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This week in books

Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids
Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids
Alison Macor

Austinites will find something for everyone this week in books. From the supernatural historical fiction of Dan Simmons to the Indie whimsy of Dave Eggers to the political gossip of Game Change and much more no Austinite bibliophile need go without.

Dan Simmons, Hugo Award winning author of The Terror and The Drood, has made a name for himself in the world of historical fiction for his strange, spine tingling and supernatural re-enactments of historical events. With his latest book, The Black Hills, an ingenious biography of General Custer's afterlife through the possession of a young Sioux warrior, Simmons reminds us that we are all possessed by the ghosts of history. Simmons will be at BookPeople to discuss Custer's fate this Tuesday at 7 pm.

For another taste of the whimsical and fantastical, Dave Eggers, McSweeney's editor, indie darling and jack of all literary trades, will be at BookPeople this Wednesday at 7:30 pm. Eggers wormed his way into our collective heart with his startlingly original semi-fictional semi-autobiography A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Eggers co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are and has come out with a novelization of the picture book and film titled The Wild Things. The event will open with a reading by Austin author Bill Cotter from his McSweeney's published book Fever Chart with a book signing for Wild Things and Zetouin to follow. Attendees must purchase one of these books on-site in order to get anything signed.

Speaking of indie film-making and literature, Alison Macor will be at BookPeople this Sunday at 3 pm for the March Event of the Month in promotion of her new book Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids, a history of Austin cinema from the up-swelling of local films and directors that put Austin on the map in the 90's to today. Chainsaws includes fascinating interviews with such directors as Tarantino, Rodriguez and Linklater, all known for their local patronage and support.

In non-fiction, though some would argue the classification, this week John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of the latest political bestseller and media eye-of-the-storm Game Change, will be making appearances at BookPeople and the LBJ Auditorium. The LBJ event, Thursday at 6 pm, will be a large affair with a moderator, Evan Smith of the "Texas Tribune", and attendees should RSVP and plan their parking in advance. Halperin and Heilemann's visit to BookPeople, Friday at noon, should be a more subdued and intimate conversation.

Native Texan Stephanie Saldana will be at BookPeople this Thursday at 7 pm for a discussion of her new book, The Bread of Angels, a memoir of passion and piety set in a Christian Monastery in the Middle East. Angels includes reflections on the various peoples of the book, a struggle to reclaim the faith, and, best of all, a budding romance with a Christian monk.

For lovers of good vampire fiction (Twilight fans need not apply) gothic, urban, steampunk, vampire novelist Skyler White will be at BookPeople this Friday at 7 pm to promote her new book and Falling Fly, an exploration of feminine desire filtered through the symbol laden worlds of vampire and steampunk fiction.

Those of you who have been hibernating through the winter might consider peeking your head out and joining in one of the outdoor literary events this week.

BookPeople will be hosting a BookSpring party out in the parking lot at 3 pm on Saturday and the monthly UT event Poetry on the Plaza will be featuring "The Poetry of Africa"  this Wednesday at noon in front of the Harry Ransom Center.


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