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FAIR HAVEN: CAN WE TALK JOAN RIVERS?

Joan Rivers' other books include I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me and Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs.Journalist Leslie Bennetts (below) visits River Road Books Wednesday evening for a “can we talk?” session on the career of the late Joan Rivers (above).

leslie-bennettsBefore her sudden passing in 2014 at the age of 81, Joan Rivers seemed to have lived several lives in the public eye. From her training in the hepster coffee houses of Greenwich Village and the challenges of being a “comedienne” in the Sullivan-era standup scene to a spate of late-career activity that included a hit cable TV show — and a tour stop at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre — Rivers acquired new generations of fans as readily as she made enemies in and out of the business.

So writes author Leslie Bennetts in Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers, her newly published comprehensive study of the star’s “tumultuous, victorious, tragic, hilarious, and fascinating life.” A regular contributor to Vanity Fair magazine and an interviewer of stars, Bennetts visits River Road Books in Fair Haven for an intimate “can we talk?” session Wednesday evening.

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ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHOR!

amy-ellis-nutt-julie-otsukaPulitzer winner Amy Ellis Nutt (above left), National Book Award finalist Julie Otsuka (right), and historical novelist James L. Haley (below) are among the celebrated wordsmiths appearing in the coming days at events in Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Lincroft.

james-l-haleyThere’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who trained in the trenches of Jersey journalism. A novelist whose credits include a PEN/Faulkner Award and a National Book Award nomination. And a celebrated historian turned master purveyor of “ripping yarn” page-turners.

Apparently the Greater Red Bank Green hasn’t gotten the memo that books are dead, because the joy of reading, and the highly anticipated appearances of some high-profile authors, are alive and well in the coming days and nights.

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RED BANK: GHOSTLY, AND PARTLY TRUE, TALES


dublin-display-092716-2A framed photo in a locked display case at Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub may have been turned around by a ghost, according to Pat Martz Heyer, below.
 (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pat-martz-heyer-092316In her self-published new book, “13 Ghostly Tales and Yarns of the Navesink River,” Patricia Martz Heyer recounts the history of the house that’s now home to Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub: its origins on the Middletown side of the river and two subsequent relocations over the years.

Along the way, the place seems to have acquired a non-paying tenant, in the form of a generally benign if somewhat mischievous ghost named Mrs. Roberta Patterson. Read More »

RED BANK: YOK-TOBERFEST IS ON AT BASIE’S

david_sedaris_5004Best-selling author and humorist-storyteller David Sedaris (above) returns to the Count Basie stage on Thursday night…while Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (below) bring their impishly improv’d interactions back to Red Bank on Saturday.

mochrie-sherwoodEven the most polarized of next-door neighbors could use a good shared laugh experience these days — and even as our Count Basie Theatre continues to reinforce its reputation as a premier stop for big-time touring comics, two separate events in the coming nights serve to point out that  live comedy is a big tent, with room for more than just the tried and true stand-up standard.

Returning to the Basie boards for a third (or is it fourth?) appearance tomorrow night, October 13, author and essayist David Sedaris once again displays the audience-friendly skills that have allowed him to transfer his celebrated sense of humor from the printed page (Holidays On Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and other best selling collections of essays, observations and occasional tall tales) to the performance stage, as witness his Grammy nomination for the audio version of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. It’s a dexterity that’s allowed him success in formats ranging from Off Broadway theater to public radio and even children’s books — with a road show that will find him reading from his excerpted works, riffing on recent events, and interacting with the audience, sometimes in ways that might give pause to even the most “fearless” of comedy-club commandos.

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RED BANK: DENMAN TO DISCUSS OLYMPICS

rbpl-090816The Red Bank Public Library hosts 1956 Olympic racewalker Elliott Denman, seen at left below with George Sheehan Jr. in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

denman sheehan 061414During the relatively brief time that Red Bank Public Library has been hosting its regular monthly series of “Author Talks,” attendees have been been given the opportunity to meet a fairly eclectic collection of scribes expounding on an equally eclectic range of topics — the subjects of books that the guest speakers have been more than happy to summarize, sign, and sell.

When the series resumes on Wednesday evening, however, it will represent a slight deviation from the norm, as the visiting writer — veteran sports journalist and former Olympian Elliott Denman — will lead an in-depth discussion of someone else’s book.

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ON THE GREEN: BORN TO MAKE A BOOK RUN

artie-bennettChildren’s author Artie Bennett (above) brings his tales of butts and burps to Oceanic Library next week…while Hester Young (below; photo by Francine Daveta) brings her thriller THE GATES OF EVANGELINE to River Road Books on Thursday, September 22.

hester-young-francine-davetaOne has carved out a niche career by explaining various bodily functions to beginning readers. The other aims to scare it all out of you, via her debut novel in the Southern Gothic Thriller vein. In the run-up to the release of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born to Run” (and his golden-ticket appearance at the Freehold Barnes & Noble), a couple of very different authors are speaking, selling and signing copies of their works at two favorite haunts for bibliophiles.

Her debut novel, “The Gates of Evangeline” is being called a “spooky tale perfect for longer fall nights” — and even as she prepares to release a sequel in autumn 2016, Hester Young makes time to visit Fair Haven’s River Road Books on Thursday evening, September 22. It’s there that the Boston-born, Jersey-based teacher/ mother/ author will read from “Gates,” the first in a planned trilogy of tales starring one Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, a reporter (and bereaved parent) whose investigation into a cold-case mystery in Louisiana is spurred by her recurring dreams of children in danger. There’s no charge to attend Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. event, but seating and signing copies of “The Gates of Evangeline” can be reserved by calling River Road Books at (732) 747-9455.

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RED BANK: THIRD NOVEL FOR BARTENDER

brandon zenner 052114the after war coverWhen he’s not pulling pints for the clientele of Red Bank’s Dublin House Pub, bartender Brandon Zenner (seen here in 2014) puts in long hours at his laptop, conjuring fictional worlds. His third novel in little more than two years, titled “The After War,” debuts this week. It’s a post-apocalyptic story based on an idea Zenner had almost two decades ago, when he was a 16-year-old student at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, and it’s available as an e-book here. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

MIDDLETOWN: WRITERS IN THE HOUSE

For the Love of Sea GlassRumson’s Guy Fleming does it “For the Love of Sea Glass” when he shares his “adult storybook” in a Thursday appearance at the Middletown Library.

Two authors, two very different books, each telling an inspirational tale that’s grounded in the sands of our local shoreline. And beyond the pages of these two recently published works, there exists a personal backstory of love, loss, self-discovery and reconciliation — one that should resonate with anyone who’s ever felt like a fragmented object, cast adrift on a vast and chaotic sea.

When Middletown Public Library hosts the latest in its ongoing series of author appearances Thursday evening, it will offer readers a double-header book signing event that spotlights the skills of two writers who make their home on the greater Red Bank Green: Guy Cash Fleming, a retired pharmaceutical industry professional whose “For the Love of Sea Glass” represents his first published work — and Yolanda Navarra Fleming, the young veteran journalist who collaborated with Leo Cervantes on the local restaurateur’s engaging memoir “Chilangos in the House: The True Story of a MexiCAN.”

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RED BANK: A GAME-CHANGER NAMED SANDY

Karen SandyAs an Ocean County-based resident of the Jersey Shore, Karen Sandy (pictured) had a front row seat to the devastation and displacement wrought by a certain Superstorm with whom she reluctantly shared a name. As an animal lover, the longtime community volunteer also knew that the epic natural disaster impacted the lives of wild creatures and domesticated pets, every bit as much as it did the people of the tri-state region.

It was a visit to Popcorn Park Zoo Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, the Forked River facility operated by Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey, that inspired Karen Sandy to create Zach to the Rescue, a story for young readers that touches upon themes of life-changing loss, readjustments, and the healing power of new friendships. Just released earlier this month as the author’s first published work, the book receives its first Monmouth County showcase event this Sunday, July 31, at one of the most animal-friendly venues on the greater Red Bank green: the Paws for a Cause annex of Frame to Please.

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RED BANK: GILDA IN THE HERE AND NOW

Gilda Rogers BCCGilda Rogers is the guest for the latest in a series of Author Talk events, Wednesday at the Red Bank Library — followed on July 18 by a special presentation at Project Write Now on Bridge Avenue.

Red Bank regulars know her from many different settings, and wearing many figurative hats — from faculty member at Red Bank Regional and coordinator of special community outreach initiatives for Two River Theater, to local talk show host, and onetime proprietor of Frank Talk Art Bistro, a much-missed Shrewsbury Avenue storefront that was as delightfully difficult to summarize as the woman who put her stamp on it.

Writer, activist and producer Gilda Rogers remains very visible around Red Bank in the coming days, beginning with an appearance at the Red Bank Public Library on Wednesday, July 13. Scheduled for 7 p.m., it’s the latest event in the library’s monthly Author Talk series; a session that finds the author of “Arrested Development: The State of Black Achievement and Education in Hip Hop America” discussing her debut as a dramatist, with a work entitled “Supernatural: The Play.”

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FAIR HAVEN: ‘NOOKIETOWN’ FOR A NIGHT

nookietown-500x322Author V.C. Chickering visits River Road Books on Thursday for a signing appearance keyed to her debut novel, “Nookietown.”

It’s an erotically charged, sharply humorous, playfully provocative tale that’s already been optioned for a TV adaptation, despite the fact that it represents the author’s first foray into full-length fiction. And it’s been likened to no less a phenomenon than the “Fifty Shades” franchise — minus the BDS&M, plus humor.

When V.C. Chickering visits Fair Haven’s River Road Books Thursday evening, she’ll be reading from and signing copies of her acclaimed new novel “Nookietown” — and perhaps reinforcing the point that the fanciful place known as Nookietown could be as nearby as the bedroom communities we call home.

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RED BANK: SPIRITS AND SOULS ARE WILLING

marianne-w-thechalkboardmagBest-selling author and spiritual lecturer Marianne Williamson takes the Count Basie stage on Thursday night, and “happy medium” Kim Russo (below) channels spirits in a June 23 appearance.

kim-russo-2014-bio-photo-1600x1999They don’t sing, they don’t dance, they don’t “work blue” with the jokes, and they don’t even perform live cooking demos on the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre.

But self-help authors, celeb motivators and superstar mediums of the current touring circuit remain a major attraction for audiences across the continent — and Red Bank’s most venerable of venues continues to be a welcoming home for many of them and their fans.

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FAIR HAVEN: MIMI CROSS THE SHINING SEA

mimi-cross danny sanchezIf it seems just a few months ago that the Shore singer-songwriter turned author Mimi Cross was in town promoting a newly published novel — well, you’re correct. As reported here on redbankgreen in January, the two-time Asbury Music Award winner was looking forward to a personal appearance at Fair Haven’s River Road Books — a launch party for her debut as a published novelist, in celebration of the young adult title Before Goodbye.

Even as she geared up for that milestone occasion, however, the veteran of several self-released albums revealed to us that she had a second completed novel in the publication pipeline — and on Thursday, Cross returns to River Road for another book launch party; this one keyed to her latest full-lengther, Shining Sea.

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SHREWSBURY: GET A READ ON SUMMER

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Registration for the Summer Reading Program at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library begins this month for the sessions which run from June 1 through August, with a special accent on exciting programs and incentives for young readers.

Separate programs for pre-readers and school age children are offered, with age appropriate selections and reading goals for each age. The Read-to-Me program, geared to non-readers and preschoolers, encourages children to listen to stories.  Children who “read” or listen to twenty or more stories which are logged onto a reading record are rewarded with fun prizes. There are additional prize incentives for those who exceed this goal. Children are invited to bring their relatives and friends to sit with them and enjoy the reading program.

The On Your Mark, Get Set…Read program is geared to independent readers through grade 5, and focuses on sports-themed messages and incentives during the program feature unique prizes from splat balls to paperback books. The Get in the Game program is for readers in grades 6 through 12, and encourages reading goals for the summer. Readers are invited to record the number of pages they have read each time they come to the library, with a goal of reading 800 pages during the summer months. All the recording of time, pages, and books is electronic, with readers setting up a log-in and keeping track on everything online.

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SHREWSBURY: “GAS MONEY” GETS HIM HERE

Troy Lewis copyIt’s a journey that begins in a little place called Saluda, Virginia (population 300), a road trip through physical and spiritual territory that’s limited only by our own storytelling abilities and available Gas Money.

In his book of that title, first-time author Troy Lewis delivers what his promo material calls “a heartwarming, honest narrative that shows how everyday people with whom we come in contact on a daily or occasional basis shape our lives forever.”

And on Saturday, Lewis makes his next stop on that journey with a visit to the the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury. Read More »

BESTSELLING AUTHOR VISITS RUMSON SCHOOL

Gordon KormanPress release from Rumson School District

Learning about the creative process of a successful writer and being highly entertained were the orders of the day, as New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman visited sixth and seventh graders at Forrestdale School on May 13.

Korman’s day-long visit, which was sponsored by the Rumson PTO, included lunch with the author for students chosen in classroom raffles as well as opportunities for photos with Korman and book signings.

The Forrestdale sixth and seventh graders sported tie-dyed clothing in homage to the character of Capricorn “Cap” Anderson in Schooled, who Korman described as “a 13-year-old hippie who is also sort of a hermit.”

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RED BANK: YOUNG READER’S A WORLD-BEATER

karina linares huerta 051116Red Bank Middle School seventh-grader Karina Linares Huerta Karina was honoroed by the Red Bank council Wednesday night for finishing first among 1.7 million students around the globe in the Achieve3000, an online literacy-improvement program.

Karina read and completed 170 specified activities, including 35 in one day, the most of any participant worldwide, to take home the top prize. 

Karina attended the council meeting with her mother, Zenaida Huerta, above, and her three younger brothers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON SCHOOLS HOST KID’S LIT STARS

Press release from Rumson School District

Amy Marie StadelmannIn an effort to get kids reading this summer, the Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip RV will visit Deane-Porter Elementary and Forrestdale Schools on Wednesday, May 4. From 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., students and families will have the opportunity to participate in their very own “pop-up” reading festival, meet some of their favorite authors and illustrators, and engage in fun reading activities.

Scheduled to make the trip to Rumson this Wednesday are six authors and illustrators of popular titles and series from Scholastic, the major publisher of books and educational materials for children and young adults. They are Max Brallier (who, under the pen name Jack Chabert, writes the Eerie Elementary series), Gavin Brown, Kristin Earhart (the Misty Inn series), Dan Poblocki (the Mysterious Four series and other spooky novels), Amy Marie Stadelmann (the Olive & Beatrix series), and Judy Blundell (who, as Jude Watson, has authored several popular Star Wars titles for  tween and teen readers).

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RED BANK: COUNTY LIBRARY COSTS WEIGHED

rbpl-garden-siteTrustees of the library say local taxpayers would still have to foot the cost of the borough facility on West Front Street, above, with access to fewer resources from Monmouth County. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The question pops up periodically, and did so several times last year in a user survey: would Red Bankers be better off if their library was part of the Monmouth County library system?

According to the Red Bank Public Library’s trustees, the answer is “no,” and it’s not a close call.

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FAIR HAVEN: INDIE, BOOKISH, AND LOVING IT

AudreyVernickChildren’s book author Audrey Vernick (above) helps River Road Books celebrate Independent Bookstore Day Saturday afternoon, two days after Aaron Zwas (below) shows us how to ‘Transition to Independence.’

Aaron ZwasIn case you haven’t marked your calendar accordingly, this Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day — a day when we toast the success and spirit of your friendly neighborhood (non-chain, mom and/or pop) purveyor of dreams for lovers of the printed page.

Here on the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s a role that’s been filled for the past decade by River Road Books, the Fair Haven corner shop that’s taken the lead among area booksellers when it comes to meet-and-greet opportunities with authors of all persuasions. And the store has a spring bounty lined up in coming weeks.

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RED BANK: EATING ‘CLEAN’ TO SAVE HER LIFE

Amie Valpone returns Monday to Red Bank’s Front St. Trattoria, where she once waited tables, to promote “Eating Clean,” her memoir and cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Valpone_EatingCleanAmie Valpone was a healthy woman in her early 20’s when a cascade of ailments began, taking her to the brink of death.

Battling numerous diseases and beyond the help of conventional medicine, Valpone said she spent most of the following decade curing herself through better eating — and clearing her body of toxins.

Now 33, she’s chronicled her journey in a new book, titled “Eating Clean,” which tells the the story of “how food saved my life,” Valpone told PieHole last week. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: JERSEY GIRL’S SHORE FOOD TOUR

deb smith 033016 3Deborah Smith, author of “The Jersey Shore Cookbook,” outside Ama in Sea Bright last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumThe flavors of the Jersey shore really burst into fullness in the summer, helping to draw millions of visitors to our sun-splashed sands.

Somehow, though, it seems no one had thought to ask the most iconic beachfront restaurants for their top recipes, with the idea of sharing them in book form.

It took a Jersey Girl from Red Bank with an insatiable palate to finally tie it all together.  Read More »

ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHORS!

Jersey Shore CookbookFrom guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.

It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Jerseybites.com) Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.

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RED BANK: A BRIDGE TO YOUR INNER WRITER

Laura McCulloughBrookdale professor and poet Laura McCullough advises aspiring authors on getting published in the first in a new series of seminars presented by Project Write Now.

While it wasn’t the sort of Grand Opening extravaganza that’s usually accompanied by rented spotlights, a DJ booth and an air-powered dancing “Tube Dude,” the recent relocation of Project Write Now to a larger studio space in Red Bank back in December made a decidedly civilized splash of its own.

All over town, a collection of local people — including Mayor Pasquale Menna, who artfully ambushed a lunchtime crowd at Robinson’s Ale House with a reading from Rudyard Kipling — took part in a promotion that found them sharing favorite poems and inspirational words with their community neighbors.

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RED BANK: GARY COOPER AT GARMANY? YUP.

Gary Cooper carLate Hollywood legend Gary Cooper possessed a certain ‘Enduring Style,’ the title of a new book co-authored by his daughter, who visits Red Bank on Saturday.

Enduring StyleComedians of the era suggested that his entire vocabulary consisted of the words “yup” and “nope.” There was always something of the Montana-born cowboy in his characters, whether he was playing a professor (Ball of Fire), Lewis Carroll’s White Knight (Alice in Wonderland), or Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees. 

But Gary Cooper could also rock a premiere-party tux, a day-at-the-races houndstooth blazer, or an anyone-for-tennis ensemble of casual cool. The golden-age Hollywood legend’s sense of Enduring Style is the subject of a book co-authored by his daughter, Maria Cooper Janis, and the centerpiece of an event dubbed”Oscar Saturday” at Garmany of Red Bank.

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