Humorist Roy Blunt Jr., Carly Simon Among Author Talks

Special to the Courant

Roy Blount Jr., who is a master of the humorous essay, will give a "Mark My Words" talk at the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. It will be preceded by a VIP reception at 6 p.m.

Blount will read from his new collection of essays, poems, songs, limericks and news stories (both fictional and real) about food, "Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations" (Sarah Crichton Books, $26).

Blount's subjects have ranged from sports teams to words and their usage. He is a panelist on NPR's quiz show, "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me," a former president of the Authors Guild, a member of PEN and the Fellowship of Southern Authors, a New York Public Library Literary Lion, a Boston Public Library Literary Light, a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary and an original member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band made up of authors.

Tickets are $30 or $75 for a VIP Reception with Blount, with pie (of course), coffee and conversation from 6 to 7 p.m. and priority seating for the 7:30 p.m. program. Tickets and information: marktwainhouse.org/visitor/events_programs.php.

Carly Simon In Madison

Read to Grow, a non-profit organization that promotes early childhood literacy in Connecticut, will host a fundraiser with singer-songwriter Carly Simon to celebrate her new memoir, "Boys in the Trees" (Flatiron Books, $16.99) on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 26 Meeting House Lane, Madison. Simon will appear in conversation with Colin McEnroe, the WNPR personality and Courant columnist.

The book details Simon's life, from her musical debut as a folk singer with her sister, Lucy, to her many Top 40 hits, including the No. 1 song, "You're So Vain." She was the first artist to win Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe awards for a song, all for "Let the River Run" from the movie "Working Girl."

Tickets are $65 and include a copy of her memoir. They must be purchased in advance and will be held at the door. Doors will open at 3 p.m. There also will be a silent auction of three new and signed vinyl Simon albums. Information and tickets: readtogrow.org/carly or 203-488-6800 or events@readtogrow.org.

The Borscht Belt

Photographer Marisa Scheinfeld will discuss her book, "The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America's Jewish Vacationland," with essays by Stefan Kanfer and Jenna Weissman Joselit (Cornell University Press, $29.95) on Sunday, Nov. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge.

The book of Scheinfeld's photographs of abandoned or repurposed resorts, hotels and bungalow colonies that once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York documents an important cultural era in American Jewish history.

Her photography has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in collections of the Center for Jewish History, The National Yiddish Book Center and The Simon Wiesenthal Center. Tickets are $10: jccnh.org.

Authors At R.J. Julia

R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, will present free talks by three authors. All will begin at 7 p.m. and registration is required: 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.

Steve Twomey will discuss "Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack" (Simon & Schuster, $30), on Tuesday, Nov. 15. His book chronicles the dozen days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, detailing the ignored warnings and clues, bureaucratic missteps and racist assumptions that made the U.S. vulnerable. Twomey won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing at The Philadelphia Inquirer, later worked at The Washington Post and has written for Smithsonian and other magazines.

Lynda Cohen Loigman will discuss her poignant debut novel, "The Two-Family House" (St. Martin's Press, $25.99), on Thursday, Nov. 17. Opening in Brooklyn in 1947, it is the story of sisters-in-law who begin a deep friendship in their shared brownstone, but gradually find their friendship falling apart. Cohen Loigman is from Longmeadow, Mass., is a Harvard graduate and now lives in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Minter Dial will talk about the true story of his late grandfather, also named Minter Dial, as described in his book, "The Last Ring Home: A POW's Lasting Legacy of Courage, Love, and Honor in World War II (Myndset Press, $25.95), on Friday, Nov. 18. It is the story of how Navy Lt. Dial's lost ring from Annapolis traveled some 40,000 miles and changed many lives. The elder Dial died a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II, but he had given the ring to a friend, after which it disappeared. The author undertook a long quest to find it, attended prisoner-of-war memorials and ex-POW conventions and military and press archives and interviewed many affected by the war. He is a professional speaker and founder of The Myndset Company, which provides digital and brand consulting.

Janice Y.K. Lee In Simsbury

Author Janice Y.K. Lee, who won acclaim for her debut novel, "The Piano Teacher," and has published a new novel, "The Expatriates" (Penguin, $16), will give a free talk hosted by the Friends of the Simsbury Public Library on Monday, Nov. 21, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Reservations are requested by Friday, Nov. 18.

Lee's latest book is about the relationships of three American women who live in a small expatriate community in Hong Kong. Lee, who is of Korean descent, was born and raised in Hong Kong, and is a graduate of Harvard College. Registration: at the library, 725 Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, or simsburylibrary.info or 860-658-7663.

Connecticut Valley Tobacco

Brianna Dunlap, author of "Connecticut Valley Tobacco" (Arcadia, $21.99), will give a free talk on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. at Academy Hall, 499 Mountain Road, Suffield, presented by Kent Memorial Library and the Suffield Historical Society.

Dunlap works at the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum in Windsor. Her book, illustrated with photos by Windsor native Leonard Hellerman, explores Suffield's past and present roles in the history of tobacco growing. The town was home to the first commercial cigar factory in the country. Information: 860-668-3896 or jhemond@suffield-library.org.

A Talk On Mindfulness

Local author Ianna Hondros-McCarthy will give a free talk about mindfulness meditation on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Whiton Library Auditorium, 100 N. Main St., Manchester.

Hondros-McCarthy is a student of osteopathic medicine at Manchester Memorial Hospital. Her debut book is "Stickier Rice, Clearer Purpose: An Introduction to Buddhism and Mindfulness From a Traveling Student" (Amazon Digital Services, $14.99). Information: 860-645-0821 or library.townofmanchester.org.

The Wright Stuff

The Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, continues its free Avon Reads One Book community reading project centering on "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $17.99). On Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., author Neil Hayward will discuss his book, "Lost Among the Birds: Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year" (Bloomsbury USA, $28), an account of his year traveling through 28 states and six provinces to spot exotic species of birds. Information on this talk and related events: 860-673-9712 or avonctlibrary.info.

Mystery Discussion

Carole Shmurak, of Farmington, who writes the Susan Lombardi mystery novels, will lead a free discussion on Monday, Nov. 14, at noon for the Simsbury Mystery Group's series, Murder in the Windy City, Part 3, at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury. The book is "Whiskey Sour" by J.A. Konrath. Information: 860-658-7663.

NET Poet In Residence

David Leff of Collinsville, an author and environmentalist, has been named NET poet in residence for the New England Trail, the newest of 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. He was selected for his experience as a hiker, natural resource conservationist and nature poet. Leff will lead poetry-based hikes, nature poetry writing workshops and other activities.

The Connecticut Forest & Park Association will host an event at its headquarters, 6 Meriden Road, in the Rockfall section of Middlefield, on Nov. 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., featuring poetry readings by Leff and Connecticut poet laureate Rennie McQuilkin and a slide show of the New England Trail. Information: 860-346-2372 or ctwoodlands.org.

The Litchfield History Museum, 7 South St., Litchfield, will host a slide-illustrated talk by Leff on his book, "Hidden in Plain Sight" (Wesleyan, $17.95), on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m. litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

West End Poetry Series

The West End Poetry Series: Poetry At The Metro will continue on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2:30 p.m. at the Metro Cafe, 580 Farmington Ave., Hartford, with a reading by poets by Claire Rossini and Richard Deming, preceded by a student poet. Information: 860-965-8800 or poetryontheporch@gmail.com.

Ruefle At Trinity

A free Allan K. Smith Reading Series event at the Admissions Grand Room on the Trinity College campus, 300 Summit St., Hartford, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 4:30 p.m., will present a reading by poet Mary Ruefle.

Ruefle, whose most recent book, "My Private Property" (Wave Books, $25), is a collection of short prose pieces, is the author of 10 poetry collections, a prose book and a comic book. Her many honors include an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Information: ciaran.berry@trincoll.edu.

Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series

On Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., the free monthly Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series at McMahon Wintonbury Library, 1015 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, will present readings from their new collections by poets Christine Beck, West Hartford's laureate, and Carl Dean. Information: prosserlibrary.info or 860-242-0041.

Book Club Bookstore

The Book Club Bookstore & More, 100 Main St., in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, will host a free talk by contemporary horror story author Dan Foley on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 1 p.m. Foley will discuss his latest novels, "Reunion" (Grinning Skull Press, $16.95), and "Wolf's Tale" (CreateSpace, $16), a sequel to "Abandoned." Information: 860-623-5100 or bookclubct.com.

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