Get a taste of local writing at farmers market

The Grand Valley is a land of abundance in the summer: abundant mosquitoes, abundant heat and the abundant produce that comes from our long, hot days and cool nights. The Downtown Farmers Market is a place where the abundance of produce is readily apparent and provides a nice break from the daily grind.

The wealth of artistic talent in the valley is one type of abundance that isn’t always as immediately apparent as our heat and produce. Thankfully, local booksellers like Cheryl Lucas, owner of Crystal Books and Gifts, champion local authors. During the Thursday night Farmers Market this summer, the Off the Shelf reading series at Crystal Books and Gifts will feature many such authors from 6 to 7 p.m. If you are seeking relief from the more antagonizing abundances of summer, you might duck into the bookstore for an hour of entertainment from our local scribes.

When Crystal Books and Gifts first opened, they didn’t carry local authors. However, customers kept requesting books by Grand Valley writers, so over time, Lucas began adding local titles to her selection of self-help and metaphysical books. The store currently has four sections devoted to local authors. As she says, “They work so hard, and it’s wonderful to be able to promote them.”

Below are a few of the upcoming authors and brief descriptions of their books. If you are still fleshing out your summer reading list, there’s probably something for you on this list. Ranging from poetry to young adult novels or Christmas stories, there is a little bit of something for everyone.

June 29 — Jan Weeks

Weeks will be talking about her books “A Christmas Tale and Other Stories” and “The Centerville Code.” “A Christmas Tale and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories set during the cold days of Christmas. “The Centerville Code” is a coming-of-age novel about a group of boys on the hunt for antiquities thieves.


July 6 — Grace Bubulka and Annette and Ada Stadleman

“Beyond This Reality,” by Grace Bubulka, describes her own near-death experience as well as those she witnessed as a nurse. “5 Points to Peace,” by Annette and Ada Stadleman, outlines the five actions they believe everyone must take to find peace in their lives. They are the founders of The Academy of Personal Development.


July 13 — Rebecca Carpenter and Lucinda Stein

This week will feature young adult novels by Rebecca Carpenter, the author of “Butterfly Bones,” and Lucinda Stein, author of “Jadeite’s Journey” and “Dry Run, Oklahoma.” “Butterfly Bones” tells the story of a teenage girl with a rare bone disorder and the strength she maintains in the face of bullying and the difficulties associated with her condition. “Jadeite’s Journey” is a dystopian novel set on the Western Slope in the year 2616, where the main character discovers another side to her father’s life. 


July 20 — Matt Djos and Helen Sperber

“Like White, Scattering Flowers,” by Matt Djos, is a gripping novel set in 1950s Seattle. It focuses on a couple who flirt with the dark side of the city’s jazz clubs and night life, and the struggles they face to extricate themselves from that life when it becomes clear it may destroy them. “The Blue Wildebeest,” by Helen Sperber, focuses on three close friends who are working through their bucket lists while vacationing on Cape Cod.


July 27 — Karen Fricke and Luis Lopez

Poetry will be the focus of this week, with Karen Fricke reading selections from “Beyond Painted Desert” and L. Luis Lopez reading from “More Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy,” which was the topic of last month’s column. I highly recommend attending this reading; hearing a poet read his or her own work offers an added layer of meaning to the poetry. 


This is only a sampling of the readings that Lucas will be hosting at her store through September. She enjoys providing local authors with a platform to share their work.

Who knew venturing downtown on a Thursday night provides opportunities to support our farmers and our artists? 

LaReina Kalenian is an elementary school teacher and mother of two. Her column appears here the last Sunday of the month. Please contact her if you have news about local writing events, authors or readings. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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