The Word On The Street
Entire villages of children have been raised on the 1947 classic “Goodnight Moon.’’ More than 5 million copies have been sold, but the bedtime story doesn’t always hasten sleep - which might be why Adam Mansbach’s parody book, “Go the F**k to Sleep’’ (Akashic), became such an overnight sensation this summer. Now Northampton resident David Milgrim - a parent as well as a children’s book author and illustrator - has produced a kinder, gentler takeoff called “Goodnight iPad: A Parody for the Next Generation’’ (Penguin).
Milgrim, writing under the pseudonym Ann Droyd (get it?), uses the names of digital gadgets as rhyming devices to tell the story of a fed-up old woman who is trying to sleep amid the “bings, bongs, and beeps of e-mails and tweets.’’ Spoiler alert: An old-fashioned book triumphs. Milgrim’s parody will be in bookstores and available as an e-book on Oct. 27.
Writers take to the stage Two newcomers to this fall’s literary calendar will take place on stages usually reserved for actors and musicians. The Boston Center for the Arts is hosting a panel discussion about cheating at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in its Mills Gallery. Poet Ravi Shankar; sports and technology journalist Paul Hochman; and novelist Ann Hood will reflect on cheating in all aspects of life, from religion to sports and love.
Historian David McCullough, whose most recent book is “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris,’’ will kick off the Boston Speakers Series on Oct. 5 at Symphony Hall. The series is a new offering by Cambridge Speakers Series, a for-profit venture that operates in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Other speakers in the Boston series are Michelle Rhee, former D.C. schools chancellor; Valerie Plame Wilson, former covert CIA operative, and her husband Joe Wilson, former diplomat to Iraq and Africa; sustainable agriculture writer Michael Pollan; Azar Nafisi, author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran’’; Frank Abagnale, subject of the film “Catch Me If You Can’’; and television journalist Tom Brokaw.
Lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings through April at Symphony Hall. Tickets are sold by subscription only, beginning at $245 for seven sessions.
Novelists lead book chats Authors from all over will be visiting local bookstores this fall but plenty of authors worth listening to are already here. The Celebrity Bookclub at Newtonville Books in Newton capitalizes on that fact by inviting local novelists to lead a discussion about a favorite book. More often than not, it’s a classic. Matthew Pearl’s selection for October is “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and Michael Lowenthal’s choice for November is Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five.’’ The discussions will be held the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.
■“Monadnock Summer: The Architectural Legacy of Dublin, New Hampshire’’ by William Morgan (Godine)
■“The Novice: A Story of True Love’’ by Thich Nhat Hanh (HarperOne)
■“We Others: New and Selected Stories’’ by Steven Millhauser (Knopf)
Pick of the Week Darwin Ellis of Books on the Common in Ridgefield, Conn., recommends “Unsaid’’ by Neil Abramson (Center Street): “In a story reminiscent of ‘The Lovely Bones,’ a deceased veterinarian chronicles the evolution of her lawyer husband who is left behind with boundless grief, an unmanageable menagerie, and an unwinnable case. This is a book for animal lovers and those who live with them, for lovers of a good courtroom drama and cynics who imagine all lawyers are soulless, and for anyone curious about the potential to communicate with chimpanzees.’’
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.