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George Saunders

Book Squad Podcast 010: The Intestinal Issue? Also, Zora Neale Hurston!

Book Squad Podcast 010: The Intestinal Issue? Also, Zora Neale Hurston!

Once a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic in She Said/She Said, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, and beyond. Listen to the latest episode:

Bookish News:

HUGO Awards — women kicked butt!
N.K. Jemisin is the second woman to win two years in a row in a quarter century!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and The Hate U Give are being made into movies. Find out more info here.

 

Two Book Minimum:

Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard (2017)
Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2012)
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw (2017)
Uptown Thief by Aya De Leon (2016) from the Justice Hustlers series

bonus: Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2012)


She Said/She Said: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

In honor of the upcoming KU Black Love Symposium, which celebrates the 80th anniversary of Their Eyes Were Watching God, we wanted to join in on the excitement and discuss this beautiful classic!

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel and the best known work by African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. The novel narrates main character Janie Crawford’s “ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.”[NEA] As a young woman, who is fair-skinned with long hair, she expects more out of life, but comes to realize she has to find out about life ‘fuh theyselves’ (for herself), just as people can only go-to-God for themselves. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel was initially poorly received for its rejection of racial uplift literary prescriptions. Today, it has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African-American literature and women’s literature. TIME included the novel in its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. [More info]


Upcoming Events:


 

This episode was produced by Jim Barnes in the Sound & Vision studio.

You can find the Book Squad Podcast on iTunesStitcher, or SoundCloud. Please subscribe and leave us comments – we’d love to know what you think, and your comments make it easier for other people to find our podcast. Happy reading and listening! xo, Polli & Kate

George Saunders is our 2017 Beach Author!

Get ready for this year’s “matterlightblooming phenomenon” (read the book to find out what that means!) — Lincoln in the Bardo author George Saunders is our 2017 Ross & Marianna Beach Series pick!

Saunders will visit Lawrence on TuesdayOctober 10 at 7 PM at Liberty Hall in partnership with the University of Kansas Libraries and presented as part of the Libraries Love Lawrence initiative. Doors will open at 6 PM. A book signing follows the program and Raven Bookstore will sell copies of Mr. Saunders’ books.

The program is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

“George Saunders is a literary master at his peak,” said Brad Allen, Lawrence Public Library executive director. “He is a New York Times bestselling author, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner, and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.”

Best known as a master of the short story, Saunders published his first novel in February 2017. Lincoln in the Bardo debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and tells the story of Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie, who died in 1862. A grief-stricken Lincoln visits the crypt several times to hold his son’s body. That event inspired Saunders to set his novel in the bardo—a Tibetan purgatory—populated by bickering spirits that are both hilarious and terrifying. This month the book was one of 13 novels to earn a place on the prestigious Man Booker Prize longlist.

Following his public program at Liberty Hall, Saunders will visit KU on October 11 for a conversation with students on his creative writing process. “What an incredible opportunity for our students to learn from one of America’s most accomplished authors,” said Kevin Smith, Dean of KU Libraries. “We are honored to partner with Lawrence Public Library on this project.”


ABOUT THE SERIES

A gift to our community from the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation, this special series brings a prominent author to Lawrence each year. The series debuted in 2014 with National Book Award winner James McBride, followed by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Karen Russell (2015) and Pulitzer prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks (2016). The Libraries Love Lawrence initiative is a partnership of Lawrence Public Library and KU Libraries that works to build a stronger, more efficient and engaged library presence in Lawrence.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Andreas Laszlo Konrath for GQ Magazine

Crypt Lit

Where does one store a souvenir Abraham Lincoln beard?  I bought mine years ago on a road trip with my father to see Lincoln historic sites in Springfield, Illinois, but I’ve never known what to do with it. After I was told to stop wearing it to work every day, I tried hanging it up with my ball caps for a while, but it got in the way. Then I tried my underwear drawer, but that was way too weird.

It finally found a home among my much neglected neckties, which makes sense because I inherited most of those from my dad, and I only keep the beard around as a memento of him. On the last day of our trip we visited Lincoln’s tomb, an impressive bastion of granite, marble, and bronze, beneath which the president lies with Mary Todd and three of their four sons: Tad, Edward, and Willie. This place was heaven for us, since my dad also left me his gene for walking battlefields, reading gravestones, and pondering the life of Honest Abe. Read More..