In a post earlier this week I wrote about the Speed Dating with Massachusetts Authors event during the Massachusetts Library Association conference last week, but only got to describe part of it. So here’s the second post about this wicked fun event – organized and hosted by the Massachusetts Center for the Book – which is always my favorite part of the library conference.
The young adult novel Being Henry David by first-time author Cal Armistead is set in Concord, Mass., the site of Walden Pond made famous by Henry David Thoreau. A Boston teen wakes up in Boston not knowing where he comes from or even his own name, and flees to Concord, where he calls himself “Henry David” after the author of Walden, the book he had waken up holding. “Thoreau keeps coming back as a spirit guide for him,” the author explained during her speed date with our table.
The Massachusetts co-author of Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led Her to Redemption, Lawrence “Larry” Lindner, was a dog person not a horse person but was still captivated by the story of Michigan resident Jo Anne Normile who was converted from being a successful and fanatical breeder and owner of racehorses to rescuing injured racehorses and questioning the entire horse racing industry.
Randy Susan Meyers is a high-energy personality and a lot of fun. She obviously has a serious side, though, because, as she said, her novels “tend to deal with family dysfunction.” Accidents of Marriage, her third and latest, is no exception, being about a family in turmoil when Madeline, mother of three, is gravely injured by her husband Ben. Randy Susan Meyers is also the author of two previous novels, The Murderer’s Daughters and The Comfort of Lies.
Against Football by Steve Almond is a contender in the nonfiction category of the Massachusetts Book Awards for books published in 2014. The author of Candyfreak, a lighthearted look at his lifelong candy addiction, gets serious here by laying out his reasons for deciding he can no longer, in good conscience, continue to be the rabid football fan he had been for years, because of the risk of brain injury to the players. “When your brain is gone, you’re gone,” he told us. “There’s no helmet that will fix physics.”
Richard “Rich” Michelson has published several collections of poetry – his latest is More Money Than God – and several children’s picture books – the most recent is S Is for Sea Glass – so he talked a little about both when he visited our table. “My books are not all still in print,” he said. “Thank God for libraries.” (Playing to the audience, but we loved it.) Rich Michelson said he often visits schools to talk with students about race and diversity, poetry, or other topics.
Thank you to the Massachusetts Center for the Book for bringing Speed Dating with Massachusetts Authors to the conference again this year!
Sadly, the Massachusetts Center for the Book is once again having to struggle for its annual funding, as the state budget works its way through the House and Senate. It’s strange, in a state that prides itself on being so literate and smart, that we can’t stabilize funding for our Center for the Book as so many other states have. (There is a Center for the Book in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.)
How can you help? If you’re a Massachusetts resident, please call your state senator today and ask him/her to sign on to Sen. Jennifer Flanagan’s amendment 137 to fund budget line 7000-9508, Massachusetts Center for the Book:
This amendment matches the allocation in the House budget. If passed it would mean that MCB could hire a program coordinator so that its director was able to focus on developing new projects, securing new collaborations, and raising the funds needed to realize the potential of an organization charged with developing, supporting, and promoting cultural programming to enhance library outreach and to advance the cause of lifelong literacy.
Not sure how to contact your state senator? Check out CapWiz through the Massachusetts Library Association, which makes it really easy!