Wednesday, August 24 | 7:00 PM | Central Library
Karin Slaughter is the author of more than twenty instant New York Times bestselling novels, including the Edgar–nominated Cop Town and standalone novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her. She is published in 120 countries with more than 40 million copies sold across the globe. Her newest book, Girl, Forgotten, will be released on Tuesday, August 23.
Local Author Panel
Tuesday, June 7 | 7:00 PM | Central Library
Joining us will be a panel of popular, distinguished local figures who are also published authors: Dr. Richard Deming, Neil Hamilton, and Jim Autry. We’ll be discussing their works and how their unique experiences in Des Moines and Iowa led them to where they are now.
Thursday, March 17 | 7:00 PM | Central Library
Brad Meltzer is a television personality and best-selling author of a dozen thrillers and several nonfiction books. His latest thriller, The Lightning Rod, will be released in March and is the follow-up novel to his 2018 #1 New York Times bestseller, The Escape Artist.
Saturday, March 26 | 5:00 PM | DSM Book Festival
Angeline Boulley is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Firekeeper's Daughter is her debut novel and was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the best 100 young adult books of all-time.
Thursday, April 21 | 7:00 PM | Central Library
Amanda Montell is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction book Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism. The book was an indie bestseller and named one of the best books of 2021 by NPR and other outlets. She’s also the co-host of the popular podcast Sounds Like a Cult.
Thursday, May 5 | 7 PM | Franklin Jr. High, 4801 Franklin Ave.
Lauren Groff is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award. Her newest book, Matrix, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for Excellence. It was also named of the 10 best books of the year by the Washington Post and was one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2021.
Wednesday, May 25 | 7:00 PM | Central Library
Jason Mott is the author of Hell of a Book, a bestseller and the winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction. It’s a story that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole.
Books from AViD Authors
The Lincoln Conspiracy
Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch, the bestselling authors of The First Conspiracy, which covers the secret plot against George Washington, now turn their attention to a little-known, but true story about a failed assassination attempt on the sixteenth president in The Lincoln Conspiracy.
Everyone knows the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, but few are aware of the original conspiracy to kill him four years earlier in 1861, literally on his way to Washington, D.C., for his first inauguration.
The conspirators were part of a white supremacist secret society that didn’t want an abolitionist in the White House. They planned an elaborate scheme to assassinate the President-elect in Baltimore as Lincoln’s inauguration train passed through, en route to the nation's capital. The plot was investigated by famed detective Allan Pinkerton, who infiltrated the group with undercover agents, including Kate Warne, one of the first female private detectives in America.
Had the assassination succeeded, there would have been no Lincoln Presidency and the course of the Civil War and American history would have forever been altered.
A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us, written with humor and playfulness that challenges words and phrases and how we use them.
“I get so jazzed about the future of feminism knowing that Amanda Montell’s brilliance is rising up and about to explode worldwide.”—Jill Soloway
The word bitch conjures many images for many people, but it is most often meant to describe an unpleasant woman. Even before its usage to mean a female canine, bitch didn’t refer to gender at all—it originated as a gender-neutral word meaning genitalia. A perfectly innocuous word devolving into a female insult is the case for tons more terms, including hussy—which simply meant housewife—or slut, which meant an untidy person and was also used to describe men. These words are just a few among history’s many English slurs hurled at women.
Amanda Montell, reporter and feminist linguist, deconstructs language—from insults and cursing, gossip, and catcalling to grammar and pronunciation patterns—to reveal the ways it has been used for centuries to keep women and other marginalized genders from power. Ever wonder why so many people are annoyed when women talk with vocal fry or use the word like as a filler? Or why certain gender-neutral terms stick and others don’t? Or where stereotypes of how women and men speak come from in the first place?
Montell effortlessly moves between history, science, and popular culture to explore these questions and more—and how we can use the answers to effect real social change. Montell’s irresistible humor shines through, making linguistics not only approachable but both downright hilarious and profound, demonstrated in chapters such as:
- Slutty Skanks and Nasty Dykes: A Comprehensive List of Gendered Insults
- How to Embarrass the Shit Out of People Who Try to Correct Your Grammar
- Fuck it: An Ode to Cursing While Female
- Cyclops, Panty Puppet, Bald Headed Bastard and 100+ Other Things to Call Your Genitalia
Montell effortlessly moves between history and popular culture to explore these questions and more. Wordslut gets to the heart of our language, marvels at its elasticity, and sheds much-needed light into the biases that shadow women in our culture and our consciousness.
From the New York Times Bestselling author of A Hell of a Book, A READ WITH JENNA TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK!
When a deadly pandemic spreads across the globe, two siblings face the ultimate choice: Stay and die, or run and survive. From the New York Times bestselling author of Hell of a Book.
Twins Virginia and Tommy Matthews have been on their own since they were orphaned at the age of five. Twelve years later, the world begins to collapse around them as a deadly contagion steadily wipes out entire populations and a devastating world war rages on. When Tommy is drafted for the war, the twins are faced with a choice: accept their fate of almost certain death or dodge the draft. Virginia and Tommy flee into the dark night.
Armed with only a pistol and their fierce will to survive, the twins set forth in search of a new beginning. Tommy and Virginia must navigate the dangers and wonders of this changed world. But how far will they get before the demons of their past catch up with them?
The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.
What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and more importantly, stay in—extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has . . .
Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of “brainwashing.” But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear—and are influenced by—every single day.
Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish,” revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere.
The Lightning Rod
"Trust me, this is a terrific, compelling, unputdownable thriller. -- Lee Child
Zig and Nola are back--in the hugely entertaining, highly anticipated follow-up to Brad Meltzer's #1 New York Times bestselling thriller The Escape Artist.
Archie Mint has led a charmed life--he's got a beautiful wife, two impressive kids, and a successful military career. When he's killed while trying to stop a robbery in his own home, his family is shattered--and then shocked when the other shoe drops. Mint's charmed life, so perfect on the surface, held criminal secrets none of them could have imagined.
While working on Mint's body before his funeral, mortician "Zig" Zigarowski discovers something he was never meant to see. That telling detail leads him to Dover Air Force Base, where he uncovers Mint's involvement in a top-secret military unit and his connection to military artist and Sergeant First Class Nola Brown. Two years ago, Nola saved Zig's life--so he knows better than most that she's as volatile and dangerous as a bolt of lightning.
Everyone wants to talk to Nola, but she's not cooperating--and indeed doesn't want to be found. In order to track her down, Zig teams with Nola's long missing brother, who's just as combustible as she is. As they follow Nola's trail, they discover one of the U.S. government's most intensely guarded secrets--an undisclosed military facility that dates back to the Cold War and holds the key to something far more sinister: a hidden group willing to compromise the very safety and security of America itself.
Trouble always finds her...
She's the lightning rod.
Hell of a Book
An astounding work of fiction from a New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole
In Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
As these characters’ stories build and build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.
Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists it truly becomes its title.
One of our best American writers, Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking Fates and Furies.
Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.
At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough?
Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff's new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.
**2018 National Book Awards Finalist**
In these vigorous stories, Lauren Groff brings her electric storytelling to a world in which storms, snakes and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats are of a human, emotional and psychological nature. Among those navigating it all are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple; a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable conflicted wife and mother.
The stories in this collection span characters, towns, even centuries, but Florida – its landscape, climate, history and state of mind – becomes the gravitational centre. With shocking accuracy, Groff pinpoints the connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury – the moments that make us alive.
The Firekeeper's Daughter
With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley's debut novel, Firekeeper's Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.