January is named for the Roman god Janus, who presides over the doorways of time. With two faces, he looks both forward and back. It is a month of beginnings and endings, both a time to imagine a new year and reflect on what we’ve left behind. I can’t see anyone hoping for a worse year, so as we all conceive our resolutions to make 2023 better, or at least as good as the last, let’s talk about how books always make things better.
On January 1st, I logged on to my public library account and put five books on hold because just the anticipation of reading a new book makes me feel good, even if I am hold #1000 with only 30 copies across the entire library system. I was also gifted four new books and I can’t tell you how exciting it is to know that underneath the paper existed more characters to meet and more worlds to explore. I also wrapped two books for my husband knowing I will get to read them, too. If only Janus was able to expand time, I’d be able to read ALL the books. For now, the anticipation is good enough to make January a month where I will be looking forward.
January at Junction Reads and The First Thirty will certainly help.
On Sunday January 15 at 5:00pm, we welcome Paul Sunga, with his latest novel, Because of Nothing At All from Goose Lane Editions.
Because of Nothing At All is an engrossing tense, evocative novel about capitalism and power. It is a necessary read in our current world.
“Near the Kenya-Sudan border, a team of international health program evaluators are abducted and force marched under a desert moon. Their pasts and presents — and those of their abductors — unravel before them. An orphan named Money is one of 66 too hungry to sleep. A rich public health doctor is gradually losing his points of attachment. A driver tastes the river of wealth through the vehicles he’s provided. Some escape; others are recaptured; a few are held at ransom. All are lured into schemes that often lead to unexpected results.”
Register on EventBrite and join us on Zoom for a reading and conversation.
On Thursday January 19 at 7:00pm EST, grab your phone and join me for a quick and fun chat on Instagram Live with Nicholas Herring. The First Thirty is our new series where I sit with authors and reflect on their latest work through a writerly lens. How does one craft those first thirty pages or the first thirty words and compel a reader to keep going?
Some Hellish is Herring’s debut novel and it’s getting some attention.
About the novel: “Herring is a hapless lobster fisher lost in an unexceptional life, bored of thinking the same old thoughts. One December day, following a hunch, he cuts a hole in the living room floor and installs a hoist, altering the course of everything in his life. His wife Euna leaves with their children. He buries the family dog in a frozen grave on Christmas Eve. He and his friend Gerry crash his truck into a field, only to be rescued by a passing group of Tibetan monks.
During the spring lobster season, Herring and Gerry find themselves caught in a storm front. Herring falls overboard miles from the harbour, is lost at sea for days, and assumed to be drowned. And then, he is found, miraculously, alive. Having come so near to death, he is forced to confront the things he fears the most: love, friendship, belief, and himself.
Some Hellish is a story about anguish and salvation, the quiet grace and patience of transformation, the powers of addiction and fear, the plausibility of forgiveness, and the immense capacity of friendship and of love.”
Follow @junctionreads on Instagram for more details and join us there. Also, follow us @thefirstthirty so we can get more followers and host our new series there.
On January 29, Dan K Woo joins us at Junction Reads for a conversation about, and reading from, his collection of short stories, Taobao from Wolsak and Wynn.
“In twelve spare, fable-like short stories Dan K. Woo introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters from different regions of China. From rural villages to bustling cities, Woo deftly charts the paths of young people searching for love, meaning and happiness in a country that is often misunderstood in North America. Whether they are participating in a marriage market to appease their mother, working as a delivery boy in Beijing or dealing with trauma in a hospital in Shanghai, we see these young people push against both tradition and the lightning-fast economy to try and make their way in often difficult situations. Woo brings remarkable empathy to these dreamlike stories and their twists and turns, which will linger long in readers’ minds. Through it all, the spectre of Taobao – China’s online retail giant – hovers, providing everything the characters might need or want, while also acting as a thread that ties together a captivating and complex collection of stories set in a captivating and complex country.”
Register on EventBrite. This is a PWYC event, with all proceeds going to the author.
Some of you may be wondering, when the heck is Junction Reads returning to in-person events? It’s been busy for all of us, with new jobs, new promotions and new stories needing our attention. We have been in talks with an event space (a fabulous bookstore), and have every hope of getting back in the Spring. We believe Covid is still a risk to many in our community and that accessibility means our events need to be safe and welcoming to all. When we get back, we will require masks at all our events.