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Liza F. Carter’s portraits of Mongolia

An image from “Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family.”

An image from “Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family.”

Portraits of Mongolia

Trained as an environmental scientist, Concord resident Liza F. Carter was a stay-at-home mom in 1997 when she was invited to go on a trip to Mongolia. She jumped at the opportunity. She and her scientist friend didn’t find the endangered two-humped camels he wanted to study, but the trip changed Carter’s life and led to her documentary photography book, “Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family” (Saltwind).

A painter and photographer, Carter was captivated by the warmth and openness of the Mongolian people and fascinated by their tradition of nomadic herding, a tradition threatened by changing weather patterns and lifestyles. In the increasingly frequent extra-harsh winters, more animals, unable to reach the grasses buried under deep snow, are dying of starvation. In addition, more young people are moving to cities. Of the 20 or so children Carter photographed for her book, only two have chosen to be nomadic herders.

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Though an academic press agreed to publish the book, Carter became frustrated by the continual delays so she struck out on her own, raising nearly $15,000 in a Kickstarter campaign.

She’s giving two talks this month. At 7 p.m. Thursday at the Concord Art Association, she will focus on the artistic and practical concerns associated with creating and publishing a book like hers. Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers. At 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Concord Free Public Library, she will share images from Mongolia.

Jhumpa Lahiri returns to BU

There will be plenty to discuss when Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri returns to her alma mater, Boston University, on Feb. 19. Late last month, during a panel discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, Lahiri called the dearth of translated works available in the United States “shameful,” according to a story in The Guardian. Lahiri, who lives in Rome, added, “I was looking at [an Italian paper’s] 10 best books of the year, and they chose seven books written in English. This was astonishing to me . . . I can’t imagine The New York Times ever choosing seven books written in a language other than English as their choices.”

After she reads from her work, Lahiri will be in conversation onstage with Daphne Kalotay, a fellow novelist and friend from their years in graduate school at BU. Lahiri, born in London and raised in Rhode Island, has written a number of works of fiction about Indian immigration and the challenge of assimilating into American culture. The event starts at 7 p.m. in BU’s Morse Auditorium.

Writer nominated for Agatha Awards

Mystery writer Barbara Ross, who divides her time between Somerville and Boothbay Harbor, Maine, has been nominated for two Agatha Awards. The nominees are “Clammed Up” (Kensington), the first in her series of Maine Clambake mysteries, and “Bread Baby,” a story in “Stone Cold” (Level Best), the 2014 edition of Best New England Crime Stories. The winners will be announced on May 3 at Malice Domestic’s annual gathering of mystery fans.

Coming out

 “Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir”by Penelope Lively (Viking)

 “The Counterfeit Agent” by Alex Berenson (Putnam)

 “The Forever Girl”by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)

Pick of the week

Tova Beiser of Brown University Bookstore in Providence recommends “This Dark Road to Mercy” by Wiley Cash (Morrow): “While the nation is consumed by the competition between home-run hitters Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, two young girls in North Carolina are approached by their estranged ex-baseball player father, and their court-appointed guardian becomes alarmed as a sinister man reveals himself. Told in alternating voices, this spellbinding novel is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s dark, spare work.”

Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.
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