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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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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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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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FAIR HAVEN: JOYS IN THE ‘HOOD

shop-the-neighborhood-flyerThe vocals/ keyboard and guitar duo of Emma Singleton and Rogan McGarvey joins other young musicians in performance as Fair Haven hosts a first-ever Shop the Neighborhood event this Thursday.

FH Holiday Stroll logoIt’s called Shop the Neighborhood — and here on the Greater Red Bank Green, the midweek offering from the folks at the Fair Haven Business Association represents something shiny and new in December’s merry mix.

Taking place this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., the promotion finds a majority of the borough’s retail businesses — all of them located along a strollable stretch of River Road — keeping special extended hours as an “added festive event for older kids and adults.” A range of giveaways, raffles and special discounts will be featured by the community’s shops, eateries and service providers — and as added incentive, the FHBA will be running complimentary “HollyTrolley” shuttle service to participating locations.

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FREE DOC FILM AT RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

On the evening of Thursday, November 12, the feature-length documentary film Beyond Measure will be given a free, public-invited screening inside the auditorium of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. The follow-up to the groundbreaking Race to Nowhere: the Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture will be presented at 7 pm, in an event hosted by the RFH School District, and by the Rumson Borough and Fair Haven Borough School Districts.

Admission is free, but seats must be reserved in advance by visiting the RFH web site, and clicking the link on the Home Page.

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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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FAIR HAVEN: DIVE INTO A THRILLING READ

Robt Kurson Pirate HuntersAmerican Littoral Society president Tim Dillingham (left) speaks with Robert Kurson about the best-selling author’s new PIRATE HUNTERS, in a Nauvoo Grill Club event presented by River Road Books.

His previous nonfiction page-turner, Shadow Divers, became a best-selling sensation here on the Jersey Shore — in part because it detailed the real-life story of salvage divers who discovered the wreck of a Nazi U-boat in the too-close-for-comfort waters off Brielle. Most of all, though, the award-winning 2005 tale was told with a genuine storyteller’s gift – an ear for the sort of “ripping yarn” that’s as old as our fascination with the sea, and the secrets it harbors beneath its shimmering, beckoning surface.

When Robert Kurson visits Fair Haven’s Nauvoo Grill Club this Wednesday evening for his only scheduled New Jersey appearance, he’ll bring with him an all-new tale of high adventure in the dark depths of the ocean, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. And this time, Kurson’s got company.

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FAIR HAVEN: ASBURY LEGENDS, GOOD AND BAD

chesek o'rourke 1Authors Tom Chesek and John O’Rourke at River Road Books Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

chesek o'rourke 2A busy summer of author appearances at River Road Books in Fair Haven continues with a Thursday program entitled Heroes and Villains of Asbury Park.

The 7 p.m. event at Monmouth County’s only remaining independent bookstore brings together two Jersey-bred authors for a discussion of some truly unforgettable characters who made their mark – whether good, bad or bloody – upon that famous place Where the City Meets the Sea.

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FAIR HAVEN: STREET VEGAN TO PARK IT HERE

adam-sobelAdam Sobel, the Vendy Award-winning proprietor of food truck favorite the Cinnamon Snail, visits River Road Books on Saturday to sign copies of his new cookbook “Street Vegan.” And yes, There Will Be Donuts.

72115eb9-0f89-4da9-afbb-0df9e7d5b74eWith his wildly popular food truck, the Cinnamon Snail, temporarily limited to weekly appearances at the Red Bank Farmers Market after losing its curbside spots in New York City, vegan chef Adam Sobel is scheduled to park himself for a spell in Fair Haven on Saturday.

As recently reported here in a mouth-watering feature on redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page, the Red Bank resident has just become proud papa to a cookbook, which he’ll be touting at a signing event at River Road Books. And, as if you needed anything to sweeten the deal, there will be doughnuts — Sobel’s justifiably famous ‘donuts’ — free with purchase the book while supplies last.

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FAIR HAVEN: THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE

Mary Kay AndrewsBest-selling author (and summer romance specialist) Mary Kay Andrews returns to Fair Haven on Thursday evening for a reading and signing event at Raven and the Peach, sponsored by River Road Books.

It’s got all the hallmarks of the work that’s made her one of the most popular “beach-read” novelists in the English language — the Southern coastal small-town setting; the strong protagonist whose focus has been on matters of career rather than affairs of the heart; the suspense. Not just the kind of suspense found in her earlier mystery novels, but the sexy tension that occurs when a pair of supercharged opposites set off undeniable sparks.

If it’s the start of summer, it must be time for a new novel by Mary Kay Andrews, the Georgia-based author (of Savannah Blues, Summer Rental and Save the Date) whose book tours in recent seasons have always made sure to include a whistle-stop in one of her favorite pockets of fandom: Fair Haven. This Friday, May 29, borough-based River Road Books once again welcomes back the best-selling scribe for a special appearance keyed to the latest Andrews opus, Beach Town.

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RED BANK: BEST-SELLER LUNCHES FOR AAUW

Beatriz WmsBest-selling author Beatriz Williams is the special guest as the local branch of the American Association of University Women presents its annual scholarship fundraiser luncheon at the Molly Pitcher.

Her series of novels includes the breakout best-seller A Hundred Summers – a 1930’s period romance (hailed as the author’s “historic masterpiece”) of beach-house easy living complicated by secrets from a stormy past, as well as by the imminent arrival of a cataclysmic hurricane.

Although Beatriz Williams has managed to take the summer reading lists by storm in recent seasons through her scrupulously researched conjuring of settings that range from First World War Europe to 1960’s New York, the Connecticut-based mother of four famously hid her first attempts at fiction from public view on her company laptop – later honing her skills “as an at-home producer of small persons.”

On Thursday, the author whose works have been translated into a dozen languages returns to the greater Red Bank Green (where she put in a signing session at Fair Haven’s River Road Books several seasons back), as special guest for the annual Gala Scholarship Luncheon of the AAUW NJ Northern Monmouth County Branch – the state’s largest local chapter of the nationwide nonprofit American Association of University Women.

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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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FAIR HAVEN: TALES FROM THE BLACK FOREST

HollyBlackBlack in Blue: the fantasy worlds of Holly Black converge at River Road Books in Fair Haven, where the award-winning author materializes for a Sunday afternoon reading and signing appearance keyed to her latest novel, THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST.

Her many fantastic works of fiction for kids and Young Adults include the illustrated adventures of The Spiderwick Chronicles, (basis for a 2008 movie of that name) as well as the Curse Workers and Modern Faerie Tale trilogies. Her glittering trophies on this plane of existence include the prestigious Newbery Medal for kid-lit, the Andre Norton Award for YA sci-fi, and a finalist recognition for comicdom’s sought-after Eisner Award.

On a more localized level, Holly Black can claim provenance right here in eastern Monmouth County — and on Sunday, January 18, the West Long Branch native and NY Times chart-topper comes home for an afternoon drop-in at River Road Books in Fair Haven — an appearance timed to the publication of her latest novel, The Darkest Part of the Forest.

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FAIR HAVEN: A VERY MEWY CATSMAS

SallyWmsPeteCatRumson-based cat care consultant Sally Williams visits River Road Books on Friday, as part of a festive feline-themed event that also includes a reading from the latest adventure of Pete the Cat.

Call it a sign of these digitally enabled times if you will, but CATS only just seem to be coming into their own after all those eons of patient catnapping — and to prove it, River Road Books will be hosting an afternoon event that’s all about our furry friends this Friday, December 12.

Scheduled for the hours of 3 to 5 pm, the event boasts an appearance by a local resident with a particular expertise in cats and their caretakers — Rumson-based Sally Williams, whose cat behavioral consulting business The Contented Cat offers a range of services that include adoption counseling, environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement and yes, kitty Reiki. The Monmouth SPCA volunteer and blogger will speak about her “cat whispering” career, on a day that also features a drop-in by an especially famous feline.

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