The second annual Tahoe WordWave is a “literary mash-up” of oral storytelling, readings, workshops, theater performances and more, Oct. 21-23 at Valhalla, the events center at the Tallac Historic Site at South Lake Tahoe. WordWave events will be free, except for the following two:
▪ Setting the mood will be the “Tall Timber Ball: Steampunk in the Woods” fundraising gala. Clocks, machinery, Victoriana and a mechanical octopus will be part of it. “Picture a Jules Verne novel come to life,” said festival director Jennifer Basye Sander.
▪ Another highlight will be a special reading of three original plays by the winners of a WordWave-sponsored contest.
Speakers will include Galadrielle Allman (“Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father”) and Melissa Cistaro (“Pieces of My Mother”). Look for the novel-writing camp for children.
Tickets and more information: www.valhallatahoe.com.
Sisters in Crime tell all
Five mystery writers will clue you in on the behind-the-scenes making of mystery novels when they gather at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9401
The free panel discussion will feature members of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento Chapter of Sisters in Crime. They are Catriona McPherson (“The Child Garden,” nominated for the Macavity and Anthony awards; she has appeared for the Sacramento Bee Book Club), Cindy Sample (“Laurel McKay” series), Michele Drier (“Amy Hobbes” series), Cherie O’Boyle: (“Estela Nogales” series) and Danna Wilberg: (“Grace Simms” trilogy).
Two books, two diverse stories
The audience demographic will differ for these two disparate novels, but each is a star in its own way.
When Jodi Picoult appeared for the Sacramento Bee Book Club two years ago, she remarked, “I write commercial fiction about moral and ethical dilemmas. My stories usually center around questions that make readers wonder, ‘What would I do in those situations?’ ”
The New York Times best-selling author confronts that question again in “Small Great Things,” which dwells on “race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion” (Ballantilne, $29, 480 pages). Ruth Jefferson, an African American labor-delivery nurse, is directed by a white supremacist father not to touch his newborn infant. When the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth is the only nurse on the scene. Her decision becomes a media sensation.
Moving in time and place, we arrive at “The Kid” by Ron Hansen, a portrait of William Henry McCarty, known to history as the outlaw Billy the Kid (Scribner, $26, 320 pages). We follow the Kid from boyhood to his fatal showdown with Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881, riding with him on “his many dangerous and amorous escapades.” Hansen is a professor at Santa Clara University and author of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”