2013 Winter/Spring Author Series at PPL Kicks Off January 13

Providence Public Library announces its 2013 winter/spring author series beginning on Sunday, January 13 from 2 - 3:30 PM (Teen Room-Ground Floor) with Providence-native Jan David Blais presenting Twentieth Century Limited, his two-volume epic novel of courage and its consequences.

About the Book and Author

In Blais’ epic novel of courage and its consequences, a Vietnam Vet overcomes disabling injuries to become an award-winning reporter and TV newsman. Known for holding a mirror to American society and long critical of the radical right, Paul Bernard attacks the Bush Administration for Osama bin Laden’s escape and for leading the nation into a disastrous war. On assignment in Iraq he is killed under suspicious circumstances. His old professor and mentor then joins with a writer profiling Bernard to seek the truth about the killing.

Asked why he wrote Twentieth Century Limited, Blais commented, “More than a good read, its portrayal of America’s decades of stalemate and folly reminds us of the importance of not forgetting. ‘Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.’”

Jan David Blais is an American author and lawyer with preparation for his varied careers including Holy Cross College, Harvard’s Kennedy School, Harvard Law School and the University of California Berkeley. Born in Providence, Blais now lives in Watertown, Mass. For more information about this new publication: http://jandavidblais.com/author

The series continues as follows:

Sunday, February 10 — 2 - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

John Barylick presents Killer Show

About the Book and Author

On February 20, 2003, in the few minutes it takes to play a hard-rock standard, the fate of 462 unsuspecting nightclub patrons was determined with awful certainty. That night, the fourth-deadliest club fire in U.S. history occurred at a roadhouse West Warwick, RI, called “The Station.” The blaze was ignited when pyrotechnics set off by Great White, an 80’s heavy-metal band, lit flammable polyurethane “egg-crate” foam sound insulation on the club’s walls. In less than five minutes, 96 people were burned alive and 200 more injured, many catastrophically. The final death toll topped out, three months later, at the eerily unlikely round number of 100.

The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human-tragedy aftermath, is one of human lives put at risk by petty economic decisions – by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions could have potentially avoided the tragedy. Together, however, they formed a fatal critical mass.

John Barylick is an attorney who represented victims in numerous wrongful death and personal injury cases arising from the Station nightclub fire. His work was instrumental in amassing $176 million in settlements from persons and corporations responsible for the fire. Mr. Barylick is a frequent lecturer at medical and legal seminars and is the recipient of the 2006 Rhode Island Trial Lawyers Association Award for Professionalism.

Sunday, February 24 — 2 - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Michael Tougias presents A Storm Too Soon

About the Book and Author

Seventy foot waves batter a tattered life raft 250 miles out to sea in one of the world’s most dangerous places, the Gulf Stream. Hanging onto the raft are three men, a Canadian, a Brit, and their captain, JP DeLutz, a dual citizen of America and France. The waves repeatedly toss the men out of their tiny vessel, and  JP, with nine broken ribs, is hypothermic and on the verge of death.  The captain, however, is a tough-minded character, having survived a sadistic, physically abusive father during his boyhood, and now he’s got to rely on those same inner resources to outlast the storm. Trying to reach these survivors before it’s too late are four Coast Guardsmen battling hurricane force winds in their Jayhawk helicopter. They know the waves in Gulf Stream will be extreme, but when they arrive they are astounded to find crashing seas of 70 feet, with some waves topping 80 feet. Three other vessels with 10 people aboard were caught in the storm, and only 6 survived. This 2007 disaster prompted one of the largest and most intense rescues in Coast Guard history. Tougias will use slides of the storm, the survivors, and the rescue. Amazingly the Coast Guard helicopter crew photographed the men in the raft being pounded by towering waves.

Michael J. Tougias is an award-winning author of 20 books, including several true survival thrillers: Fatal Forecast, Overboard!, Ten Hours Until Dawn, and The Finest Hours (co-authored).   

He has received the American Library Association “Editors Choice” Award and the Independent Publishers “Best Nature Book of the Year” award.  Disney Studio's is currently filming the movie version of his book The Finest Hours. He lives in Massachusetts. Visit www.michaeltougias.com  or more information.


Monday, March 11 — 7 - 8:15 PM, Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Stephen Dobyns presents The Burn Palace

About the Book and Author
At 2:30 a.m. at the local hospital in the small town of Brewster, Rhode Island, Alice Alessio—also known as Nurse Spandex—is given the surprise of her life. Coming back from a secret tryst with a doctor, she peeks in to check on the newborn baby she was supposed to be watching, and finds a huge, writhing red-and-yellow snake in the bassinet instead. So begins the series of strange and disturbing events that start to plague this sleepy little community and confound the police. Woody Potter, the detective on the case, simply can’t put it all together—what is the thread that ties a missing baby, a dead insurance investigator, and a local Wiccan sect together? Why do all roads seem to lead to the town yoga center (known to all as the You-You)? And what exactly is going on with Carl Krause, the local man who works at the funeral home, who has taken to growling at his neighbors?

An epic, twisted portrait of small-town America, The Burn Palace captivates with dozens of richly rendered multi-dimensional characters and a plot that keeps you guessing... It is the literary equivalent of Richard Russo crossed with Stephen King. (www.goodreads.com)

Stephen Dobyns is the author of more than 30 novels and poetry collections, including The Church of the Dead Girls, Cold Dog Soup, and Cemetery Nights. Among his many honors and awards are a Melville Cane Award, Pushcart Prizes, National Poetry Series prize, and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. His novels have been translated into 20 languages, and his poetry has appeared in the Best American Poems anthology. Dobyns teaches creative writing at Warren Wilson College and has taught at University of Iowa and Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Westerly, RI.

“...this one is the best of the best… I’ve written some ‘secrets of a small New England town’ books, but it’s as if Stephen Dobyns is saying—very gently—‘Hey Steve…this is how you really do it.’” — Stephen King


Sunday, April 7 — 2 - 3:30 PM, Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Eric Jay Dolin presents When America First Met China

About the Book and Author

Brilliantly illuminating one of the least understood areas of American history, bestselling author Eric Jay Dolin now traces our fraught relationship with China back to its roots: the unforgiving nineteenth-century seas that separated a brash, rising naval power from a battered ancient empire. It is a prescient fable for our time, one that surprisingly continues to shed light on our modern relationship with China. Indeed, the furious trade in furs, opium, and bêche-de-mer — a rare sea cucumber delicacy-might have catalyzed America’s emerging economy, but it also sparked an   ecological and human rights catastrophe of such epic proportions, the reverberations can still be felt today.

Peopled with fascinating characters-from the “Financier of the Revolution” Robert Morris to the Chinese emperor Qianlong, who considered foreigners inferior beings—When America First Met China is a page-turning saga that explores a time many years ago when the desire for trade and profit first brought America to China’s door.   Kirkus Review

Eric Jay Dolin is an American author who writes history books, which often focus on maritime topics, wildlife, and the environment. He has published 11 books, which have won numerous awards. He grew up near the coasts of New York and Connecticut, and graduated from Brown University, where he majored in biology and environmental studies. After getting a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy and planning from MIT.

Dolin has held a variety of jobs, including stints as a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, a program manager at the U.S. EPA, an environmental consultant stateside and in London, an American Association for the Advancement of Science writing fellow at Business Week, a curatorial assistant in the Mollusk Department at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and an intern at the National Wildlife Federation, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the U.S. Senate. Visit his web site: www.ericjaydolin.com