Each Wednesday Critical Mass puts together a rundown of book-centric events that'll keep you "lit" all week long.
Abe Lincoln has been making headlines since the mid 19th century, but his successor, Andrew Johnson, hasn't enjoyed the same limelight. Pulitzer-prize winning author and professor at New York Law School, Annette Gordon-Reed, has now given the 17th president his due. Her newest addition to the presidential series details the difficult tasks facing Johnson
when he took office, including an unruly congress sound familiar? Gordon-Reed has authored The Hemingses of Monticello
, which won her the National Book Award, as well as Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. Catch her talk at the Philadelphia Free Library tonight.
Tues, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., $7â$15, Central Library, 901 Vine Street, 215-686-5322.
Get your fill of crime, intrigue and maybe even some seduction with crime writer and Private Eye CiCi McNair. McNair's newest non-fiction work, Never Flirt With A Femme Fatale, which
comes straight out of her own sleuthing experiences with dangerous ladies. While the tales of crime take place in Manhattan, McNair is a fixture in Philly as head of the investigative firm Green Star Investigations, and author of Detectives Don't Wear Seatbelts
. Hosted by The Friends of the Free Library, the reading will happen at The Next Page Bookstore
. Wed., Feb. 9, 5:30 p.m., free, The Next Page, 722 Chestnut St., 215-925-0722.
Elementary school projects are not generally the stuff of psychological thrillers. And that's all the more reason to check out Kelly Simmons' newest novel, The Bird House.
Through the voice of Ann Biddle, a grandmother whose dementia threatens to erode the dark memories of her family, the novel weaves together an intergenerational family drama. A local, Simmons was noticed for her first novel, Standing Still. If you can make it out to West Chester for Simmons' reading and discussion, it'll be worth the trip.
Thurs., Feb. 10, 7 p.m., free, Chester County Book and Music Co, 975 Paoli Pike, West Chester, 610-696-1661.
Inside the mind of Osama Bin Laden
is not a place most us want to go. That said, somebody has got to do it. From 1996 to 1999, Michael Scheuer was that guy. Former chief of the CIA's Osama bin Laden Unit, Scheuer has written several books, including Imperial Hubris
, which he authored anonymously and criticized many of the United States' anti-insurgency policies. His new biography delivers a portrait of bin Laden based on interviews and previously untranslated sources. He'll be at the Penn Bookstore.
Fri., Feb. 11, 5:00 p.m., free, University of Pennsylvania Bookstore, 3601 Walnut Street, 215-898-7595.
Switch up your bookish tour with some poetics at the Moonstone Arts Center.
Presented by Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series, Joan Hanna,
local poet and managing editor for Poet's Quarterly, will join UPenn's Angel Hogan
, a First Person Arts storytelling champ and West Philly resident. Sat., Feb. 12, 7 p.m., $5, Moonstone Arts Center, 110 S. 13th St., 215-735-9598.
To stay abreast of other author appearances in Philadelphia, check the Readings/Signings page of our events database.