Michelle Hoover will be at the South End library on Tuesday, May 3rd, at 6:30 PM, to read from her second novel, Bottomlands. Hoover's first, The Quickening, was set set in America’s rural heartland in the early 20th century. Bottomlands plays out in the same region, but takes place after the First World War, a time of strong anti-German sentiments. It is the story of the German-American Hess family whose four siblings struggle to survive as farmers in tough times while grieving for the loss of their mother and trying to piece together why their two teenage sisters vanished in the middle of a night. According to an interview with the author in DeadDarlings, Bottomlands takes from the shards of a legend in her own family, as did her earlier, critically acclaimed book, The Quickening. The Boston Globe review described Bottomlands as a “potent new novel” with much contemporary resonance and “enough mastery to justify comparisons to Willa Cather.” The Quickening is based on a great-grandmother’s journal and describes an unlikely friendship between two women in a time of harsh economic realities. In addition to being shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, it was a Massachusetts Book Award "Must Read" pick. Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Born in Iowa, she lives in Boston.
The South End Library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited. The event is free. Books will be available for purchase, signing by the author, and borrowing.
Coming Up Next
TUESDAY, MAY 31, 6:30 PM
THE DOG LADY, A.K.A. MONICA COLLINS
Or is it the reverse? Monica Collins is The Dog Lady whose column, Ask Dog Lady, appears in many publications, including The South End News, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, The Cambridge Chronicle and Salem News. A former staff writer for USA Today, TV Guide, and The Boston Herald, Collins writes on her web site that she changed her journalistic focus from TV critic to lifestyle columnist after she acquired a West Highland white terrier. She has answered pet owners’ most confounding questions involving relationships, dog park etiquette, divorce, custody complications, and whether the dog belongs in your marital (or single) bed.
One reader wanted to know why an earlier advice-seeker should not have mentioned in a job interview that the garment she was wearing that day had been knit from her dog’s hair (yes, you guessed it: Too much information). With annual pet spending reaching close to $60 billion a year and American households owning almost 60 million dogs, Collins is barking down from the right tree, no doubt, and you can bark up hers at the library to receive her typically compassionate, intelligent and culturally resonant answers to your canine questions…
TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 6:30 PM
Jenna Blum, the acclaimed author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller, Those Who Saved Us (2004), and The Stormchasers (2010) will talk about her latest work, a novella called The Lucky One, published in the new anthology coming out in June, called Grand Central. A collection of stories related to the Holocaust by ten bestselling female writers, Blum’s contribution was one she had been reluctant to write as it meant returning to the subject of the Holocaust. She says on her web site that the research and writing of Those Who Saved Us, which explored how non-Jewish Germans dealt with the Holocaust, was a searing experience. But she remembered one story she had heard when she worked for the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Foundation, where she interviewed Holocaust survivors. It had struck a cord with her, she said, and became the genesis for The Lucky One. It is set, like each of the stories in the anthology, on the same day in Grand Central Terminal right after the Second World War.
Blum’s successful writing career began when she was fourteen, and her first short story won a third prize when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. Another short story, The Legacy of Frank Finklestein, won first prize two years later. Since that time, Blum’s work has been featured in Faultline, The Kenyon Review, The Bellingham Review, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and The Improper Bostonian. Blum has taught creative writing and communications writing at Boston University, was the editor at Boston University’s AGNI literary magazine for four years, and led fiction and novel workshops for Grub Street Writers in Boston since 1997.