Authors tote their wares to area bookstores

Road shows
By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  December 30, 2011

Winter 2012 books
MAGICAL REALISM Believer editor Heidi Julavits reads from her latest novel at Brookline Booksmith on March 29.

A new story collection from Dan Chaon and new novels from Heidi Julavits and Adam Johnson are just some of the delights in store for Boston lit nerds. Other nerds, take heart: tech fans can find solace in George Dyson's new book about the invention of the computer, and activists can relive the recent glory days through Chris Faraone's new book about Occupy Boston.

Books Preview: Non-Enemy
ALEX GILVARRY | January 19
Alex Gilvarry's capsule biography indicates that he lives in both Brooklyn and Cambridge, but offers no reason why. The only certainty about this jet-setting man of mystery is the comeliness of his pencil mustache and the solid buzz surrounding his debut novel, From theMemoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant (Viking), about a Filipino fashion designer interred in Guantanamo Bay. "Finally, a young American novelist who has the guts to confront the absurdity of the last decade," writes Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone.

Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 7 pm | Free

Tales From the House Band (Plus One Press) is a new anthology of short stories about music. Its Boston-area contributors, Clea Simon and Bret Milano, both happen to write regularly for the Phoenix.

Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White St, Cambridge | 7 pm | Free

ADAM JOHNSON | February 2
Some have called Adam Johnson's new novel The Orphan Master's Son (Random House) a literary discovery. Don't believe them; they clearly haven't been paying attention. Parasites Like Us, Johnson's 2003 comic post-apocalyptic novel of pestilence and academia, was published along with a spray of similarly-themed books that called to mind Pynchon, Heller, Vonnegut, and, of course, David Foster Wallace. Even among the innumerable consumerist critiques dressed up as absurdist/humane novels that came out at that time, Johnson's stood out for its intelligence and extraordinary writing. No surprise there: his debut story collection, Emporium, was stupefyingly great. After nearly a decade of silence, Johnson returns with a novel borne from his interest in propaganda and travels in North Korea.

Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White St, Cambridge | 7 pm | Free

DAN CHAON | February 8
Each of Dan Chaon's books is a gift. Since he debuted 15 years ago, the Oberlin professor and Gordon Lish acolyte has displayed his unique talent for writing fiction that is at once psychologically realistic and completely unnerving — see the first scene in his 2009 novel Await Your Reply, in which a father takes his son for an ad-hoc amputation, or the parrot abuse in "I Demand to Know Where You're Taking Me," a knockout story from his 2002 collection Among the Missing. Chaon will visit the Booksmith to read from Stay Awake (Ballantine), his highly anticipated forthcoming collection.

Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Brookline | 7 pm | Free

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