Get to know the West Virginia Book Festival’s headlining authors. Check out this list and decide which free presentations to attend. We have a wonderful lineup this year that is sure to entertain any book lover.
James Patterson is an author who needs no introduction. What readers may not know is that he also writes novels for tweens and teens. As the parent of a reluctant reader, he has a real interest in writing books for this demographic. Patterson’s webpage, www.readkiddoread.com, helps parents, teachers and librarians find the right book for the right reader.
For his adult readers, Patterson’s first big impact was Alex Cross, detective and psychologist. Cross first came on the scene in “Along Came a Spider” in 1993, which also introduces an ongoing nemesis, the sociopath, Gary Soneji.
In “Spider,” Patterson crafts a beautifully orchestrated thriller pulling readers into seemingly unrelated crimes, the brutal murders of two prostitutes and a child and the seemingly more press worthy kidnapping of two rich white children. Cross finds that nothing about the case is straightforward and that none of the players are quite what they seem. Patterson has continued Cross’ story through 26 books with the most recent being “Target: Alex Cross” in 2018.
The sleepy countryside dotted with farms outside of Knoxville, Tennessee was the site of a top-secret World War II military operation, named Site X. This farmland, later known as Oak Ridge, was created solely to aid in the war effort. Women looking to work came from all over the United States to the newly created city of Oak Ridge to make money and contribute to the war effort while the men fought overseas. Unbeknownst to most of the women, they were working on the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb during World War II.
In “The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II,” author Denise Kiernan interviewed several women who worked at Site X and weaved their true stories into a captivating read. The project was veiled under such secrecy that many of the women did not realize the gravity of their work. Kiernan narrates the women’s stories, encompassing the duel nature of the ordinary and extraordinary lives they were living during this time. A tale of friendship, war and secrecy, this true story will transport readers to this significant time in American history.
Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card rose to fame with “Ender’s Game,” the story of a boy trained in Battle School to save the planet during an intergalactic war against the insects, the Formic. In Card’s recent work, he has been exploring the era before Ender, the time during the first and second Formic Wars.
The second war is told in a trilogy with the first two novels already available, “The Swarm” and “The Hive.” Earth has learned that all the devastation was caused by a mere scout ship. As a mothership approaches from outside the Kuiper Belt at the edge of our solar system, plans must be made. The Second Formic War sees the battles that justify the creation of the Hegemony, the Battle School and the genetic programs that create Ender and his siblings. There is a nice balance of new characters and names that “Ender” fans will recognize. Readers will find the Second Formic War series a satisfying read.
Salina Yoon captures the hearts of young readers and parents in several of her books, which are perfect for cuddling up for a naptime read. The tales of Penguin are a personal favorite. Her crisp colorful illustrations bring the adventurous little penguin to life as he misses his friend, Pinecone. Yoon’s illustrations work wonderfully with the stories. In “Penguin in Love,” he looks for love, but finds a mitten. As Penguin follows a trail of yarn, little curlicue hearts predict what lies ahead. Yoon always provides such charming tales for families.
Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll
“Appalachian Reckoning,” edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll, is a collection of essays, poems, and photos compiled in response to J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Many throughout the Appalachian region felt misrepresented by “Hillbilly Elegy” and many writers in the region felt compelled to offer a countering viewpoint of Appalachia and its people. “Appalachian Reckoning” is the result of those efforts.
The book explores the diversity of Appalachian life through different mediums. “Appalachian Reckoning” focuses on intellectual and dynamic thought taking place across the Appalachian region. With essays, such as “Keep Your ‘Elegy’: The Appalachia I Know is Very Much Alive,” the collection challenges Vance’s notions of “hillbilly” culture and gives multiple perspectives of what it means be Appalachian.
Mark your calendar for Oct. 4 and 5 and join us at the West Virginia Book Festival, held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the website, www.wvbookfestival.org.