Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Ethan Frome
Jul
27
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Ethan Frome

The first of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, July 27th at 6pm for a discussion of Edith Wharton’s novella, Ethan Frome.

Edith Wharton’s most widely read work is a tightly constructed and almost unbearably heartbreaking story of forbidden love in a snowbound New England village. This brilliantly wrought, tragic novella explores the repressed emotions and destructive passions of working-class people far removed from the elevated social milieu usually inhabited by Wharton’s characters. Ethan Frome is a poor farmer, trapped in a marriage to a demanding and controlling wife, Zeena. When Zeena’s young cousin Mattie enters their household she opens a window of hope in Ethan’s bleak life, but his wife’s reaction prompts a desperate attempt to escape fate that goes horribly wrong.

Paperback copies of Ethan Frome are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

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Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Smilla’s Sense of Snow
Aug
17
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: Smilla’s Sense of Snow

The second of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, August 17th at 6pm for a discussion of Peter Høeg’s suspenseful novel, Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories—a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime. It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. The police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn’t fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes.

Paperback copies of Smilla’s Sense of Snow are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

 

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Summer Book Clubs on Ice: The Left Hand of Darkness
Aug
31
6:00 PM18:00

Summer Book Clubs on Ice: The Left Hand of Darkness

The last of a trio of winter-themed book clubs, for readers looking to cool their imaginations over the long, hot summer.

Join us on Friday, August 31st at 6pm for a discussion of Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi novel, The Left Hand of Darkness.

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary’s mission to Winter, an unknown alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of science fiction.

Paperback copies of The Left Hand of Darkness are available at the Book Shop. Attendees are expected to have to have read the book (or most of it) in advance. Light snacks and refreshments will be served during the book club. No RSVP is necessary.

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Bourbon Book Club
Jun
7
6:00 PM18:00

Bourbon Book Club

A BOOK DISCUSSION PAIRED WITH WHISKEY

In June, Bourbon Book Club attendees will discuss Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Kafka on the Shore is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, and the reasons for that convergence become clear, Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the peak of his powers.

The Book Club discussion will be complemented by a bourbon selected and provided by The Whiskey Attic. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. 

Copies of Kafka on the Shore can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

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Genre Book Club
May
29
6:00 PM18:00

Genre Book Club

THIS MONTH: MYSTERY & SUSPENSE

The Genre Book Club meets on alternating months to discuss a novel from one of a number of literary genres. On May 29th, the Club will discuss Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry—a debut thriller set in the U.K.

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets she unravels, she is under the harrow—distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

The discussion will be complemented by light snacks and refreshments. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Under the Harrow can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration for the Club is not required.

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Daniel Gumbiner
May
22
7:00 PM19:00

Daniel Gumbiner

A reading, moderated Q&A, and signing with Daniel Gumbiner, in support of his debut novel, The Boatbuilder.

At 28 years old, Eli “Berg” Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn't push through, until a head injury leaves him with lingering headaches and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town, seeking space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills. Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive, master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more than this, he offers him a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amid intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided, too, by the comradeship of many in Talinas, Berg begins to return to himself. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.

Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Las Vegas, where he is the managing editor of The Believer magazine. The Boatbuilder is his first novel.

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Shortlist Book Club
May
21
6:00 PM18:00

Shortlist Book Club

THIS SEASON: THE 2007 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

May 21st at 6pm: The Gathering by Anne Enright
(Previously, on Tuesday, March 20th at 6pm: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid)

At the Shortlist Book Club, attendees read two books nominated for the same literary award: the winner, and one runner-up. Does the judges’ decision stand up to the test of time? And what can the two books tell us about the year that the prize was issued?

The Gathering, by Irish author Anne Enright, is a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother's house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. 

Attendees are expected to have read the novel (or most of it) in advance of the book club discussion. Paperback copies of The Gathering are available at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

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Joe Donnelly
May
19
7:00 PM19:00

Joe Donnelly

A reading and signing with Joe Donnelly, in support of his collection of Los Angeles profiles, L.A. Man

With special guests Scott Dickensheets, Greg Miller, and Eric Gladstone.

During his many years writing for publications such as LA Weekly, the Los Angeles TimesSlakeSurfer's Journal and more, Joe Donnelly has driven to Texas with Wes Anderson, shot pool with Sean Penn, surfed with Chris Malloy, sparred (verbally) with Christian Bale, gone on a date with Carmen Electra, and listened to tall tales told by Werner Herzog. These profiles, which also include encounters with Drew Barrymore, Lou Reed, Craig Stecyk, the wolf OR7, the Z-boys and others who have indelibly stamped the cultural landscape, drill through the facade of fame to get at the core humanity behind the myth-making. This collection manages to show Los Angeles' biggest export in a light in which it is rarely seen.

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Rick Quinn
May
11
6:30 PM18:30

Rick Quinn

A presentation and signing with Rick Quinn, author of RoadTrip America Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips 

Author Rick Quinn and Scott Dickensheets, Deputy Editor of Desert Companion, will discuss great southwestern road trip routes and favorite roadside discoveries. Discover 25 scenic alternatives to Interstate highways that take only a few extra hours to enjoy.  Stunning photography, detailed maps, and easy-to-follow narrative guide the way through breathtaking landscapes and iconic western towns in Arizona and New Mexico. 

Rick Quinn was born and raised in Arizona, earned a degree in anthropology, then hit the road, indulging an admittedly peculiar whim by hitch-hiking to Tierra del Fuego. In one way or another, he’s been on the road ever since, living in a dozen diverse locales, from Paris to Peru, San Francisco to Washington D.C., working as a photographer, a coffee farmer, a magazine writer, a postman, a novelist, and, until his recent retirement, a financial systems expert with the Postal Service. Rick is a veteran road tripper who has driven both the Alaska Highway and the Pan American. Additional information about Rick, including monthly articles for exploring the southwest is available at https://arizona-newmexico.scenicsidetrips.com/.

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Donald Revell
May
4
7:00 PM19:00

Donald Revell

A reading and signing with Donald Revell, in support of his new poetry collection, The English Boat

The English Boat, Donald Revell’s fifteenth poetry collection, creates a boisterous, magical world built upon Ancient Greek landscapes and Shakespearian tragedies and mixes it with modern-age life. These lively poems sweep readers into journeys of reflection, passion, and imagination as it explores human emotion along with the never-ending, dark mysteries of the mind.

Donald Revell is a poet, essayist, translator, and professor. Revell has won numerous honors and awards for his work, beginning with his first book, From the Abandoned Cities, which was a National Poetry Series winner. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, poet Claudia Keelan, and their children. In addition to his writing, translating, and teaching, Revell was Editor of Denver Quarterly from 1988–94, and has been a poetry editor of Colorado Review since 1996

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Amanda Skenandore
Apr
28
5:00 PM17:00

Amanda Skenandore

A reading and book signing celebrating the launch of Amanda Skenandore’s debut novel, Between Earth and Sky

On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.

The bright, courageous boy Alma knew could never have murdered anyone. But she barely recognizes the man Asku has become, cold and embittered at being an outcast in the white world and a ghost in his own. Her lawyer husband, Stewart, reluctantly agrees to help defend Asku for Alma’s sake. To do so, Alma must revisit the painful secrets she has kept hidden from everyone—especially Stewart.

Told in compelling narratives that alternate between Alma’s childhood and her present life, Between Earth and Sky is a haunting and complex story of love and loss, as a quest for justice becomes a journey toward understanding and, ultimately, atonement.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. In writing Between Earth and Sky, she has drawn on the experiences of a close relative, a member of the Ojibwe Tribe, who survived an Indian mission school in the 1950s. Between Earth and Sky is Amanda’s first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com.

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Better Half Book Club
Apr
19
6:00 PM18:00

Better Half Book Club

A BOOK CLUB FEATURING LITERATURE BY WOMEN

Join us for the Better Half Book Club, where we’ll discuss Lydia Millet’s novel, Sweet Lamb of Heaven.

Lydia Millet’s chilling novel is the first-person account of a young mother, Anna, escaping her cold and unfaithful husband, a businessman who’s just launched his first campaign for political office. When Ned chases Anna and their six-year-old daughter from Alaska to Maine, the two go into hiding in a run-down motel on the coast. But the longer they stay, the less the guests in the dingy motel look like typical tourists—and the less Ned resembles a typical candidate. As his pursuit of Anna and their child moves from threatening to criminal, Ned begins to alter his wife’s world in ways she never could have imagined.

A double-edged and satisfying story with a strong female protagonist, a thrilling plot, and a creeping sense of the apocalyptic, Sweet Lamb of Heaven builds to a shattering ending with profound implications for its characters—and for all of us.

An hour-long discussion will be accompanied by light snacks and refreshments. Men, women, and those who identify as neither are all welcome at the Better Half Book Club. Copies of Sweet Lamb of Heaven can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

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Textual Orientation
Apr
10
6:00 PM18:00

Textual Orientation

AN LGBTQ BOOK CLUB

Textual Orientation is book club featuring fiction, history, and creative nonfiction titles that focus on LGBTQ people and their lives. Anyone is welcome to participate.

In April, Club attendees will discuss Bill Hayes’s memoir Insomniac City: New York, Oliver Sacks, and Me. Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. 

And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance—“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on—is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.

Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Insomniac City can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

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Footnotes with Kim Foster
Mar
30
7:00 PM19:00

Footnotes with Kim Foster

A reading and conversation with the author of a recently published work.

Last summer, Kim Foster wrote a feature for Desert Companion magazine titled “The Meth Lunches.” A mixture of evocative food writing and vulnerable introspection, the piece describes Foster’s experience of adjusting to Las Vegas after NYC, and her family’s relationship with the meth-addicted handyman working on their home. A brief reading will be followed by a conversation with Foster about how she wrote the piece, as well as her writing method and influences.

Follow Kim Foster’s work at www.kim-foster.com.

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Bourbon Book Club
Mar
29
6:00 PM18:00

Bourbon Book Club

A BOOK DISCUSSION PAIRED WITH WHISKEY

In March, Bourbon Book Club attendees will discuss All That Man Is by David Szalay.

All That Man Is traces the arc of life from the spring of youth to the winter of old age by following nine men who range from a working-class ex-grunt to a pompous college student, a middle-aged loser to a Russian oligarch. Ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable, vital, pitiable, and hilarious, these men paint a picture of modern manhood. David Szalay is a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos. In All That Man Is, a Man Booker Prize finalist and the winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Plimpton Prize, he brilliantly illuminates the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe.

The Book Club discussion will be complemented by a bourbon selected and provided by The Whiskey Attic. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. 

Copies of All That Man Is can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

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Willy Vlautin
Mar
22
7:00 PM19:00

Willy Vlautin

A reading and signing with Willy Vlautin in support of his new novel, Don’t Skip Out On Me.

Horace Hopper is a half-Paiute, half-Irish ranch hand who wants to be somebody. He’s spent most of his life on the ranch of his kindly guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Reese, herding sheep alone in the mountains. But while the Reeses treat him like a son, Horace can’t shake the shame he feels from being abandoned by his parents. He decides to leave the only loving home he’s known to prove his worth by training to become a boxer.

Mr. Reese is holding on to a way of life that is no longer sustainable. He’s a seventy-two-year-old rancher with a bad back. He’s not sure how he’ll keep things going without Horace but he knows the boy must find his own way.

Coming down from the mountains of Nevada to the unforgiving desert heat of Tucson, Horace finds a trainer and begins to get fights. His journey to become a champion brings him to boxing rings of Mexico and finally, to the seedy streets of Las Vegas, where Horace learns he can’t change who he is or outrun his destiny.

Willy Vlautin writes from America’s soul, chronicling the lives of those who are downtrodden and forgotten with profound tenderness. He is previously the author of The FreeLean on Pete, Northline, and The Motel Life. Vlautin is also the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine and a member of the band The Delines. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.

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Shortlist Book Club
Mar
20
6:00 PM18:00

Shortlist Book Club

THIS SEASON: THE 2007 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Tuesday, March 20th at 6pm: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
May 2018: The Gathering by Anne Enright

At the Shortlist Book Club, attendees read two books nominated for the same literary award: the winner, and one runner-up. Does the judges’ decision stand up to the test of time? And what can the two books tell us about the year that the prize was issued?

Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love. An international bestseller, The Reluctant Fundamentalist catapulted Hamid to literary fame and spawned a film adaptation in 2012 directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair. 

Attendees are expected to have read the novel (or most of it) in advance of the book club discussion. Paperback copies of The Reluctant Fundamentalist are available at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

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Genre Book Club
Mar
8
6:00 PM18:00

Genre Book Club

THIS MONTH: SCI-FI

The Genre Book Club meets on alternating months to discuss a novel from one of a number of literary genres. On March 8th, the Club will discuss Neuromancer by William Gibson—a modern Sci-Fi classic.

Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the business—until a vengeful ex-employer crippled his nervous system. Now a mysterious new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction. The winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer was the first fully-realized glimpse of humankind’s digital future—a shocking vision that has challenged our assumptions about our technology and ourselves, reinvented the way we speak and think, and forever altered the landscape of our imaginations.

The discussion will be complemented by light snacks and refreshments. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Neuromancer can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration for the Club is not required.

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Claire Hoffman
Mar
6
7:00 PM19:00

Claire Hoffman

A reading and signing with Claire Hoffman, author of the memoir Greetings from Utopia Park.

When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood.

Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

Claire Hoffman writes for national magazines and holds a master’s degree in religion from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She was a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone. She serves on the board of her family foundation, the Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as ProPublica and the Columbia School of Journalism. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Julia Sonneborn
Feb
20
7:00 PM19:00

Julia Sonneborn

A reading and signing with Julia Sonneborn, author of the novel By the Book

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

An English professor in California, Anne Corey is determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president. Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past...and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

Julia Sonneborn is an English professor and a Los Angeles native. After heading east for college and graduate school, she hightailed it back to California, where she now lives with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a dog. When she’s not reading, writing, or talking about books, she enjoys trying new restaurants, reading online gossip blogs, and throwing dinner parties. She is the author of By the Book.

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After Hours Poetry Hour
Feb
17
7:00 PM19:00

After Hours Poetry Hour

An evening of poetry featuring Noah Cicero, Franki Elliot, and Vi Khi Nao.

Join us for a reading and book signing with a mix of Vegas-based and visiting poets.

Noah Cicero is 37 years old and grew up in a small town near Youngstown, Ohio. He has lived in Oregon, California, Arizona—as well as the Grand Canyon, and oversees in Seoul, South Korea. He currently resides in Las Vegas. A film adaptation of his first book, The Human War, won the 2014 Beloit Film Festival award for Best Screenplay. He has published nine books, including The Collected Works Volume 1, Bipolar Cowboy, Go to work and do your job. Care for your children. Pay your bills. Obey The Law. Buy products., and most recently a poetry collection, Nature Documentary, and a book of philosophy, Blood Soaked Buddha/Hard Earth Pascal. His writing has been translated into Turkish, Kurdish, German and Spanish.

Franki Elliot is the critically-acclaimed author of Piano Rats and Kiss As Many Women As You Can. On February 14, 2018 she releases her third book, Stories for People Who Hate Love, a collection of poetry and short stories about not finding love. Her work has been nationally recognized by Paper Magazine, The Paris Review, Chicago Tribune, LA Weekly, Time Out, and more. Elliot’s books feature stunning artwork by Shawn Stucky, a red/green color-blind artist. Additionally, Elliot is a practicing street artist who typewrites poems onto stickers and secrets them around various cities. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khanh, Vietnam. She is the author, most recently, of Umbilical Hospital, the short story collection A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016, the novel Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016), and the poetry collection The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University, where she received the John Hawkes and Feldman Prizes in fiction and the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award in poetry.

Maegan Poland is a Black Mountain Institute PhD Fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She received a Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize XL anthology for her story, “Spores,” and she was recently a Tin House Scholar at the 2018 Winter Workshop. Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Juked, Notre Dame Review, and Day One. She has served as Fiction Editor for Witness magazine, which is primarily run by UNLV students and alumni.

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Better Half Book Club
Feb
15
6:00 PM18:00

Better Half Book Club

A BOOK CLUB FEATURING LITERATURE BY WOMEN

Join us for the Better Half Book Club, where we’ll discuss Rachel Ingalls’s recently reissued 1982 novel, Mrs. Caliban.

In the quiet suburbs, while Dorothy is doing chores and waiting for her husband to come home from work, not in the least anticipating romance, she hears a strange radio announcement about a monster who has just escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research. Reviewers have compared Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs. Caliban to King Kong, Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, the films of David Lynch, “Beauty and the Beast,” The Wizard of OzE.T., Richard Yates’s domestic realism, B-horror movies, and the fairy tales of Angela Carter—how such a short novel could contain all of these disparate elements is a testament to its startling and singular charm.

An hour-long discussion will be accompanied by light snacks and refreshments. Men, women, and those who identify as neither are all welcome at the Better Half Book Club.

Copies of Mrs. Caliban can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

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Daria Peoples-Riley
Feb
10
10:30 AM10:30

Daria Peoples-Riley

A book launch and signing with children’s book author-illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley.

(PLEASE NOTE: This event will occur at Eclipse Theaters—814 S 3rd St, Las Vegas, NV 89101.)

The future is in your footsteps. / Freedom is in your feet. / Put one in front of the other, / and greet your destiny.

When a young dancer is nervous about her upcoming audition at a dance studio, her shadow comes to life and encourages her to “Listen to the hum of your heart’s song. / It will never lead you wrong.” As the pair dances through the city, the young girl gains confidence in her body, her skills, and her ability to shine. She returns to her audition with her head held high, ready to show the world what she’s made of.

With a lyrical text that reads like a spoken-word poem and exquisite mixed-media watercolor art, author-illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley’s debut is a love story to dance, self-confidence, and the joy of movement.

Daria Peoples-Riley grew up in Paso Robles, California, and is the daughter of a children’s librarian. She has a degree in English from UC Santa Barbara and earned her masters in education from Regis University, then worked for ten years as a middle school teacher. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her basketball-coach husband, twelve-year-old ballerina daughter, and a nine-year-old basketball-player son. This Is It is her first book.

Preorders are suggested and are available here.

 

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Textual Orientation
Feb
6
6:00 PM18:00

Textual Orientation

AN LGBTQ BOOK CLUB

Textual Orientation is book club featuring fiction, history, and creative nonfiction titles that focus on LGBTQ people and their lives. Anyone is welcome to participate.

In February, Club attendees will discuss Jeanette Winterson’s memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? An acclaimed novelist, Winterson turns to her own life for this book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in a north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about other people’s literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.

Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

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Footnotes with Amanda Fortini
Feb
2
7:00 PM19:00

Footnotes with Amanda Fortini

A reading and conversation with the author of a recently published work.

In October, Amanda Fortini documented the Route 91 shooting for the The New Yorker magazine News Desk. Featuring interviews with survivors, the resulting articles are carefully written, unsentimental, and vivid. A brief reading will be followed by a conversation with Fortini about how she conducted the interviews, as well as her writing method and influences.

Follow Amanda Fortini on Twitter at @amandafortini.

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Bourbon Book Club
Jan
25
6:00 PM18:00

Bourbon Book Club

A BOOK DISCUSSION PAIRED WITH WHISKEY

In January, Bourbon Book Club attendees will discuss the Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. A satirical commentary on modern man and his madness, Cat’s Cradle is an apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate—a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny.

The Book Club discussion will be complemented by a bourbon selected and provided by The Whiskey Attic. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. 

Copies of Cat’s Cradle can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. No registration for the Club is required. 

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Nighttime Writers’ Group
Jan
24
to May 23

Nighttime Writers’ Group

Every other Wednesday, from 5:30–7:00PM

An open write-in on alternating Wednesdays—for adult writers looking for a designated time and space to develop their work and meet with other writers. An hour will be devoted to free writing; the remaining half-hour for open discussion and critique. No registration is required.

Upcoming dates: Wednesday, March 28th; Wednesday, April 11th; Wednesday, April 25th; Wednesday, May 9th; Wednesday, May 23rd.

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Shortlist Book Club
Jan
16
6:00 PM18:00

Shortlist Book Club

THIS SEASON: THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE

Tuesday, January 16th at 6pm: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
(Previously: Tuesday, November 14th at 6pm: The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan)

At the Shortlist Book Club, attendees read two books nominated for the same literary award: the winner, and one runner-up. Does the judges’ decision stand up to the test of time? And what can the two books tell us about the year that the prize was issued?

When the Pulitzer committee selected Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, they described it as “a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.

Attendees are expected to have read the novel (or most of it) in advance of the book club discussion. Paperback copies of The Underground Railroad are available at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration is not required.

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Angela Ball
Jan
5
7:00 PM19:00

Angela Ball

A reading and signing with poet Angela Ball, author of the Pitt Poetry collection Talking Pillow.

Talking Pillow celebrates love as amazement, sustenance, and the progenitor of scarce-believable loss. The book centers around the sudden death of the author’s long-time partner and travels outward to events in the world at large. Imagining themselves into multiple times, places, and lives, the poems comically explore the possibilities of attachment between people and the absurdity of death’s sudden intrusion. Antic and often funny, these poems converse with all that we care about, fear, and fail to understand.

Angela Ball is professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she directs the Center for Writers. She is the author of five previous poetry collections: Kneeling Between Parked CarsThe Museum of the Revolution: 58 ExhibitsPossessionQuartet, and Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds. She is the recipient of an NEA grant and has twice won the Poetry Prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Her work has been featured in Best American Poetry, on the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and has been frequently anthologized.

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Genre Book Club
Jan
4
6:00 PM18:00

Genre Book Club

This month: fantasy

The Genre Book Club meets on alternating months to discuss a novel from one of a number of literary genres. On January 4th, the Club will discuss N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning novel, The Fifth Season.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

The discussion will be complemented by light snacks and refreshments. Attendees are expected to have read the book in advance. Copies of The Fifth Season can be purchased in paperback at The Writer’s Block Book Shop. Registration for the Club is not required.

 

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THE LAS VEGAS WRITES PROJECT
Dec
21
7:00 PM19:00

THE LAS VEGAS WRITES PROJECT

READING AND CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS

Join us for an evening of short readings from Back to Where You Once Belonged: Las Vegas Writers Weigh the Power of the Past, the 2017 volume in the Las Vegas Writes series.

Backgrounded by a city with a famously complicated relationship to the idea of history, the writers gathering in this book each tangle with the influence of the past. Whether it’s contemplating the psychology of men who hire a fetish model to recreate moments from their pasts, or assessing the damage caused by loss and trauma, or just visiting a museum, these essays remind us that the past is never far behind.

Participating writers include Dan Hernandez, Sarah Jane Woodall, Noah Cicero and T.R. Witcher.

This evening’s reading will be moderated by Scott Dickensheets, Deputy Editor of Desert Companion, and Geoff Schumacher, Senior Director of Content for The Mob Museum.

Las Vegas Writes Project is supported by public funding for the literary arts through the Las Vegas Book Festival, the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, the city of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, and Huntington Press.    

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Sarah Lacy
Dec
14
7:00 PM19:00

Sarah Lacy

A moderated discussion and book signing with Sarah Lacy, author of A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy

In A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug, Sarah Lacy argues that working mothers aren’t a liability, but an asset. Assets that you—and every manager and executive—want in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner. 

There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the “Maternal Wall”—widespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. 

Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isn’t about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.

Sarah Lacy is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of the investigative tech news site Pando.com. She has been covering technology news and entrepreneurship for over fifteen years, with stints at BusinessWeek and TechCrunch before founding her own company while on maternity leave in 2011. She lives in San Francisco. Most importantly of all, she is a mother of two young children.

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Local Author Showcase
Dec
9
5:00 PM17:00

Local Author Showcase

AN OPEN-HOUSE EVENT WITH VEGAS-BASED AUTHORS

Each season, The Writer’s Block Book Shop showcases a selection of books from local self-published and indie authors. On a final Saturday, these authors gather at the store for a book signing and meet-and-greet. 

This season’s authors are Bonnie Apple (representing work by Tad Corbet), Vicki-Ann Bush, Crystal Clary, Mathias B. Freese, Alan Geik, Lisa Medford, and Shane W. Walley.

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