Tag: Books

Spencertown Academy Festival of Books Goes Virtual for 2020


Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 15th annual Festival of Books will take place online this year, with virtual events running from September 4 through October 12.

The Festival will feature Zoom events with distinguished authors and documentary filmmakers, children’s programs, and an online book sale. Featured authors include Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Kolker, Richard Gehr, Ed Ward, and Jacqueline Rogers, plus the team behind the acclaimed documentary film, The Booksellers, including director D.W. Young and producers Judith Mizrachy and Dan Wechsler. Admission is free to all events, but advance registration is required as Zoom capacity is limited. Registration is open now for most sessions; others will follow soon. The online book sale will open for Spencertown Academy members on Friday, September 4 at 10:00am and for the general public on Saturday, September 5 at 10:00am. For details, please see www.spencertownacademy.org.

The Festival, which began in 2006 as a book sale to raise funds for the Academy’s community arts programs, has grown into one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated cultural events of the year. Academy Board members David Highfill and Jill Kalotay co-chair the Festival.

“We have a stellar line-up of authors for 2020,” says Highfill, vice president and executive editor at William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. “Joyce Carol Oates, surely one of our most ambitious and prodigiously talented novelists, will discuss her new novel about a troubled family; journalist Robert Kolker will talk about his number one New York Times bestseller about the trauma of schizophrenia running through one family; David Gehr will explore the work of several brilliant New Yorker cartoonists; and Ed Ward will entertain us with stories of 1960s and 70s rock & roll, the most evergreen of pop culture topics; and much more.”

“Funds raised by the Festival of Books contributed a substantial amount to the Academy’s annual budget, and we hope to garner a small portion of that through our online book sale this year. Please note that Academy members have early access to the online sale. Make sure your membership is current or you may miss out on this special opportunity,” adds Kalotay. “It’s been a real learning curve, for sure, and I think the result is terrific. Much as we’ll miss gathering in person, we look forward to enjoying stimulating literary events at home and, of course, still shopping for fabulous books. The Academy is even going to share its Cookbook Café recipes for To-Die-For, No-Alarm Vegetarian Chili, Northern Cornbread, and Lemon Cake—the beloved signature fare of our Festival of Books.”


Traditionally, the heart of the Festival is a giant book sale featuring more than 15,000 new and gently used books. This year’s online edition of the sale will focus on “The Special Book Room” collection of about 250 books, plus a sprinkling of CDs, DVDs, and ephemera. Volunteer Wayne Greene has expertly examined covers and spines, scanned pages for signatures or marginalia, and assessed their value in antiquarian or contemporary circles. The offerings feature richly illustrated, large format volumes in like-new condition, and include art, architecture, biography/memoir, cookbooks, fiction, history, music/film, photography, signed books, and others. Quirky or collectible, rare or simply stunning, all are priced accordingly but affordably—ranging from $5 to $350 and everything in between.

Among the most valuable treasures to be offered are The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, a 1905 12-voume collection of Lincoln’s letters, lectures, and speeches (including a fold-out facsimile of Gettysburg address) edited by John G. Nicolas and John Hay ($350); a folio-sized coffee table book titled Muhammad Ali Memories – Photographs by Neil Leifer, signed by Muhammad Ali ($250); and Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe with illustrations by Harry Clarke, a 1933 hardcover in near fine condition ($275). The latter is considered one of Clarke’s greatest works and his Gothic style sits eerily well with Poe’s brilliant prose. The online book sale will open to Academy members on Friday, September 4 at 10:00am and to the general public on Saturday, September 5 at 10:00am; it will run through Monday, October 12 at midnight, or until the shelves empty. Note: Purchases must be picked up by appointment at Spencertown Academy; there will be no shipping.

Saturday, September 5

The Festival kicks off at 10:00am with children’s book author and illustrator Jacqueline Rogers reading from her latest book, Goblin Moon, a spirited story that captures Halloween fun. She will then lead a related workshop in which participants draw goblins and create a Halloween scene using the shapes in the alphabet. Bring a pencil with eraser, some blank paper, and your imagination. Ages 5 and up. 30 minutes.

At 4:30pm, The Booksellers director D.W. Young and producers Dan Wechsler and Judith Mizrachy will discuss their documentary film about antiquarian booksellers, the impact of technology on the trade, and the importance of books as physical objects. Parker Posey, who served as executive producer for the film, hopes to pop into the chat if her schedule permits. The film is both a loving celebration of book culture and a serious exploration of the future of the book. It features interviews with important dealers, prominent collectors, and writers such as Susan Orlean and Gay Talese. To view The Booksellers in advance at home, please see www.booksellersmovie.com for streaming options.

Sunday, September 6

At 4:30pm, novelist Joyce Carol Oates will discuss her latest book, Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars., in which she examines the current state of the nation through the prism of a family tragedyStark and penetrating, the novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author’s bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys. She will be joined in conversation with writer Daphne Kalotay, whose latest novel is Blue Hours.

Wednesday, September 9

At 7:30pm, journalist Robert Kolker will discuss his narrative nonfiction book, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family. It’s the heartrending story of a midcentury American family: six of Don and Mimi Galvin’s 12 children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. This medical mystery was so extraordinary that they were one of the first families studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. With clarity and compassion, Kolker weaves the science of schizophrenia, the era of institutionalization and lobotomy, and the search for genetic markers with one family’s legacy of suffering, love, and hope. He will be joined in conversation with journalist Seth Rogovoy, editor of The Rogovoy Report.

Saturday, September 12

At 10:00am, children’s book author and illustrator Jacqueline Rogers will return with a second workshop titled “Create a Halloween Book Cover.” Participants will follow along as Rogers draws a Halloween character, a brief story line, and a title in block letters. They will be encouraged to bring their own details and ideas into their drawings. Ages 8 and up. 45 minutes.

At 4:30pm, Richard Gehr will briefly discuss his book, I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists and then interview two current New Yorker cartoonists, David Sipress and Emily FlakeThe richly varied styles and personal stories of a dozen New Yorker cartoonists are featured in his book, along with a brief history of the New Yorker cartoon itself. Sipress’s work has appeared in the magazine since 1998 and Flake has published more than 100 cartoons in the magazine since 2008.

Sunday, September 13

4:30pm, Ed Ward will discuss his book, The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 2: 1964–1977: The Beatles, the Stones, and the Rise of Classic Rock. One of the deans of pop music criticism, Ward has been in and around music journalism for decades. He is well known to fans of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” where he was rock-and-roll historian for more than 30 years, and to readers of Rolling Stone and a host of other publications. He will be joined in conversation with Gerald Seligman, who has over 35 years experience in the music industry in the US and abroad.

Phone: (518) 392-3693

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Free Reads via Amazon Prime and Barnes & Noble

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Check out some free reads from Amazon Prime and Barnes & Noble.

Amazon Prime subscribers can get 67 Star Wars comics for free. They’re all Kindle editions, so you will need the corresponding Kindle app or PC viewer.

Barnes & Noble has free ebooks for kids. They can be accessed via the Nook Reading App, which is available for Android, iOS and Windows.

DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 19, 2020


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Author Event at the Chatham Bookstore w/ Melania Levitsky Reading From “The Gold in the Ground,” Mar 7


The Chatham Bookstore is hosting an Author Event with Melania Levitsky on Saturday, March 7th.

Levitsky, the associate Artistic Director of Walking the dog Theater, reads from her new children’s book, “The Gold in the Ground”, and presents the original illustrations. Based on a folk tale from Kazakhstan, The Gold in the Ground tells the story of a farmer and a shepherd finding a pot of gold that nobody wants. Artwork from the book will be on display through April 26.

DATE/TIME: Saturday, March 7, 2020 / 3pm

LOCATION: The Chatham Bookstore
27 Main Street
Chatham, NY 12037

ADMISSION: Free and Open to Everyone



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Author Event w/ Amy Bass at Chatham Library, Feb 22


The Chatham Public Library’s Authors and Artists series presents Amy Bass, author of One Goal, and Those About Him Remained Silent on Saturday, February 22.

Emmy-award-winning writer Amy Bass will appear at the Chatham Public Library to give a talk on two of her books, including Those About Him Remained Silent: The Battle over W.E.B. Du Bois, which provides the first detailed account of the battle over Du Bois and his legacy, as well as a history of Du Bois’s early life in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Bass locates the roots of the hostility to memorialize Du Bois in a cold war worldview that reduced complicated politics to a vehement hatred of both communism and, more broadly, anti-Americanism. The town’s reaction was intensified, she argues, by the racism encoded within cold war patriotism. Her latest book is One Goal: a Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together, which tells the inspiring story of the soccer team in a town bristling with racial tension that united Somali refugees and multi-generation Mainers in their quest for state – and ultimately national – glory.

A history professor by day, Bass has written about sport and race for SlateSalonCNN Opinion, and The Christian Century, and has been seen on NBC’s TODAY Show and heard on NPR on shows that include Midday, Under the RadarThe Takeaway, and Only A Game. She has served as senior research supervisor for NBC Olympic Sports, winning an Emmy Award for her work at the London Olympics in 2012.

The Authors and Artists speakers series is sponsored by the Friends of the Chatham Public Library and features a wide variety of fascinating speakers. 

DATE/TIME: Saturday, February 22, 2020 / 12pm

LOCATION: Chatham Public Library
11 Woodbridge Ave
Chatham, NY 12037

ADMISSION: Free and Open to the public

Email: chathampubliclibrary@chatham.k12.ny.us
Phone: 518-392-3666


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Spencertown Academy Festival of Books, Labor Day Weekend 2019


The annual Festival of Books at Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a celebration of books and reading for the whole community. For three days in early September we welcome outstanding writers and poets and nearly 2,000 readers and book-lovers to our 1847 schoolhouse in rural Columbia County. This year’s festival will feature a visit from Froggy on Saturday morning for the kids.

The festival opens Friday with Members’ Only Preview Day, giving members and their guests early access to the book rooms. Admission is free for members, $10 for each member guest. Membership has its privileges! Join now to ensure early access, or purchase a membership at the door on Friday. Members also receive one or more free book(s), and may celebrate their purchases at an evening wine and cheese reception.

All other programming on Saturday, Sunday and Monday — book sales, children’s program and author presentations – is free to all.

Friday, August 30 – Monday, September 2, 2019


Spencertown Academy Arts Center
790 NY-203
Spencertown, NY 12165

Phone: (518) 392-3693


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