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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)

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 »

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)

RED BANK: A LITTLE BOOK-LABELING PARTY

leighton lib 110915 2leighton lib 110915 1Kate Triggiano, who had a custom-built “little library” built and installed outside her Red Bank home for neighborhood kids last October, plans a book labeling party Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The aim of the event, to be held at Kitch Organic restaurant at 75 Leighton Avenue, is to apply labels to dozens of books donated to the library’s wish list on Amazon, Triggiano said. Participants are asked to bring scissors; kids are welcome if  they’re old enough to help.

Why label? “Because we respect the kids and trust them,” said Triggiano. “Because they cost nice people money. And because we don’t want someone taking them and selling them.”

Dubbed the Little Library on Leighton, the mahogany receptacle, built by custom woodworker David Halbout of Middletown, is in front of Triggiano’s home at 22 Leighton, and features children’s and young-adult literature.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: MIMI AT THE CROSSROADS

mimi cross 2Singer-songwriter-novelist Mimi Cross makes an appearance in Fair Haven Thursday to promote her new work of fiction, “Before Goodbye.”  (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

BeforeGoodbye-20232-CV-FT-v5“It was great to see everybody,” says Mimi Cross in reference to her performance last weekend at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, part of the annual Light of Day slate of musically minded benefit events. “I haven’t been playing much the past couple of years, and it was like coming home to family.”

Once a frequently sighted fixture on Shore area club stages — and a two-time Asbury Music Award winner for her self-released albums like Monkey Trap — the singer-songwriter soprano has indeed kept a low public profile since she became a mom. It’s an uncharacteristic stance for an artist who can boast of having shared stages with Bruce, Bon Jovi, Bonnie (Raitt), (Jackson) Browne, Lauryn Hill and Sting.

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RED BANK: BARTENDER/AUTHOR GOES FOR TWO

brandon zenner 052114whiskey devilsRed Bank bartender-turned-self-published novelist Brandon Zenner, seen here in 2014, is  in the running for a contract with Kindle Scout, an Amazon program in which readers vote on which works get published. An excerpt of the Dublin House barkeep’s second novel, “Whiskey Devils,” may be previewed and voted upon here. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LINCROFT: BIG WORDS ON CAMPUS

Tim_SeiblesAward-winning poet Tim Seibles (above) and best selling author/graphic novelist Mat Johnson (below) wrap up this season’s Visiting Writers program at Brookdale tonight.

mat_johnsonA poet and a graphic novelist walk into a room — and for tonight’s final entry in the fall 2015 series of Visiting Writers events on the Lincroft campus, Brookdale Community College sets up a double-header event that hits the holiday-break interlude on a high note.

Featured is Tim Seibles, whose five volumes of verse have won him accolades from his peers (and, in the case of Fast Animal, placed him squarely in the running for no less an honor than the National Book Award).

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SEA BRIGHT: ALL-WELCOME WEEKEND AT UMC

Sea Bright United MethodistSea Bright United Methodist is the place to be this weekend for the official dedication of the relocated Sea Bright Public Library on Saturday, plus a Christmas Cantata and free community dinner on Sunday. 

Even as the people of Sea Bright got to work putting their beloved borough back together in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the loss of the town’s permanent public library continued to leave a hole in the heart of community life.

While the library’s circa-1976 J.W. Ross Cultural Arts Center building — razed amid some controversy in early 2014, as reported here on redbankgreen — sustained relatively light damage in comparison to other hard-hit neighboring structures, the decision was made to temporarily relocate rather than restore. This past summer saw the “small, friendly” Sea Bright Library open its doors inside the host walls of United Methodist Church at 1104 Ocean Avenue — and this Saturday, the borough officially cuts the ribbon, in an all-welcome event that boasts a bonus helping of seasonal cheer.

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RUMSON: ADULT BOOKS PROMPT R-FH DEBATE

siobhan fallon hogan 101315With emergency lights on because of a power outage, parent Siobhan Fallon Hogan urged parental choice in the books read by teens. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: See a statement from playwright Ariel Dorfman about this controversy appended to the bottom of this article.]

HOT-TOPIC_03It was a dimly lit and slightly damp night as about 150 members of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School community politely debated a stormy issue Tuesday: the place of two works of fiction in the curriculum.

Taking turns at a non-working microphone in an auditorium lit by emergency lights because of a power outage, a number of parents challenged the inclusion of two books on reading lists for juniors and seniors because of their adult themes and coarse language.

Led by former Saturday Night Live cast member Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the objectors insisted they were not out to ban or censor the books, but instead to call for a policy that would allow parents to choose substitute reading material they consider “age appropriate” for their children.

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FAIR HAVEN: TWO NOVEL ATTRACTIONS

ElisabethEganGlamour magazine book editor Elisabeth Egan (above) visits River Road Books on Thursday to read from and sign copies of her recently published A WINDOW OPENS…while fellow first-time novelist Barrie Levitt Knee arrives later this month to promote her debut book PLAIN JANE (below).

plainjaneTwo new novels; two stirring stories of contemporary women at a crossroads of life-choices. Both written by authors who are new to book-length fiction, and both the subject of special events at Fair Haven’s River Road Books here in October, a month when we shake the sand from those “beach reads” and find something a little more fireside-appropriate.

But don’t break out that Snuggie just yet, as one of the visiting authors might just inspire you to take it outdoors for one more cool-weather marathon.

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RED BANK: GO SET YOUR WATCHES

TKAMThe 1962 film version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ screens for free at the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday as River Road Books celebrates the July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s long-awaited followup, ‘Go Set a Watchman.’

It’s panning out to be the most eagerly anticipated event in the digitally driven, radically reconfigured 21st century publishing industry, one centering around a story that was pecked out on a manual typewriter nearly 60 years ago. The first book published by the reclusive novelist Harper Lee in more than half a century, Go Set a Watchman stands as a sequel to the author’s To Kill a Mockingbird, even though it was written – and subsequently filed away–  prior to that 1960 classic of modern American lit.

On Tuesday, July 14, Fair Haven’s River Road Books marks the official publication date of Watchman with a special event at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre: a free screening of the 1962 film version of Mockingbird.

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RED BANK: MENNA RETURNING TO WORK

rbpl menna 052915Mayor Pasquale Menna, below, plans to return to his mayoral duties this week. They include participation at a library event on Saturday. (Photo above by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 052614Getting back into the swing of things after open-heart surgery, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said he hopes to preside at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

But first, there are a couple of wedding ceremonies to officiate. And later this week, there’s an ice-cream party for kids at which he’s slated to do more than just make a cameo.

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RED BANK: A RIVER READ RETURN TO RBPL

Rbplwestroom

A second-floor reading room at the Red Bank Public Library is the setting for this Saturday’s River Read poetry-‘n-whatnot jam.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

In true hermit crab fashion, it’s a native offering that’s skittered from venue to venue around town – with past homes having included the Dublin House Pub, No Joe’s Café and the now-defunct Frank Talk on Shrewsbury Avenue.

But when the poetry event known as River Read: Words by the Navesink sets up shop this Saturday morning at the Red Bank Public Library, it will mark a welcome return for the monthly series that was unfortunately evicted from that riverview roost when the library was temporarily forced to cancel its Saturday programming.

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RUMSON: CBI CALLS FOR POETRY ENTRIES

Press release from Congregation B’nai Israel

National Poetry Month is just around the corner in April, and the library committee at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will once again be hosting Café Pinsky 2015: The Poet Next Door, an evening of readings by local Jewish poets.

Named for Long Branch native Robert Pinsky, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, the free event will take place on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7 pm.  In addition to poetry, the evening will feature music, light refreshments, coffee and tea. All are welcome to attend.

Published and unpublished local Jewish poets are invited to enter up to two poems each to the Library Committee by  Monday, March 30, 2015. There is no entry fee.

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FAIR HAVEN: NOVELIST ON RETURN VISIT

KatieCoyleAuthor and Fair Haven native Katie Coyle makes a homecoming sojourn to River Road Books this Thursday for a reading and signing keyed to her novel ‘Vivian Apple at the End of the World.’

When the debut young-adult novel by Katie Coyle first saw print, it was in the United Kingdom under the title Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.

For its stateside publication, though, the young-adult adventure tale has been rebranded as Vivian Apple at the End of the World — a situation not unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which the Fair Haven native cites as the book that supercharged her own literary ambitions into being.

The 2004 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — since transplanted to San Francisco — makes a homecoming appearance here on the Green Thursday night when she stops in at River Road Books for a 7 p.m. reading and signing session timed to the book’s appearance under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint.

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