A Light Week Literarily, But Heavy Elsewhere?

When one North Carolina bookstore manager emailed me her list of January readings and signings, she admitted that the month was “light” on programming, and it’s true that there’s a paucity of literary readings ahead. Last Wednesday, as I surveyed upcoming local events in the Triangle, Barry Popkin’s The World Is Fat stood out as a highlight of the then-week ahead — not a major literary event but certainly a book of considerable interest and well-timed for New Year’s Resolutions. This week again, it’s not a novelist or a poet who takes center stage but another writer focused on what we eat and how. But now — schedule-wise, at least — it seems that any resolutions are behind us, and we’re gearing up for those football playoffs and the Super Bowl ahead. In short, the world may be getting fatter, but heck, why stop now? Bring on the wings.

283479_jacket.inddFood writer Debbie Moose visits Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books on Thursday, January 15, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss her new book Wings: 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack. Moose is the former food editor of the Raleigh News & Observer and still a regular contributer to the paper as well as to a wide variety of other publications, and she’s won five first place awards from the Association of Food Journalists for her essays. Moose’s new cookbook continues thematically from her last, Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Enjoying the Game at Home, and Wings introduces 65 different combinations of spices and preparation styles (and they all come with clever names, like Chinese Five-Spice Chicks or Vindaloo Vipers). The best part of the Quail Ridge appearance: Moose is bringing samples. (And if you’re not in the North Carolina area, you can also hear her talk about the book on Tuesday, January 27, at 8:30 a.m. on Martha Stewart Living Radio. No samples there, though.)

Other events on this “light” week in North Carolina:

  • Monique Tilford, co-author of Your Money or Your Lift: 9 Steps for Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, visit Durham’s Regulator Bookshop on Thursday, January 15, at 7:30 p.m., and then stops by Quail Ridge on Friday night, January 16, at 7:30 p.m. and McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village on Saturday morning, January 17, at 11 a.m.
  • N.C. gardener Pam Baggett comes to Quail Ridge Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. with her new book Tropicalismo: Spice Up Your Garden with Cannas, Bananas, and 93 Other Eye-Catching Tropical Plants.
  • And Henry Alford, whose work has appeared in both The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, comes to the Regulator on Monday, January 19, at 7 p.m. with his new book, How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth).

All these books are fine, but with a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts touting that numbers are up among adults reading “novels, short stories, poems or plays,” how about a little more literature on the agenda? (In that regard: Thanks in advance to McIntyre’s for the N.C. Poetry Society Reading that will be the highlight of next Wednesday’s post.)

Washington, D.C.

chris_abani_hires_thumThe big event on the coming week’s schedule in D.C. —  Wait. Correction. The big literary event on the coming week’s schedule in D.C. takes place at the Folger Theatre this Friday night when the PEN/Faulkner Foundation welcomes Chris Abani and lê thi diem thúy for the program “On Exile and Loss.” I heard Abani (right) speak a couple of years ago at George Mason and he was delightful and compelling, and last year brought two new prose works from the prolific writer: the novella Song for Night and the novel The Virgin of Flames, a Barnes & Noble Discovery Selection. Lê thi diem thúy wrote the highly acclaimed novel The Gangster We Are All Looking For

As for the other big event this week in D.C.: Plenty of bookstores welcome plenty of authors writing plenty of books on Obama. On inauguration eve, for example, Vertigo Books welcomes author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Bryan Collier at 1:30 p.m. with the children’s book Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, and Politics and Prose welcomes Mark Green and writers from The Nation at 7 p.m. to discuss Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President. The night after the election, Politics and Prose continues its “Obamarama” with Grimes and Collier at 10:30 a.m. and  Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas later that evening, discussing A Long Time Coming:  The Inspiring, Combative 2008 Campaign and the Historic Election of Barack Obama.

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