The 39 Steps Page-to-Stage | October 5
Portland Stage Company is launching its 2010-11 season with THE 39 STEPS
, a Tony- and Drama Desk-winning whodunit that packs 150 characters into four actors. The script was adapted by Patrick Barlow from a John Buchan spy novel and the Alfred Hitchcock movie; this Page-to-Stage discussion is bound to bring up some interesting questions about how each medium — books, film, and theater — presents its own opportunities and challenges.
Noon at the Portland Public Library | 5 Monument Square, Portland | Free | 207.774.0465 | portlandstage.org
Brock Clarke | October 7
Bowdoin professor and Portland resident Brock Clarke’s latest novel, EXLEY (Algonquin Books), tells the story of a nine-year-old boy who becomes convinced that the only way to save his Iraq War-vet dad is to find Frederick Exley, author of the cult favorite A Fan’s Notes (the kid’s father’s favorite book). So we’ve got one part journey story, one part father-son dynamic, one part literary fetishism, and several parts nebulous teetering between reality and imagination. Yes please. (And look for more expansive thoughts from Chris Gray later this season.)
7 pm at Longfellow Books | One Monument Way, Portland | Free | 207.772.4045 | longfellowbooks.com
Bill Cosby | October 16
Bill Cosby is more than crazy sweaters, goofy voices, and Jell-O. The groundbreaking comedian is an author and an educator, whose Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and Little Bill series were both aimed at teaching and entertaining simultaneously. But yeah, we love the sweaters, mostly.
5 & 8 pm at the Merrill Auditorium | 20 Myrtle St, Portland | $27-65 | 207.842.0800 | portlandovations.org
Boston Book Festival | October 16
If you can’t get tickets to Cosby, consider making the trip to Boston for this free, day-long literary extravaganza. The 2010 BBF brings dozens of writers together for readings, signings, and panels — everyone from ASHBROOK, TOM to ZHENG, DA will make an appearance. Celebrity book jacket-designer Chip Kidd and the astonishingly prolific Joyce Carol Oates are among the better known of the participants.
Copley Square, Boston | 617.252.3240 or bostonbookfest.org
Bill Bryson | October 17
“Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped,” Bryson’s Web site tells us. “Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home.” Thus he begot At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Doubleday), a history tome told through everyday objects and with a good dose of Bryson’s signature humor, which he’ll surely dole out generously at this RiverRun Bookstore event.
4 pm at South Church | 292 State St, Portsmouth | Free, or $28.95 to meet the author and get your book personalized | 603.431.2100 | riverrunbookstore.com