Authors’ readings and signings at the Smith Center
Six noted local authors and dozens of books will be featured at the Magical World of Books for Gifts on Saturday, Nov. 24 from noon until 3 p.m. at the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. Authors will be reading short selections from their featured books and refreshments will be served. The event is being hosted by the Gallery Shop at the Smith Center and will be held in the History Gallery.
Several titles from the following authors – Gregg Clemmer, Nancy Carter Crump, Joe Salatin, Mary Lyons, Charles Culbertson, and Nancy Sorrells – will be available for personalized signing. Whether you are looking for some personal winter reading or searching for that perfect holiday gift, chances are that one or more of the featured books at the event will appeal to you.
Civil War historian Gregg Clemmer will tout his book, Old Alleghany: The Life and Wars of General Ed Johnson, about one of the war’s most irascible characters. Clemmer, a native Virginian who makes his home in Darnestown, Maryland, has also written a book on the Confederate Medal of Honor recipients.
Food historian and author Nancy Carter Crump will be reading from Dining with the Washingtons, the beautiful full color book that offers an insightful look at the customs and manners of 18th-century America as seen through the life of the Father (and Mother) of our country. Integral to the success of the book was the work of culinary historian Crump. Known to historians and museum interpreters as the expert in colonial foodways, she adapted 90 historic recipes appropriate for the Washingtons’ table for use by modern cooks in modern kitchens.
If you have heard local farmer, author, and whole earth evangelist Joel Salatin speak then you haven’t forgotten it. Salatin is a third-generation family farmer working his land in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Polyface Farm, a beyond organic, grass-fed farm, services more than 4,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs. Although he has written a number of books, he will be reading from his newest, Folks This Ain’t Normal, in which he shares his many thoughts on what normal is and provides practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have a big impact.
Historian and writer Charles Culbertson is a household name in the Staunton area and his local history column has many loyal readers. He is the author of four books: Staunton, Virginia; A Treasury of Historic Tales (2004); Our Century Together (2005); Shenandoah Valley Memories (2005); and Staunton, Virginia; Another Treasury of Historic Tales (2007). Culbertson will have one book and two CDs available at the event.
Charlottesville author Mary Lyons was once a librarian and a reading teacher. Now she writes the books found in classrooms and libraries. Her award-winning books about every day people from the past make history come alive for young adult readers. Although the Gallery Shop at the Smith Center sells several of her books such Feed the Children First and Letters from a Slave Girl, the focus for this event is Roy Makes A Car. The book, dramatically illustrated by Terry Widener, is based on a tall tale collected by legendary African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston.
The final author featured during the event is local historian and writer Nancy Sorrells, president of the Augusta County Historical Society. Sorrells, who writes travel and outdoor articles as well as a local history column, has authored a number of books and is a partner in the publishing firm Lot’s Wife Publishing. She will be reading from Virginia’s Cattle Story: The First Four Centuries. The full color coffee table book looks at the history of Virginia from an agricultural perspective starting in Jamestown and moving all the way into the 21st century.
The public is invited to attend the book event, listen to the authors’ readings, and purchase a book or two. For those unable to attend the event, books can be purchased at the Gallery Shop at the Smith Center in advance and left with instructions for autographing. The store is open seven days a week, Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.