February is shaping up to be a very literary month. And why shouldn’t it be? February is Black History Month, and the shortest month of the year is jammed with author birthdays:
Feb. 1: Poet Langston Hughes
Feb. 2: Authors James Dickey, Ayn Rand and James Joyce
Feb. 3: Writer Gertrude Stein
Feb. 4: Author Betty Friedan
Feb. 5: Writer William Burroughs
Feb. 7: Novelists Sinclair Lewis, Charles Dickens and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Feb. 8: French author Jules Verne
Feb. 9: Author Alice Walker, playwright Brendan Behan, imaginist poet Amy Lowell
Feb. 10: German playwright Bertolt Brecht and Russian novelist Boris Pasternak
Feb. 11: Acadamy Award-winning writer Sidney Sheldon
Feb. 12: YA novelist Judy Blume, author Charles Darwin
Feb. 14: Journalist Carl Bernstein
Feb. 18: Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison, Yiddish humorist Sholem Aleichem, editor Helen Gurley Brown
Feb. 21: Mexican writer Roberto Gomez Bolanos, humorist Erma Bombeck, diarist Anais Nin
Feb. 23: Crime novelist John Sandford, poet Donna J. Stone, Civil Rights activist and writer W.E.B. DuBois
Feb. 25: Sci-Fi author Anthony Burgess, nutrition writer Adelle Davis
Feb. 26: French author Victor Hugo
Feb. 27: Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Instead of plowing through 34 slices of birthday cake, why not celebrate by attending a local reading or book event? There are plenty to choose from:
• On Thursday, Feb. 5, visionary scholar Gus Jacacci presents America Awake! on behalf of Thomas Jefferson, who, “under the terrible pressure of losing the American experiment in self-government,” speaks to revive the ailing soul of America. 7 p.m. at Malaprop’s.
• Simone Lipscomb (pictured), author of Sharks on my Fin Tips, discusses adventure travel “as a way to connect to one’s deeper self and to discover one’s archetypal character, by encountering fear and experiencing the beauty of nature.” Friday, Feb. 6. 7 p.m. at Malaprop’s.
• On Tuesday, Feb. 17, the North Asheville Book Club (North Asheville Library, 1030 Merrimon Ave.) discusses Little Women by Lousia May Alcott. All interested readers are welcome to attend. 2 p.m., info: 250-4752.
• The Black Mountain Mystery Book Club (Black Mountain Library, 105 Dougherty St.) meet on Tuesday, Feb. 17 to discuss Coyote by Linda Barnes. All interested readers are welcome. 7 p.m., info: 250-4756
• Join a discussion of Serena by Ron Rash at the Swannanoa Book Club (Swannanoa Library, 101 West Charleston St.) on Thursday, Feb. 26. All interested readers are welcome. 7 p.m., info: 250-6486.
• Fans of forensics-crime fiction can catch a presentation by Dr. Bill Bass and journalist Jon Jefferson, co-authors of the Body Farm thriller, Bones of Betrayal. According to publisher HarperCollins, “forensic legend Dr. Bill Bass and journalist Jon Jefferson explore both the promise and the peril of radioactive materials—materials far more widespread, and far less carefully monitored, than people outside the unique world of Oak Ridge might ever imagine.” Friday, Feb. 27. 7 p.m. at Malaprop’s.
• Rounding out the month, Anne Morrison Welsh (the widow of Vietnam War protester Norman Morrison who incinerated himself outside of Robert McNamara’s Pentagon office) discusses her memoir Held in the Light: Norman Morrison’s Sacrifice for Peace and His Family’s Journey of Healing. Saturday, Feb. 28. 7 p.m. at Malaprop’s.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter