The obstacles faced by a young black musician and untangling the mystery of who stole his priceless violin makes for a compelling story, said Samantha Basile at the reveal of the Richmond Memorial Library's summer reading selection.
"This year, we had a lot of strong contenders, but we kept coming back to one in particular," said Basile, the community and adult services librarian at the Richmond library. "So this year's title selection is a debut novel. It is part mystery part coming-of-age story. It was a Good Morning America GMA book club pick."
The selection is The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocum.
Basile said the selection committee, which has been reading review copies of multiple novels over the past year, was "drawn to the powerfully written passages about music, the element of mystery, and the no holds barred portrayal of the obstacles faced by a young black classical musician and contemporary America."
Basile played a short video from Slocum in which he described and discussed his debut novel.
"It's a story about perseverance and hard work and the power of one person believing in you and believing in yourself," Slocum said. "It's a story of Ray, who discovers that his old family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius violin. This discovery catapults him into superstardom in the world of classical music. And right before the Tchaikovsky Competition, which is the Olympics of classical music, his violin is stolen."
And thus the mystery begins, and a determined protagonist works diligently to uncover, from among many suspects, who stole his violin so he can recover it in time for the competition.
"This story came to me in the summer of 2020 When everything was shut down for everyone," Slocum said. "As a professional violinist, I wasn't playing any concerts. I wasn't teaching any lessons. I wasn't practicing for any recitals, or performances or anything. So it really gave me an opportunity to sit down and write."
Members of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra's string section performed during the reveal and Library Visits Coordinator Lucine Kauffman read a passage from the book (see video below).
Slocum will be at Richmond library, 19 Ross St., Batavia, at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 to discuss his book and sign copies.
The Richmond Reads Committee will host additional book discussions and readings during the summer.
Copies of the book are available now to borrow at the library in regular or large print, and on the Libby app as an eBook or audiobook. Copies may be purchased at the front desk for $20, cash or check made out to the Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library.
Richmond Memorial Library will welcome back author George “Rollie” Adams to discuss his new work of historical fiction, Found in Pieces. Mr. Adams, president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play, will be at the library for a talk and signing on Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm.
Found in Pieces was recognized by the Independent Press Awards as the winner of its 2022 Award for Race Relations. Set in fictional Unionville, Arkansas, Found in Pieces unfolds during the second year of turmoil over Governor Orval Faubus’s determination to stop the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Found in Pieces, recipient of five previous national and international awards for historical and social issues fiction, explores the tension between business considerations and editorial policy in journalism during the Civil Rights Era in the South.
Copies of the book are available to check out at the library before the program & will be available for sale by the author at the event for $15 (paperback) or $20 (hardcover), cash or check.
This event is free and all are welcome. It is best suited to older teens and adults.
George Rollie Adams is a native of southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education. His previous novel, South of Little Rock, received four independent publishers’ awards for regional and social issues. Adams has served as a writer, editor, and program director for the American Association for State and Local History and as director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. He is president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play. Learn more at georgerollieadamsbooks.com
An additional press release about the Independent Press Awards honor for George Rollie Adams as well as additional background on Found In Pieces after the jump (click here read more):
The John Gardner Society will host its annual reading of Batavia's most renowned novelist at the Pok-A-Dot the evening of Oct. 27.
The reading will start at 8 p.m.
Anybody with an interest in Gardner, literature, Batavia's history, or just looking for an evening of camaraderie and entertainment, is invited to attend or read their own favorite passages from Gardner's work.
For more information or to be added to the list of readers, contact Bill Kauffman at [email protected].
The event is sponsored by the John Gardner Society and Genesee Community College.
Bryon Hoot, a poet from Pennsylvania who visits Batavia often for literary events, reads some of his poetry at Moon Java this evening for the debut event for The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, a literary group organized by Eric Zwieg.
Zwieg, Julian Tuast, and Cole Rogers also read from their work. Richard Beatty was the emcee for the reading.
A new literary group in Batavia, organized by Eric Zwieg, The Visual Truth Theater Ensemble, will present readings by writers Byron Hoot, Cole Rogers, Julian Tuast, and Zwieg on May 11 at Moon Java Cafe.
The title of the program is "Speak Again, Speak Like Rain" and begins at 7 p.m.
Richard Beatty, of the Geezer Radio Show on WGCC on Thursday nights from 8 to 10 p.m., will host the reading.
Connie Boyd and Dave Bateman, her son-in-law, show off a new little free library they setup at 16 Montclair Ave. in Batavia last week.
Bateman built Boyd the box for a holiday gift. One of her favorite TV shows is "Doctor Who" so he customized the box to resemble a tardis, a police box the doctor travels around in. The tardis even comes with a working light on top.
Boyd wanted to have a little free library of her own after seeing a box on Washington Avenue. She loves the concept of sharing her favorite novels with neighbors. The purpose of a little free library is to have people take a book from the box and leave one in return.
"Not everyone is able to get to the library so I wanted to make books accessible to everyone and encourage reading in my community," Boyd said.
There are about 20 adult books in the box. Boyd said her neighbors have already been adding and borrowing from the collection. She plans on adding books for children soon.
Jen Reardon loves books and wants to encourage people to read more, so she set up a little free library in front of her house on the corner of Washington Avenue and Lewis Avenue.
She got the idea after learning about a web site called LittleFreeLibrary.org. In fact, she bought her brightly colored box from the web site. The site also tracks locations of little free libraries, and hers is the first one registered in Genesee County.
"I knew of nothing in area, at least on the map, so why not do this?" Reardon said. "I love books. I seem to always have lots of readers around me with lots of books and they're like, 'what can I do these,' so I thought we'll put them out and let people take a book, leave a book."
That's the whole concept of the little free library right there -- there's no fee, no library card to sign up for, you take a book and leave a book. Return what you take whenever you like, nor never return it if you like it that much. Just put something else in its place.
Yesterday was the first day for Reardon's little free library and quite a few people stopped and took books. Not too many have been added to the collection yet.
"Yesterday was a busy day at the little free library," Reardon said. "There was definitely more borrowing than trading, but since it's the first day, I don't think people really knew what to make of it."
Reardon already has one of the most colorful front yards in Batavia, with a cornucopia of flowers growing all spring, summer and fall. Her green, orange and purple box fits right in.
Her neighborhood is perfect for something like this, Reardon believes.
"We have all income levels within like a three block area," she said.
"I think people don't read enough and some people might not have access to books. You can always go to the library, but if you have books in your home, you're more likely to pick it up and read it, kids especially.
Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is presenting a “Mine” for Poetry Contest for adults in the "Dig into Reading" Summer Reading Club (free and easy to join). Dig into a page of text — from a book, a magazine, or a newspaper (Please make a copy, if it is not yours!). Find words to make a poem...and eliminate the rest as artistically as possible. Samples are available at the library. Entries are due at the library by Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m. and prizes will be awarded. More information is available at the library, by calling 343-9550, ext.
This item was submitted by Byron Hoot, from Wexford, Pa., who has made a couple of trips to Batavia in the past year in connection with his appreciation of John Gardner, including this past Saturday's John Gardner Conference at GCC.
“The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” So began the first presenter for the 15th Annual John Gardner Conference hosted by Genesee Community College organized by Tracey Ford and Charley Boyd of GCC, coordinated by Sandy Hortdahl of Northeast State, Tennessee.
It was “the spirit (that) giveth life” throughout the conference. The spirit of Gardner was alive and well among the conference attendees, who came from across New York state, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Presenters spoke on a wide range of topics, from Paul Johnston’s “Taggart Hodge, Antinomian” to John and Helen Maier’s reading of “The Miller’s Tale” in Chaucer’s Middle English, to Denise Divins’ probing look at the archetypical world of Grendel. In addition, there was Bette Smith’s excellent performance of Gardner’s one-act play, Days of Vengeance, and Jennifer Duncan’s talk of Gardner’s influence on her own writing.
Attendees had a chance to examine some of the original Gardner materials housed at GCC and overseen by librarian Phyllis Andrews. Finally, as a visual coda, there was a screening of "The Sunlight Man," a documentary made by Gardner’s son, Joel. As important as the ideas and insights, the presence of Gardner’s brother Jim and his wife, Wanda, added the personal touch of stories from family members who loved and love Gardner still.
A pilgrimage to the Pok-a-Dot for lunch gave conference attendees added time to socialize. A hidden gem, Genesee Community College deserves much credit for keeping alive the spirit of an important American writer. This is a pilgrimage well worth making.
Ace ag reporter Tom Rivers was at Coffee Culture this morning with his son Ruben signing copies of his book "Farm Hands." The book is based on a series of articles Rivers wrote for the Batavia Daily News about his efforts to get out and work the fields, experiencing firsthand what it's like to be a farm hand. Rivers said so far the book has sold 5,500 copies. If you don't have your copy yet, it's available at Present Tense books and the Holland Land Office Museum.
Miranda Fix was at Coffee Culture on Saturday signing copies of her new novel -- her sixth -- "Calling all Angels."
Fix, a registered nurse with 30 years experience, describes her new book this way: “It’s about my story and my experiences as a nurse surviving in a profession that is full of illusions, disenchantments and despair. But deep inside that sadness is a rainbow of color and these shades of blues, yellows greens and reds are the true colors of our angels. They are there for us, they guide us, empower us, pray for us and keep us safe. They are there when you call upon them…you just need to ask them for help.
"Calling All Angels is a novel about true life and the amazing strength in the patients I have met along the way. Stories that will make you laugh and cry, but they are full of hope and wonder. I wish you love and happiness as in the ways of the angels…and remember to believe.”
The mother of two children, and grandmother to three, Fix lives in Corfu.
Winners of the 5th Annual National Poetry Contest -- sponsored by Present Tense Books and Gifts and GoArt! -- were announced Friday. Some of the winners were at Present Tense on Washington Avenue, Batavia, Saturday afternoon to receive their prizes.
Pictured above are Joe Gagne, Abby Sapecky, Faith Finnin (back row), LindsayAugello, and Chloe Shuskey.
Members of the John Gardner Society and other fans of the late author who was born and raised in Batavia and often made Batavia the subject of his literary work will gather at the Pok-A-Dot, Liberty and Ellicott streets, Batavia. Admission is free. All are welcome. For more information or to be added to the reading list, call Bill at (585) 757-2455.