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Author Events

Tara Conklin - The Last Romantics

Tuesday, January 14, 4pm
St. Charles City-County Library Express at Winghaven, 7435 Village Center

tara conklin, the last romanticsSt. Charles City-County Library and Left Bank Books presents New York Times bestselling author, Tara Conklin, for the paperback tour of her novel The Last Romantics.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

Tara Conklin is a writer and former lawyer currently living with her family in Seattle, WA. The House Girl, her first novel, was a New York Times bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick, Target book club pick and has been translated into 8 languages. Before turning to fiction, Tara worked for an international human rights organization and as a litigator at a corporate law firm in London and New York.  Her short fiction has appeared in The Bristol Prize Anthology and Pangea: An Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe. Tara was born in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and grew up in western Massachusetts. She holds a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from New York University School of Law and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School (Tufts University).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 7:00pm

LBB Presents: Miranda Popkey - Topics of Conversation

Tuesday, January 14, 7pm
Left Bank Books

miranda popkey, topics of conversationLeft Bank Books presents debut author Miranda Popkey, who will sign and discuss her novel Topics of Conversation. For readers of Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill— Topics of Conversation is a compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction

Topics of Converstaion follows an unnamed female narrator from her first summer post-college to her years as a single mother in California’s Central Valley, always hungry for experience and hell bent on upending her life. The narrative unfolds in a series of conversations between women—the stories they tell one another; the stories they tell themselves—circling questions of desire, disgust, anger, envy, guilt, and despair. Topics of Converstaion is a searing look at what it means to come of age, to grow up, to love, to lust as a woman in this world. “There’s always someone, or so I’d been led to believe: on business or in the dog house or out on the proverbial prowl,” pronounces Miranda’s narrator. “That was the danger of being a woman.” At the center of her striking debut is this: how much bad behavior are we still willing to permit?

Miranda Popkey was raised in Santa Cruz, CA. After receiving her degree from Yale, she spent 2009 – 2010 living in McAllen, Texas, teaching at a high school through Teach for America. (She, admittedly, was underprepared and cried in class more than once.) She left Texas for an internship with The Paris Review and shortly thereafter was hired as an assistant at FSG, where she worked from February of 2011 to November of 2014. She currently lives in Boston with her husband.

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 7:00pm

Left Bank Books Presents: Tai Davis - [Pastry] A Visual Anthology of Culinary Works

Saturday, December 14, 4pm
Left Bank Books

Tai DAvis, [Pastry]

Left Bank Books Presents an event with local culinary rising star, Tai Davis, who will sign and discuss his new book [Pastry]: A Visual Anthology of Culinary Works.

Have you ever eaten something so magnificent that it evokes an overwhelming emotion? Maybe it triggers a pleasant memory from childhood or reminds you of some special dish a beloved family member used to make. Or perhaps it's completely new to you and as you're enjoying it you're creating an altogether new memory. Bringing back the beauty of coffee table books, Tai Davis [Pastry] does just that by conveying the feelings and elegance of pastry art in print.

Tyler 'Tai' Davis is one of Saint Louis' brightest rising star chefs. His innovative, and unique aesthetic has earned him accolades from press and public alike.

Tai Davis honed his cooking craft serving as executive chef of The Tavern of Fine Arts in 2017, and as Executive Pastry Chef for The Chocolate Pig Restaurant in 2018. During his tenure at The Chocolate Pig, Chef Tai's culinary prowess has been featured in Sauce, Delta Sky, Feast, E-Squared, Band's Through Town and Saint Louis Magazine. Before his success at The Chocolate Pig, Davis worked and staged in other highly praised kitchens, including Element, The Libertine, Niche, Franco and The Demun Oyster Bar. Most recently, Davis had the opportunity to further showcase his pastry skills on the Food Network Show, Halloween Baking Championship.

Currently, Chef Tai has shifted his focus towards consulting, teaching and personal chef services under the moniker Æther. He has also re branded his specialty bakery, Alchemy, and is getting his feet wet in the artistic world as Sacred Geometry by Tai Davis, a concept testing the boundaries between food and art.

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Saturday, December 14, 2019 - 4:00pm

Canceled Jeanine Cummins - American Dirt

Hello friends, 

Left Bank Books  is no stranger to controversy. No stranger to protest. This store was born out of protest and is made of people who have fought to be where we are and who we are. It's not always easy and it's sometimes not popular, but the common thread always is the same as our tagline - literacy and justice for all. We are a mission based bookstore, and that mission guides what we do.

We scheduled an event with Jeanine Cummins to discuss her new novel, American Dirt. In our minds, we were promoting a topical book written by someone who has deep St. Louis connections. It's a gripping story about a woman and her child fleeing violence by trying to get to America. Literacy and justice.

We sincerely believed it would be an opportunity to have an overdue public conversation about the deplorable actions of our country towards people at the border.
We sincerely believed Cummins novel was as good a starting place as any for folks who have not been fully aware of the issues and suffering. That the book could put a human face on the headlines. 

When we announced the event, some in our community pushed back. Why, they asked, would we promote a white author who writes about a Latinx experience? And where are the Latinx voices? Where are those authors? In an attempt to find a middle ground,  we invited members of the community to join Jeanine in a  public conversation. 

Some in the community pushed back harder.  Posts on social media, calls to our venue partners and others were made insisting we cancel the event. 
This felt familiar. It felt like the struggle we've been a part of for years aimed back at us. It hurt. And it felt like a challenge to do better. 

Although the time line of this whole process has unfurled in a matter of a few very demanding days, we have taken pains to reflect on the best course of action. And that action is this: 

We are listening. To everyone.
We are cancelling the event and will issue refunds to everyone who wants one.
Our mission remains the same, as does our humanity and membership in this community we love and fiercely defend.
We will continue to work to bring authors and stories to our city and hold space for conversations that support and expand the humanity of all. 
We will continue to try to be mindful of our mission – Literacy and Justice for All. 

We are grateful for the support of the community and aware that we earn that support one day at a time.

Sincerely,

Your friends and neighbors at Left Bank Books

 

Sunday, January 26, 4pm
Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton

Left Bank Books presents bestselling memoirist of A Rip In Heaven, Jeanine Cummins, who will sign and discuss her new novel, American Dirt. For readers of There There but with the emotional punch of The NightingaleAmerican Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

jeanine cummins, American DirtIf it’s only a better life you seek, seek it elsewhere...This path is only for people who have no choice, no other option, only violence and misery behind you. And your journey will grow even more treacherous from here. Everything is working against you. —American Dirt

Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward America, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the thousands of people trying to reach American dirt, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed when they finish reading it. It is a page-turner, it is a literary achievement, it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

 

Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 4:00pm

Left Bank Books Presents: Ariana Madix & Tom Sandoval - Fancy AF Cocktails

Friday, December 20, 6pm
Brennan's Work & Leisure, 3015 Locust

Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval, Fancy AF CocktailsLeft Bank Books welcomes Vanderpump Rules co-stars, Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval, who will sign, discuss, and provide sample tastings from their new book, Fancy AF Cocktails.

Featuring classy and trashy cocktails for every occasion and exclusive behind-the-scenes stories from the show and the couple’s personal life off-screen (with tongue planted firmly in cheek), Fancy AF Cocktails: Drink Recipes from a Couple of Professional Drinkers will inspire fans, armchair mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs alike to break out the bar cart, just in time for the holiday season. Before America fell in love with Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval on screen (and watched them fall in love with each other) in Vanderpump Rules, the fan-favorites were bartenders in some of the most popular bars in New York, and Los Angeles. When it comes to imbibing, Madix and Sandoval are professionals. They know how to craft great drinks because they’ve been making them for years – and tasting them along the way. Fans are often surprised at how delicious the cocktails are at their current hotspots featured on the show: SUR, Villa Blanca, PUMP and TomTom. It’s Madix and Sandoval’s goal for readers to feel the same sense of surprise and excitement when they make one of their drinks at home. Fancy AF Cocktails supplies readers with over 80 cocktail recipes as dramatic as the cast that inspired them, yet accessible enough to recreate at home (some even feature surprisingly random ingredients everyone likely has lying around their kitchen).

 



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Friday, December 20, 2019 - 6:00pm

LBB Presents: Luke Geddes - Heart of Junk

Monday, January 27, 7pm
Left Bank Books

Luke Geddes, Heart of JunkLeft Bank Books welcomes debut author, Luke Geddes, who will sign and discuss his novel Heart Of Junk

Vacant booths and dwindling shoppers foreshadow a bleak fate for The Heart of American Antique Mall in Wichita, Kansas. Husband and wife co-owners Keith and Stacey Stoller polished off the last of their daughter’s college savings fund and the mall is all but doomed. But a visit from the famed television show Pickin’ Fortunes stars Mark and Grant could turn everything around. Meanwhile, the dealers are too preoccupied by their own neurotic compulsions—eBay bidding wars, Barbie collections, and the new rule-breakers in booth #1-146—to notice that citywide panic over the abduction of toddler pageant princess Lindy Bobo could derail the visit. So Keith makes a plan: find Lindy and everything would go back to normal. Yet the mall and the missing beauty queen have more to do with each other than the dealers might think, and before long, the group sets in motion a series of events that uncover shocking information about Lindy’s disappearance.

“Luke Geddes has written something truly wonderful with Heart of Junk. His tender portrayal of each uniquely strange character who inhabits the Heart of America Antique Mall is strengthened by such perfect comedic timing. As Geddes digs deeper and deeper into a world most people would ignore, he finds real treasure, something beautiful and life-affirming.” —Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang and Nothing to See Here

Luke Geddes holds a PhD in comparative literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of the short story collection I Am a Magical Teenage Princess and his writing has appeared in Conjunctions, Mid-American Review, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, he now lives Cincinnati, Ohio.

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Monday, January 27, 2020 - 7:00pm

Left Bank Books Presents: Amy Spalding - We Used to Be Friends

Sunday, January 12, 2pm
Left Bank Books

we used to be friends, amy spaldingLeft Bank Books welcomes Kirkus starred review author of The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), Amy Spalding, who will be signing and discussing her new novel, We Used To Be Friends.

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. Funny, honest, and full of heart, We Used to Be Friends tells of the pains of growing up and growing apart.

“Amy Spalding knows that best friendships are love stories, and this one is complex, earnest, and unflinching. A must-read for anyone who's ever had or lost a friend.”

-Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

This event is free and open to the public, but proof of purchase of We Used To Be Friends from Left Bank Books will be required to enter the signing line.

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Sunday, January 12, 2020 - 2:00pm

Young Professionals Network Presents: Caitlyn Collins & Lauren Trager

Wednesday, November 20, 5:30pm
ThriveCo, 222 S Meramec #202

The Women's Foundation of Greater St. Louis Young Professionals Network presents a conversation with Caitlyn Collins, author of Making Motherhood Work, and Lauren Trager of KMOV News 4.

Join fellow young professionals for an evening of networking, light refreshments and a fireside chat featuring Caitlyn Collins, Assistant Professor of Sociology and of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and author of 'Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.' Collins will be interviewed by Lauren Trager, award-winning Investigative Reporter for KMOV-TV, and the two of them will discuss Collins' book which was published early this year. The event is not just for women who are young professionals, it’s for everyone!

About Caitlyn Collins: Professor Collins conducts cross-national qualitative research on gender inequality in the workplace and family life. She is broadly interested in the relationship between policy, culture, and social inequality.

Her current project is an interview study of 135 working mothers in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the United States. These countries offer distinct policy approaches to reconciling work-family conflict. Collins examines how different ideals of gender, motherhood, and employment are embedded in these policies, and how they shape the daily lives of working mothers in each country. A book based on this research, Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving, was published in February 2019 with Princeton University Press.

Register and Purchase tickets here!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 5:30pm

River Styx Reading Series: Rion Amilcar Scott & Jane Ellen Ibur

Monday, November 18, 7pm
High Low, 3301 Washington Ave

River Styx cultivates the literary arts in St. Louis and beyond through its magazine and community programs.The River Styx Reading Series is their main recurring event during the fall, winter, and spring, in which they invite both local and national acclaimed writers to read their work for a St. Louis audience.


Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection The World Doesn't Require You (Norton/Liveright, August 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Rumpus, and other journals.
http://www.rionamilcarscott.com

Jane Ellen Ibur, born in St. Louis, is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of St. Louis. She is the author of Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ and The Little Mrs./Misses, both published by PenUltimate Press. She has garnered much recognition as an Arts Educator with more than thirty-five years of experience teaching writing in public schools, jails, museums, residential schools, social service agencies, with veterans, homeless men, the young and the old. Lead Faculty for the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute, she is one of its founders. For nineteen years she co-hosted and co-produced Literature for the Halibut on community radio.

Readings start at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month. $5 general admission. $4 students and seniors. This event is presented by River Styx. For more information, please visit riverstyx.org.

Monday, November 18, 2019 - 7:00pm

Mikel Jollett - Hollywood Park

Wednesday, June 3, 6pm
Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar

hollywood park, mikel jollettJoin Mikel Jollett for a special VIP event before The Airborne Toxic Event's concert!  Just get your concert ticket from Delmar Hall and preorder Hollywood Park from Left Bank Books for VIP access!  VIP attendance is limited to the first 300 orders.

Both an Airborne Toxic Event ticket and proof of pre-order purchase from Left Bank Books is required for VIP Access!

Get your concert ticket here!

Pre-order a copy of Hollywood Park for VIP access here! 

 The VIP experience will include a book signing, a discussion of Hollywood Park, and a Q&A with the author.

Hollywood Park is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life. Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. Yet, ultimately, his is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw, poetic voice that signals the emergence of a uniquely gifted writer.

We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion …

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults.  Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother.  But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol.  Raised by a clinically depressed, narcissistic mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.

Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child, and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

Mikel Jollett was born in an experimental commune in Southern California called Synanon. Started as a drug rehabilitation program, it later morphed into one of the most notorious cults America has ever seen. When the community became violent, his mother fled the group with Jollett and his older brother. Raised in abject poverty and fighting the lure of drugs and delinquency, Jollet escaped with the help of his estranged father. He went on to attend Stanford University, before becoming an on-air columnist for NPR’s All Things Considered, an Editor-at-Large for Men's Health and editor of Filter Magazine. After McSweeney’s published his short story “The Crack,” he was accepted to Yaddo artists’ community, but ultimately decided to pursue music instead. He named his band Airborne Toxic Event after a section of Don DeLillo’s White Noise and quickly built a loyal fan base.

Pre-order a copy of Hollywood Park today gain VIP access to the event. VIP access is limited to the first 300 pre-orders!

Both an Airborne Toxic Event ticket and proof of pre-order purchase from Left Bank Books is required for VIP Access!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 6:00pm

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