Events

Odie Lindsey with Some Go Home, in Conversation with Chanelle Benz

Thursday, August 6th at 7:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

In partnership with SIBA, we're proud to host Odie Lindsey with his new novel, Some Go Home. Lindsey will be in conversation with Chanelle Benz. Some Go Home is a searing debut novel following three generations fractured by murder in fictional Pitchlynn, Mississippi that complicates notions of race, class, history, and identity. It follows Colleen—an Iraq war veteran turned Mississippi homemaker—must reckon with a decades-old murder that has haunted her community, her family, and herself. When pregnancy brings her buried trauma to the surface, Colleen works hard to keep her deployment behind her. Her husband, Derby, is in turn preoccupied with the long-overdue retrial of his father, Hare Hobbs, for a Civil Rights-era murder. Central to Some Go Home is the town's showpiece, antebellum estate. More monument than manor, it is both the scene of the murder and the proposed jewel of gentrified Pitchlynn. For Colleen and the others, all of whom seek healing, the estate comes to embody various paths to redemption—whether razed, restored to a perceived greatness, or stripped of all recognition.

ABOUT ODIE LINDSEY

Odie Lindsey is the author of We Come to Our Senses: Stories. He received an NEA-funded fellowship for veterans, holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

ABOUT CHANELLE BENZ

Chanelle Benz has published work in Guernica, Granta.com, The New York Times, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Fence, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. Her story collection The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead was published in 2017 by Ecco/HarperCollins. It was named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle and one of Electric Literature's 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Saroyan Prize and longlisted for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Story Prize. Her novel The Gone Dead was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2019 and was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and a Tonight Show Summer Reads Finalist. It was longlisted for the 2020 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and longlisted for the 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. It was also named a best new book of the summer by O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Southern Living, and Nylon. She lives in Memphis where she teaches at Rhodes College.

Susan Cerulean with I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird, Moderated by Diane Roberts

Friday, August 7th at 6:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

Join Midtown Reader for an evening with Susan Cerulean, author of the new memoir, I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird. Susan will be in conversation with writer and FSU English professor Diane Roberts.

About I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird

Susan Cerulean's memoir trains a naturalist's eye and a daughter's heart on the lingering death of a beloved parent from dementia. At the same time, the book explores an activist's lifelong search to be of service to the embattled natural world. During the years she cared for her father, Cerulean also volunteered as a steward of wild shorebirds along the Florida coast. Her territory was a tiny island just south of the Apalachicola bridge where she located and protected nesting shorebirds, including least terns and American oystercatchers. I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird weaves together intimate facets of adult caregiving and the consolation of nature, detailing Cerulean's experiences of tending to both.

About the Author

Susan Cerulean is a writer, naturalist, and activist based in Tallahassee, Florida. Her nature memoir Tracking Desire: A Journey after Swallow-tailed Kites (Georgia) was named an Editors' Choice title by Audubon magazine. Her many other books include UnspOILed: Writers Speak for Florida's Coast, coedited with Janisse Ray and A. James Wohlpart, and Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf, coedited with Janisse Ray and Laura Newton. She is a founding member and former director of the Red Hills Writers Project and was named Environmental Educator of the Year by the Governor's Council for a Sustainable Florida.

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer with The Big Book of Modern Fantasy

Tuesday, August 11th at 7:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

 

Join Midtown Reader for a conversation with Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, editors of the new anthology The Big Book of Modern Fantasy. Ann and Jeff will be joined by several of the book's contributors, including authors Victor LaValle, Sheree Renee Thomas, and Kelly Link, with Matt Cheney moderating the panel.

To purchase the book, stop in Tues-Sat from 10am-4pm (don't forget your mask!), call us at (850) 425-2665 to reserve your copy, or shop the book online.

ABOUT THE BOOK


From Ann and Jeff VanderMeer comes a true horde of tales sure to delight fans, scholars, and even the greediest of dragons. Step through a shimmering portal...a worn wardrobe door...a schism in the sky...into a bold new age of fantasy, when worlds beyond worlds became a genre unto itself. From the swinging sixties to the strange, strange seventies, the over-the-top eighties to the gnarly nineties and into the twenty-first century, the VanderMeers have found the stories and the writers from around the world that reinvented and revitalized the fantasy genre after World War II. The stories in this collection represent twenty-two different countries, including Russia, Argentina, Nigeria, Columbia, Pakistan, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, China, the Philippines, and the Czech Republic. Five have never before been translated into English.

From Jorge Luis Borges to Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Moorcock to Angela Carter, Terry Pratchett to Stephen King, the full range and glory of the fantastic are on display in these ninety-one stories in which dragons soar, giants stomp, and human children should still think twice about venturing alone into the dark forest.

Completing Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's definitive The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, this companion volume to takes the genre into the twenty-first century with ninety-one astonishing, mind-bending stories.

Kate Greene with Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars

Thursday, August 13th at 6:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

 

Join Midtown Reader and the Challenger Learning Center for a conversation with Kate Greene, author of Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth. To order the book, stop in Tuesday -Saturday from 10am-4pm, give us a call at 850-425-2665, or shop the book online.

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

In Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth, trained laser physicist, poet, and essayist Kate Greene explores her time as a crew member for NASA’s Mars analog—a project called HI-SEAS—where her mission’s main goal was to test food systems as well as other social and psychological strains over the two-and-a-half-year journey. But it was not only food experiments that took place during four isolated months in 2013, where Kate called a dome on the Hawai’ian volcano of Mauna Loa, situated at 8,000 feet above sea level, home base. Kate and her fellow “astronauts” lived and breathed other research studies: assessing anti-microbial clothing; tracking sleep patterns; and documenting the way isolation affects stress, health, and social interactions.

The essays in Once Upon a Time I Lived on M
ars are shaped by Kate’s relationships with the scientists who created HISEAS, her crewmates, her family, and friends back home. It’s informed by personal reflection as well as by literature, film, history, philosophy, and scientific research.

Kate Greene was the crew writer and second-in-command on a simulated Mars mission for the NASA-funded HI-SEAS project. She is a former laser physicist, poet, and essayist whose work has appeared in Wired, The Economist, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Slate, Discover, Science News, and other publications. She has taught writing at Vanderbilt University, San Francisco State University, and the Tennessee Prison for Women. She currently lives in New York City where she is a teaching fellow in the writing department at Columbia University.

Gregory Benford & Larry Niven with Glorious

Thursday, August 20th at 6:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

Join Midtown Reader for a conversation with sci-fi power duo Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, authors of GLORIOUS, the climactic conclusion to the NYT bestselling BOWL OF HEAVEN series.

To order the book, stop in Tues-Sat from 10am-4pm, give us a call at 850-425-2665, or shop online.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Written by highly-acclaimed, multi-award-winning authors Gregory Benford (TIMESCAPE) and Larry Niven (RINGWORLD), GLORIOUS concludes the BOWL OF HEAVEN series praised by Booklist as "a solid adventure and entertaining speculation on the lives of alien creatures."

In the journey that began with the New York Times bestseller, BOWL OF HEAVEN and its sequel, SHIPSTAR, audacious astronauts encounter bizarre, sometimes deadly life forms, and strange, exotic, cosmic phenomena, including miniature black holes, dense fields of interstellar plasma, powerful gravity-emitters, and spectacularly massive space-based, alien built labyrinths. The alien civilization is far more advanced than our own, and difficult for our astronauts to comprehend. The astronauts must explore and document this brave, new, highly dangerous world, while also dealing with their own personal triumphs and conflicts--their loves and jealousies, joys and disappointments.

Gregory Benford is a recipient of the United Nations Medal for Literature, and the author of more than twenty novels, including the Nebula Award-winning TIMESCAPE. He is an astrophysicist and plasma physicist at the University of California.

Larry Niven is the award-winning author of the RINGWORLD series, along with many other SFF masterpieces. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors.

Midtown Reader Book Club Discusses Trust Exercise

Wednesday, August 26th at 6:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

Buy the Book

Midtown Reader Book Club meets every month, with staff or members of the community leading discussion. ALL are welcome! Each month, book club books are available for purchase at a 10% discount; call us at (850) 425-2665 to reserve yours or shop our web store.

ABOUT THE BOOK

National bestseller & Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction

"Electrifying" (People) - "Masterly" (The Guardian) - "Dramatic and memorable" (The New Yorker) - "Magic" (TIME) - " Ingenious" (The Financial Times) - A gonzo literary performance" (Entertainment Weekly) - "Rare and splendid" (The Boston Globe) - "Remarkable" (USA Today) - "Delicious" (The New York Times) - "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school's walls--until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true--though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place--revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

Michael Ray Taylor with Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves

Thursday, August 27th at 6:00 PM EDT

Online via Zoom | Click here to register

Join Midtown Reader for a conversation with journalist and caver Michael Ray Taylor, author of Hidden Nature: Wild Southern Caves. Michael will be in conversation with local caver and naturalist Allen Mosler.

To order the book, stop in Tues-Sat from 10am-4pm, give us a call at 850-425-2665, or shop online.

ABOUT THE BOOK


HIDDEN NATURE tells the story of a vast underground wilderness that underlies the American South. Beyond describing the majesty of the region’s wild caves and the concurrent joys and dangers of exploring them, Michael Ray Taylor examines their scientific import, their relationship to clean water, and their uncertain future.

The book also contains several chapters set in and around Tallahassee, where Taylor began caving in 1979 with the Florida State Cave Club (now the Flint River Grotto). HIDDEN NATURE is memoir mixed with science, a compelling a personal narrative of the author’s long attraction to these caves and the people who dare enter their hidden chambers.

Michael Ray Taylor is the author of several nonfiction books, including HIDDEN NATURE, CAVE PASSAGES, DARK LIFE, CAVES: Exploring Hidden Realms, and THE CAT MANUAL (a humorous ebook).

As a journalist, Mike has written about science and exploration for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Houston Chronicle, Wired, Outside, Reader’s Digest, Audubon, and many other print and digital publications. By day he is a journalism professor who chairs the communication and theatre arts department at Henderson State University in Arkansas, but his personal enthusiasm for underground life has led him to collaborate with scientists from NASA and other research centers in various scientific studies.

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