All About Books


A few weeks into the school year, do your young scholars seem a little bit sharper than they had over the mind-melting summer? They don’t have to be the only ones getting the back-to-school brain tune-up.

Don’t get me wrong, the Emmys were great—does anyone else want Neil Patrick Harris to host everything that needs hosting from now on?—and TV is wonderful (Mad Men is back, after all), but maybe it’s time to turn off the set and pick up some of the books that have been gathering dust on your night table since the weather got nice.

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In fact, it seems like books are a hot topic of conversation, from dissecting the panels at the Brooklyn Book Festival to checking out the novels picked for the NEA’s Big Read. Of course, you’ll never be at a loss for recommendations. We’ve even asked local indie booksellers to give us some suggestions in our Fall Book Preview. But if you’re still looking for some literary inspiration, consider these bookwormy works and events that have some local ties.

First off, we’re not immune to the community-wide read phenomenon. Peekskill is sponsoring a community-wide read of one of its own authors, T.C. Boyle. Head to the Field Library to pick up free paperback copies of the chosen tome, World’s End, which is also set in the area. (It’s also a good Hudson River book for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial.) The Big Read culminates in an evening with Boyle at the Paramount Center for the Arts on October 17, where he will read and sign books before a cocktail party and a screening of the film The Road to Wellville, also based on one of his novels. If you really want to get a jump on Big Read events, next year ArtsWestchester will host a county-wide reading of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien next February and March.

Also in October, the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center has an exciting event lined up: a book release party and author reading with Mary Carroll Moore on October 13. Her new novel, Qualities of Light, has been nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award. She’s also a teacher at the center, so you can look into honing your writing skills as well as your reading ones.

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If that’s not enough to get you reading, here are some other books that people have e-mailed me about recently:

*For the younger readers, YA writer and Larchmont resident Todd Strasser’s thriller, Wish You Were Dead, is out September 22. Strasser based the town of “Soundview” on Larchmont and Mamaroneck.

*Local resident Matthew Howe’s memoir, Film Is Hell: How I Sold My Soul to Make the Crappiest Movies in History came out this July, but I’m sure his stories about making low-budget, terrible action movies are both timeless and priceless.

*Since we’re all talking back-to-school anyway, I thought I’d let you know about Manhattanville grad Sebastian Oddo’s book, Excuse Me, College is Now.

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*Author Laura Lipton will be making a visit to the Rye Library on October 22 to promote her book, Mating Rituals of the North American WASP. Her novel is all about WASP culture, which we’re sure you know nothing about.

So, read any good books lately? Let me know in the comments.

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