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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Mental Floss co-founder to speak at SCAD tonight


Will Pearson, president of Mental Floss, quizzed Miriam Sokolo about whether a quote came from Angelina Jolie or Gandhi during the Decatur Book Festival. He's back tonight, at SCAD, up to his same quizzical tricks. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I had many favorite moments at last year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival — books! and people who like them! hooray! — but among the best was a session of good-natured, dry-humored, quiz-show fun courtesy of Will Pearson, co-founder of Mental Floss. Lucky us, he’s back in Atlanta tonight as part of SCAD’s Ivy Hall Writers Series, the very same one that brought Margaret Atwood to town last week, and bring Joel Cohen later this month.

Here’s an interview with Pearson by my colleague Jennifer Brett, who you can follow over at The Buzz. This ran in Tuesday’s print edition of the AJC:

Angelina Jolie. Mahatma Gandhi. Angelina. Gandhi. Who can tell them apart?

Actually, you’d be surprised how often they – or their pronouncements, at least – get …

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Salman Rushdie archive, lectures at Emory University

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Salman Rushdie and Emory English professor Deepika Bahri in Rushdie archive exhibition, "A World Mapped by Stories, " now on display at Emory's library. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

So what does a Knight Bachelor, Booker Prize-winning author, fatwa subject and ex-husband of Padma Lakshmi put on display when a university comes looking for the actual words and objects that have made up his life?

Now that Salman Rushdie’s archive is on display at Emory University, we can see: e-mails and letters from the past 30 years, old computers, calendars and journals, family records, photos and doodles.

The whole thing was curated by Emory Associate Professor of English and Director of Asian Studies Deepika Bahri, but I rather like Rushdie comment, made during a media tour attended by AJCer Katie Leslie:

“From the moment I agreed to do this, I knew it was going to be sort of embarrassing,” Rushdie said during a media tour of the exhibit. “The biggest issue for me in the whole discussion with …

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True Story! Reading Series talks nonfiction at Kavarna

For the crowd that loves to hang on “This American Life,” to read Sunday newspapers, to wish Cringe had a home here, there’s good news — Atlanta has its own informal non-fiction reading series. You just have to say it with a dramatic, movie trailer voice: “True Story!”


Kate Sweeney and Dionne Irving, obliging my request for a snapshot at Java Monkey in Decatur.

The series was started by two pals, Dionne Irving, a creative writing student at Georgia State University, and Kate Sweeney, a writer/teacher/radio producer. In its first month, nearly 50 people showed up to see three readers share artifacts from their pasts and pieces of non-fiction writing, whether  narrative, journalistic, essay, letter or poem. It matters only that it’s true.

The momentum kept up through the second reading by Dionne, Tom Bell of Decatur Book Festival fame and former AJCEr Kay Powell. Kavarna was packed, despite sharing a city and time slot with Neil Gaiman.

This month’s edition will be at 8 p.m. …

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Dr. Seuss exhibit to open at Breman Jewish Museum

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"Horton Hears a Who!" is part of the Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum's Dr. Seuss exhibition opening Feb. 14. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

Dr. Seuss’ style is unmistakable, and Ted Geisel is leaving a mark all over Atlanta the next few weeks.


Kids can relax and read among turtles in the Seuss exhibition.

The Cobb Symphony and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will both perform pieces inspired by the famous author-illustrator’s work in the next few weeks.

The great highlight, though, will be  new exhibition opening this weekend at The Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum shows his political cartooning, then dives into his famous artwork for children.

It has a tone far lighter than the heart-shaking Holocaust exhibition across the hall, but kids and adults can both get a lot out of it. The political cartoons are mostly signed “Tedd,” and show a developing style made famous by Horton and the Grinch.

The second half takes kids (and their nostalgic parents, too) …

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Atlanta ‘Big Read’ events to explore Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes’


The Big Read selection by the Margaret Mitchell House Literary Center

Time to pull out those copies of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” if you ever let them get buried in the bookshelf.

From an article by AJCer Howard Pousner:

The Atlanta History Center’s literary division has selected Hurston’s seminal 1937 novel for its second annual the Big Read event. Atlantans are encouraged to read the Harlem Renaissance writer’s most popular work between Jan. 30-March 16, whether solo or part of a book or discussion group.

The History Center is launching related programs (all of it free) beginning Feb. 17, from a Harlem Renaissance kick-off party to book readings and film showings.

The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative taken up every year by communities all over the United States. You might have read last year’s pick by the Margaret Mitchell House Literary Center, “The Great Gatsby.”

A quick search on the NEA’s Big Read community site

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Fans wait up to 7 hours to meet Neil Gaiman in Decatur


The view from the balcony at the Neil Gaiman reading at Agnes Scott College on Dec. 14. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

UPDATE, 4:50 p.m. 12/15: Here’s Little Shop’s thank-you post for Neil Gaiman.

How devoted are Neil Gaiman’s Atlanta fans? Well, devoted enough to lure him here with  a fabulous party at Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories, devoted enough to stand in line for free tickets and devoted enough still to wait up to seven hours at Agnes Scott College to get his signature inside a book.



I did not wait so long for a signature, but I was there last night, along with 1,000 or so people, for his reading. Gaiman is an unusually entertaining reader — yes, he does voices! — and even as he read from children’s books “Odd and the Frost Giants“and “The Graveyard Book,” it felt like storytime for grown-ups.

Which is good, considering that he signed the last book around 1:15 a.m., then caught an early flight to Winnipeg, where another store (and another giddy audience) waited.

Here’s …

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100 more Neil Gaiman-in-Decatur tickets available Dec. 7

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Inside Little Shop of Stories in Decatur last holiday season. It's busier this year — an upcoming appearance by author Neil Gaiman helps, too. AJC file photo

When Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur opened its doors on Monday, there was a line 100 deep for tickets to author Neil Gaiman’s Dec. 14 book signing.

I’ll say it again: about 100 people waited in line for tickets to a book signing. That’s awesome!

But if you weren’t one of the lucky 500 to get a free tickets to the event, which will be held at Agnes Scott College’s Presser Hall, you have another chance on Monday. The store has 100 left that they’ll give away to those who stop by or call on Dec. 7. Newsy Detached Understatement Alert: Tickets are  expected to go quickly.

More could come available if tickets reserved for the Agnes Scott crowd aren’t claimed, or if an overflow space opens up.

Gaiman doesn’t make many appearances in the Southeast (Oh, you wily understaments!)  but this is a special occasion: …

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A Cappella Books’ 20th anniversary hopefully won’t be last

It’s quite a year for indie book stores in Little Five Points. Charis Books and More recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, and A Cappella Books, its neighbor across Moreland, turns 20 on Dec. 1.

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Frank Reiss inside A Cappella Books in 2005. AJC file photo

A Cappella will celebrate with an ongoing 20 percent-off sale on used books, and two days of author events on Dec. 5-6 at Opal Gallery.

What kind of events? Two days of superstar local authors gushing about a book and author that influenced them. It’s not the usual reading or cocktail gathering, but it is the perfect way for the store to celebrate.

“If there’s something that’s defined us, what we’ve been about for 20 years, it’s been people who just really, really love books and get unreasonably passionate about it,” owner Frank Reiss said.

The lineup is tremendously fun, with names that readers of many ages and interests will recognize: Laurel Snyder, Hollis Gillespie, Jack Wilkinson and Jessica Handler are all on the …

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Neil Gaiman coming to Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories

UPDATE 11/17: Gaiman will be here at 6 p.m. Dec. 14. Location and details still be to determined.

Hard-to-get author Neil Gaiman is coming to Little Shop of Stories in Decatur in December.


Gaiman in 2005.

They haven’t announced a date for the visit, but say details will appear on their Book Blog later this week. (And hey, I’ll add them here!)

The kiddie book shop that adults love to love had to win a contest to nab the literary rock star and creator of “The Sandman”,”Coraline”, “Anansi Boys” and “The Graveyard Book,” among other works.

Their charge: host a killer Halloween party, and send proof of said killer party to Harper Collins.

You read that right — the more awesome your party, they more fun comes your way. Why doesn’t the world always work like this?

As told in the Little Shop of Stories blog:

We tried our darnest to get Neil Gaiman to come to the AJC Decatur Book Festival this year.  There was an e-mail campaign.  We contacted people we knew at Harper Collins.  We …

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INTERVIEW: Children’s book author Margie Palatini

Every year since 1982, elementary school students in Atlanta and Fulton County vote for their favorite living author, one who is willing to accept the honor and visit them in Atlanta.

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Palatini's "Lousy Rotton Stinkin' Grapes."

They’ve got fabulous taste: Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Jerry Spinelli and Laura Numeroff. Last year, their choice for the Milner Award was David Shannon, author and illustrator of the “No, David!” series. (Here’s a full list of Milner Award winners.)

And for 2009, it’s Margie Palatini, a writer from New Jersey who got into children’s books thinking she’d be an illustrator, but quickly fell in love with words. Since then, she has published picture books like “Lousy Stinkin’ Rotton Grapes”,”Piggie Pie!” and “Zak’s Lunch,” and novels like “Geek Chic: The Zoey Zone.” She spoke to school groups today, and will give a presentation at the Ocee Library in Johns Creek on Saturday.

She usually tells the story behind the story in one of her books. She’s …

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