture beyond itself. A patrol may have no effect on the one that comes next. The war has ground itself into such a stasis that it is hard to see movement or plot. Yet we're there. We have to say something. We have to be accountable, even though the circumstances complicate the ability to talk about it while simultaneously creating a constant yearning to do so.
The Longer We Were There follows a part-time soldier's experience over seven years in the Iowa Army National Guard. He enlists at seventeen into the infantry, then bounces between college classes, army training, disaster relief, civilian jobs, a deployment in Afghanistan-first on the Afghan-Pakistani border, then into a remote valley in the Hindu Kush Mountains - and finally comes home. His stories are about having one foot on each side of the civilian-military divide, the difficulty of describing one side to those on the other, and how, as a consequence of this difficulty, that divide gets replicated within the self.
Steven Moore earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa in 2010 and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Oregon State University in 2016. His debut book The Longer We Were There: A Memoir of a Part-Time Soldier(University of Georgia Press, 2019) won the 2018 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction. His nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review online; The Georgia Review; Ninth Letter; Entropy; War, Literature, and the Arts; North American Review; Southeast Review; DIAGRAM; and is forthcoming in the anthology Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War (Middle West Press, 2019). He is a contributing editor at Moss: A Journal of the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon.
Monday, January 27
Raccoon River Reading Series
It's time for the second meeting of the Raccoon River Reading Series. Our inaugural event in August was a big success, with a full slate of authors who signed up to read their work. The series is being organized and led by local writer Suzanne Guess, who, after traveling to Omaha to participate in similar events, wondered why we didn't have something similar in Des Moines. An email inquiry led to a meeting, and the idea quickly resulted in a new literary experience at Beaverdale Books.
If you're a writer, you know there's a lot more to the profession than getting words on the page (although that's a big part of it), and that's what this reading series is all about: giving you the opportunity to gain exposure, test out your work on an audience, practice your public reading skills, and network.
This recurring event is open to all writers and all genres. There are a few guidelines, however:
1. Register at least 48 hours in advance of the reading. You'll receive a confirmation email that you're scheduled to read.
2. Cancel 24 hours in advance. No-shows are uncool and may affect future registrations.
3. Read for up to ten minutes and wow us with your words! If you're still reading at the ten-minute mark, hungry zombies are released to chase you away from the mic.
4. Any unclaimed slots on the agenda will be open mic.
Registration is full for this month's meeting, but everyone is welcome to come and listen to the authors/readers. You can register for the January 2020 or March 2020 session at https://suzanneguess.com/raccoon-river-reading-series/.
Tuesday, January 28
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: Sweet Death, Kind Death (Kate Fansler #7) by Amanda Cross
Friday, January 31
Book Launch/Meet the Author: Debra Landwehr Engle
"Along with naming me Marguerite after her favorite daisy, Mama gave me three things: Red hair that hasn't faded. A love of nature. And a belief that somewhere between heaven and earth there is magic."
At age fifty-five, Meg's life is too filled with loss for her to remember what magic feels like. All she has left is a yard brimming with plants that are wilting in the scorching Iowa summer - and a bone-deep feeling that she's through with living.
Meg has something else too: a bottle of mysterious pills, given to her years ago by an empathetic doctor. He promised that they would offer her dying mother a quick, painless end in exactly twenty days. Though her mother never needed them, Meg does. But a strange thing happens after Meg swallows the little green pearls...
Now that she's decided to leave this world, Meg is rediscovering the joy in it. She sheds everything she no longer needs - possessions, regrets, guilt - and reconnects with those she cares for. Finally confronting the depth of her grief, she's learning that love runs deeper still. But is it too late to choose to stay?
Debra Landwehr Engle is the bestselling author of The Only Little Prayer You Need and Let Your Spirit Guides Speak. She is the co-founder of a women's program of personal and spiritual growth, teaching classes in A Course in Miracles, and offering courses and workshops worldwide. Debra lives with her husband, Bob, in Madison County, Iowa, home of the famed covered bridges. Twenty is her first novel.