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Cliff Garstang to read from new novel at New Dominion Oct. 4

What the Zhang Boys KnowCliff Garstang will be reading from WHAT THE ZHANG BOYS KNOW, his new novel in stories, on Thursday, October 4, at 5:30 pm at New Dominion Bookshop on the mall in Charlottesville.

The book is set in Washington DC and traces the intersecting lives of the residents of Nanking Mansion, a condo building on the edge of DC’s Chinatown. The book focuses on the Zhang family as they cope with the tragic death of Maddie, mother of the Zhang Boys, but the reader also meets all the Zhangs’ diverse neighbors.

Praise for What the Zhang Boys Know:

“A widower, a sculptor, a minor poet, an interior designer, and a painter are just a few of Clifford Garstang’s affecting characters, residents of Nanking Mansion, the setting for these deeply satisfying, life-affirming stories linked by neighborliness in a ‘not-quite-gentrified’ neighborhood. Garstang’s characters strive to transcend ‘the deep quiet of absence’ in the wake of all manner of devastations. They leave their doors unlocked, they console, they make room, they share what they have made of sorrow, so proving, as do these stories, the solace to be found in art.”

Christine Schutt, author of National Book Award-finalist Florida, and Pulitzer Prize-finalist All Souls


What the Zhang Boys Know has a dozen chapters, each one a vivid short story in itself. Garstang makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The lives of the inhabitants of a condominium in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown are told separately and as part of a web of entanglements. The entrances and exits are handled with the deftness of a French comedy, but the empathy of the author brings all the characters achingly alive. What the Zhang Boys Know is a wonderful and haunting book.”

John Casey, author of Compass Rose and Spartina, winner of the National Book Award


“Clifford Garstang presents one of the more memorable settings I’ve seen in any book, Nanking Mansion, a renovated tenement in D.C.’s Chinatown, filled with characters whose stories are more fantastic than they first appear. In prose that is measured and confident, he carefully works to show us how these characters’ grief and loneliness becomes unified by their collective setting to transform into something utterly beautiful and unforgettable. What a world Garstang has built for us, and how grateful I was to discover it.”

Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and New York Times Best Seller The Family Fang


“In the tradition of the best volumes of linked stories, from Susan Minot’s Monkeys and Rand Cooper’s The Last to Go to David Schickler’s Kissing in Manhattan, Clifford Garstang’s What the Zhang Boys Know traces a graceful arc, as the meanings and moments in the stories accrue. Garstang’s inventive and original writing, a beguiling invitation to myriad subplots and destinations, offers what every reader desires: a lucid and satisfying experience of literature.”

Katharine Weber, author of Triangle, True Confections, and The Memory Of All That


WriterHouse kicks into top gear with August events

Check out the WriterHouse website for more info on these and other events:

» Monday, August 13, 7pm, Summer Workshop Reading offers a lively and diverse evening of creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Light refreshments will be served. Readers are: Jacqui Lazo, Stephanie Morris, Cora Schenberg, Sigrid Mirabella, Rachel Quinby, Elizabeth Derby, Amber Marley Padilla, Ron Harris, Gary Hoffman, Saffron Hall and Lindsay Dorrier.

» Thursday, August 16, 7pm, Write What You Don’t Know: A Literary Salon with Kristen-Paige Madonia. Join us as she discusses, with WriterHouse member Jay Varner, the inspirational seeds of her new novel, Fingerprints of You, the tools she used to create her fictional world, and the challenges and benefits of going against the grain. Q&A and book signing will follow.

 » Tuesday, August 28, 7pm, Writing Your Way Without Agony with Don Fry. Most writers only know one way to write: the way they were taught. The author of 18 books, Don helps writers create their own writing process by strengthening their strengths and changing or avoiding their weaknesses. For more information, see the website.

Upcoming events at WriterHouse

The next three free literary events at WriterHouse:

Sunday, July 15, 3pm
Writing from the Natural World, with Poets Roselyn Elliott and Kristen Staby Rembold

Join poets and WriterHouse instructors Roselyn Elliott (Animals Usher Us to Grace) and Kristen Staby Rembold (Leaf and Tendril) for a reading and discussion of their recently published chapbooks, both of which draw on images from nature to explore a spectrum of experiences and emotions. Elliott and Rembold will share excerpts from their work and then discuss the creative process of making smaller books of poetry that revolve around a theme.

Thursday, July 26, 7pm
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction Group Reading

Brief selections of wondrous and imaginative works from the monthly SFF group at WriterHouse.

Monday, August 13, 7pm
Summer Reading and Open House

Brief selections of fiction, essay, and poetry will be presented by writers who have taken classes during the summer session. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Upcoming Saturday Seminars:
Registration info

Seminar: Travel Writing
Instructor: Jay Kauffmann
Cost: $55 Members | $60 Non-Members
Saturday, June 30, 2012 | 9:00am-1:00pm

Learn to write compelling and engaging travel narratives (personal essays, articles or memoir pieces) which combine the eye of a journalist with the flair of a story teller. There will be in-class readings (Theroux, Chatwin, Iyer, etc.) and exercises that address pertinent craft issues, and we will explore the essential elements of travel writing, such as sensory imagery, distinctive voice, dramatic arc, scene development, character sketches, and concrete detail. We will also discuss the practical matters of how to submit stories for publication.

Seminar: Sound in Poetry
Instructor: Cheryl Pallant
Cost: $55 Members | $60 Non-Members
Saturday, July 14, 2012 | 9:00am-1:00pm

Sound in Poetry investigates how audible breath and the turn of the tongue through assonance and consonance, rhythmic repetition, and other sound devices delights ear and creates meaning. We’ll read poems with subtle and obvious sonic sensibility and learn how vibration resonates the body, heart, and mind. Attend to amplify the ear power of poetry and to tune into the sound of your own voice.

Seminar: Writing Sketch Comedy
Instructor: Joel Jones
Cost: $55 Members | $60 Non-Members
Saturday, July 28, 2012 | 9:00am-1:00pm

Dip your stinky toe into the art of writing comic sketches! Whether you’re a writer wanting to explore a new medium or a fan of comedy wanting to know how sketch shows operate, this one-day workshop is for you. Guided examples from classic routines and quick-fire exercises will teach you to recognize the funny stuff, whether it’s in the characters, relationships or entire worlds. You’ll learn how to develop your peeves into characters, and how to turn characters into hilarious situations, plus you’ll get a taste of a ‘writer’s room’ atmosphere. Rubber chickens welcome!

Seminar: Creating the World in a Short Story
Instructor: Clifford Garstang
Cost: $55 Members | $60 Non-Members
Saturday, August 11, 2012 | 9:00am-1:00pm

There’s a reason many authors argue that writing the short story is much more difficult than writing a novel. Characters still need to be fully realized, often with back stories; the setting of the story needs to be exact: there is still a landscape and weather and all the ordinary objects that make a place seem real; and something significant has to occur, no matter how silently or internally. Learn how to weave into a short amount of space all the key fictional elements that make a world feel real.

WriterHouse Information
508 Dale Ave, Charlottesville VA

WriterHouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is partially supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Book That Can’t Wait – Eterna Cadencia – YouTube

The Book That Can't Wait – Eterna Cadencia – YouTube.

BookBalloon July Reading Club: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind

“Daniel, a 10-year-old boy dangerously grieving for his mother’s death some years before — ‘I can’t remember Mommy’s face’ — is taken by his solicitous bookseller father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. In this Borgesian labyrinth each book awaits someone to choose it, make it part of his or her life, and thereby renew its own lost life. Mostly for its handsome binding, little Daniel picks out a novel eponymously titled ”The Shadow of the Wind,” by an obscure Spanish writer, Julián Carax. The choice will melodramatically shape the child’s life, launching him as a young man, five years later, upon the garish, gothic quest that is the elaborate centerpiece of Ruiz Zafón’s novel. At the same time, among other dramatic and interlocking quests that go back to the 1920’s, it will shape an odd redemption for Carax’s own dark tragedy.” — The New York Times

The discussion begins July 1 in the Forum.

Summer Reading Kickoff Hullabaloo at JMRL!

JMRL Summer Reading ProgramWhile Second Street is closed on Saturday, June 9, 10am – noon for food, fun, and frivolity, Central Library will have Sign-up for the Summer Reading Club and everyone will enjoy enormous amounts of entertainment.

Even adults can participate in summer reading programs. BETWEEN THE COVERS is the adult theme this summer, including special weekly prize drawings, contests, displays and programs especially for adults. Remember, you can open a book and open the world.

The theme for the teen program is OWN THE NIGHT. Ages 11-18 can win great prizes as they read, and be entered into weekly drawings for more prizes.

DREAM BIG: READ! is the theme for the children’s program. Kids can participate in the summer reading program and earn prizes for reading or being read to.

Whatever your age, there is something exciting for you at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

The David Sedaris dilemma: A fine line between ‘realish’ and real – The Washington Post

I can’t believe we have to go through this thing again:

…While the stories themselves are hardly equals — Daisey’s was a hard-hitting exposé about industrial exploitation, Sedaris’s essays are light and personal — they both raise the question of what’s permissible in the context of a nonfiction program.“Some of his characters are made up. You can’t use a nonfiction label and do that,” said Heard, the editorial director of Outside magazine. “Hilarious dialogue is the license he gave himself. . . . [But] if it’s nonfiction, you just can’t do that.”

via The David Sedaris dilemma: A fine line between ‘realish’ and real – The Washington Post.