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Leaves of Books

Josh Lerner
Andrew Stott

Fall literary events at Talking Leaves Bookstore

Take comfort in the cool shade of this season’s Talking Leaves Bookstore events and listen to guest authors speak and sign their recently published books (and any other book of theirs you may have).

Talking Leaves is hosting an ambitious series of authors talking about their novels, plays or poetry. The hardworking staff has assembled a variety of book talks from Buffalo playwrights to Israeli Hebrew poetry translations. Everyone should be able to find an event that interests them.

Coming up Monday, September 8th at 7:30pm, Josh Lerner will be shaking everyone’s perception of the democratic processes with a talk about his novel, Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics.

Power to the people is always fun and that’s Lerner’s main idea in his political theory. He proposes that the incorporation of video game design into political processes can stimulate decreasing democratic participation and create beneficial outcomes for citizens. Through democratic advocacy in his non-profit organization the Participatory Budgeting Project and his studies in countries, like Venezuela who actually carry out his theories, he has witnessed success in growing democracy where people actually participate.

Make democratic participation fun. Fun is when a public assembly favors ideas that rise thrillingly through video game-like levels. Strong democratic ideas become valuable in the eyes of the public and something to strive for as much as money or notoriety.

So if you’re tired of being tired at city council meetings and such let Josh Lerner give you insight on how to wake things up.

Three days later on Thursday, September 11th at 7pm, Talking Leaves takes you from the world of politics to the world of Lord Byron, the romantic era’s rock star of poets. Andrew Stott will be releasing his biography, The Poet and The Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters, for the first time in the United States. Stott puts together the pieces from the ruins Lord Byron left behind on his path of destruction to recreate the summer of 1816.

Byron spent most of that summer at Lake Geneva, Switzerland with his personal physician John Polidori, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin, (author of Frankenstein and future wife of Percy Shelley) and Bryon’s obsessed lover Claire Clairmont, Mary’s step-sister.

The completion of Lord Byron’s famous poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and the concept of Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and The Vampyre by John Polidori all come from the collision of lust, love and infamy that surfaced on the lake that summer. Stott makes the 1800 romantics very relatable by highlighting the emotional turmoil we’ve all felt from someone like Byron who rejects the people who love him.

“These dual personas of Lord Byron intrigued me,” Stott said during our meeting at the University of Buffalo where he is an English Professor and Director of Honors College and Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Stott is very enthusiastic about the upcoming event especially since it’s held at a bookstore he’s been a member at for 12 years. He described locally run bookstores compared to chain bookstores like Barnes and Noble as an “oasis in such a philistine world.” Stott also has had much success in the UK where his book was released last year and won best book pick of 2013 by The Big Issue and The London Sunday Times. Stott is very modest though and is satisfied if just a handful of individuals benefit from his literary insight. Be one of those individuals and come explore how Lord Byron can twist the language of literature and the people drawn to him.

Talking Leaves Books is located at 3158 Main Street.

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