The fifteenth annual Festival of Books runs from Labor Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend, with an online sale of gently used special books and media, and presentations by distinguished authors and filmmakers via Zoom. This beloved community gathering welcomes everyone to settle in with a laptop or tablet, and listen to the literary conversations usually heard under the tent. Admission is free to all events, but advance registration is required as Zoom capacity is limited. The books featured in our author’s presentations are available at the Chatham Bookstore. Mention the Festival of Books for a 10% discount.
SPECIAL BOOK ROOM SALE
The virtual version of the Special Book Room is no less special, with the same kind of carefully selected volumes that buyers have come to expect – several hundred richly illustrated, large format books in like new condition, as well as a sprinkling of CDs, DVDs and ephemera. The online shelves hold art, architecture, biography/memoir, cookbooks, fiction, history, music/film, photography, signed books and other offerings. Quirky or collectible, rare or simply stunning, all are priced accordingly but affordably, from $5 to $350 and everything in between. NOTE: Purchases must be picked up by appointment at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center, 790 Route 203, Spencertown, NY. There will be NO shipping.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
MEMBERS ONLY DAY
Spencertown Academy members have early access to the online sale. Make sure your membership is current or you may miss out on this special opportunity. Members will be notified in advance how to access the sale
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5 - MONDAY, OCT. 12
BOOK ROOM OPEN TO ALL
On Sat. Sept. 5, 10 a.m., the hyperlink to the sale will appear on the website and be available to all.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5, 10 a.m.
JACQUELINE ROGERS. GOBLIN MOON 1 – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Author and illustrator Jacqueline Rogers reads from her latest book, a spirited story that captures Halloween fun, followed by a workshop, “Drawing Goblins with Jacqueline Rogers.” Draw along with Jacqueline and create a Halloween scene using the shapes in the alphabet. All you need is a pencil with eraser, some blank paper, and your imagination! Ages 5 and up.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5, 4:30 p.m.
D.W. YOUNG, DAN WECHSLER AND JUDITH MIZRACHY. THE BOOKSELLERS – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The Booksellers director D.W. Young and producers Dan Wechsler and Judith Mizrachy will discuss their documentary film about antiquarian booksellers, the impact of technology on the trade, and the importance of books as physical objects. Parker Posey, who served as executive producer for the film, hopes to pop into the chat if her schedule permits. The film is both a loving celebration of book culture and a serious exploration of the future of the book. It features interviews with important dealers, prominent collectors, and writers such as Susan Orlean and Gay Talese. To view The Booksellers in advance at home, please see: https://www.booksellersmovie.com/ for streaming options.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 6, 4:30 p.m.
JOYCE CAROL OATES. NIGHT. SLEEP. DEATH. THE STARS – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The author some consider this country’s greatest living writer examines the current state of the nation through the prism of a family tragedy in her latest novel. When a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all. The bonds of family are tested, providing a look at the darker side of society. Stark and penetrating, the novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel. In conversation with author Daphne Kalotay, whose latest novel is Blue Hours.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 7:30 p.m.
ROBERT KOLKER. HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: INSIDE THE MIND OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Robert Kolker tells the heartrending story of a midcentury family that was one of the first studied by the National Institutes of Mental Health. Six of Don and Mimi Galvin’s 12 children were diagnosed with schizophrenia, leading to sudden violence, hidden abuse and psychological breakdown. Unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that offers paths to treatment, predication and future disease eradication. Kolker weaves the science, the era of institutionalization and lobotomy, and the search for genetic markers with one family’s legacy of suffering, hope and love. In conversation with Seth Rogovoy, writer, editor and publisher of the online magazine The Rogovoy Report.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 12, 10 a.m.
JACQUELINE ROGERS, GOBLIN MOON 2 – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Follow along as Jacqueline draws a Halloween character, a brief story line, and a title in block letters. This project fosters creative writing – participants are encouraged to bring their own details and ideas into their drawings. By creating a character, devising a plot line, and brainstorming a title, a story of their own can emerge. Ages 8 and up.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 12, 4:30 p.m.
RICHARD GEHR, DAVID SIPRESS AND EMILY FLAKE. I ONLY READ IT FOR THE CARTOONS: THE NEW YORKER’S MOST BRILLIANTLY TWISTED ARTISTS – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The richly varied styles and personal stories of a dozen New Yorker cartoonists are featured in Richard Gehr’s book, along with a brief history of the New Yorker cartoon itself. Gehr will discuss his book, then interview two current New Yorker cartoonists, David Sipress and Emily Flake. Sipress’s work has appeared in the magazine since 1998. He also wrote and hosted “Conversations with Cartoonists,” onstage interviews of many New Yorker contributors. Flake has published more than 100 cartoons in the magazine since 2008. Her most recent book is That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 13, 4:30 p.m.
ED WARD. THE HISTORY OF ROCK & ROLL, VOLUME 2: 1964–1977: THE BEATLES, THE STONES, AND THE RISE OF CLASSIC ROCK – FREE, REGISTRATION REQUIRED
One of the deans of pop music criticism, Ed Ward has been in and around music journalism for decades. He is well known to fans of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” where he was rock-and-roll historian for more than 30 years, and to readers of Rolling Stone and other publications. Ward is now putting his vast experience, expertise and enthusiasm into a three-volume History of Rock and Roll. Volume one covered 1920-1963. Volume two covers 1964-1977. He will talk about the challenge of distilling such a richly diverse history into a narrative, and will share stories, insights and anecdotes. In conversation with Gerald Seligman, who has spent more than 35 years in the music industry in the US and abroad.
COMMUNITY READS #2
TUESDAY, SEPT. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Read with us. Please join our Community Reads #2 when historian and writer Jill Lepore discusses her latest work, This America: The Case for the Nation. In this follow-up to her much-celebrated history of the United States, These Truths, Lepore examines the dilemma of nationalism and the erosion of liberalism in the 21st century. She makes a stirring case for “a New Americanism,” a generous patriotism that requires an honest reckoning with America’s past. Joining the author for this live discussion is Sheila Curran Bernard, writer and director of the Institute for History and Public Engagement at the University of Albany.
The Cookbook Café is open for business. Just follow the directions provided here to turn your virtual festival experience into a flavorful one. The offerings range from a novella length recipe for Vegetarian Chili, paired with Northern Cornbread, to a flash fiction recipe for Lemon Cake. Dedicated volunteers ordinarily prepare and serve these ever-popular items at the café. This year they’re in your hands. Bon appétit.