“These are love stories. And also monster stories,” says the Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe website about local author Nathan Ballingrud. His book, “North American Lake Monsters: Stories,” was published in July. “Sometimes these are mon-sters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they are ruined; sometimes redeemed. All are faced with the loneliest corners of themselves and strive to find an escape.”
Fantasy fiction writer Jeff VanderMeer has called Ballingrud one of his favorite short fiction writers. His story “The Monsters of Heaven” won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award. Ballingrud takes part in a reading and book signing event at Malaprop’s on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Marley Youmans, author of “A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage,” also reads. 7 p.m., free.