Friday, November 11, 2016

Jené Jackson launches her new memoir at Cottonwood this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 7:10 AM

Local author (and former Indy sales staffer) Jené Jackson will celebrate the release of her memoir, The Oat Project, on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Courtesy Jené Jackson

Detailing the events of one transformative summer, Jackson’s memoir follows her path from sheltered evangelical Christianity to radical self-love, a journey which started at the age of 37 with a desire to try all the things she’d never experienced, such as watching porn, smoking marijuana and going to a strip club.

Through the process of sowing her wild oats, albeit a little later in life than most, Jackson learned how to face her deep-seated fears and embrace herself, a lesson she hopes to impart to readers.

Saturday’s event at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Ave., will include a reading, interviews of some key figures in the book, a Q&A and a signing. Then, in the “wild and free” spirit of The Oat Project, a dance party will follow.

If you’re interested in Jackson’s journey, or getting inspired to start your own, copies of The Oat Project will be available for purchase.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Helen Thorpe, Jeff Hobbs to talk race and inequality at CC

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 5:02 PM

Jeff Hobbs
  • Jeff Hobbs
Helen Thorpe
  • Helen Thorpe
Catch a talk by two amazing authors tomorrow night free of charge at Colorado College.

Helen Thorpe, whom you may remember from her time as the first lady of Colorado (or Denver perhaps), and Jeff Hobbs will be speaking on race, class, inequality and youth.

Those subjects should be on the minds of Colorado College students, after two students were suspended recently for racist/mean-spirited comments made on Yik Yak. 

The event, part of CC's Visiting Writers Series, begins at 7 p.m. in Gaylord Hall on the main floor of the Worner Campus Center at 902 N. Cascade Ave.

Here's more information on the authors, from Colorado College:

Helen Thorpe is an award-winning journalist, author of “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America,” and Time magazine's number one nonfiction book of 2014, “Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and At War.” Jeff Hobbs is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.” Both authors have written eloquently about inequality, poverty, urban life, and race.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Smarter Than You Think and In the Kingdom of Ice PPLD's All Pikes Peak Reads 2015 picks

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 3:06 PM

The Pikes Peak Library District recently announced In the Kingdom of Ice and Smarter Than You Think as its selections for 2015’s All Pikes Peak Reads, with a theme of “Transformation @ Elevation.” “This year’s APPR selections all relate to characters that are transformed by extraordinary circumstances.”

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette — a best-selling tome from 2014 about the 1879-1881 Arctic journey by American Lt. Commander George De Long — is the fifth major book by author Hampton Sides, who currently serves as the head of Colorado College’s inaugural Journalist-in-Residence program, which brings speakers to town and finds Sides teaching classes on campus.

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better comes from Wired and New York Times Magazine contributor Clive Thompson, and since its release in 2013 has garnered sparkling reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review and popular blog Brain Pickings.

PPLD’s APPR teen selection is Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel American Born Chinese and it’s children’s selections are Wonder by RJ Palacio and I’m Gonna Climb a Mountain in My Patent Leather Shoes by Marilyn Singer.

Start reading now (previews for all the books are available via the links to above), and watch for updates online with information about author events and workshops happening later this year.

Find the full release below:
Colorado Springs, Colo. (May 7, 2015) – Pikes Peak Library District’s annual community reads project, All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR), is celebrating its 14th year in 2015!

PPLD’s theme for 2015 is Transformation @ Elevation. This year’s APPR selections all relate to characters that are transformed by extraordinary circumstances.

The 2015 titles are: In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides and Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson.

Young adult readers will also be able to participate in APPR. The Teen selection for 2015 is the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

The Children’s selections are Wonder by RJ Palacio and, for very young readers, the picture book I’m Gonna Climb a Mountain in My Patent Leather Shoes by Marilyn Singer.

2015 APPR Programs & Activities
With the help of Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado College, more than 30 other community partner organizations, 13 public school districts, and private school partners, All Pikes Peak Reads engages thousands of residents in El Paso County in historical, cultural, and literary exploration of a work of fiction that presents significant issues pertinent to our society. This year’s lineup of events includes an offering of theater, performances and exhibits, author presentations, and more. Author Hampton Sides will give presentations at both Pikes Peak Library District and Colorado College in the fall. Author Gene Luen Yang will be presenting lectures and graphic novel workshops at the library as well. Complete information will be available this summer at

About All Pikes Peak Reads
All Pikes Peak Reads is a community-wide effort to improve literacy and foster dialogue across social, cultural, and generational lines. The program begins in September and extends through the fall season. It includes free community events, author visits, children's programs, discussion guides, art exhibits, and much more. Past projects include The Invention of Wings (2014), The Cellist of Sarajevo (2013), The Year of the Flood (2012), The Hunger Games (2011), The Devil in the White City (2010), Rocket Boys (2009), The Worst Hard Time (2008), Zorro (2007), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2006), Tales from the Arabian Nights (2005), Treasure Island (2004), Frankenstein (2003), and To Kill a Mockingbird (2002).

History of APPR
All Pikes Peak Reads was one of Colorado’s first community-wide reading programs. The program is modeled after similar one-book projects in cities like Chicago. APPR debuted in 2002 and has quickly become a local institution.

The APPR selections are chosen based on the following criteria: the book must have broad appeal, be suitable for adaptation to the stage, written at a sixth- to ninth-grade reading level, a book in print, available in multiple formats, and contain issues relevant to residents of the Pikes Peak region.

Book selections in multiple formats will be available at PPLD libraries and through local bookstore partners. Book discussion materials and curriculum guides for elementary, middle, and high schools are also under development.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tour historic Colorado Springs homes with this new book

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 7:37 PM

Before I bought a house of my own, my parents' weekend hobby of visiting open houses as a family was staggeringly boring. Houses that didn't look identical were creepy and weird. Except those times when we went to see Victorian-era houses, every once in a blue moon. Those were interesting, fanciful — especially for a young girl — and if there was a creepiness about it, it was awesome.

For local history buffs, and fans of open houses, there's Historic Homes of Colorado Springs and Vicinity, published last year. Mother-and-son team Helen M. Anderson and Gordon Anderson contributed the writing and photography, respectively, to a 36-home collection of short histories and descriptions of the architecture. Helpfully, there are several maps to the homes and a glossary of architectural terms.

Gordon Anderson, along with the Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs, will host a book signing at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 8, at one of the locations in the book, the Colorado Springs School's historic Trianon (21 Broadmoor Ave.) Copies of the book will be available for purchase (cash only) as well as tours of the public parts of the Trianon. Clausen Books also sells copies. (This event was to be held last Sunday, Feb. 22, but was postponed due to the weather.) Find more information here.

Below are a few excerpts from the book.

  • Gordon Anderson
  • Estemere
380 Glenway St., Palmer Lake • This elegant home was built in 1887 for retired dentist William F. Thompson and his family. One of the early settlers in the area, Dr. Thompson founded the town of Palmer Lake and served one term as mayor. .... Estemere, Scottish for "small lake," is a wood frame structure, principally of Queen Anne architecture, covered with diamond and fishscale shingles. The manor house contains twenty-two rooms on three floors and boasts seven unique ornate fireplaces. ...The property has had several owners through the years. ... it was forfeited to creditors in 1890 after Dr. Thompson mysteriously disappeared from the area ...
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Nolon House
2 Grand Ave., Manitou Springs • In 1900, the house was purchased by John and Mary Nolon. Mr. Nolon, once a pony express rider from St. Joseph, Missouri, came to Manitou Springs from Cripple Creek, where he made a fortune running a gambling hall and a saloon during the gold mining boom days. "Honest Johnny Nolon" bought two saloons upon resettling in Manitou Springs, which he named The Buffalo and The Silver Dollar.
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Husted House
3001 W. Kiowa St. • Old Colorado City boasts a wonderful historic residence known as the Husted House. Located on the southwest corner of Kiowa and Thirtieth Streets, this appealing house is a striking example of High Victorian Gothic Architecture. This lovely home, built for the family of Calvin R. and Amanda Husted in 1884 ... [features] a round two-story turret on the northeast corner topped by a witch's hat cupola and finial that reaches skyward ... Shingles of various shapes and colors cover the exterior walls. The north porch front entryway underneath a north-facing gablet and the matching east porch entryway, along with the bottom and top porch railings, are all lavishly decorated with a plethora of fanciful gingerbread latticework and spool designs.
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Hager House
1308 N. Cascade Ave. • The home was built in 1905 for Wilfrid M. and Clarissa Hager of Philadelphia. The Hagers, from two of the oldest and wealthiest Philadelphia banking families, relocated to Colorado Springs for Mr. Hager's health. The architect for the house was the noted Thomas MacLaren ... Mr. MacLaren's signature keystone motif is found on the third story east gable roundel, the neo-gothic fireplace mantlepieces, and the archway of the formal dining room.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How was marriage won? New book breaks it down

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM

  • Courtesy One Colorado
In October, I interviewed Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, about the future of LGBT organizations. 

At the time, the U.S. Supreme Court had acted in a way that made same-sex marriage legal in many states including Colorado. My question for him was, "What happens to organizations aimed at winning marriage equality after they win?"

Solomon's answer to that was pretty simple: They go away. But we also touched on some other subjects in our conversation, including one of Solomon's favorites, "How did the LGBT community win the right to marry?"

Solomon was obviously excited to talk about the subject, but he didn't want to give too much away because he was preparing to release a book on the subject, Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won

Well, the book is out, and Solomon is going to be in Denver to talk about it on Monday. I'm not sure of everything he'll address, but one thing is certain: He's going to give a lot of credit to Tim Gill. Gill is the founder of Quark, Inc., which made him a multimillionaire, and the founder of the Gill Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing equality for LGBT people.

One longtime branch of the Foundation was the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, which was based in Colorado Springs until it shut down at the end of 2011. The Fund pumped money into the Springs for philanthropic projects of all stripes in an effort to win hearts and minds. Many in the local LGBT community feel the fund was hugely influential in transforming the Springs from the place it was in 1992 — when local evangelical leaders worked to get anti-gay Amendment 2 passed — into the much more tolerant place it is today.

Anyway, I'm curious to read Marc's book. It's available for sale online, of course, but if you're a purist you'll buy it at Poor Richard's. The bookstore's owner, Richard Skorman, was a vocal supporter of LGBT rights back before it was popular. Poor Richard's should have the book on its shelves in a couple weeks.

Dec. 8: Freedom to Marry's Marc Solomon Hosts “Winning Marriage” Book Launch
Book highlights indispensable leadership of Tim Gill

WHAT: Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry and veteran marriage strategist, continues his national tour in Denver to promote Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won. The book, with a foreword by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, has received critical acclaim from Bob Woodward, Dee Dee Myers, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin. As a senior political strategist for the marriage movement for more than a decade, Solomon takes readers inside the White House, the Supreme Court, governors' offices and state capitols, as well as into the war rooms of marriage campaigns throughout the country, showing how the campaign for marriage equality has been waged and how it has prevailed. Solomon chronicles the indispensable role of Tim Gill, as well as the Denver-based Gill Foundation and the Gill Action Fund, in bringing about the victories secured over the last decade.

WHO: Marc Solomon, Tim Gill and Scott Miller, One Colorado

WHEN: Monday, December 8, 2014, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

WHERE: Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
1485 Delgany Street, Denver, CO 80202

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Kathryn Harrison to speak Nov. 11

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 8:59 AM

The acclaimed writer, who authored fiction and nonfiction books like Envy, The Seal Wife and, perhaps most famously, The Kiss (but more on that in a minute), will speak at CC's Gates Common Room Tues., Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public.

Harrison will discuss her newest work, Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, which critics say effortlessly weaves compelling narrative with intensely researched facts. Author Stacy Schiff had this praise for the book:
A girl walks into a prophecy and winds up a myth. How does that even happen? In Joan of Arc, Kathryn Harrison makes the most improbable of lives — that of the restless farmer’s daughter who casts a spell over 15th century France — seem possible again. Working from trial records and modern literature, the Bible and Bresson, Harrison marshals all the forces. The result is sumptuous, as rich and radiant as Joan’s (apocryphal) golden cloak.
Kirkus and Booklist were similarly impressed.

Back to The Kiss, though, for those who are unaware of Harrison and her impact in the publishing industry. Harrison's 1997 memoir chronicled her affair with her father, which started when she was 20 and he had reentered her life after being largely absent throughout her childhood. The Kiss was obviously controversial, but ultimately widely deemed a success. In "Life With Father: Incestuous and Soul-Deadening," the New York Times wrote of the "appalling but beautifully written memoir:"
You read on, for once dreading instead of looking forward to the inevitable consummation. You are stunned by the author's imagery of despair: the cockroach she traps under a glass the last night of her father's first visit, when she discovers that he is sleeping with her mother. The ''dim, drowned light'' in the basement apartment she rents when his obsessive attention forces her temporarily to withdraw from college after her junior year. The Polaroids her father takes of her naked: ''The expression on my face, flat and dispossessed, is one I see years later in a museum exhibit of pictures taken of soldiers injured during the Civil War.''
However, Harrison would go on to have a successful life with much happiness. This is stark contrast to Caroline Knapp, who published her own memories in 1996, with Drinking: A Love Story. (And let's not forget Mary Karr's The Liars' Club, from 1995).
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Support freedom, truth, beauty, love and Mountain Fold Books

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 3:52 PM

  • Courtesy Mountain Fold Books

Mountain Fold Books is a cool idea living next to the newly opened Iron Bird Brewing Co., meaning it's contributing to the resurgence of southeast downtown and that popular supporting-small-and-local thing we all hear so much about.

That's because the six-month-old Mountain Fold — a nonprofit run by Marina Eckler and Jonathan Fey that won the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's $10,000 Ingenuity Grant — wants "to provide access to contemporary small press print and journal publications in poetry, fiction, and visual arts through an independent reading room, bookstore, and cafe. We seek to extend public access to those books which are not already widely available in the Pikes Peak region, and to voices which are underrepresented in commercial literature."

But they want your help to do it. The bookstore hopes to gain 1,000 members donating $10 or more by Sept. 5, and will provide you a variety of pretty dope rewards in return. (My favorite: The "City for Duchampions" urinal-themed bumper sticker.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: Robogenesis is a solid summer read

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 3:12 PM

In his new novel Robogenesis (Doubleday Books, 2014), Daniel H. Wilson does not stand on ceremony; the action starts quickly and keeps moving. 

Robogenesis is the sequel to the 2011 Times bestseller, Robopocalypse. The first book examined a worldwide war between humankind and a thinking computer, Archos R-14

Like the preceding book, Robogenesis jumps between a series of characters around the world as it explores the postwar landscape. Even with the majority of the human population dead, there's little peace to be found.

Between a rising warlord and a power struggle, the hunger for power is keeping things from settling for humanity. The free-thinking robots which helped defeat Archos have started a city in now-empty NORAD. To top it all off, an earlier version of the Archos AI is undertaking its own, quiet campaign for power. 

Something that should be minor but isn't in the sci-fi genre is the cast. Unlike much of the genre's white-boys' club, Wilson's books have heroes who are female and/or non-white. One of the major factions — the one responsible for destroying Archos R-14 in the first book — is mostly the Osage residents of Grey Horse, Oklahoma. Wilson includes hispanic characters, a major plot arc in Japan, and even has robots of both sexes. 

From the engineer-grade names to the tech to the core of the story, it's clear Wilson is a doctor of robotics and an expert. Robopocalypse was praised for how plausible its take on a robot uprising was. With the first living computer built and beaten, a sizable population of free-thinking robots, and more than a few cyborgs and upgraded humans exploring the landscape, Wilson is free to start speculating further. His post-war world is an open playground for new life.

That is where the story shines, in the grey area between animal and machine. Ambiguous identity is a recurring theme in the book, as is metamorphosis. The mechanical wildlife, made of plastic and metal, is perhaps his most compelling detail. The great slugs grazing the plains of Oklahoma and the robotic deer feeding on overgrown shrubbery in Central Park make his apocalyptic landscapes come to life. In Robogenesis beats the heart of classic speculative fiction.

Still, Robogenesis has its shortcomings. The novel jumps between 10 perspectives in around 360 pages. Wilson's characters each grow, but everything feels very rushed. Each chapter's time stamp states the novel takes place over 11 months, but things move too quickly to really hit home. Nobody has the time or space to develop and get the audience attached. They're a little better than the non-character clever machines Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Isaac Asimov (I, Robot, Foundation trilogy) often put forth, but they still feel rote. His use of first-person perspective helps, but it's not the gentle way of making a reader care. 

On the surface, Robogenesis reads like Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Timeline) with an ending as abrupt as its beginning. Whether action or introspection, nothing happens slowly in Wilson's book. A few too-complete reveals in the first third of the book hurt the tension in the other two sections, which examine roughly the same period of time from different points of view.

The Adderall-age pacing in Robogenesis does the most damage to the most fascinating parts of Wilson's imagination. The grey-area characters straddling the line between animal and machine are the reason for the plot that glosses them over. Even a hundred pages more might have been enough to let Wilson guide us through his fascinating world.

With all that said, Robogenesis is still a worthy summer read. It's the second in a series that will have at least one more book, and the middle child in a trilogy is often prone to feeling rushed, or starting and ending awkwardly. It's not Ray Bradbury, but it's not trying to be, and it's certainly not bad. Though it doesn't shy away from darkness, the book's brisk pace keeps it from getting too heavy. Wilson also does a good job of keeping his characters in order.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Birds, broccoli, and even a few books

Posted By on Mon, May 26, 2014 at 5:24 PM

We get a decent amount of unsolicited books sent monthly to the Indy, some fiction works sporting protagonists with really terrible names, as if they were spit out of some silly online name generator. 

Those we laugh at and relegate to a shelf. Once or twice I've seen the shelf-books used to raise a computer monitor higher on a desk, or some other utilitarian task that'd certainly make the author sad. 

But we're not always awful people. Sometimes we find joy, even if it be momentarily, inside the bindings of other books, a few of which might actually reach a formal review. 

I flagged a couple of incomers as worth sharing with you here, if for no other reason because they appeal close to my own interests. So, here goes:

Monday, June 2, the American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Colorado releases, by author Ted Floyd and photographer Brian E. Small. 

It boasts 500 photos, "tips on when and where to see each species," plus "birdsong text" and several odd and amusing bird names that are as chuckle-worthy as said aforementioned bad book protagonists. Like: a Bufflehead, Bobolink and Dickcissel. Here's some sample pages. 

  • Scott & Nix Inc.

Just in today, and already available as of May 8, we have Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Afghanistan to Zambia in the Spirit of More-With-Less (A World Community Cookbook), by Joetta Handrich Schlabach. 

It's a revised edition of an original 1991 release, with nearly 100 countries featured, added recipes and more photos, and royalties from the work go toward "global relief, peace, and community efforts through [Mennonite Central Committee]."

Some pages feature small stories, almost like fun-facts, such as how a particular culture tends to bless its food prior to eating, or details about a particular ingredient. Here's a sample selection:

  • Herald Press

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

101-year-old Colorado Springs poet to receive award

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 11:52 AM

A scene from Hayna's 100th birthday celebration. She's in the white cardigan, left. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • A scene from Hayna's 100th birthday celebration. She's in the white cardigan, left.

Colorado Springs' Lois Beebe Hayna, a former Pikes Peak Poet Laureate and champion of Poetry West, has written beautiful poetry for most of her life, and continues to do so at 101 years old. For that, the Colorado Authors League will award her its Lifetime Achievement Award on May 8 at a $50 banquet in Denver.

Looking back among her eight books, it's well deserved. Here's how reporter William Porter describes her writing in the Denver Post:

"Hayna writes muscular verse addressing the big questions: life, death, how we live on this Earth. Suffused with a sense of wonder and razor-keen observations about the natural world, her vivid poems are driven by an overriding leanness of tone."

Here's a favorite from her 2008 book Keeping Still, titled "Lost in the Village":
where I grew up, I escaped into
a city. Nothing lovelier
had ever happened than
this anonymity.

I followed
curious streets, read books
at random, sat a long time
by the lake.
Nobody frowned that I wasted my days.

by strangers,
I led my private exciting life in streets
I didn't know names for,
in buildings
that asked no questions

and while nobody noticed
I fell into who I was.

Lois Beebe Hayna 100th Birthday Celebration from PPLD TV on Vimeo.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

PPLD announces books for All Pikes Peak Reads 2014

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

This morning at the Pinery on the Hill, as a part of the Innovate Colorado Springs events this week, Pikes Peak Library District announced its theme — "Engage the Extraordinary" — and title selection for All Pikes Peak Reads 2014. Each title reflects the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Topping the list is the adult fiction title, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, who is most known for her award-winning and chart-topping The Secret Life of Bees. Set in early 19th century Charleston, The Invention of Wings tells a story of, as PPLD Executive Director Paula Miller says, "urban slavery and an unexpected friendship."

The adult non-fiction title, Who Owns the Ice House?, by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger, is as Miller says, about "an ordinary man, yet extraordinary in his approach to life and entrepreneurship ... set in the Mississippi Delta at the height of racial segregation."

Gary Schoeniger signs copies of his book, Who Owns the Ice House?, at the APPR announcement event. - KIRSTEN AKENS
  • Kirsten Akens
  • Gary Schoeniger signs copies of his book, Who Owns the Ice House?, at the APPR announcement event.

PPLD also named books for younger readers. Ally Condie's Matched trilogy will appeal to teens (and adults) who loved the Hunger Games and Divergent series. And for children, there are two choices: The Watson's Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis, and Henry's Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine.

Kidd, Taulbert and Schoeniger will visit the Pikes Peak Region during this APPR cycle. (And perhaps if we push them, we could get Condie too?) 

Learn more about APPR 2014 here.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

PPLD names 2013 All Pikes Peak Reads books

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

  • PPLD

This morning, the Pikes Peak Library District announced its picks for this year's All Pike Peak Reads books.

For adults:
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
China Boy by Gus Lee
Sweeping up Glass by Carolyn Wall

For teens:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

For children:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The theme of this year's selections is "My Voice, Our Future" and focuses on tomes that "highlight personal expression and the ways in which documenting a personal struggle can improve all of our futures."

As with each of the past years, the library has lined up a robust schedule between now and October 31 of signings, discussions, author visits (below) as well as partnerships with other local groups. See the whole calendar here.

Author Visits

Gus Lee, author of China Boy
Visiting author on October 2, 3, and 4

Storytelling Workshop
Gus Lee will lead this storytelling workshop presented in conjunction with the PPLD/RMPBS Citizen and Student Journalism Contest.
Wed., Oct. 2 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. – Tim Gill Center for Public Media, 315 E. Costilla

Reception and Lecture with Gus Lee at UCCS
This special ticketed reception with Gus Lee will be held in the UCCS Kraemer Family Library and is presented by the Asian Pacific American Cultural Endowment at PPLD. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at!
Fri., Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. – UCCS Kraemer Family Library
  • PPLD

Lecture and book signing
The lecture and book signing is open and free to the public, limited seating.
Fri., Oct. 4 from 5:30 - 7 p.m. – UCCS Centennial Hall Auditorium

About Gus Lee
Gus Lee is a nationally-recognized ethicist and best-selling author of four novels, a family memoir of China and a unique work on courageous leadership. He is a leadership and character educator and an executive coach for leaders in corporations, government, non-profits, law enforcement, the military and NGOs. He has written for Time and Encyclopedia Britannica, was the Chair of Character Development at West Point, where he was mentored by then Major H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Gus has consulted to and learned from over fifty professions and industries, global organizations and leaders from every continent.

Gus has been a corporate chief operating officer, executive vice president, chief learning officer, government senior executive, acting deputy attorney general, senior deputy district attorney, U.S. Senate ethics investigator, FBI and law enforcement trainer, university assistant dean, paratrooper and drill sergeant. He served in the Infantry and JAG and jumped with the South Korean Airborne. He and Diane have two bio and two adopted children; one operates a mission that provides clean water to 800,000 villagers in 11 African nations; two have combat deployments as paratroopers; one teaches English in Korea and the three who are married have spouses of high character.


Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo
Visiting author on October 14, 15, and 16

Interaction with classes at Colorado College
Celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving in the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library. The evening will be highlighted by readings from two renowned Canadian authors: Steven Galloway and Steven Hayward. Open and free to the public, limited seating.
Mon., Oct. 14 from 6 - 8 p.m. – Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave.

Lecture, musical performance, and book signing at Colorado College’s Cornerstone Arts Center
The evening will begin with a solo performance by cellist Pamela Chaddon of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, playing "Cellist of Sarajevo, Lament, op. 12" (dedicated to Vedran Smailovic in admiration and in mourning for the suffering people of Bosnia-Herzegovnia, 1992) - David Wilde. Following Steven Galloway’s lecture, Ms. Chaddon will be joined by pianist Robin Kessinger to perform “Sonata for Cello and Piano in E minor, op. 35” written by Croatian composer Dora Pejacevic. Open and free to the public, limited seating.
Wed., Oct. 16 from 6 - 8 p.m. – Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

Bio for Steven Galloway
Steven Galloway is a Canadian novelist, born in Vancouver, and raised in Kamloops, British Columbia. He attended the University College of the Cariboo and the University of British Columbia. He is the author of three award-winning novels, Finnie Walsh (2000), Ascension (2003) and The Cellist of Sarajevo (2008). His work has been translated into over 30 languages and optioned for film, stage and radio. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of the UBC Creative Writing Program, where he has taught for the past 12 years, and lives in New Westminster. His fourth novel, The Confabulist, will be published in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in the spring of 2014.

Bio for Steven Hayward
An internationally acclaimed novelist, Steven Hayward was born in Toronto, and is the author of Don't Be Afraid, The Secret Mitzvah of Lucio Burke, and Buddha Stevens and Other Stories. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Colorado College, as well as the host and executive producer of KRCC’s Off Topic.

Bio for Cellist Pamela Chaddon
Cellist Pam Chaddon is active as a chamber and orchestral musician throughout the Front Range. She is currently associate principal cellist for the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and enjoys playing for various church and small ensemble venues throughout the region. She has performed with many highly acclaimed organizations including Maryland, York and Loudon Symphony Orchestras, Gettysburg and Millbrook Chamber Orchestras, Shippensburg Festival Orchestra. She enjoys playing unaccompanied Bach in the Black Forest, where she lives with her family.

Bio for pianist Robin Kissinger
Pianist Robin Kissinger has performed on major stages of the world including Budapest, London, Seoul and across the United States. Along with playing much of the standard chamber music literature, she and Hungarian cellist Mihaly Virizlay performed together for decades, premiering a number of works by major composers written for them. Robin taught piano and coached chamber music and opera at Goucher College, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Catonsville Community College. She has also maintained a private teaching studio for over 40 years.

Carolyn Wall, author of Sweeping Up Glass
October 24 and 25

“Experiential Speeches” with Pikes Peak Community College History
Students, stories from students on how they found their own voices through significant experiences. (pre-visitation, Ms. Wall not in attendance)
Wed., Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. – PPCC Rampart Range Campus

  • PPLD
Writing and Literary Workshop for PPCC students and Colorado Springs community with author Carolyn Wall and members of PPCC faculty
This workshop will explore a variety of subjects from writing fiction and nonfiction to journaling and finding one’s voice through creative writing.
Thu., Oct. 24 from noon - 4 p.m. – PPCC Centennial Campus Theater

Introducing Author Carolyn Wall
This event features a lecture from Ms. Wall concerning her APPR-selected book and her writing career. Following the lecture there will be a reading from Sweeping Up Glass with the book’s author. Also featured will be PPCC student vocal performances before a backdrop of visual art works from PPCC students. Following the reading, there will be a Question and Answer session.
Thu., Oct. 24 from 6 - 8 p.m. – PPCC Centennial Campus Theater

Voices in History
Join us for an inventive and non-traditional puppet show from the PPCC Natural Resource Interpretation (puppetry) class, with remarks by Ms. Wall.
Fri., Oct. 25 from 9 - 11 a.m. – PPCC Centennial Campus Theater.

Reception for Carolyn Wall featuring the announcement of winners of PPCC’s Creative Nonfiction Writing Contest
In celebration of the All Pikes Peak Reads initiative and the visitation of APPR author Carolyn Wall to Pikes Peak Community College, PPCC is conducting a Creative Nonfiction and Poetry writing contest. Centered on this year’s APPR, “My Voice, Our Future,” the writing contest runs from September 1 to October 1, 2013. Only currently registered PPCC students are eligible to enter the contest.

Winners of the Poetry division of the contest will also be announced with selected winners from both divisions doing readings from their winning works. A selected “Experiential Speech” will also be given during the reception. Author Carolyn Wall will give remarks on her time with PPCC students and give the writing contest winners a private audience for questions and counseling. A book signing with the author will follow. Very limited seating for the public,
Fri., Oct. 25 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. – Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose Library

Bio for Carolyn Wall
Carolyn Wall is the author of the soon-to-be published novel Playing With Matches. She is an Artist in Residence for the Oklahoma Arts Council and received the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award for fiction for her first novel Sweeping Up Glass. She has lectured and taught novel and short story writing across the country and twice received the Oklahoma Writers Federation’s crème-de-la-crème award. She has recently finished her third book, set in the American south, and is currently at work on another.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Mecklenburg tackles book signing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg retired in 1994, but he's never far from the public eye — or fans' hearts — due to his charity work. Well, now it's his wordsmithing that's bringing him around: At 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, the sack artist will sign, and talk about, his new book at the Chapel Hills Mall.

"You have to make decisions quickly in football; making no decision is always wrong," Mecklenburg writes in one excerpt from Heart of a Student Athlete: All Pro Advice for Competitors and Their Families. "When I coached high school football at Kent Denver, we had seven National Merit Scholars on our team. ... Even though the guys were so bright, one of our biggest challenges was trying to coach them to be decisive. Paralyzation by analyzation was the problem."

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Right-brainers converge: A view from the crowd at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Last Friday, the 21st annual Pikes Peak Writers' Conference kicked off at the Marriott Hotel. It was a three-day sojourn through the most pressing questions and dilemmas writers encounter while trying to break out as an artist.

For those unfamiliar with the Pikes Peak Writers, since 1993 it has proven to be an invaluable resource for aspiring writers throughout the Pikes Peak region and, according to its website, its conference has been ranked in the Top 10 by Writer's Digest. The pearls dropped here are one hell of an insight into the business of writing.

Chris Myers
  • Chris Myers

I was fortunate enough to sit through a couple of sessions on the Friday's agenda. The first was a presentation from Chris Myers — author of Lennon's Jinx and Date with the Dead — on terms for new writers to know, terms like "elevator pitch."

As one unfamiliar with the business end of writing, I immediately pictured someone throwing a fastball into a stainless-steel elevator — wrong. It works more like this: Imagine being in an elevator with a literary agent. How succinctly can you pitch your book to him or her before the elevator reaches its destination? Like other people who get so tangled up in complexities of plot and character that they haven't wrapped the whole thing up in a neat ball, I'd never looked at it that way.

Following Myers, romance author Lisa Renée Jones took the mic to talk about some of the more enlightening topics I ran across: how to find the right agent, and how they should never count out self-published works. While most emerging writers cringe at those two hyphenated works, Jones, on the other hand, was super optimistic about this information, saying, "The reality is most agents aren't always willing to take a risk on brand-new authors with no following."

Lisa Renée Jones

Beyond her words, the thing that struck me the most about Jones' hour-long session was how palpably one could sense her journey towards artistry, just really feeling the years of frustration pouring through her voice and facial expressions. She didn't become a best-selling author overnight, but grinded away at her business and craft for several years before anyone took notice. It's people like these that are invited to the PPWC's conference every year to show writers the rocky road to success. To my mind, this knowledge is beyond worth the price of admission.

In the meantime, PPW holds monthly meetings at Lofty's on the fourth Monday of every month; free Write Brain workshops, also monthly; and open critiques the third Wednesday of every month at Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

WWII vets to attend Barnes & Noble signing

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories from the Marine Heroes of World War II, the latest novel to capture stories from those that served in the Pacific theater of World War II, was released in hardcover earlier this month.

Voices of the Pacific

Early reviews report an appreciation for allowing the subjects to speak for themselves — essentially in oral history format.

The book's Colorado-based author Adam Makos will hold a reading and book signing at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at the Briargate Barnes & Noble location.

From the publicist, here's the book's breakdown:

VOICES OF THE PACIFIC: Untold Stories from the Marine Heroes of World War II (Berkley Caliber Hardcover Original; $27.95) chronicles the United States Marine Corps’ actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations within the wider war, presenting the true stories of heroism and honor as told by such World War II veterans as Sid Phillips, R.V. Bergin, and Chuck Tatum—whose exploits were featured in the HBO® mini-series, The Pacific—and many other surviving Marines.

When Makos and Brotherton interviewed the marines who appear in this book, the two authors made them a promise: they could tell it as it was. No need to mask the horrors of war with humor, or to skip over certain memories in favor of light-hearted tales of brotherhood. With unflinching honesty, these men reveal harrowing accounts of combat with an implacable enemy, the friendships and camaraderie they found—and lost—within their companies, and the aftermath of the war’s impact on their lives.

These are the words of men who live in our communities, who’ve raised their children alongside our own, who’ve shopped in our stores, shared a drink with us. How did they return to a life of normalcy after what they saw, after what they heard, suffered, did? Readers will be asking themselves, what are these remarkable men made of?

With unprecedented access to the veterans and their families, never-before-seen photographs, and unpublished memoirs, Makos and Brotherton have created with VOICES OF THE PACIFIC an incredible historic record of American bravery and sacrifice.

Though co-author Marcus Brotherton won't be in attendance, two Colorado Springs-based veterans from the war will be.

Here's a little more on them:

• Frank "Doc" Evans was born and raised in Texas before joining the Navy in 1942. He arrived in the Pacific Theater and was assigned as a medical corpsman to the legendary 1st Marine Division during the campaign for the island of New Britian in 1943. On Sept. 15, 1944, "Doc" hit the beaches of Peleliu with the 1st Marine Regiment commanded by the legendary, Lewis "Chesty" Puller. As a medic, "Doc" attended to more than his share of casualties when his unit suffered greater than 70% losses on Peleleu and was withdrawn from combat.
Doc left the Navy in 1946 and worked until retirement in the TV business as a technician, most recently for Channel 9 News in Denver. He is a long time resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado

• Air Force Colonel William "Bill" Roche was born in Lexington, Kentucky and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in June 1943. He was made a gunner on heavy bombers and deployed to England in November 1944 to serve with the legendary 8th Air Force as a B-17 bomber's waist gunner with the 452nd Bomb Group.
In combat over Europe, Bill was shot down twice. Once his bomber crash landed in France and he was able to evade capture and return to service. The second time he was shot down behind enemy lines and made his way to Soviet-occupied Poland. After the war, Bill served with the USAF for over 32 years and retired as a Colonel. He later went to work for the CIA then served as a language professor at the Air Force Academy. Bill remains a long time resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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