Calendar

   

Bill Pelham  Thursday, March 16   5 – 7 PM

Burke and Demaret: The Wit and Wisdom of Golf's Most Colorful Duo

Burke and Demaret: The Wit and Wisdom of Golf's Most Colorful Duo is a collection of stories that pays tribute to two of the most incredibly talented golfers and gifted visionaries that the city of Houston ever produced. It also pays homage to some of the characters who walked through the doors of Champions Golf Club during its most formative years. Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret not only created a golf club that stands today as a beacon to the community and the city as a whole but also did it with the kind of flair and flamboyance that made them famous to an entire nation of golfers. From celebrities like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, James Garner, and Phil Harris to some of the greats of every sport including Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Roger Maris, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods . . . all left their footprints in Champions' rich history. Some of these stories have become legendary, especially amongst the surviving members of the club, but many have never been told before this writing. They should be remembered forever. Enjoy!

 
       
   

Adam Snow    Saturday, March 18    5 – 7 PM

Polo Life: Horses, Sport, 10 and Zen

Polo Life: Horses, Sport, 10 and Zen delves into the world of high goal polo through the uniquely situated lenses of former 10-goaler Adam Snow and his wife and veterinarian, Shelley Onderdonk. Together their voices provide an unprecedented level of access into the horse and human dynamics that make the sport tick, their passion, respect and commitment for the sport and each other shine through each page. Less polo manual than human interest story, their chapters cover a broad range of topics: there is a horse so good she single-handedly altered the trajectory of Adam's career; a farm named after the city where this couple met in college; a country and polo culture that shaped Adam as a player...and where they had luggage stolen more than once; and a serendipitous meeting with a sports psychologist that turned Adam's career around. Adam recounts his childhood obsession with ball sports; Shelley hers with horses. Together, they reveal how sports psychology has been integral to Adam's success, tell behind-the-scenes stories about teammates, grooms and trainers, celebrate their legendary equine partners, and provide an uncensored glimpse into the glamorous international component of the sport from Buenos Aires to Bandar Seri Begawan. The dynamics of maintaining a healthy marriage and family within the framework of a professional athlete's career are also fundamental to Adam and Shelley's polo life. Their prose--by turns humble, humorous, and inspirational--showcases the sport's enduring appeal.

 
       
   

Amanda Hendrix     Thursday, March 23    5 – 7 PM

BEYOND EARTH: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets

From a leading planetary scientist and an award-winning science writer: a propulsive account of the developments and initiatives that have transformed the dream of space colonization into something that may well be achievable. We are at the cusp of a golden age in space science, as increasingly more entrepreneurs—Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos—are seduced by the commercial potential of human access to space. But Beyond Earth does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure, but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel—realities that have hampered NASA's efforts ever since the Challenger fiasco. In Beyond Earth, the authors offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan—a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy; where we will be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field—offers the most realistic, and thrilling, prospect of life without support from Earth.

 
       
   

Saleem Peeradina    Saturday, April 8    3 – 5 PM

Final Cut

Saleem Peeradina is one of the most important Indian poets writing in the English language. In Final Cut, his fifth collection, the poet's focus is turned towards the beauty that lies below the surface of the everyday; the extraordinary hiding in the ordinary. These poems are hymns of praise - to birds, to objects, to fruits and to our own human bodies, intently recounting the character and history of each. In time, items as mundane as a sparrow, a stapler or an orange take on the appearance of wondrous gifts. These meditations are joined by monologues, the remarkable yet unremarkable stories of characters encountered by the poet in India, Michigan and beyond. This is the work of a master of language; a self-proclaimed 'participant-observer', set to delight a new generation of poetry readers with this enthralling collection.

 
       
   

Cengiz Sisman   Sunday, April 9   3 – 5 PM

The Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish Deonmes

The Burden of Silence is the first monograph on Sabbateanism, an early modern Ottoman-Jewish messianic movement, tracing it from its beginnings during the seventeenth century up to the present day. Initiated by the Jewish rabbi Sabbatai Sevi, the movement combined Jewish, Islamic, and Christian religious and social elements and became a transnational phenomenon, spreading throughout Afro-Eurasia. When Ottoman authorities forced Sevi to convert to Islam in 1666, his followers formed messianic crypto-Judeo-Islamic sects, Dönmes, which played an important role in the modernization and secularization of Ottoman and Turkish society and, by extension, Middle Eastern society as a whole. Using Ottoman, Jewish, and European sources, Sisman examines the dissemination and evolution of Sabbeateanism in engagement with broader topics such as global histories, messianism, mysticism, conversion, crypto-identities, modernity, nationalism, and memory. By using flexible and multiple identities to stymie external interference, the crypto-Jewish Dönmes were able to survive despite persecution from Ottoman authorities, internalizing the Kabbalistic principle of a "burden of silence" according to which believers keep their secret on pain of spiritual and material punishment, in order to sustain their overtly Muslim and covertly Jewish identities. Although Dönmes have been increasingly abandoning their religious identities and embracing (and enhancing) secularism, individualism, and other modern ideas in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey since the nineteenth century, Sisman asserts that, throughout this entire period, religious and cultural Dönmes continued to adopt the "burden of silence" in order to cope with the challenges of messianism, modernity, and memory. 

 
       
   

Gwen Strauss   Friday, April 14  3 – 5 PM

The Hiding Game

This is the true story of a young Holocaust survivor. At their new home in the Villa Air-Bel, Aube and her family are used to things being hidden. Among the secrets kept at the château are a radio, a cow, and—most secret of all—Aube herself. Even with the threat of Nazi capture looming over their heads, life at the villa has been colorful for the refugees awaiting their escape to safety. Joined by writers, musicians, artists, and great thinkers like Marc Chagall and Max Ernst, Aube spends each day singing, playing games, and creating art. Together, this lively congregation is able to fight back fear and hatred with bravery and laughter—not just for young Aube, but for themselves as well.

 
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
   

Russell J. Sanders   Saturday, April 15   3 – 5 PM

All You Need is Love

It is 1969 when Dewey Snodgress, high school theater star, meets irrepressible hippie Jeep Brickthorn, who quickly inserts himself into Dewey’s life—and eventually into his heart. Meanwhile, Dewey prepares to appear in a production across town, a play about protestors of the Vietnam War, where he befriends the wild and wonderful Lucretia “LuLu” Belton, who is also determined to follow her dreams and become an actress—whether her parents approve or not. The show has a profound effect, especially on Dewey’s father, who reconsiders his approval of the war after his son’s performance. But Dewey knows his dad won’t be so accepting if he reveals the love he’s developing for Jeep, so he fights to push his feelings away and keep the peace in his family. Still, Dewey can’t ignore the ripples moving through society—from the impending Woodstock Festival to the Stonewall Riots—and he begins to see that the road to happiness and acceptance for him and Jeep might lead them away from conservative Fort Worth, Texas—and Dewey’s dad.

 
       
   

Lyn Coffin   Thursday, May 4    4 – 6 PM

This Green Life: New and Selected

This Green Life assimilates work from Lyn Coffin's previous collections. This stunning collection also includes new work never before published. Lyn Coffin is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, fiction, drama and translation. She has won several grants and awards, including the SABA Prize in 2016. One of her short fictions was in the Best American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. She has translated Mohsen Emadi, Jiri Orten, Dato Barbakadze. Her plays have been performed internationally, as well as in several US cities, including on off-off Broadway in New York. This year will see the publication of her novel, The Aftermath, her children's book, Henry & Punkin, and a bilingual edition of her poetry and that of Mercedes Luna Fuentes, and a book of aphorisms from Rustaveli. Her work has been translated into many languages. Many of these titles, plus several more, will be available for purchase as well.

 
       
   

John Milkereit   Saturday, May 6   4 – 6 PM

Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston

With guest editor, Sandi Stromberg, the Houston-based poetry press turned writers loose for its fourth anthology in ten years to capture vibrant images of the nature of this unzoned and seemingly uncontained city. Eighty-three poems explore elements of Houston s mix of Wild West and cosmopolitan sophistication, its civilized culture that coexists with the wildness of Mother Nature. Readers are invited into its heat and humidity, traffic jams, history, and bayous to experience the art and animals, ethnicities and homeless, hurricanes and pollution, flowers and weeds.

 
       
   

Jane Alvey Harris   Saturday, May 27   3 – 5 PM

Riven

Which Reality Would YOU Choose? Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom's strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm...the ones she's trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn't know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they're infected and bleeding. She's pretty sure she's losing her mind. Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they're commandeering her conscious even when she's awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help. Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She's powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment...to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They're hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out...

 
       
   

John B. Boles   Saturday, June 17   3 – 5 PM

Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty

From an eminent scholar of the American South, comes the first full-scale biography of Thomas Jefferson since 1970. Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker-as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet. We witness him drafting of the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government-a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day. Boles offers new insight into Jefferson's actions and thinking on race. His Jefferson is not a hypocrite, but a tragic figure-a man who could not hold simultaneously to his views on abolition, democracy, and patriarchal responsibility. Yet despite his flaws, Jefferson's ideas would outlive him and make him into nothing less than the architect of American liberty.