When 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)
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.”
As 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.
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.”
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.
They 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.
If 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.
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.
It’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.”
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.”
Red 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)
Press release from Rumson School District
In 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).
Trustees 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
The 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.
Children’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.’
In 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.
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
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.