What’s the 2019 Verse & Vino Committee Reading?

Community, Events

A perk of the job is reading the books!

They’re reading this year’s featured titles, of course!

Each year, a committee of volunteers plans the Foundation’s largest fundraising event. This year, the committee includes Kara Hunt, Eboni Lewis, Corrie Manis, Casey Kaufmann, Caton Morris, Maddie Myers and Anne Schmitt.

The committee works hard, but one perk of the job is reading pre-published copies of the year’s featured titles. The following are excerpts from their book reports:

Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson is an unusual (but funny and touching) story of love, friendship and family dynamics centering around two friends, Lillian and Madison, plus two very unique children who spontaneously combust when they become agitated, but remain uninjured.

From Maddie Myers:  We heard Kevin Wilson speak at Book Expo America  and I immediately wanted to read his book.  The story is filled with his unassuming humor and authentic personal experiences.  While what happens in the book can’t possibly happen in real life, I found myself feeling emotionally connected to the characters.  I can’t wait to hear how he conjured up children catching on fire!

The Ghosts of Eden Park, by Karen Abbott is a Prohibition-era book about the life of German immigrant George Remus. It reads like fiction but Karen Abbott has painstakingly researched this stranger-than-fiction story. The author tells us in a note that there is not any invented dialogue. Everything that appears between quotation marks comes from a government file, archive, diary, letter, newspaper article, book, or, most often, a hearing or trail transcript.

From Kara Hunt: Karen Abbott managed to make a work of nonfiction feel like a page-turner thriller. I cannot wait to hear her talk about the research that went into sharing this wild story of a bootlegging king.​

The World that We Knew, by Alice Hoffman begins with an interesting letter from Hoffman to the reader. She was approached after an event in a parking lot by an older woman who told her she needed to write her life story. The lady revealed that she had been a hidden child in France during WWII and although Jewish, she was sent to a convent by her parents to be raised Catholic. The woman set Hoffman on the path to this book. She realized that the central motif of many fairy tales reaches the most vulnerable part of our hearts, “when you lose your child the future vanishes. When you lose your parent the world ends.” The World that We Knew explores all of these themes of love, loss, and sacrifice for your children.

From Kara Hunt: Alice Hoffman writes about such a dark and somber time in our world’s history yet captures so many stories of love in various forms. I am looking forward to hearing her talk about how she manages to weave it all together along with a touch of magical realism.

The Book of Delights, by Ross Gay is remarkably beautiful in its simplicity.  Gay set out to write an essay each day about discovering serendiptous joy in everyday experiences, and the collection helps the reader slow down and notice joy as well – in experiences as universal as a touch or as mundane as a view of the sky from a clean public restroom. Joy surrounds when we recognize it.

From Foundation deputy director Karen Beach: I’ve seen a video of Ross Gay speaking, and the poetry in his writing comes alive when he speaks about it. I can’t wait to meet him at Verse & Vino.

Nothing to See Here
The World that we Knew
The Ghosts of Eden Park
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