Thursday, January 5, 2012

More on Ayad Akhtar from an Early Reader, A Note on Journal Sentinel Links, Stacie's Interview with Cedar Block Gallery's Brent Gohde on His Upcoming Show at the Turner Hall Ballroom on February 18.

1. Here's a little more on Ayad Akhtar (event is now Friday, January 13, 7 pm). While I think this event is of interest to all kinds of people, I wanted to get a few reads from my Muslim customers. Little, Brown was gracious enough to send me an extra advance copy of American Dervish for this purpose. I asked our friend Bara if she might be interested in trying it. Here's what she thought:

"Eloquently written, American Dervish invites us into the life of a young boy, Hayat Shah, who is caught between two different worlds, but wants nothing more than to be happy. He recounts the events in his life as they relate to his Aunt Mina who has taken her young son and left Pakistan to stay with Hayat’s family. Struggling to find happiness at home, Mina introduces Hayat to the beauty of Islam and the power of the Quran, which stirs a sense of joy in his mother and infuriates his father, forever changing him. Other events lead him to the local Muslim community and its anti-Semitism.

"Ayad Akhtar brings to light a new Muslim-American perspective of growing up in 1980’s Wisconsin. In this post-9/11 world, so many misconceptions and different interpretations of Islam exist. Yet even within Islam and its many cultures, individuals chose their own interpretations, as we witness when Hayat remembers the same verses of the Quran at the beginning and end of the story, each time with different interpretations."

Thanks, Bara! Mr. Akhtar was also on NPR's All Things Considered this morning.

2. Like The New York Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has gone to a paywall. You can read up to a decent number of articles per month before subscribing. As soon as I can link my print subscription to my website, I can start not worrying about using up my limit. And speaking of which, we'll have a small ad in the Journal Sentinel this Sunday for three upcoming events. A few others are being underwritten on Wisconsin Public Radio. Hope these efforts convince a few more folks each time to come out for some great event programming we have this winter.

I'm not quite out of links yet, so here's Jim Higgins's take on Smut, Alan Bennett's new collection of novellas, where he notes, "Bennett makes witty comedy of these tales, which are nowhere near as prurient as the cheeky title suggests." Read the entire review here.

3. Stacie and I were chatting about Brent Gohde's Cedar Block Gallery show at Turner Hall Ballroom on February 18, entitled "Results: Cedar Block's Dig for the Higgs and how the Quest Was Won" and in an instant, she had interviewed Brent for The Boswellians. Gohde talks about the intersections of art and science and how some key bookselling events influenced the creation of this show, most notably:
--Three years as a Harry W. Schwartz Bookseller (at the Downer Avenue location)
--An author visit from Leonard Sclain, author of Art & Physics
--A copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and a subsequent visit to Brookfield to see Douglas Adams.

Hey, I worked that event. I wonder if Brent brought a towel to be signed? Read the entire interview here. And buy tickets here to this show, co-sponsored by Alverno Presents and WMSE radio.

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