Book Bash: VA Book Festival coming next week

The Virginia Festival of the Book is happening next week, March 19 to the 23, and we think its important to note that many of the venues for the readings, talks, and discussions are on the DTM (or very nearby), thanks to places like the New Dominion Bookshop, Central Library, City Hall Chambers, WriterHouse, City Space, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, The Bridge PAI, Herman Key Recreation Center, Firefish Gallery, Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar, Woolley Mammoth, Carver Rec, Cville Coffee, Paramount Theater, the Downtown Transit Center, Villiage School, Virginia Discovery Museum, Oakley’s Gently Used Books, Alakazam Toys and Gifts, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the Omni Hotel. Damn, we should just call it the DTM Book Festival! Click on the image below to see the full schedule for the week. And look for “day of” reminders next week for the DTM’s Book Fest Picks!

Book fest schedule

The other new DTM hotel…

Speaking of hotels…there’s another one planned for the corner right across from the Lewis & Clark (and Sacagawea) statue, a seven story, 133 room Marriott extended-stay Residence Inn. Work on it could begin this winter, and a slew of funky business that have set up in the interim –Random Row Books, City Clay, Cat Thraser Photography, and Sweet Haus, to name a few — will have to move. Again, the Hook’s Hawes Spencer has all the details. READ MORE

Tilghman reads from his “dazzling” new novel at New Dominion

Fifteen years after the publication of his first novel Mason’s Retreat, UVA creative writing prof Christopher Tilghman revisits the Mason family and the Chesapeake Bay in his 2012 novel The Right-Hand Shore. And you can catch him reading and signing copies of the book at New Dominion Bookshop on Thursday, June 7 at 5:30pm.

“A rare achievement. Christopher Tilghman’s vision of the American past—and particularly of individuals caught in the tidal sweep of history—is dazzling in its precision and clarity.” —Charles Frazier, winner of the National Book Award for Cold Mountain

Read an excerpt…. Continue reading

Reading: Saunders’ debut novel Ministers of Fire

Over ten years in the making, local author Mark Saunders’ debut novel Ministers of Fire has finally hit the bookstores, both online and off, and on Friday, May 18 he’ll be reading from the book at the New Dominion Bookshop on the DTM.

Novelist Robert Stone calls Ministers a “beautifully written, restrained, and passionate work by a writer who knows the ins and outs and intrigues of the New World Order all too well.” Local author John Casey, who will be introducing Saunders on Friday, added that it belongs on the bookshelf with John le Carré and Eric Ambler.

Not to give away too much, Ministers of Fire‘s main character is Lucius Burling, a former CIA operative in Afghanistan in the late 1970s, who isthe American consul in Shanghai, but after the 9/11 attacks his past adventures in the country—ah, like, trying to fund the mujahedin to battle the Soviets, and basically creating Osama Bin Ladin and the Taliban—have come back to haunt him. Meanwhile, a Chinese dissident physicist wants to sell nuclear secrets in this new Post-9/11 world.

Saunders thinks maybe fiction can still reflect the world more truthfully than a real event or a political argument can.

“In my novel, I get into the heads of the dissident, the Chinese security men, the rogue CIA agent, and the diplomat torn between them,” says Saunders.

About two weeks ago, just as his book was arriving in stores, Saunders read about Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese lawyer who escaped from extralegal house arrest to the American embassy in Beijing.

“The choices facing Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Locke, and for that matter the Chinese politburo in negotiating his fate, were very similar to what I had to figure out to make the ending of my book work,” says Saunders,  “The whole thing is still a bit mysterious to me, but it it gives me faith in fiction. “