If women are looking for a heroine, a likely choice would be Kelly Corrigan. The New York Times best-selling memoirist and breast cancer survivor speaks for and inspires the sisterhood though her books, charitable work and fundraising activities. Her new book, Glitter and Glue, is the Bee Book Clubs choice for March.
Corrigans worldview is simple, as she puts it on her website, www.kellycorrigan.com: People are struggling; make yourself useful.
Her moving essay Transcending is an ode to womens remarkable capacity to support each other. Corrigan reads it in a YouTube video, which has received more than 4 million views.
Corrigan is a co-founder of Notes & Words, an annual program that brings well-known writers and musicians together on the stage of Oaklands Paramount Theatre. Audience members are donors to the Childrens Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, where one of Corrigans two daughters was treated for meningitis. To date, Notes & Words has raised nearly $4 million.
She also developed the website www.circusofcancer.org, an information resource that links to cancer-related sites.
Corrigan is the author of three memoirs, which critics have called feisty and heartfelt. Her latest, Glitter and Glue, explores the bond between mothers and daughters, and tells how her experiences abroad as a young woman helped her connect with her own mother (Ballantine, $26, 240 pages). In it, she writes, The mother is the most essential piece on the board, the one you must protect. I want (mine) to know I have learned the difference between adventure and life experiences.
Lift (2010) was written in the form of a letter to her children, explaining how the risks and emotional hazards involved in child-rearing are well worth the experience to loving parents.
The Middle Place (2008) is an intimate account of Corrigans experiences and reflections upon being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2004, and undergoing chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. At the same time, her father was battling prostate and bladder cancers. We were convinced it was the beginning of the end, she said later. Corrigan and her father are both in remission.
Corrigan will appear for the Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. March 13 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento; (916) 321-1128. This is a free event, but tickets are required. Get them at www.beebuzzpoints.com starting today.
Maybe its time to add some new titles to that stack on your nightstand. Lets start with three rural novels:
• The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout (Simon & Schuster, $15, 256 pages): The award-winning 1988 novel has been reissued in anticipation of the upcoming film co-starring Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and John Lithgow, and directed by Tommy Lee Jones (tentatively Oct. 3). Its the Old West story of a pioneer woman and a lowlife crook who partner to escort three women driven mad by frontier life to an asylum back East. Two other Swarthout novels were made into movies They Came to Cordura (Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth, 1959) and The Shootist (John Wayne and Lauren Bacall, 1976).
• A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun (Penguin, $16, 272 pages): In this folklore-heavy debut, girls are mysteriously vanishing from a remote town in British Columbia, and no one can figure out why until a group of menacing strangers comes to town. Is the devil among them?
• The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson (Soho, $25, 304 pages): This raw, unapologetic tale is set in 1829 Tasmania, and follows a band of mercenaries who have different motives for hunting Aborigines in the desolate wilderness. Its based on brutal historical events that happened in Australia.
Moving on to nonfiction:
• One Way Out by Alan Paul (St. Martins, $30, 464 pages): The Allman Brothers Band combined country, jazz, rhythm-and-blues, improvisation and long jams to create the Southern rock sound. Heres the oral history, as told by the people and players who were on the ride.
• Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey (Crown, $26, 432 pages): The Boston Harbor Project of the 1990s succeeded in cleaning up the harbor, but at a tragic cost. This is the tale of the five divers whose task was to solve the final logistical challenge of the project by exploring the 10-mile-long undersea tunnel that was the heart of the project. Reads like a thriller.
• E.E. Cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever (Pantheon, $25.95, 240 pages). Poet-playwright-painter e.e. (Edward Estlin) cummings once wrote, The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. This biography explores the life of one of the 20th centurys most significant artists.
Pulitzer Prize-wining poet Stephen Dunn will read samplings from his 16 collections of poetry, 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento; (916) 264-2920, www.saclibarary.org; in conjunction with the Sacramento Poetry Center.
Dunn will be joined by his wife, poet and essayist Barbara Hurd, winner of two Pushcart Prizes. The vocal ensemble Take Jack will provide the music, from classical to rock n roll. Tickets are $15 in advance from www.brownpapertickets.com. Information: (916) 240-1897, email@example.com.
Tickets are available now for the ninth annual Gold Rush Writers Conference, May 2-4 at the historic Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill. Writers, poets and journalists will share their expertise in workshops, panels and lectures. The freight is $160 through March 30, or $175 after that (includes three meals, but not lodging). For details and to register: www.goldrushwriters.com, (209) 286-1320.
Upcoming author appearances
• Christina Baker Kline for Orphan Train, 1 p.m. Friday at the Folsom Public Library, 411 Stafford St., Folsom; (916) 264-2770.
• Picture book illustrator-author Nancy Tillman for Let There Be Light, with text by Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 5 p.m. Feb. 19 at Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401
• A trio of romance writers will bring some insight and fun to the topic Putting the Man In Romance, a discussion of the romance genre, noon Feb. 21 at the Auburn Library, 350 Nevada St., Auburn. Present will be Cindy Sample, the author of the Dying For trilogy; Paisley Kirkpatrick, who writes the Paradise Pines historical romance series; and Yvonne Kohano, the author of the Flynns Crossing series. More information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call The Bees Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.