Monday, April 02, 2012
Sunday marked the beginning of National Poetry Month, and what better way to celebrate than with a look ahead to the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, scheduled for April 20-22 in Salem? The full schedule of readings, workshops, and events for families and children is now available online--take a look, pre-register for sessions, and get your festival button now!
And, if you'd like to celebrate National Poetry Month all April long, check out Mass Poetry's 2012 Common Threads group reading and discussion program. You can download everything you need to facilitate or participate in a poetry discussion group here. Why not put novels on hold for a month and have your book group read and discuss poetry instead? You can even organize a trip to Salem on April 21 to meet the living poets whose work is included in the Common Threads program!
On a more somber note, last week the poetry world lost one of its treasures, Adrienne Rich. Take some time this April to get to know this talented poet, essayist, activist, and former Massachusetts resident, if you don't already. Her poem "What Kind of Times Are These" is a good place to start.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Are the walls of your office cube closing in on you? Have you spent one too many evenings at home with the cat? If you've got cabin fever, we've got the cure.The Boston Book Festival, along with our partners 90.9 WBUR and The Drum literary magazine, presents Lounge Lit, a new series of literary outings at the hip (and aptly named!) Think Tank in Cambridge.
ZIP Code Stories Live: Thursday, February 16, 6pm-8pm
Inspired by the popular Radio Boston series, we're bringing together Boston-area authors Holly LeCraw, Steve Macone, and Dawn Tripp to read very short stories inspired by Boston-area ZIP codes. Attendees can also sign up at the door for a chance to represent their neighborhood and read their own 500-word ZIP code stories during our open mic. Hosted by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum, and Anthony Brooks, co-host of Radio Boston.
Literary Trivia Night: Thursday, March 8, 6pm-8pm
Do you know your assonance from your alliteration? Do you know the difference between Invisible Man and The Invisible Man? Join some other notable know-it-alls--Chris Castellani, Jennifer Haigh, Andrew McAfee, and Christina Thompson--in a fierce and wickedly funny battle for literary trivia supremacy, hosted by WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti. Sign up at the door for your chance to participate, or just sit back and watch our teams duke it out!
Readings with a Twist: Thursday, April 19, 6pm-8pm
If you're tired of the same old literary reading scene, imagine how the authors must feel! We're going to shake things up by inviting some up-and-coming literary talent (including Busy Monsters author William Giraldi) and mixing them with some professional readers (includingRadio Boston's Adam Ragusea). You'll never hear dialogue the same way again! Dramatic, funny, confrontational, unexpected--no matter what, it's sure to be fantastic.
Tickets for each event--which go to support the Boston Book Festival and The Drum and include complimentary appetizers and beer or wine--are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Click here for all the details.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Searching for the perfect gift for the holidays? Or maybe just a good book to help you get through the dark, cold winter ahead? I've asked Boston Book Festival staff to weigh in on the best books they read in 2011. Given our opinionated staff and eclectic tastes, there's bound to be something here for everyone on your list--even yourself!
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Picking favorite books from among the BBF 2011 list is a little like saying which of your children you love best. Having said that, The Cat's Table was indeed a favorite!
The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe
I was not familiar with Jonathan Coe before 2011, but I'm glad I discovered him this year.
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
There But for The by Ali Smith
Loaded with wordplay and whimsy, experimental in form, this novel by Whitbread Award-winner Smith is a great choice for anyone who enjoyed Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad.
The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt
Perhaps the most intellectual--but no less heartwrenching--breakup novel ever, this is the story of Mia, who retreats from the fallout of her marriage to small-town Minnesota, where she connects with communities of women and girls even as she considers the philosophical, historical, and literary underpinnings of heterosexual romance.
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
I've been fascinated by typefaces ever since my own publishing internship more than a decade ago; Garfield's latest explores the history and variety, as well as the uses (and misuses) of typefaces from Gutenberg to the present.
Little, Big by John Crowley
This unbelievably lovely American fantasy novel celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2011, and it still deserves to be read by a wider audience. A wholly original conception of fairyland, a reservoir of lyrical language, a meditation on marriage and family life--Little, Big is a genuine treasure.
The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
I've been reading a lot of Barbara Kingsolver this year. These books are a pair (not quite a series, since it's only two). They are about a young woman who buys a car and leaves her small hometown to reinvent herself. Along the way, she adopts a young Cherokee girl and finds that she needs to reinvent both of them. The stories are complex, entirely plausible, and immediately emotionally involving.
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Don't Kill the Birthday Girl by Sandra Beasley
With more and more signs popping up at eating establishments concerning allergies, Beasley's memoir about her allergic life seems incredibly well timed. She elegantly balances personal anecdotes with historical and medical research concerning allergies to give a taste of what it's like to be an allergic child, or even adult. Contrary to the humor in the book, Beasley is sure to show that this is no laughing matter, that sometimes lives depend on avoiding some peanut dust.
We the Animals by Justin Torres
In his slim, abstract debut novel, Torres tells the story of a group of brothers growing up in upstate New York. He effectively uses the plural narrator "we" to communicate the boys as a collective, banded together against the world. At times it is funny or sentimental, and other moments are downright heartbreaking. The brevity of sentences and the novel as a whole packs a punch that will leave a memorable mark.
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
A somewhat ignored Faulknerian text, this fast-paced noir thriller from seventy years ago reads as dark and quick as ever in the present day. In a quest for the truth, different accounts of the same evening are given until slowly the pieces begin to come together concerning the tragic ingenue Temple Drake. Even with grungy characters and circumstances, Faulkner's lyrical prose reads lovely and harrowing as he plays with time and perspective in one of his most controversial works.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
It was a real "must read" this year, and it's always nice when you actually enjoy reading must reads!
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Eugenides is just such a great writer.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
At first I was dubious of the novel and its structure, since Chip moves so far away, and so soon, but at the end all I could say was, "Touché, Franzen. Touché."
Evening by Susan Minot
Subtle, alluring and strange.
Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
Way better than On the Road and, in my opinion, the best book he ever wrote.
Joe College by Tom Perrotta
It's one of Perotta's lesser-known books, but it's impossible not to relate to the main character, Danny. Entertaining read.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Malls and TV stations are already eager to remind us that the holidays are just around the corner. Here at BBF HQ, we want to make sure you have something for all the book lovers on your holiday gift list, and that's why we've just re-launched our store with all your favorite BBF merchandise, including many of your favorites, as well as this year's popular t-shirts, tote bags, and commemorative poster. Do all your shopping in one place, but do it quickly--orders must be received by December 13 to ensure Christmas delivery! Keep the BBF with you all through the year, with great gifts from our store!
Monday, November 07, 2011
When the morning dawned clear and sunny, we knew October 15 was going to be a great day. But with over one hundred world-class authors, dozens of thoughtful and stimulating presentations, and activities galore, how could BBF 2011 have been anything but wonderful?
Huge thanks are due to our amazing volunteers, our presenters, and our donors and sponsors for making the day so fantastic. We can't wait to do it again next year!
If you'd like to relive the day--or just check out what you missed--be sure to stop by our archives page, where you can find audio and video of selected sessions.
And if you'd like to help ensure the future of BBF 2012 and beyond, please consider donating to the Boston Book Festival. Your gift is tax-deductible, and a donation of $50 or more makes you a member of the BBF and offers benefits throughout the year.
Don't be a stranger to our website this year! We'll be re-launching our online store soon, and we're planning some great events for 2012, as well!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Did you love BBF 2011? Are you full of ideas to make next year even better?
Here's your chance to share your feedback via our survey, and maybe even win an iPad 2. We'll be giving away two to survey respondents on Friday, October 21!
Thanks for your feedback--see you next year!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
It's just around the corner . . . a full day jam-packed with presentations, discussions, workshops, activities, live music, fantastic food, and so much more! Excited yet? We sure are!
With over one hundred world-class presenters, BBF 2011 is bound to satisfy, but we have a few tips to help you make even more of the day.
Plan ahead. Check out our schedule grid online (it'll also be on a massive banner in Copley Square), plan your personal schedule for the day, and consider purchasing reserved tickets to secure your spot at our most popular sessions. Note that the vast majority of seats at every session are available for free on a first come first served basis--the choice is entirely up to you!
Print your tickets. If you do purchase advance tickets, be sure to print your e-tickets at home before heading out for the day!
T it, drive it, park it. Copley Square is just steps from the Copley T stop on the green line or a short walk from the Back Bay orange line/commuter rail station. Or, if you plan to drive, take advantage of the terrific parking deal from our friends at LAZ parking-just make sure to print your voucher before leaving home!
Dress for the weather. The BBF has dozens of great activities, indoors and out, but we all know that New England autumn is unpredictable at best. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly--the BBF proceeds, rain or shine!
Visit our booksellers. Book signings follow every session, thanks to our friends at Harvard Book Store, Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books, and Wellesley Booksmith! Their sales tables will be open in our venues all day--stop by, say hi, and buy a book or two!
Stop by the BBF Pavilion. Boston may be the hub of the universe, but the hub of Boston on Saturday will be the BBF Pavilion, located right in front of Trinity Church on Copley Square Plaza. It's the location of the main BBF info table, as well as all our cool new merchandise (you'll love this year's tote bags and commemorative posters!). Plus, our presenting partner WBUR 90.9, Boston's NPR News Station, will be there, as well as Google Books and the Brookline Booksmith.
Become our HERO. From sidekicks and villains to knights-errant and damsels in distress, literature is full of colorful archetypes. This year, we've made buttons that celebrate this tradition. Chances are, no matter your style or mood, there's an archetype button for you at the BBF Pavilion--pin one on and let everyone know how you fit in to the story! Everyone knows, though, that the most important character in any story is the hero--and you can be our hero by becoming a member! For a tax-deductible donation of $50 or more, you can become a member of the Boston Book Festival and receive terrific benefits throughout the year, including advance sales and discounts on ticketed events. Plus, you'll receive an exclusive, members-only Hero button that you can wear with pride at the BBF and all year long. Stop by the BBF Pavilion and learn how you can contribute to BBF's own "happily ever after."
Tweet it up! Follow us on @bostonbookfest for real-time updates and must-see events, and tweet about your experience at #BBF2011! You can even win some great prizes if you tweet by Friday night!
And most importantly, have fun! You'll be in the company of thousands of other book lovers at New England's largest literary event. Relax, take it all in, and enjoy this opportunity to mix and mingle with folks who love reading just as much as you do!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Boston Book Festival is now just days away. You can help us get the word out via Twitter--and maybe win something for yourself!
Invite your friends to events at the BBF via Twitter. Send a tweet mentioning the Festival using our hashtag #BBF2011 between now and 10pm on Friday, October 14. Our handle is @bostonbookfest and our main url is www.bostonbookfest.org.
We'll send the winner a direct message on Twitter Friday night or first thing Saturday, and you'll be able to pick up a great gift bag of BBF swag, including two reserved tickets to the keynote with Michael Ondaatje!
The more you tweet, the more chances you have to win!
Thursday, October 06, 2011
History buffs, rejoice! Whether your interest is in Boston's origins or in events more recent or farther afield, October 15's Boston Book Festival is jam-packed with sessions you'll love.
One of our marquee events this year is our panel on the Civil War (2:15pm, BBEC Hancock). We're observing the sesquicentennial of the War Between the States this year, and what better way to do that than by bringing together four of the biggest names in Civil War research and scholarship, on a panel moderated by Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed? Adam Goodheart dissects the moment just before war broke out in 1861: The Civil War Awakening, and Tony Horwitz examines the raid that sparked a conflagration in Midnight Rising. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and author of This Republic of Suffering will talk about the Civil War and the culture of death, and Charles Bracelen Flood, author of Grant's Final Victory, will look at the legacy of the great general.
Our True Story panel (2:30pm, BBEC Quincy) will take a tour through the centuries, from Emma Rothschild's exploration of the eighteenth century through the fortunes of one family in The Inner Life of Empires to Michael Willrich's consideration of the civil rights implications of early twentieth century smallpox vaccination in Pox and Mitchell Zuckoff's nearly unbelievable account of a World War II rescue mission in Lost in Shangri-La. Hosted by WBUR's Robin Young, this conversation showcases the versatility of nonfiction—and the rich variety of history.
Finally, if you'd like to prove your knowledge of history—especially as it relates to our hometown—stop by Trinity Church at 11am! New York Times best-selling author, Kenneth C. Davis will test festival attendees about Boston history. Davis will select quiz contestants from the audience for this interactive event to vie for prizes, Jeopardy®-style! Winners will receive free copies of Davis’s audios and books, as well as a $25 gift certificate to Brookline Booksmith!
Question: What famous Boston brewer was a leader of the Patriot cause?
(UPDATE: Congratulations to Lauren, Yvonne, Karen, Sarah, and Catrina--they got the right answer [Sam Adams!] to our trivia question!)
Sunday, October 02, 2011
October's here, and that means the Boston Book Festival is right around the corner! As you explore our new website and plan your schedule for the day, you've probably noticed one of the improvements we've added for 2011. For the first time, we're offering reserved seating for a portion of the seats in our most popular sessions.
Since this is a new feature, you might have some questions about how this will work. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions--and if you don't see your question answered here, feel free to contact us, too!
Q: Is reserved seating available for all sessions?
A: This year, reserved seating is only available for a portion of the seats in our most popular sessions, in our two biggest venues. You can see which sessions have this option by following the link to Reserved Seating or by looking for the Ticket buttons on our schedule grid.
Q: What other benefits are there to buying reserved seats in advance?A: Our reserved seating is at the front of the house, so you know you'll get a great seat! For events happening at Trinity Church, ticket holders will even have their own entrance so that they can bypass the lines and head straight to the front of the venue.
Q: I'm not sure I want to purchase reserved seating. Will I still be able to find a seat?
A: We can't guarantee anything; what we can say, however, is that at least 75 percent of the seats in these sessions will still be available absolutely FREE on a first-come, first-served basis, just like in the past. The choice is entirely yours!
Q: Will reserved seats be available for purchase in person on the day of the festival?
A: No-seating must be purchased in advance.
Q: What happens if all the reserved seats sell out? Should I even bother showing up?
A: Yes! Remember that 75+ percent of the seats in each session will still be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Q: I've ordered my tickets! What do I need to bring with me on the day of the festival?
A: E-tickets are the only option for our reserved seating sale. Print out the confirmation and e-ticket you received when you placed your order. Show it to one of our awesome volunteer ushers, who will direct you to the ticket holders' seating area.
Can't wait to see everyone on October 15!