A library of books has been written about pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh, but few biographers have delved into the mystery of his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Now, in the historical- fiction novel "The Aviator's Wife," author Melanie Benjamin reimagine's Anne's life as the wife of one of the 20th century's most famous men though she emerged from his shadow as a strong-willed woman in her own right.
The New York Times and USA Today best-selling "The Aviator's Wife" is The Bee Book Club's choice for March.
"I'm writing entertainment, but readers are realizing how little they know about the Lindberghs," Benjamin said on the phone earlier this week.
Benjamin's presentation is a free event, but tickets are required. To get them, go to www.beebuzzpoints. com and click on "Bee Events."
Charles "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh astounded the world in 1927 with his nonstop 3,600-mile transatlantic solo flight from New York to Paris a feat that aviators before him had attempted but never accomplished. One amazing element of that journey was that he navigated only by the stars and by his sense of "dead reckoning."
An estimated 150,000 frenzied people mobbed him and hailed him as a hero when he touched down at Paris-Le Bourget Airport in his custom-built plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Newsreel cameras rolled, bands played and the party went on into the night. Lindbergh not only took the coveted $25,000 Orteig Prize for being the first pilot to make the seemingly impossible flight, but was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor as well.
Lindbergh got something else, too, which was both a gift and a curse: global fame and adulation, which would cost Anne and him their privacy (and much more) for the rest of their lives.
Early on, Anne got lost amid her husband's celebrity, though later in their marriage she became an accomplished aviator, advocate of women's rights and celebrated writer. Her 1955 memoir, "Gift From the Sea," was an instant best-seller.
" 'Gift From the Sea' was a protofeminist book about how hard it is for women to juggle their various roles in their lives, yet find their own voices," Benjamin said.
Benjamin is the author of the best-selling historical- fiction novels "Alice I Have Been" and "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb." She will appear for The Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. March 7 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento. Barnes & Noble will be there to sell the book for 30 percent off the retail price (Delacorte, $26, 416 pages).
Through March 7, these stores will offer a 30 percent discount on the title: Barnes & Noble, Avid Reader at the Tower in Sacramento, Avid Reader in Davis, Face in a Book in Eldorado Hills, Time Tested Books, Underground Books, Carol's Books, Hornet Bookstore at California State University, Sacramento, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookseller in Grass Valley.
For information: (916) 321-1128.
Authors on the Move
You've read their books, now plan to hobnob with 40 California writers at Sacramento's premier literary gala.
The 11th annual Authors on the Move is the primary fundraiser for the Sacramento Public Library Foundation. The March 9 event will offer attendees the rare opportunity to chat with notable California authors representing a range of styles and genres fiction, nonfiction, memoir and poetry.
This year's theme is "There Is Still the Story," with keynote speaker Gail Tsukiyama. Her new novel, "A Hundred Flowers," tells the tale of a family facing upheaval at the start of China's Cultural Revolution.
Beth Ruyak, host of Capital Public Radio's "Insight" program, will be the master of ceremonies.
"This is the most-fun fundraiser in Sacramento because you get to meet and talk with so many of the region's most talented writers," said library director Rivkah Sass.
The evening will begin with a champagne reception and book-signing, followed by a four-course meal with wine. The authors will move from table to table with each course to chat about their books and answer questions. Look for a post-dinner live auction and more author signings.
Authors on the Move will be from 5 to 10 p.m. March 9 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1209 L St., Sacramento; (916) 443-1234. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $200 each or $1,500 for an eight-person table.
For more information, including the current list of participating authors, or to purchase tickets, visit www.saclibraryfoundation.org or call (916) 264-2711.
For 'Downton' fans
The phenomenon that is "Downton Abbey" concludes its third season at 9 tonight on Channel 6 (KVIE). Since it debuted in the U.S. in January 2011, it has steamrolled the competition and gained larger audiences each week to become one of the most-watched TV shows on the planet.
Season 4 is now in production, but what are "Abbey" addicts to do between now and 2014?
Help is on the way with the novel "While We Were Watching Downton Abbey" by Wendy Wax (Berkley, $15 384 pages). It's the story of four neighbors who form a friendship around watching the show together. Art becomes life when the four friends' lives begin to parallel the "Abbey" dramas.
Because the novel won't be released until April 2, here's a trio of nonfiction titles to hold you over:
"The World of Downton Abbey" by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin's, $30, 304 pages): On the set of the series, with photos, history and anecdotes about the cast and crew.
"Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" by the Countess of Carnarvon (Broadway, $16, 320 pages): The true stories of Highclere Castle and one of its most provocative residents, Lady Almina, the model for the fictitious Lady Cora Crawley.
"The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook" by Emily Ansara Baines (Adams Media, $22, 256 pages): Choose from among 150 recipes, including Mrs. Patmore's dropped roasted chicken.
Samuel S. Ortega and Robert B. Hernandez take a close look at the life and times of Mexican bandit, revolutionary and military general Pancho Villa from a "Mexican American perspective" in "Viva Villa: The End of Yankee Imperialism" (CreateSpace, $20, 306 pages; with maps). They will speak and autograph books at 7 p.m. Friday at Tequila Museo Mayahuel restaurant, 1200 K St., Sacramento; (916) 441-7200.
In observance of Black History Month, the Sisters Quilting Collective at the Brickhouse Art Gallery is hosting its second "A Stitch in Time: The Past, Present and Future" through Feb. 28. Included is a display of educational books for children and adults. The gallery is at 2837 36th St., Sacramento; (916) 475-1240, www.thebrickhousegallery oakpark.com.
LET US KNOW
If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to www.sacbee.com/books. Questions? Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.