Literati is excited to welcome Anthony Debenedet who will be sharing his new book Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World.
About Playful Intelligence:
As adults, we have more responsibilities than we could have ever imagined growing up. Learning the work of marriage. Navigating the bumpy terrain of parenting. Maintaining social relationships. Facing grave hardship. Finding contentment in our career. As the years pass by, we sense how the good things in life are so often eclipsed by stress. We find ourselves doing everything we can just to endure adulthood, all the while wondering whether we are actually enjoying it. This is exactly why Dr. Anthony T. DeBenedet decided to write Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World, to show readers how playfulness helps us counterbalance the seriousness of adulthood
“Five years ago, my life was becoming more intense and stressful,” DeBenedet says. “My relationships, clinical work as a physician, and basic interactions with the world were blurring into a frazzled mosaic. Going through the motions became my norm, and every day brought busyness and exhaustion. I thought about whether I was depressed. I didn’t think I was. Anxious? Sure, but aren’t we all anxious on some level? I also thought about the lifestyle factors that could be making me feel this way. Was I getting enough sleep? Was I exercising regularly? Was I eating healthy? Was I playing and remembering to be playful?”
Today, we live in a taxing world. The endless pressure to keep up with our responsibilities and the daily headlines swarming around us can be overwhelming. DeBenedet’s work comes at a time when stress, uncertainty, and intensity levels are high. Playful Intelligence shows adults that there is a way to live lighter–and smarter–as we navigate the seriousness of adulthood. It’s not about taking life less seriously; it’s about taking ourselves less seriously.
The book’s core chapters are devoted to exploring the effects and benefits of five playful qualities: imagination, sociability, humor, spontaneity, and wonder. By examining playfulness as a sum of its parts, readers will gain a working awareness of its power and be able to apply playful principles to their own lives, bringing the magic of childhood back into their day-to-day existence. The book also offers practical suggestions on how to make life more playful in nature.
Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D. is a practicing physician and behavioral-science enthusiast. His interviews and writings have run in various media outlets, including the New York Times, the Today show, the Washington Post, and TIME Ideas. He also co-authored The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It (Quirk Books, 2011), a parenting book about the importance of parent-child physical play. DeBenedet has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, a Master of Science Degree in Health and Healthcare Research from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, and a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan Health System. DeBenedet lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he enjoys spending time with his family, connecting with friends, and playing a little basketball.
We are thrilled to welcome to Literati author Abbey Mei Otis who will be reading and sharing her new collection Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories.
Praise for Alien Virus Love Disaster:
“Abbey Mei Otis’s stories are incandescently dark, if you can imagine such a thing (but maybe only she can). Full of danger and strangeness, but written in carbonated and astounding prose that is all her own, these stories create worlds and will make you contemplate (and worry about) our own.” — Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories
“These are amazing, electric stories—you can feel the live wire sizzling in them from the first sentence, and you know you’re about to take a wild, unforgettable trip. Abbey Mei Otis is my favorite kind of writer: her worlds are uniquely strange yet eerily relatable, and she knows how to make you laugh and weep at the same time.” — Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
“After I read this book, I woke up with bumpy, reddish growths along my spine. They burst, releasing marvels: aliens, robots, prefab houses, vinyl, chainlink, styrofoam, star stuff, tales from the edge of eviction, so many new worlds. Alien Virus Love Disaster is a super-intelligent infection. Let Abbey Mei Otis give you some lumps.”
— Sofia Samatar, author of Tender
Abbey Mei Otis is a writer and teaching artist who lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. Her work is forthcoming in Tin House and has been published previously in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Barrelhouse, Gargoyle, and Story Quarterly, among other places.
Literati is thrilled to welcome author Alice Bolin who will be sharing with us her new essay collection Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession.
About Dead Girls:
In this poignant collection, Alice Bolin examines iconic American works from the essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men’s stories. Smart and accessible, thoughtful and heartfelt, Bolin investigates the implications of our cultural fixations, and her own role as a consumer and creator.
Bolin chronicles her life in Los Angeles, dissects the Noir, revisits her own coming of age, and analyzes stories of witches and werewolves, both appreciating and challenging the narratives we construct and absorb every day. Dead Girls begins by exploring the trope of dead women in fiction, and ends by interrogating the more complex dilemma of living women – both the persistent injustices they suffer and the oppression that white women help perpetrate.
Reminiscent of the piercing insight of Rebecca Solnit and the critical skill of Hilton Als, Bolin constructs a sharp, perceptive, and revelatory dialogue on the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture.
Alice Bolin’s nonfiction has appeared in many publications including ELLE, the Awl, the LA Review of Books, Salon, VICE’s Broadly, The Paris Review Daily, and The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Memphis.
Literati is excited to host author Laura Bernstein-Machlay who will be reading and discussing her debut essay collection Travelers.
Travelers, Laura Bernstein-Machlay’s debut collection of essays, maps the author’s journey as she makes sense of her recovering city, the generations that preceded her, and her own definition of wife, mother, and home. These intimate, humorous and heartfelt essays offer an honest, and discerning look at the moments which both challenge and redeem us; the shaping of our lineage; and the profound necessity of hope.
Deftly observed and thoughtfully crafted, Bernstein-Machlay’s lyrical prose brings to life Detroit’s survivor spirit and the indefatigable nature of family. This collection discovers the inherent grace and defining necessity of place, heritage and the search for our own footing within the vast world we inhabit. Travelers examines the intersection of the connections we form and those we inherit and how, with distance and trust, and a little luck, we might find more than just our way home.
Laura Bernstein-Machlay was born in Detroit, MI. After stints in Ann Arbor, Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle, not to mention several months-long odysseys abroad, she returned to her hometown where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. An award-winning author of poetry and creative nonfiction, Laura’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous national and international magazines and literary journals.
Literati is pleased to welcome author Julie Schumacher who will be reading from and discussing her new book The Shakespeare Requirement.
About The Shakespeare Requirement:
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach…
Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she’s not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb.
Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire.
Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University, where she earned her MFA. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her 2014 novel, Dear Committee Members, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor; she is the first woman to have been so honored. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.
Literati is pleased to welcome author Brenda Novak who will be sharing her lastest novel in the Dr. Evelyn Talbot series, Face Off.
About Face Off:
From New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak comes Face Off, the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths.
SHE VOWED NEVER TO BE A VICTIM AGAIN. BUT NOW A KILLER HAS HER IN HIS SIGHT. . .
Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work–studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her–until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…
As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate–and finds not one but two bodies–Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing–Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…
Brenda Novak and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children-three girls and two boys. When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research. Brenda’s novels have made The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Book Seller’s Best and the National Reader’s Choice Award.
Join us for a special Stortyime Event with Emily Siwek and the Violin Monster!
About A Monster on Main Street:
Strange sightings are all around in this simply sweet story inspired by Ann Arbor’s beloved Violin Monster. Rendered with loose, playful illustrations, this string playing werewolf encourages readers to give scary things a second look.
Emily Siwek is an Ann Arbor, MI native who loves finding adventure in her hometown with her husband and two children. She has worked in a variety of creative industries from interior design to trend forecasting and enjoys coloring outside the lines.
We are excited to welcome sociologist and former professional football player Rober W. Turner II to Literati to discuss his new book Not For Long: The Life and Career of the NFL Athlete.
About Not For Long:
The NFL is the most popular professional sports league in the United States. Its athletes receive multimillion-dollar contracts and almost endless media attention. The league’s most important game, the Super Bowl, is practically a national holiday. Making it to the NFL, however, is not about the promised land of fame and fortune. Robert W. Turner II draws on his personal experience as a former professional football player as well as interviews with more than 140 current and former NFL players to reveal what it means to be an athlete in the NFL and explain why so many players struggle with life after football.
Without guaranteed contracts, the majority of players are forced out of the league after a few seasons. Over three-quarters of retirees experience bankruptcy or financial ruin, two-thirds live with chronic pain, and too many find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Robert W. Turner II argues that the fall from grace of so many players is no accident. The NFL, he contends, powerfully determines their experiences in and out of the league. The labor agreement provides little job security and few health and retirement benefits, and the owners refuse to share power with the players, making change difficult. And the process of becoming an elite football player–from high school to college and through the pros–leaves athletes with few marketable skills and little preparation for their first Sunday off the field.
With compassion and objectivity, Not for Long reveals the life and mind of high school, college, and NFL athletes, shedding light on what might best help players transition successfully out of the sport.
Robert W. Turner II earned his Ph.D. in sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership at George Washington University. Dr. Turner played football professionally in the now defunct United States Football League, the Canadian Football League, and briefly in the National Football League.
Literati is thrilled to welcome author Sarah Zettel who will be reading from her new novel The Other Sister.
About The Other Sister:
Two sisters. One murder plan.
An intense psychological thriller full of family secrets, perfect for fans of The Woman in the Window and Watch Me Disappear.
Everyone thought reckless, troubled Geraldine Monroe was the bad sister-especially when she fled town after her mother’s death twenty-five years ago.
But people don’t know the truth.
Marie Monroe knows. She was there for their father’s cruel punishments, the constant manipulation, the lies. Everyone thinks she’s the perfect daughter-patient and kind, and above all obedient. No one would suspect her of anything. Especially not murder. Now Geraldine’s home again, and she and Marie have united in a plan for the ultimate revenge. But when old secrets and new fears clash, everyone is pushed to the breaking point . . . and the sisters will learn that they can’t trust anyone-not even each other.
“An exhilarating ride full of twists and turns, this page-turner will leave you guessing until the very end!” -Steena Holmes, New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Ones
“Sarah Zettel’s THE OTHER SISTER is as dark and twisted as they come; a compelling and sinister psychological thriller in which every character is deeply flawed, their desire for revenge understandable and relatable. With its intricate web of secrets long buried, readers won’t be able to stop turning the pages!” -Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter
Sarah Zettel is an award-winning author. She has written eighteen novels and multiple short stories over the past seventeen years in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist and raising a rapidly growing son.
Literati is excited to welcome poet Ruth Behar who will be reading and sharing from her newest collection Everything I Kept: Todo Lo Que Guardé
About Everything I Kept: Todo Lo Que Guardé
Moving between the speech and silence of a woman struggling to speak freely, Ruth Behar embarks on a poetic voyage into her own vulnerability and the sacrifices of her exiled ancestors as she tries to understand love, loss, regret, and the things we keep and carry with us. Behar’s vivid renderings of wilted gardens, crashing waves, and firefly-lit nights recall the imagery of her inspiration, Dulce María Loynaz, who is often known as the Cuban Emily Dickinson. Presented in a beautiful bilingual English-Spanish edition–Behar serves as her own translator–Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé will haunt readers with the cries and whispers which illuminate the human spirit and the spectrum of emotions that make for a life and lives well-remembered.
Ruth Behar is the Victor Haim Perera collegiate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan.