Author to discuss book that's a chip off the old Huck

NEIGHBORS

January 14, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AUTHOR Matthew Olshan will be at the Miller branch library Jan. 30 to talk about his book Finn: A Novel, published by Baltimore-based Bancroft Press.

The Baltimore resident plans to discuss his book, which is a modern reworking of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Although the book has been marketed to young adult readers, it is complex enough for older readers to enjoy. Olshan also will discuss Mark Twain and take questions from the audience. The book, which sells for $14.95 in paperback, will be available for purchase, and the author will sign copies.

"He is just the nicest, nicest guy," said Natalie Weikart, who works for the public library and helped arrange the talk.

Olshan has been giving talks at libraries, bookstores and schools to promote his book, which was published last year. He has appeared twice on C-Span, once after talking at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington and a second time after speaking at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn., in October. He also has been a guest on The Marc Steiner Show on radio station WJHU.

Olshan's book, which received a starred review from the American Library Association, reworks the story of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of a teen-age girl living in an unnamed city much like Baltimore.

The author noted that the themes in Twain's masterpiece are still relevant today. "When I read Twain's book, I thought, `Here are fundamental truths about America,'" Olshan said.

He mentioned that a series on Twain, produced by Ken Burns, will be shown on public television this month.

In Twain's book, the Mississippi River serves as a dividing line between civilization and wilderness, Olshan said. In Finn, roads create divisions between suburbs and wilderness. In both books, the protagonist struggles with questions about race and society, Olshan said.

"What I'll probably do is talk about Twain for a little while and then talk about how Huckleberry Finn informed my book," Olshan said.

The library program is for adults and teens. Registration is required and begins Wednesday. To register: 410-313-1950.

Community meeting

Phil Lord, manager of the Elkridge branch library, will speak about current and future library services at the next meeting of the Greater Elkridge Community Association, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24. Also at the meeting, the association's officers will be elected and installed.

The meeting will be at the Elkridge fire hall, 6275 Old Washington Road. It will be canceled if schools are closed because of inclement weather.

Spaghetti dinner

Boy Scout Troop 794 has scheduled a spaghetti dinner from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2. The annual event is sponsored by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church. Dinner will be served at Harrison Hall in the church, 4795 Ilchester Road, Ellicott City.

The cost of the dinner, including spaghetti, meatballs, salad, bread, beverages and dessert, is $5, $4 for children ages 4-12. There will be no charge for children younger than age 4 or for boys and girls in Scout uniforms. Cakes and other desserts will also be for sale.

Flag donation

Yingling-Ridgely VFW Post No. 7472 in Ellicott City will donate an American flag to Norbel School in a ceremony to be held Thursday.

Norbel School in Elkridge is a private school for students with learning disabilities. The Veterans of Foreign Wars frequently donates flags to schools, said VFW member Edward Kuespert.

Kuespert said several members of the VFW post and one or two members of the Ladies' Auxiliary probably will attend the ceremony. Members will discuss the history of the flag, and will talk about Flag Day and the rules governing the treatment of the flag.

"Then we talk about the Pledge of Allegiance and do the pledge with them," he said.

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