Books, Authors, and, er, Office Buildings?
NEWS FROM NON-BORING HOUSE And Don't Miss TWO Opportunities to Ask Questions about Mary Church "Mollie" Terrell!
News from Non-Boring House is where I feature announcements of upcoming events, my latest ideas, quick photos, and other short thingies that don't fit the other departments of Non-Boring History. Enjoy!
How Long Is This Post? About 3,000 words, or 14 minutes
Dear Nonnie Friend,
Today's News from Non-Boring House
Ask Historian Alison M. Parker About Mary Church Terrell!
Dusty Books: Getting Books Into Kids’ Hands
Dark Satanic Mill? Meet an Overwhelming Office Complex for the 21st Century
IMPORTANT: Sign Up for Sip n Chat with Annette, for This Coming Sunday afternoon! We'll reflect on Mary Church Terrell on Zoom (bring tea! ☕ or a beverage of your choice 🍷 )
Here's Your Chance! Ask Dr. Alison M. Parker About Mary Church Terrell
I was thrilled that so many Nonnies enjoyed my two-parter on historian Alison M. Parker's Unceasing Militant, the biography of kick-ass activist Mary Church Terrell. Here are a couple of fun opportunities for you:
I'll be talking to Dr. Parker *tomorrow* (Wednesday) morning. Nonnies, I would love to ask her your questions about Mary “Mollie” Terrell, about the writing of this book, or whatever else you want me to ask. Please drop your question(s) in the comments, or hit reply to this email.
And in related great news: In honor of Women's History Month, Unceasing Militant is currently on sale at Ye Dreaded Amazon for just ten bucks!
AND I'll feature my interview with Alison Parker at NBH on Saturday!
IMPORTANT: Sip and Chat About Mary “Mollie” Church Terrell!
This coming Sunday afternoon is our Zoom Sip n Chat on Mary Church Terrell! Be sure to RSVP (details below at end of today’s newsletter) We'll take time to reflect on what her story means to you.
Psst… Want to know what Mary Terrell sounded like? I told you she was posh! Mind you, I can hear a bit of her native Tennessee in how she pronounced “schools" and “counted". 😀 Here she explains her role in creating Frederick Douglass Day in Washington, DC schools, which later morphed into Black History Month (for which late historian Carter Woodson usually gets all the credit, but he obviously needs to share it….)
The Return of Dusty Books
A few years ago, retired public librarian Dusty Gres, who is a great fan of my Snipesville novels, came up with the idea of funding free copies for a few avid readers in each school I visit. Since I visit mostly Title I schools (schools with a lot of kids who need free or reduced price school lunches), and most of them in Georgia, this was a welcome initiative. Despite Dusty’s understandable eyeroll, I called this program Dusty Books. C’mon, what else?
Dusty’s support has been such a boost. See, Snipesville books were a bit ahead of their time. They’re entertaining (according to other people, not just me) and often funny (ditto), but they’re also unvarnished history disguised as time travel fantasy. I didn’t pull punches, especially on racism, classism, or sexism. Small press books and authors who aren’t celebrities don’t fare well in the hellscape that is modern publishing (read this interesting recent article from the New York Times on that very subject). But Snipesville continues, against all odds, to find new readers, and Dusty, and her fellow donors to the Dusty Books program have absolutely helped with that.
I suspended Dusty Books when the pandemic hit, because all my in-school gigs were canceled. So it was lovely to do a limited restart this year, when a few schools began returning to hosting me in person. My school visit program is not what it was in 2019: Many of the school librarians and teachers who know and invite me are resigning or retiring, plus juggling my school visit program with NBH has proven very, very hard.
So how lovely to see happy faces with my books once again!
Want signed copies of Snipesville for your grandchildren, nephews, nieces, godchildren, or yourself (yes, many of my readers are adults!), please visit the shop at AnnetteLaing.com You even get a discount when you buy the whole set.
Dark Satanic Mill For the 21st Century?
As a kid, I always got a shiver when, on visits to my native Dundee, Scotland, we drove or walked past the imposing jute mills that dotted the city. Dundee was once the world center for processing the coarse fiber of the jute plant, grown in India. In Dundee, many of my not-distant ancestors were among the thousands of locals who turned the golden fleece of jute into the very unglamorous but necessary products of sacks (the UPS boxes of the 19th century) and, later, carpet backing.
Many of these factories still stand, often turned into apartments, but the jute industry is gone: It was ahead of its time in relocating to India. While it lasted, it employed four generations of my family, including my dad. Most jute mill jobs were hard, poorly paid, and tedious. As a kid, I never entered any of these factories. And I didn’t want to: These massive, forbidding Victorian buildings scared me. They looked more like monsters than places where you might find the good kind people I knew.
I never thought to see commercial architecture on such a scale, and exuding a forbidding, sinister vibe, rise again.
Boy, was I wrong.
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