Edgar Allan Poe was frightening readers long before any of the American legends of horror and sci-fi sat at their typewriters and computer keyboards and shared their darkest imaginings. Which is not to say the likes of Shirley Jackson, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and Stephen King haven’t made us go to bed at night with the lights on. Rather, to one extent or another, they all followed Poe’s lead.
Just as we can follow One Book Sacramento’s lead. The Sacramento Public Library has named Poe’s short stories and poems as this year’s choice for its ninth annual event. One Book Sacramento asks the community to read the same book and participate in a lineup of Poe-centric events including arts and crafts, discussions, films, prose and poetry readings. Experts on Poe’s writings will play major roles. One Book Sacramento will continue through October.
The library has made it easy to participate with its “Slender Poe Anthology.” The book was printed by the library’s I Street Press on its Espresso book machine and is being sold for $20 at the Central Library and its many branches. The book features some of Poe’s best-known works, along with lesser-known stories and poems. Cosumnes River College English professor and Poe authority John Allen Cann wrote the informative introduction, and writes contextually about each entry.
Catch the Poe spirit at upcoming events at the Central Library’s Tsakopoulos Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento. For the complete schedule and more information: (916) 264-2920, www.saclibrary.org.
P.S.: In October, the New Helvetia Brewing Co. (1730 Broadway, 916-469-9889) will feature a special bottling of “Edgar Allan Porter,” with a label and coasters designed by the library’s graphics staff. Look for T-shirts and posters, too.
The Vollmann file
William T. Vollmann of Sacramento — one of the most soft-spoken guys we know — certainly carries a big stick.
Writing in the September issue of Harper’s magazine, the National Book Award-winning author of nine nonfiction books (“Imperial”) and 10 novels (“Europe Central”) tells the chilling and absurd story of what he found in his FBI file after obtaining part of it via the Freedom of Information Act.
Turns out the FBI suspected him of being the Unabomber.
“Reader, would you be surprised to learn that you had been a terrorist suspect?” Vollmann writes in Harper’s. Then, after Ted Kaczynski was arrested in 1996 for mailing bombs that killed and maimed people, the FBI considered Vollmann as a suspect in the 2001 anthrax-by-mail attacks. The key suspect in that case took his own life in 2008.
Also, the feds thought Vollmann might have undergone terrorist training with the Afghan mujahideen. Someone behind closed doors must have read the original or the recently re-released edition of his 1992 book “An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World” (Melville House, $16.95, 320 pages).
Kids book festival
Fostering literacy in children is an ongoing concern for parents, educators and librarians. Fairytale Town will do its share for the cause with its 13th annual ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival. The celebration of reading will feature presentations by children’s book authors and illustrators, hands-on activities, exhibits, storytelling, a book fair, and booths staffed by arts and literacy groups. The free festival will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28-29 at Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento; (916) 808-7462, www.fairytaletown.org. Adults must be accompanied by children.
Upcoming author appearances include book-signings and Q&A sessions:
At Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401, www.getyourfaceinabook.com :
10 a.m. today: Five area authors are to appear in a program co-sponsored by the Sacramento Suburban Writers Club ( www.sactowriters.com): Sheri Cockrell (“Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire”), Amanda Steedley (“I’ve Been Picked”), Amy Rogers (“Petroplague”), M.L. Edson (“Six Rivers Killer”) and A.K. Buckroth (“My Diabetic Soul”).
7 p.m. Sept. 30: D.J. Machale for the “Pendragon” series
At the Avid Reader at Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento; (916) 441-4400:
2 p.m. Saturday: Ed Goldman for “But I Digress: Daily Profiles and Punditry From the Sacramento Business Journal”
2 p.m. Sept. 29: Sasha Abramsky for “The American Way of Poverty”
Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. On Twitter @apierleonisacb