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Mark Twain House Presenting Reading of 'Colonel Sellers: Reanimator'

Special to The Courant
Paul Di Filippo launching new collection of science fiction stories Nov. 30 at the UConn Co-op, Storrs.

To mark (pardon the pun) the 180th anniversary of Mark Twain's birth, there will be a reading of his widely reviled yet intriguing 1833 play, "Colonel Sellers: Reanimator," which he wrote with his friend, William Dean Howells, and which has been revised by Jacques Lamarre, the Mark Twain House's director of communication.

The reading will be presented Monday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. A new Mark Twain commemorative coin design will be displayed and birthday cake will be served.

The New York Tribune review of the original production, about a colonel who invents a way to bring dead people back to life, slammed it as ""a miserable lot of twaddle with neither dramatic construction or reason." But Lamarre has turned it into a "steampunk-zombie mash-up comedy."

Tickets are $10. Reservations: 860-247-0998 or

On Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Twain House & Museum, underground cartoonist and author Bill Griffith, creator of the esoteric "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip, will present a free Book/Mark talk about his first graphic novel, "Invisible Ink: My Mother's Love Affair With A Famous Cartoonist" (Fantagraphics, $29.99). His memoir is a poignant look at his mother's secret life in the 1950s and '60s.

Reservations: 860-247-0998 or

R.J. Julia Events

R.J. Julia Booksellers of Madison will host an 80th birthday celebration for noted chef and cookbook author Jacques Pepin on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Madison Beach Hotel, 94 W. Wharf Road, Madison.

Pépin has published 25 cookbooks and a memoir, "The Apprentice." He has starred in 12 TV cooking series and has won several James Beard Awards, among other culinary honors. His latest book is "Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen" (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35), the companion book to his final PBS series. It offers 200 recipes that Pépin has prepared for family and friends.

A 6 p.m. VIP Pre-Event Reception will include premier seating for his 7 p.m. talk, a book signing, hors d'oeuvres and a drink, and a $5 coupon good toward the purchase of the book from R.J. Julia. Tickets are $30. Admission to the 7 p.m. talk is $10 and includes the $5 coupon.

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. at the bookstore, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, R.J. Julia and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven Shoreline Office will present a talk by Sarah Wildman, author of "Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind" (Riverhead Books, $16).

In it, Wildman, who has reported from Europe and the Middle East for The New York Times, Slate and The New Yorker and is a former staff writer for the New Republic, tells the story of the woman her grandfather loved but had to leave when he fled Vienna before the start of World War II. Her book was inspired by letters she found after her grandfather died.

Tickets are $6. Proceeds will benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

On Wednesday, Dec 2, at 7 p.m., a Midwestern transplant to Vermont, Ellen Stimson, will give a free talk about her new book, "An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home" (Countryman Press, $24.95).

Stinson also is the author of the best-seller "Mud Season," about life in her small Vermont town. Her new book offers 98 recipes for holiday entertaining, including Root Beer Pulled Pork and Chestnut Mousse.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa, co-authors of "Health Revelations from Heaven and Earth" (Rodale, $25.99), will give a free talk. Rosa, then a plumber, had a near-death experience in 1999 after a hit-and-run accident that he believes revealed eight insights into the nature of heaven and Earth. He became a spiritual counselor in Florida. Sinatra is a holistic cardiologist and psychotherapist who lives in Manchester and Florida. They wrote the book to share their beliefs.

Tickets and reservations for R.J. Julia events: 203-245-3959 or

Currie At Westminster

Award-winning author Ron Currie Jr. will give a free reading at the Gund Reading Room of the Armour Academic Center at Westminster School, 995 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Westminster senior Abby Newman will be the student reader.

Currie's three books of fiction are "God is Dead," "Everything Matters!" and "Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles." His works of nonfiction and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon and other publications.

Information: 860-408-3053.

'The Rising: Murder And Heartbreak'

Ryan D'Agostino, author of "The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town" (Crown, $26), will give a free talk Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the West Hartford Public Library, 20 S. Main St., West Hartford.

His nonfiction book recounts the gruesome 2007 Cheshire home invasion and violent attack on Dr. William Petit and the murder of his wife and daughters. It describes how Petit survived and went on to marry again and have another child.

D'Agostino is the editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics magazine, a former editor at Esquire and a contributor to The New Yorker, Ski and other publications.

Reservations: or 869-561-6990. The library will validate parking in the nearby Isham Road Garage.

Sci-Fi At UConn Co-Op

Paul Di Filippo will launch his new collection of 17 science fiction stories, "A Palazzo In The Stars," on Monday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m., at the UConn Co-op , One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, Storrs.

Di Filippo, who lives in Rhode Island, has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, Theodore Sturgeon and World Fantasy awards and has won the British Science Fiction Association Award and is a critic and reviewer in the science fiction field.

Information: 860-486-8525 or

Poet At The Hickory Stick

Poet Donna Marie Merritt will sign copies of her fifth poetry collection, "We Walk Together" (Beech Hill Publishing Co., $5), at The Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot, on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m.

The book began when Merritt met a homeless man, to whom she gave a book of poetry. She went on to write 22 poems inspired by the encounter, which have been described as "drops of conscience" that focus on human emotions and acts of kindness.

Merritt's poetry for adults and children has appeared in many anthologies. She is the author of the Poetry for Tough Times series: "What's Wrong with Ordinary? Poems to Celebrate Life," "Cancer, A Caregiver's View" and "Job Loss, A Journey in Poetry."

Information: 860-868 0525 or

Book Launch

Connecticut author Liz Delton will read from her latest fantasy novel at a book launch party for "The Fifth City" (Kindle, $3.99), the second novel in her Arcera Trilogy series, on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at East Granby Public Library, 24 Center St., East Granby.

Information: 860-653-3002.

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