The Arlington Author Salon takes place quarterly the first week of July, October, January, and April, with some exceptions to circumvent holidays.
Spring Salon: Thursday, April 1, 2021, 7:30 pm
Spotlight on “Books Inspired by… Books”
Kim Adrian is the author of two books of lyric criticism: Dear Knausgaard (part of a series that aims to “reinvent literary criticism”) and Sock (a Bloomsbury Object Lessons book). Her 2018 memoir, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, uses the form of a glossary to tell the story of her mother’s mental illness. It is part of University of Nebraska’s American Lives Series, edited by Tobias Wolff, and is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist. Kim is the editor of The Shell Game: Writers Play with Borrowed Forms, an anthology of lyric essays that a review in The Millions praised as providing “a sense of hope about literature and its capacity for evolution and change.” She is the creator of Write On, a free monthly newsletter for writers.
In a series of warm and often funny letters, Kim Adrian delivers a compelling feminist critique of the 6-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle, by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard. Adrian’s book of twenty-five letters begins as a witty and entertaining response to a seminal work and transforms into a fierce and powerful interrogation of the darker social and cultural forces informing Knausgaard’s project. Through an examination of the curious operations of intimacy demanded on both sides of the page by all great literature, Dear Knausgaard ultimately provides a heartfelt celebration of the act of reading itself.
Michael Blanding is a Boston-based investigative journalist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Slate, The Boston Globe, Boston magazine, and other publications. He is author of The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps (2014), which was a New York Times bestseller and an NPR Book of the Year, and North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work (2021).
North by Shakespeare presents the twinning narratives of rogue scholar Dennis McCarthy, and Sir Thomas North, an Elizabethan courtier whom McCarthy believes to be the undiscovered source for Shakespeare’s plays. Using plagiarism software, McCarthy has found direct links between Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and other plays and Thomas North’s published and unpublished writings–as well as Shakespearean plotlines seemingly lifted straight from North’s colorful life. North by Shakespeare alternates between the dramatic life of Thomas North, the intrigues of the Tudor court, and academic outsider Dennis McCarthy’s attempts to air his provocative ideas in the clubby world of Shakespearean scholarship. Through it all, Blanding employs his keen journalistic eye to craft a highly readable drama, up-ending our understanding of the beloved playwright and his “singular genius.”
Alden Jones is the author, most recently, of the hybrid memoir The Wanting Was a Wilderness. Her story collection, Unaccompanied Minors, won the New American Fiction Prize and was a finalist for a Publishing Triangle Award and a Lambda Literary Award, and her memoir The Blind Masseuse was named a notable travel book by National Geographic, Publishers Weekly, PEN America, and the Huffington Post. Her stories and essays have appeared in New York Magazine, Agni, Prairie Schooner, the Iowa Review, The Rumpus, and the Best American Travel Writing. She is core faculty in the Newport MFA, and also teaches creative writing and cultural studies at Emerson College in Boston.
Alden Jones began a deep dive into Cheryl Strayed’s Wild to answer a question: How did Cheryl Strayed take material that is not inherently dramatic―hiking―and transform it into an inspirational memoir, beloved to so many? The answer would be revealed in Jones’s craft analysis, and ultimately in Jones’s memoir of her own time in the wilderness, written alongside her exploration of Wild. But when a sudden personal crisis occurs in the middle of writing the book, Jones realizes that an authentic account of her history requires confronting some difficult truths, both in her life and on the page. The result is a profoundly original work that merges literary criticism, craft discussion, and memoir―a celebration of Wild, of memoir, and of the power of a book to change one’s life.
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