July 14 is Bee Season in West Orange. Best-selling novelist Myla Goldberg will speak at 7 p.m. at the West Orange Public Library, discussing not only Bee Season, both book and movie, but reading from her new book The False Friend.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is funded by longtime West Orange residents Peter, Jonathan, and Alice Messeri, in honor of their parents Sue and Sidney Messeri. Catherine LaBelle, Adult Services Department Head at the library, explains how the reading came about. “Mrs. Messeri is a former West Orange High School librarian and an avid reader and participant in the library's book discussion group. Mrs. Messeri and I brainstormed, thinking about authors we loved and would be excited to host who live in the New York City area,” says LaBelle. “Myla Goldberg was her first choice and luckily, Ms. Goldberg was able to make it.”
A Maryland native and Oberlin graduate, Goldberg writes and teaches in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband Jason Little and their two daughters.
Before it became a best-selling movie, her first novel, Bee Season, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. Goldberg’ second novel Wickett’s Remedy grew out of her fascination with the 1918 influenza epidemic.
Goldberg’s third novel, published in fall, The False Friend, concerns a woman trying to untangle a 20-year-old memory and explores the complexities of moral judgment, the fallibility of memory, and the adults that children become.
LaBelle explains, “Myla Goldberg's books are very popular at our library across all the various age groups and customer types, so we thought she was a choice with broad appeal to the community. Also, we loved the dark quirkiness and emotional intensity of Ms. Goldberg's writing style and each one of her books always generates a lot of discussion.”
Goldberg cites influences such as Stanley Kubrick, artists Hieronymus Bosch and Max Ernst, and Buster Keaton, whom she describes as “one of the world's most beautiful men, the movies he made and starred in are silent masterpieces of humor and ingenuity. He was an expert at falling and being knocked around, but also at standing utterly still.”
The July 14 reading will last about an hour with time for questions, says LaBelle. People can bring copies of Goldberg's books to sign and Watching Booksellers will also have copies on hand if people would like to purchase a book.
“We're very excited about this event,” said LaBelle.
The reading is free and open to the public of West Orange and other communities. Because light refreshments will be served, and they want to have plenty on hand, the library asks that people RSVP to 973-736-0198 or on the events calendar at www.wopl.org