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Spotlight: Literary party in Amherst; Thurston Moore Group at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

  • Photo by Vera Marmelo/Facebook Photo by Vera Marmelo/Facebook

Published: 11/27/2019 4:51:05 PM

A literary bash in Amherst

Just in time for the holidays — books do make great presents, after all — local state legislators, an organization that promotes reading in the commonwealth and the Jones Library in Amherst are throwing a party for several Valley writers who have won honors for their work.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, a public-private partnership in Concord affiliated with the U.S. Library of Congress, is joining with state representatives Mindy Domb, Natalie Blais, and Lindsay Sabadosa to honor the 12 authors, all of whom have won Massachusetts Book Awards or honorable mention from the group in recent years.

The party, free and open to the public, takes place Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jones Library. The writers will give brief talks about their work, after which there will be an opportunity to “mix and mingle” and buy books from staff from Amherst Books — and have the books signed by the authors.

Looking for fiction? You can consider “Valiant Gentlemen,” an historical novel by Sabina Murray; a short story collection by Noy Holland; or Heather Abel’s “The Optimistic Decade,” a novel set in the high country of Colorado in 1990. Also on hand will be poets Ilan Stavans (“The Wall”), Ellen Doré Watson (“pray me stay eager”), and Dara Wier (“In the Still of the Night”).

Nonfiction will be represented by the Whately couple George Howe Colt (“The Game,” a look back at the dramatic Harvard-Yale football game of 1968) and Anne Fadiman (author of the memoir “The Wine Lover’s Daughter”) and Amherst College historian Lisa Brooks (“Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War”).

You’ll also have a chance to meet Natasha Lowe (“Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle”), Richard Michelson (“The Language of Angels: A Story about the Reinvention of Hebrew”), and Jane Yolen (“Mapping the Bones”) and talk to them about the writing they do for younger readers.

More information about the Massachusetts Center for the Book can be found at

Thurston Moore revisits the Valley

For about a dozen years, after he and his former wife, Kim Gordon, bought a home in Northampton in 1999, Thurston Moore was one of the Valley’s biggest musical luminaries. But Moore, a co-founder with Gordon of the seminal punk/alternative rock band Sonic Youth, left the Valley after he and Gordon split up in 2011.

But Moore has continued to make a variety of music, and he comes back to the area on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to play Gateway City Arts in Holyoke at 8 p.m. He’ll be joined by members of the Thurston Moore Group, including Sonic Youth’s old drummer, Steve Shelley, and Deb Googe and James Sedwards. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Devin Brahja Waldman opens the show.

Among Moore’s recent recordings is “Rock n Roll Consciousness,” a 2017 album that included tracks such as “Cusp,” a propulsive rocker described as “Sonic Youth mixing in with My Bloody Valentine,” and “Aphrodite,” called a “strange and heavy no-wave rocker in salutation to the idol of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation.”

Earlier this year Moore released “Spirit Counsel,” a collection of three extended compositions recorded between 2018-19 that examine spirituality, collective musical friendships and other issues.

Tickets for the Gateway City Arts show are $20 in advance/$25 at the door and can be purchased at

— Steve Pfarrer

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

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Northampton, MA 01061


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