Tag Archives: Jeff Oaks

Sunday Salon/Currently … October Surprises

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So much to tell you this week.  First and foremost, though, my thoughts are with all who are being affected by Hurricane Matthew and his aftermath. I know several of our friends and family had some stressful days this week and others are still dealing with the storms. And Haiti–my God, what a heartbreaking situation.

Speaking of storms, I can’t even with the political storm surrounding Donald Trump’s 2005 commentary about being able to grope any woman he pleases because he’s “a star.” Why anyone is shocked by this is beyond me, because all one needs to do is reference any of his rants on women (or anyone else, frankly) to know this is the Republican nominee’s true colors. I’d considered writing a post about such, but you probably have a pretty good idea of my thoughts on the matter. If not, they’re summed up pretty succinctly by the “You’re So Vain” video by the Patriotic Artists and Creatives PAC, which marks the first time ever that the incomparable Carly Simon allowed “You’re So Vain” to be used for political purposes. It’s perfect.

And in the poetry realm, Pittsburgh poet Jeff Oaks (who I was honored to read with at Acquired Taste) pens “The God Abandons Donald Trump: a dream”.  (“Now the smoke of sharpening scythes clings to your ties; the voices of the women you thought you’d smothered in gold are rematerializing.“) A great poem.

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YA author panel of Caleb Roehrig, Emma Mills, Anna Banks and Marissa Meyer being interviewed by Julie Hakim Azzam. October 4, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA. Photo taken by me.

We missed most of the Vice Presidential debates this week (Good God, was that just this week?) because we were at the Fall 2016 Fierce Reads Tour featuring YA authors Marissa Meyer, Anna Banks, Caleb Roehrig, and Emma Mills.  The Girl loves Marissa Meyer’s books, so she was the main attraction for us, but all of the authors were incredibly funny and entertaining. We especially enjoyed Caleb Roehrig, who we talked with after the event. His first novel Last Seen Leaving was published that same day and I started reading it while in line to get our books signed. I can already tell it is one I’m likely to enjoy.

the-literary-others-an-lgbt-reading-event-oct-2016There’s an LGBTQ storyline in Last Seen Leaving, which makes it a fitting edition to The Literary Others.  I’m participating in this LGBT Reading Event which is being hosted by Adam of Roof Beam Reader in honor of LGBT History Month. This week I read I’ll Give You Something to Cry About, a novella by Jennifer Finney Boylan about a family on a road trip trying to find their place in each other’s lives and the world. I loved this story, just as I loved her memoir I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted about living in a haunted house (on Philadelphia’s Main Line!) and her journey as a transgendered person.

I’m currently reading Just Kids by Patti Smith (we’re doing an event at work with Patti tomorrow night, and I’m really hoping to finish this in time) and in the car, I’m listening to The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman.

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Writing … 
So grateful to my friend Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, also a Pittsburgh blogger, who mentions my very short Halloween story “Extractions” in her post “Writers in Pittsburgh Are Going to Be Busy.”  This came as quite the surprise, especially since the Google Alert I have on every version of my name didn’t pick it up. Thank you, Elizabeth!

judy-blume-paperback-of-in-the-unlikely-eventblurb-in-the-unlikely-event

Another surprise was discovering that my review of Judy Blume’s In the Likely Event was blurbed (with my name!) in the paperback edition!  I can’t believe it. This was a review I’d published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in June 2015, and I had no idea about this until The Girl showed me last night. Crazy!

 

OK, time for a little reading before making the popcorn for tonight’s presidential debate and whatever surprises await us then.

 

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Weekend Cooking: It’s an Acquired Taste. (And It’s Happening January 10.)

Acquired Taste Holiday Recovery

Pittsburgh’s the kind of town where, if you have an amazing idea, chances are 20 people will also love your idea and will connect you with 20 more people to help make your idea a reality by the end of the day.

As a result, Pittsburgh is a town where really, really cool things are happening – I mean, like all the time. This is especially true when it comes to the food and literary scene. Pittsburgh’s restaurants are superb and at more than a few, reservations are hard to come by. And when it comes to books and writing  – well, there’s no shortage of great stuff in that area.

One of them is Acquired Taste, a literary reading event organized by author (and my friend) Marissa Landrigan.  Acquired Taste is a curated series of public readings, each featuring 3-4 local or touring authors reading their work around a food-related theme. Marissa’s hope is that this series will showcase the outstanding literary talent in Pittsburgh and be part of expanding the literary world’s understanding of food writing to something beyond restaurant reviews and cookbooks.

The next Acquired Taste event is scheduled for Saturday, January 10 from 5-7 p.m. at the fantastic East End Book Exchangelocated at 4754 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh.  Our theme is family holiday traditions involving food.

I’m beyond honored to be one of the featured readers at this literary event with two incredibly talented Pittsburgh writers Rachel Mennies (The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (Texas Tech University Press, 2014), No Silence in the Fields (Blue Hour Press, 2012) and Jeff Oaks. I’ll be debuting a new, not-even-published-here-on-the-blog-yet creative nonfiction essay of mine, “When We Were Oysters.” It’s about a nostalgic childhood tradition my family had, which involves my long-ago passion for crocheted toilet paper roll holders.

So, if you’re hungover from the holidays and need to nurse the wounds of intense family time and shame eating, please join us next Saturday evening at East End Book Exchange. Event is free and all are welcome. Visit the Acquired Taste presents: Holiday Recovery? event page for more details.

Weekend CooWeekend Cooking - Newking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

 

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Acquired Taste Presents: Holiday Recovery? (Yes, Please. With Visions of Oysters and Crocheted Toilet Paper Roll Holders In My Head.)

I don’t know about you, but I need to do some major recovery from this holiday season.  Like, right now.

(Did I mention that Christmas is still seven days out as of this writing?)

It’s a good thing, then, that author Marissa Landrigan is organizing one of her fantastic Acquired Taste literary reading events for January 10 at the fantastic East End Book Exchange.

Acquired Taste Holiday Recovery

And yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: I’m beyond honored to be one of the featured readers at this literary event with incredibly talented Pittsburgh writers Rachel Mennies (The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (Texas Tech University Press, 2014), No Silence in the Fields (Blue Hour Press, 2012) and Jeff Oaks. I’ll be debuting a new, not-even-published-here-on-the-blog-yet creative nonfiction essay of mine, “When We Were Oysters.”

(There might be mention of my childhood passion for crocheted toilet paper roll holders and, well … oysters.)

Acquired Taste is a curated series of public readings, each featuring 3-4 local or touring authors reading their work around a food-related theme. Marissa’s hope is that this series will showcase the outstanding literary talent in Pittsburgh and to be part of expanding the literary world’s understanding of food writing to something beyond restaurant reviews and cookbooks.

I’m beyond honored and thrilled to be included, and I look forward to sharing my essay “When We Were Oysters”  – about a nostalgic, childhood tradition – with you.

All will be merry and bright. Event is free and all are welcome.

Please join us?

 

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