The Invention of Exile

InventionExileBy Vanessa Manko

Austin Voronkov is many things. He is an engineer, an inventor, an immigrant from Russia to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1913, where he gets a job at a rifle factory. At the house where he rents a room, he falls in love with a woman named Julia, who becomes his wife and the mother of his three children. When Austin is wrongly accused of attending anarchist gatherings his limited grasp of English condemns him to his fate as a deportee, retreating with his new bride to his home in Russia, where he and his young family become embroiled in the Civil War and must flee once again, to Mexico.

While Julia and the children are eventually able to return to the U.S., Austin becomes indefinitely stranded in Mexico City because of the black mark on his record. He keeps a daily correspondence with Julia, as they each exchange their hopes and fears for the future, and as they struggle to remain a family across a distance of two countries. Austin becomes convinced that his engineering designs will be awarded patents, thereby paving the way for the government to approve his return and award his long sought-after American citizenship. At the same time he becomes convinced that an FBI agent is monitoring his every move, with the intent of blocking any possible return to the United States.

Austin and Julia’s struggles build to crisis and heartrending resolution in this dazzling, sweeping debut. The novel is based in part on Vanessa Manko’s family history and the life of a grandfather she never knew. Manko used this history as a jumping off point for the novel, which focuses on borders between the past and present, sanity and madness, while the very real U.S.-Mexico border looms. The novel also explores how loss reshapes and transforms lives. It is a deeply moving testament to the enduring power of family and the meaning of home.

Jerry Brooker returns to Byrd’s Books Friday December 19th at 7:00p.m.

Waiting For The Red CowByrd’s Books welcomes back Gerard (Jerry) Brooker for a book discussion and signing of his latest book, “Waiting For the Red Cow”.

About the book:

“Waiting for the Red Cow” is the last in the trilogy about Tyszka and Sarah. We watched them survive Auschwitz and fall in love in “The Illustrator”, move to Palestine to help found Israel in “Oh, Israel, My Heart Yearns for Thee”. And now, in “Waiting for the Red Cow”, we follow them on the most perilous of all their journeys, from the statehood of Israel through the many Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

It is only when the myth of the Red Cow’s arrival in Jerusalem comes true that the wars, tensions, and struggles of untold years end. It is a story of the intriguing power of the imagination that empowers the coming of a red cow.

About the author in Jerry’s words: Gerard Brooker, author photo

“I spent core part of my teaching experience as chairman of the English Department at Staples H.S. in Westport, CT. for 25 years. I published over 350 articles and poems, mostly about social issues. Books of poems: “A Quiet Conversation” (Wing and a Prayer Press, 2002); “Even Whispers Can Be Heard” (Goose River Press, 2004). Novels: “A Gathering of Doves” (Tate Publishing, 2006), “The Illustrator” (Tate Publishing, 2008), “The Jesus Ultimatum” (2009), “Dew Drops in Tree Tops: a Book of Haiku,” (2009), and another novel, “Oh Israel, My Heart Yearns for Thee” (2010), “There’s a Fortune Cookie in My Turtle Soup” (2012) and “short Stories and Essays: The Musings of a Man Held Captive by His Imagination” (2013).

To read more about Jerry’s amazing life click here. Jerry lives with his wife in Bethel.

 

 

Michael Nethercott returns with the latest in his O’Nelligan and Plunket series!

Originally from Bethel, Michael Nethercott returned to Byrd’s Books to tell the tale in the latest installment in his O’Nelligan and Plunket series, “The Haunting Ballad: A Mystery” on Saturday October 25th at 4:00 p.m. Perfect timing for a haunting tale we say! A Great time and a wonderful read- don’t mis it.Haunting Ballad

About the book:

seance society“The Seance Society “introduced mystery lovers to Mr. O’Nelligan and Lee Plunkett, an unlikely pair of sleuths on an equally unlikely case with a supernatural twist. Having taken over his father’s PI business, Lee enlists O’Nelligan, a dapper Irishman with a flair for solving mysteries, to help catch a killer. Now, in Michael Nethercott’s “The Haunting Ballad,” this sleuthing “odd couple” are back in another witty, charming, and wonderfully written mystery, this time set in 1957 in the burgeoning music scene of New York City’s Greenwich Village. It’s the spring of 1957, and O’Nelligan and Plunkett are summoned to New York to investigate the death of a controversial folk song collector. The trail leads the pair to a diverse group of suspects including an eccentric Beat coffee house owner, a family of Irish balladeers (who may be IRA), a bluesy ex-con, a hundred-and-five-year-old Civil War drummer boy, and a self-proclaimed “ghost chanter” who sings songs that she receives from the dead. To complicate matters, there’s a handsome, smooth-talking young folk singer who Lee’s fiancee Audrey is enthralled by. And somewhere in the Bohemian swirl of the Village, a killer waits…

Writing Workshops With Judith Marks-White

Judith Marks-White has been conducting a great series of writing workshops at the store, so here we have scheduled another round! They fill up quickly so register here early!

The classes will function as workshops where you will be introduced to style, technique, tricks of the trade, and critiques of your work as you create a publishable piece of writing targeted to the current markets.

Once again, join Judith Marks-White at Byrd’s Books and learn how to release your “inner writer” by creating marketable essays by the person who knows you best: yourself.

The dates and times: You may register for one, or all of them (see registration button below). The fee for each workshop is $20.00, which is passed directly to the instructor.

Sunday January 11th, 3:00p.m.
Tuesday January 20th, 7:00p.m.

About the author:

Award-winning Westport News columnist and novelist, Ms. Marks-White has been involved in the design and instruction of creative writing programs in Connecticut, and has taught writing for many years. She was an adjunct Professor of English/Writing at Norwalk Community College for many years where she won Teacher of the Year Award for 2005 “for imparting wisdom with contagious enthusiasm” and where she continues to teach a course in the Art and Marketing of Humor Writing. 

Ms. Marks-White turned her attention to novel writing.  “Seducing Harry” was her debut novel.  Her second novel, is “Bachelor Degree”. Both are published by Random House/Ballantine.  She is presently working on her third novel. Ms. Marks-White lives in Connecticut.

To register for the workshops click here. You can come to one- or all of them!!

 

Garbanzofest IV is released!

Saturday September 20th marked Garbanzofest IV, lead the way by Marc Moorash and Ava Dawn Heydt.

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We applaud Connecticut’s Seraphemera Books and their Garbanzo Literary Journal. Garbanzofest 4 – A Celebration of Words is the fourth installment in books of poetry and prose gathered from writers across the country. Byrd’s Books hosts the book release party each time a new edition comes out.
We are proud to carry each of their other publications and artistic journals.
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We Are Water

WeAreWaterBy Wally Lamb

With humor and compassion, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb brilliantly captures human experience through vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss.

Annie Oh – wife, mother, and artist – has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. The two plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But this provokes mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s box of toxic secrets – dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

Told in the alternating voices of the Ohs – nonconformist Annie; her psychologist ex-husband, Orion; their do-gooder daughter, Ariane, and her rebellious twin, Andrew; and the free-spirited youngest, Marissa – We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb: a compulsively readable and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways we search for love and meaning in our lives.

Share the Moon

ShareMoonBy Bethel author Sharon Struth

Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn.

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.

“Heart-tugging small town romance with real emotion. Struth is an author to watch!” –Laura Drake, author of The Sweet Spot

Melanie Barnum returns with her latest book, “Psychic Abilities for Beginners: Awaken Your Intuitive Senses” on January 22nd at 6:30p.m.

Psychic AbilitiesWe are thrilled to have Melanie Barnum return with her latest book, “Psychic Abilities for Beginners: Awaken Your Intuitive Senses” on Thursday January 22nd at 6:30.

About the book:

There’s more to this lifetime than the naked eye can see, and “Psychic Abilities for Beginners” is the perfect guide to this unseen knowledge. When you develop your psychic skills, you will increase your confidence, stimulate your potential, and expose the magnificence that is already inside you. With true stories of actual psychic events and tips and techniques for starting your intuitive journey, author Melanie Barnum will help you: Discover your psychic senses with hands-on exercises Identify your unique psychic strengths Use your intuitive abilities to manifest abundance Enhance your relationships, career, and financial situation Overcome challenges and create a life you’ll love.

About the author:

MelanieBarnumMelanie Barnum (Bethel, CT) is a psychic medium, intuitive counselor, life coach, and hypnotist who has been practicing professionally for more than fifteen years. She was a VIP Reader at Psych Out, a gathering of the nation’s foremost psychics, organized by Court TV. Barnum is also an Angelspeake Facilitator, a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), and the International Association of Counselors and Therapists (IACT).

Amy Kundrat’s “Fairfield County Chef’s Table” & LaZingara Ristorante

Byrd’s Books enjoyed a very special evening with Amy Kundrat at LaZingara for a discussion of her new book, “Fairfield County Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from Connecticut’s Gold Coast”. The evening included farm-inspired fare from LaZingara, a signed copy of Amy’s book and a recipe to go!

About the book:

Fairfield County stakes a claim to some of Connecticut’s most diverse terrain, an enviable proximity to New York City, and a discerning community of food lovers driving the demand for a vibrant dining scene. The Gold Coast boasts some of the country’s toniest neighborhoods, such as Greenwich and Southport, as well as the state’s largest cities, including the historic port city of Norwalk, the corporate-minded Stamford, and the diverse Bridgeport. Fine dining, dense downtown dining districts, and neighborhood bodegas are equally at home along this dense and diverse corridor. Along Fairfield County’s suburban center are such towns as Ridgefield, New Canaan, and Westport, whose historic Main Streets and cultural landmarks draw a family-oriented population. As a result, reclaimed taverns, farmers’ markets, and upscale dining districts scattered with family-friendly options abound. At the landlocked northern fringes, quiet enclaves such as Easton, Wilton, and Newtown have large swaths of protected and undeveloped land, as well as bountiful farmland and a handful of farm-to-table restaurants.With recipes for the home cook from over fifty of the area’s most celebrated restaurants and showcasing over 200 full-color photos featuring mouth-watering dishes, famous chefs, and lots of local flavor, “Fairfield County Chef’s Table” is the ultimate gift and keepsake cookbook for both tourists and locals. LaZingara Ristorante has a recipe in Amy’s book!!

About the author:  

Amy Kundrat is the executive editor of CTbites, the award-winning website devoted to chronicling great food in Connecticut, especially her home in Fairfield County. A communications specialist with a concentration in new media, Amy’s career leading external communications teams has taken her from world-class art museums, to technology start-ups, and academic institutions. She currently works in New Haven at Yale University, where she indulges in the city’s vibrant food-truck scene. Amy is from Bethel.

About LaZingara: 

Imagine being in a tiny Italian village in Tuscany and walking into a beautiful restaurant on the town square. To your delight, you discover that the restaurant grows it’s own food and is THE place locals go to have dinner, celebrate events, enjoy their business lunches and share a glass of wine after work.

 That is the feeling when you first arrive at La Zingara in Bethel, CT., an intimate farm to table, and very local Italian restaurant.

Grown in nearby gardens and on local farms, La Zingara’s food is meticulously, deliciously prepared by one of Connecticut’s most celebrated kitchens and served by a knowledgeable, friendly staff who know what the specials are and which of our many great wines will enhance your enjoyment of each of them.

Praised by the food media, applauded on social media and truly beloved by its many dedicated customers, La Zingara is one of Connecticut’s great restaurants. It’s also home to a sibling, ECCO Rooftop Eatery and Bar, a more casual bistro up the stairs in back. A casual, glassy bistro, the whole place basks in the sunlight and glows in the moonlight.

We look forward to having another event like this one in the future. Byrd’s books keeps signed copies of Amy’s book at the store.

 

Join us for Sharon Struth’s book launch party for “Share the Moon” on August 23rd at 4:00p.m.

Bethel author Sharon Struth has a new book, “Share the Moon” which is out in print in August. Since this is the first in the series don’t miss it!!ShareTheMoon600x900

About the book:
Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out ot sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.

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