Baldwin to be honored in N.H.
Novelist, essayist, poet, and activist James Baldwin called MacDowell Colony, a storied writer and artist residency in Peterborough, N.H., his “favorite sanctuary for writing.” MacDowell, which has been in operation for 111 years, recently announced that it will name its library after Baldwin with a ceremony taking place Sunday morning at 11 at the institution.
Baldwin had three residencies at MacDowell, where he worked on “Giovanni’s Room’’ (Everyman’s Library) and “Notes of a Native Son’’ (Beacon). The library is home to more than 15,000 books, films, musical scores, and visual art created by MacDowell fellows, which include luminaries like Aaron Copland, Willa Cather, Alice Walker, and Louise Erdich, among many others.
Kevin Young, poetry editor of The New Yorker and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which houses the archive of Baldwin’s personal papers, will speak at the ceremony, alongside Florence Ladd, a writer, former MacDowell fellow, and an overseer at the MFA in Boston. For more information visit macdowellcolony.org.
‘Women of Southie’: a different Bulger tale
Though he just died last week James “Whitey’’ Bulger will likely remain a presence in the city for years to come. In “Women of Southie: Finding Resilience During Whitey Bulger’s Infamous Reign’’ (Changing Lives), Phyllis Karas and Anna Weeks tell the harrowing stories of six women, describing their lives, hardships, and triumphs in the neighborhood when the gangster and his drug business were at the height of their influence. The pages are filled with consistent grit: all sorts of addictions, horrific abuse (Weeks, the wife of Bulger lieutenant Kevin Weeks, was during her prior marriage beaten over the head with a telephone receiver, slashed across the palm with a machete), as well as demoralizing emotional indignities. And these stories underscore the strength of these women struggling to earn degrees, raise children, and rise above limited options and their own bad choices. This portrait of Southie, of Boston is gripping, sad, redemptive. Karas will read and discuss the book next Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 pm at the Hingham Barnes & Noble.
Keener to discuss “Budapest’
In her tense and atmospheric thriller,“Strangers in Budapest’’ (Algonquin), just out in paperback, local author Jessica Keener deposits us in post-communist Hungary as we follow Will and Annie, a couple who just moved to the city from Boston, and their entanglements with a World War II vet seeking revenge for the death of his daughter. Keener establishes a definitive sense of time and place, makes a sensitive portrait of expat life, and examines ideas of what we lose, where we find home, and how love can and cannot survive. Keener will read and discuss the novel, her second, on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the South End branch of the Boston Public Library.
“Evening in Paradise: More Stories’’ by Lucia Berlin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“Half-Hazard: Poems’’ by Kristen Tracy (Graywolf)
“The Making of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’ ’’ by Daisy Hay (Bodleian)
Pick of the week
Gwendolyn Baltera at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset recommends “Spinning Silver’’ by Naomi Novik (Del Rey): “Naomi Novik has a beautiful recreation of a story that at its core holds Rumplestiltskin, but with its many voices from different walks of life, contains something new. It has one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read in a while, adeptly bringing together the competing desires of the characters, all of whom you as reader are hoping will achieve their goals.”
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