“Greeting, Reading & Eating” with David Leite on Sunday April 23rd at 5:00pm

Byrd’s Books welcomes back author David Leite in celebration of his memoir, “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression” on Sunday April 23rd at 5:00pm (6:00pm light fare served- prepared by David). For those of us who were fortunate enough to attend David’s author talk on his last book, “The New Portuguese Table” we got a preview of this new, wonderful book. Although this event is free, registration is required- please click HERE to save a spot.

Released by Harper Collins April 11th: 

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite s Culinaria a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. A clever and determined dreamer with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, obsessed over proper hair care, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French, thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of bipolar disorder. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-thirties, David found relief from his wild mood swings in cooking, Julia Child, and a Viking stove he named “Thor.”

Notes on a Banana is his heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, yet tender memoir of growing up, accepting himself, and turning his love of food into an award-winning career. Reminiscing about the people and events that shaped him, David looks back at the highs and lows of his life: from his rejection of being gay and his attempt to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan, to becoming a writer, cookbook author, and web publisher, to his twenty-three-year relationship with Alan, known to millions of David s readers as “The One,” which began with (what else?) food. Woven throughout these stories are the dishes David loves the tastes that led him to happiness, health, and success.

A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison s An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirsof Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the character-rich storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.

About the author:

The winner of multiple James Beard awards, Leite grew up in a blue-collar Portuguese home in Fall River, MA, longing for middle-class stability and struggling with bipolar disorder, which was not diagnosed until his mid-thirties. Meanwhile, he threw himself into cooking.

My review of the book on Goodreads:

In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding love of food. With the anchor of strong family and culture, the author mines the depths of mental illness and the aching journey of diagnosis to find balance and, ultimately, happiness. From the author of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria, David Leite has given us a feast of a journey to devour in this piercing memoir.

Gail Carson Levine, the author of “Ella Enchanted”, has a new book!

Byrd’s Books celebrates the release of Gail Carson Levine’s latest book, “The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre” with the author on Saturday May 13th at 1:00pm.

About the book:

In this compelling and thought-provoking fantasy set in the world of The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine introduces a spirited heroine who must overcome deeply rooted prejudice—including her own—to heal her broken country.

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.

But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.

About the author: 

Gail Carson Levine’s first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine’s other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The WishThe Two Princesses of BamarreA Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

Book Signing with Wendell Minor

Please join us for a very special book signing with Wendell Minor on Saturday June 3rd at 3:00pm.

About the book:

A summer classic by two masters, reissued and redesigned for contemporary audiences.

Wendell Minor’s elegant artwork and Charlotte Zolotow’s simple, evocative prose brings a day at the beach vividly to life as a boy and his mother imagine what it would be like to spend a day at the seashore.

About the illustrator:

Wendell Minor has illustrated numerous award-winning picture books, including Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, Galapagos George by Jean Craighead George, and If You Were a Panda Bear by his wife, Florence Minor. Mr. Minor’s art has been exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum, among other prestigious institutions throughout the country. He lives in rural Connecticut with Florence and their two cats.

A few of the other books illustrated by Wendell Minor:

Forks, Knives and Spoons with Leah DeCaesare on Tuesday June 6th

Join us for an evening with Leah DeCaesare as she discusses her book, “Forks, Knives and Spoons” on Tuesday June 6th at 7:00pm.

About the book:

“There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond. Beginning in 1988, their freshman year at Syracuse University, Amy and Veronica meet an assortment of guys—from slotted spoons and shrimp forks to butter knives and sporks—all while trying to learn if the UCS holds true. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves—and not to settle in love or life.

About the author:

Leah DeCesare is the author of the nonfiction parenting series Naked Parenting, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. Her articles on parenting have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula, and The Key, among others. In 2008, she cofounded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, DeCesare worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches, and volunteers in Rhode Island, where she lives with her family and talking cockatiel.

Join us as we discuss Nan Rossiter’s latest book, Summer Dance” on Tuesday June 20th

Please join us as we discuss Nan Rossiter’s latest book, “Summer Dance” with the author!

About the book:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter brings together characters from her acclaimed novel Nantucket in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

When Liam Tate was six years old, his Uncle Cooper opened his heart and his Nantucket home to him. In the intervening decades, Liam has found both love and loss on the island, and since learning of his son Levi’s existence, a new kind of happiness. Yet one piece of his family history remains elusive—the long-ago romance between his uncle and Sally Ryan. Now Sally has a revelation that sets the whole town abuzz: she’s publishing a book about what happened during the summer when she and Cooper first met, painting a picture so vivid it feels like yesterday…

In 1975, Winston Ellis Cooper III lands on Nantucket with only a duffel bag and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He finds a sparsely furnished beach cottage, about as far from Vietnam as he can get. But even here, Cooper can’t withdraw from the world entirely. Especially once his eyes meet Sally’s in the flickering lights of a summer dance. The effects of that fiery affair can still be felt decades later. And as the story unfolds, there are new lessons for all to learn about life’s triumphs and heartaches, and about loving enough to let go.

Praise for the novels of Nan Rossiter

“Nan Rossiter is at the peak of her storytelling abilities with Under a Summer Sky, which is told with the kind of compassion, grace, and wisdom that is nearly unrivaled in contemporary fiction.” –Examiner.com

“Eloquent and surprising…I love this story of faith, love, and the lasting bonds of family.” –Ann Leary, author of The Good House on The Gin & Chowder Club

“A gripping story of three sisters, of love lost and found and a family’s journey from grief to triumph. A sure winner.” –Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on More Than You Know

About the author: 

Nan Rossiter was born in Mount Vernon, New York. She grew up in Pelham, New York, and in Barkhamsted, Connecticut. From a young age she loved to draw. After high school, she attended Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BFA in illustration.
After working in the freelance field and creating art for internationally recognized companies such as Viking, MasterCard, and UPS, Nan began writing and illustrating books for children. She is the author-illustrator of several children’s books, including, most recently, The Fo’c’sle: Henry Beston’s “Outermost House”.
Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband and two handsome sons. When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking with her family or reading a good book.

Join us for the book launch of “I Love You, Michael Collins” Saturday June 24th at 2:00pm

Please join us for the book launch of Lauren Barat-Logsted’s later book, “I Love You Michael Collins” on Saturday June 24th at 2:00pm.

About the book:

It’s 1969 and the country is gearing up for what looks to be the most exciting moment in U.S. history: men landing on the moon. Ten-year-old Mamie’s class is given an assignment to write letters to the astronauts. All the girls write to Neil Armstrong (“So cute!”) and all the boys write to Buzz Aldrin (“So cool!”). Only Mamie writes to Michael Collins, the astronaut who will come so close but never achieve everyone else’s dream of walking on the moon, because he is the one who must stay with the ship. After school ends, Mamie keeps writing to Michael Collins, taking comfort in telling someone about what’s going on with her family as, one by one, they leave the house thinking that someone else is taking care of her–until she is all alone except for her cat and her best friend, Buster. And as the date of the launch nears, Mamie can’t help but wonder: Does no one stay with the ship anymore? With I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL COLLINS, Lauren Baratz-Logsted has created a heartwarming story about family and being true to yourself.

About the author:

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 25 books for adults, teens and children, including the popular nine-book series The Sisters 8, which she created with her husband and daughter. Before becoming a writer, Lauren was an independent bookseller, Publishers Weekly reviewer, freelance editor, sort-of librarian, and window washer. She lives in Danbury, Connecticut, with her family and their cat, Yoyo. She still remembers watching the astronauts land on the moon.

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