Book Report: Area readings and events

Dorthea Benton Frank, known as Dot, writes engaging, fast-paced books with passages like, “‘You look great today. New dress?’ he said, exuding enough testosterone to impregnate every female in the five boroughs of New York City.”

That’s from her latest, Bulls Island (William Morrow), out this month. Set on the South Carolina coast near Charleston, it’s the story of investment-bank executive Betts, who returns to her childhood home — the Southern island locale she thought she’d left for good — where she must make peace with her past.

Frank’s book tour brings her to Malaprop’s on Saturday, April 19, for a 7 p.m. reading.

• If you thought it was Baywatch vegetarian Pam Anderson (or Asheville’s own bombshell, Kayla Rae Worden) who brought animal rights to the forefront … you thought wrong. The man behind celeb spokes-vegans is actually PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) senior VP Dan Matthews, who — according to promotional material for the book — “Made animal rights the ‘it’ cause in Hollywood through provocative protests, nude ad campaigns, and by recruiting stars.” Among those droppable names are Anderson, of course, along with Morrissey, Pink and Paul McCartney.

Matthews was a punk rocker in high school which may have prepared him for his career as a protester. He’s been arrested a couple dozen times on behalf of the animals — those high-profile arrests gaining him plenty of press with which to further the PETA cause. And he’s written about all of that in his recently released book, Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir (Atria Paperbacks, March, 2008).

Matthews will be at Malaprop’s on Monday, April 21, for a 7 p.m. reading.

Brevard College welcomes youth fiction author Catherine Murdock for a discussion on her work. Murdock wrote Dairy Queen (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and The Off Season (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) and most recently completed fantasy novel Princess Ben (Houghton Mifflin, 2008). She’s the sister of Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote The Last American Man about local personality Eustace Conway).

Murdock gives a free presentation on Monday, April 21,  4p.m., in the Reserved Dining Room of Myers Dining Hall. Info: 883-8292 ext. 2341.

• In case you missed Slow Dance: A Novel (AuthorHouse, 2007) by regional author Melissa McDaniel, the book was recently rereleased in hardback. Press describes the read as “Anna Karenina meets Steel Magnolias.”

Karl E. Campbell is an associate professor of history at Appalachian State University and an alum of Warren Wilson College. At his alma mater, he’ll read from his book, Senator Sam Ervin: Last of the Founding Fathers (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) on Tuesday, April 29.

The 4 p.m. event is held in Canon Lounge of the Gladfelter Student Center and is free and open to the public. Info: 771-3083.

— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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