January Author Talks at Village Books

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Submitted by Village Books

Another year has come and gone. Whether you need to replenish your reading list or start a new one, Village Books has countless titles to pique your interest and keep you reading all winter – and year – long. And, what’s more, throughout the entire month of January, Village Books will be hosting local and visiting authors. Learn more about titles you love, or discover new reads while attending one of Village Books’ many scheduled January author talks.

Friday, Jan. 2, 7:00 p.m.
Susan Middleton, Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, The Backbone of Life

Marine invertebrates make up more than ninety-eight percent of the known animal species in the ocean, yet they remain elusive to most of us. Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, The Backbone of Life by pioneering nature photographer Susan Middleton blends science and art to reveal the hidden beauty and remarkable biodiversity of sea creatures without backbones. The result of seven years of fieldwork across the Pacific Ocean, and showcasing the photographic techniques Middleton has developed over the past three decades, this volume presents more than 250 portraits of rarely or never-before-seen ocean dwellers. Middleton visually isolates each creature she photographs to best capture its individual character and to spotlight the dazzling natural blueprints inherent in the marine invertebrate realm of life. An endless array of remarkable diversity in life designs parades across the pages of Spineless: resplendent sea cucumbers, ethereal jellies, otherworldly nudibranchs, and a host of other fascinating creatures. From the stubby squid to the frilled anemone to the white phantom crab, these images open our eyes to both the fragility and the resiliency of these species.

Susan Middleton is an acclaimed photographer, author, and lecturer specializing in portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 2009, for many years she was the chair of the Department of Photography at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where she currently serves as research associate. Her photographs have been exhibited worldwide in fine art and natural history contexts and are represented in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Gallery of Art. The author of Evidence of Evolution and co-author of several other books, Susan lives in San Francisco.

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 7:00 p.m.
June Eastvold, The Boys on the Porch: An Allegory–Bridges from Fear to Faith

When a company of homeless men took up residence on the portico at University Lutheran Church in Seattle, Washington, all hell broke loose. Neighbors, realtors, health professionals, the bishop’s office, the business community, the daycare staff, irate parents, and the ecumenical community began to divide around the question, “Who is our neighbor?” This allegorical work addresses middle class values and superficial material appearances that block the mysterious, transformational work of the Spirit, who bridges all to the vision of the celestial city of God: crossing without fear to faith and love. Written by retired Lutheran minister June Nilssen Eastvold, The Boys on the Porch is based on her years as an activist in Seattle, Washington, while serving in the university district as the pastor at University Lutheran Church.

Sunday, Jan. 18, 4:00 p.m.
Colleen Haggerty, A Leg To Stand On: An Amputee’s Walk Into Motherhood

Join us for an event with local debut author Colleen Haggerty for her touching memoir, A Leg to Stand On: An Amputee’s Walk Into Motherhood, which depicts her story of loss, anger, redemption, and forgiveness after losing her leg in a car accident during her senior year of high school. A Leg To Stand On is Haggerty’s poignant story of a young woman suddenly faced with physical limitations, sacrificing two pregnancies out of fear, and choosing two more later in life, also faced with fear. Those four choices informed the seasons of her emotional and physical life. Abortion undid her emotionally, pregnancy undid her physically, and motherhood reconfigured her in both ways. The paradox is that while motherhood amplified her disability, it ultimately changed her life for the better. This is the story of Haggerty’s transformation into motherhood, both in spite of and in light of her disability. Haggerty takes us on her journey as she explores her physical world with vigor, testing the limits of her body as well as her heart, pursuing love and passion with restless men. Inevitably, youth and wanderlust would be their undoing, and it would play a role in two of the most difficult choices in her life.

Colleen Haggerty is a writer of memoir and personal essay. She has contributed to four anthologies: The Spirit of a Woman, He Said What? (penned as Colleen Robinson), Dancing at the Shame Prom, and Beyond Belief. After Colleen lost her leg at seventeen years old she found herself feeling marginalized. She developed a deep empathy for, and desire, to help others living on the fringe of society which led to her twenty year career in non-profit management. She is an inspiring public speaker and was a speaker at the 2013 Bellingham TEDx event where she talked about the power of forgiveness. Colleen writes about walking through life as an amputee at www.colleenhaggerty.com. She makes her home in Bellingham, WA with her husband and two teenagers.

Friday, Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m.
Joseph Coons, USFactsFirst

USFactsFirst is a thorough review of the issues that Americans have been debating intensely in recent years. The author tells you how he was tired of seeing, hearing and reading confusing claims and reports about fifteen of our most important issues: Politics, Healthcare, the National Debt, Taxes, Incomes, Education, Financial Institutions, and more. Determined to get the facts straight, Joe Coons spent almost two years gathering accurate data from unimpeachable sources and then, always, carefully and clearly putting it into perspective. Written in a non-partisan, frank, understandable style, and illustrated with clear data including 28 color charts, he lets you draw your own conclusions except when there is no controversy. Then, to make this a chance to develop your thinking further and involve your family and friends, he ends the discussion of each subject with stimulating, relevant questions for you to consider. Early readers universally praised the book and recommended it to US citizens and voters, and especially to anyone in an elected position, or involved in community, state or national leadership. They also emphasized its use as a primer on these issues for younger citizens.

Author Joseph Coons, now retired, cast his first vote in 1956. He worked his way up from pumping gas and washing cars to running successful businesses, and lived in both the Eastern and Western US and in between. With his unbounded admiration for most of the 300-plus million folks who make the US the great place it is, he calls himself independent, having supported candidates, not parties, over his lifetime. He believes in America and especially, Americans!

Sunday, Jan. 25, 4:00 p.m.
Stephen & Anthony Palumbi, Extreme Life of the Sea

The ocean teems with life that thrives under difficult situations in unusual environments. This illustrated lecture takes the audience to the absolute limits of the aquatic world—the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans. It dives into the icy Arctic and boiling hydrothermal vents, and exposes the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches to show how marine life thrives against the odds. It brings to life the sea’s most extreme species, and reveals how they succeed across the wide expanse of the world’s global ocean. The authors tell the unforgettable stories of some of the most marvelous life forms on Earth, and the challenges they overcome to survive.

Every attendee is given a deep look at the lives of these species. The authors show the audience the world’s oldest living species, narrate how flying fish strain to escape their predators, how predatory deep-sea fish use red search lights only they can see to find and attack food, and how at the end of their lives, mother octopus dedicate themselves to raising their young. They also discuss how ocean adaptations can inspire innovative commercial products—such as fan blades modeled on the flippers of humpback whales—and how climate change and our planet’s tenacious marine life.

Stephen R. Palumbi, Ph.D., is the Director of the Hopkins Marine Station and the Harold A. Miller Professor of Marine Science at Stanford University. He is one of today’s leading marine scientists. His previous work has appeared in publications from the New York Times to the Seattle Times, and he has contributed to or been interviewed by the BBC/Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and National Geographic. His film projects include the BBC series The Future Is Wild, the History channel’s Life after People, and the Short Attention Span Science Theater. He is also the author of The Death and Life of Monterey Bay and The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change. Visit him at http://palumbi.stanford.edu/.

Anthony R. Palumbi is Stephen’s son. After growing up on the beaches of O’ahu and in the suburbs of Boston, he fled winters by moving to California. Graduating from Stanford University in 2006 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Ultimate Frisbee, he worked in both the film and video game industries before striking out as a writer. Today, he writes about science and video games for several outlets. He has written extensively for Electronic Arts’ video game The Sims 3 and continues consulting for the industry. His nonfiction work about modern culture from the eyes of the next generation has been published by The Atlantic and ThinkProgress, and his fiction by The Peninsula Paper. Tony maintains a blog titled I Drop Things and is finishing his first novel. He lives and works in San Mateo, California along with the world’s most talented Frisbee dog.

Saturday, Jan 31, 7:00 p.m.
Stewart O’Nan, West Of Sunset – Fiction

In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruins, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood. By December 1940, he would be dead of a heart attack. Those last three years of Fitzgerald’s life, often obscured by the legend of his earlier Jazz Age glamour, are the focus of Stewart O’Nan’s gorgeously and gracefully written novel, West of Sunset. With flashbacks to key moments from Fitzgerald’s past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on The Last Tycoon, and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and daughter, Scottie. Fitzgerald’s orbit of literary fame and the Golden Age of Hollywood is brought vividly to life through the novel’s romantic cast of characters, from Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway to Humphrey Bogart. A sympathetic and deeply personal portrait of a flawed man who never gave up in the end, even as his every wish and hope seemed thwarted, West of Sunset confirms O’Nan as, “possibly our best working novelist” (Salon)”

Stewart O Nan’s novels include Snow Angels, The Speed Queen, A Prayer for the Dying and The Night Country. Granta has named him one of the Twenty Best Young American Novelists. He lives in Connecticut.


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