There’s nothing quite like reading a book and then meeting its author. Coming face-to-face with the creator can deepen your connection to the work, offer new context, and perhaps even make you a new friend. After all, if you’re a fan of an author’s text, you’re likely (but certainly not guaranteed) to like them as a person, and vice versa. This month there are numerous opportunities to meet up-and-coming literary figures in Ulster County.
Golden Notebook has so far announced three meet-the-author events to be hosted in Woodstock at Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery, where Tinker Street ends at Bearsville Center. James Hannaham and Mike Albo are February’s first featured writers, appearing together on Sun. Feb. 12 at 2pm. Hannaham’s unforgettably named novel Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta is the story of a trans woman struggling to navigate a life complicated by crime, and has drawn praise for its sharp, witty prose and epic Brooklyn backdrop. Albo’s Another Dimension of Us is more fanciful, and has been described as “The Breakfast Club meets Stranger Things”, with a love story featuring trans-dimensional travel.
On Sat. Feb. 25 at 2pm, Golden Notebook will present Peter Blauner, a New York Times bestselling author with a new book: Picture in the Sand: A Novel. It’s a tale of romance and heartbreak which Stephen King lauded as reminding him “why I fell in love with storytelling in the first place.” The following day, Sun. Feb. 26 at 2pm, Jean Beagin’s Big Swiss will be in the spotlight, with a story that starts in a place many of us locals can relate to: An old Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, NY which is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees.
On Mon., Feb. 13, at 5pm, Rough Draft will showcase three local authors: Avgi Saketopoulou, Kerri Schlotman and Kathleen Fern Suess. Psychoanalyst Saketopoulou’s Sexuality Beyond Consent is a radical rethinking of how sexual trauma might be handled, with heterodox views on our current culture of “traumatophilia”. Schlotman is the author of Tell Me One Thing, which juxtaposes power and privilege with struggle and strife in a story set in New York City, spanning several decades. Tablecloth Nights is the latest book from Suess, a reflection on being brought up Irish Catholic around alcoholism and shame.
There will be a fundraiser to support the Beacon Prison Books Project on Thu. Feb. 9 at Quinn’s, a cool, cultured restaurant and music venue in Beacon. The project supplies postcards to the incarcerated upon which inmates write requests for books or book recommendations, which the organization then does its best to provide. A $20 donation gets you a free beer and performances from Martin Courtney of the band Real Estate, singer/songwriter Tami Hart, and DJ Sarah Van Buren.
For history buffs, check out a lecture at Kingston’s Hudson River Maritime Museum on Tue. Feb. 7 with author Daniel S. Levy. He’ll be talking about the Great Fire of 1835, as chronicled in his book Manhattan Phoenix. The fire consumed nearly 700 lower Manhattan structures and had a large impact on how the city evolved into a full-blown metropolis.
Ulster County Book Clubs in February
If you’ve made it this far, you must love to read. In addition to special author events, a number of Ulster County venues hold regular monthly book clubs. Here’s a selection along with information on which books are being read this month:
Town of Esopus Library
Thu. Feb. 2 @ 7pm
Half Moon Rondout Cafe (presented by Kingston Library)
Sat. Feb. 4 @ 3pm
The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
Elting Book Club
Mon. Feb. 6 @ 4pm
Growing Up Getty: The Story of America’s Most Unconventional Dynasty by James Reginato
Fri. Feb. 10 @ 3pm
Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
Sat. Feb. 11 @ 12pm
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Saugerties Public Library
Wed. Feb. 15th @ 3pm
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
Fri. Feb. 16 @ 4:30pm
Tue. Feb. 21 @ 6pm
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt