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Archives - March 2015

Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld's U.S. facilities. In 2012 he resigned his position with SeaWorld, and currently contributes his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing legislators to prohibit keeping killer whales in captivity. Hargrove appeared in the controversial 2013 documentary "Blackfish," and his book, BENEATH THE SURFACE: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish, is now available. In it, he paints a compelling portrait of killer whales as highly intelligent and social creatures, and argues that SeaWorld's popular programs are both detrimental to the whales and unsafe for trainers. Here, Hargrove shares his experience with one orca, Takara, with whom he formed a true bond --- and the fascinating story of how she saved his life.
Journalist Bethanne Patrick, one of Flavorwire's “35 Writers Who Run the Literary Internet," tweets as @TheBookMaven and began the #FridayReads book discovery meme. Bethanne received her MA in English from the University of Virginia and lived in Charlottesville twice; she has been involved with the Virginia Festival of the Book since 2000 and regularly moderates its Agents Panel. She also was on a panel about book groups, which had a wonderful turnout! The veteran attendee was kind enough to share her experience at the event this year, including her favorite panel and the most surprising thing she learned.
Mary Pat Kelly knows a thing or two about being Irish American. She wrote GALWAY BAY about her great-great grandmother, who fled Ireland in the 1840s to avoid starvation. Its sequel, OF IRISH BLOOD --- just published in February --- picks up in the 20th century and examines the next generation living in America. Her enthusiasm extends beyond her work; she participated in not one but three St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year --- in Chicago, Boston and New York City. Talk about the luck of the Irish! Here, Mary Pat shares with us a bit about those experiences and what being Irish in America means to her.
This past weekend, March 14 – 15, the University of Arizona campus was overrun with book lovers of all shapes and sizes, as people gathered to attend the Tucson Festival of Books. With more than 250 exhibitors and new and veteran authors including Lisa See, Deborah Harkness and William Kent Krueger in attendance, there was plenty for attendees to see. Luckily, Edy Alderson is an experienced festival-goer, and she was kind enough to navigate the scene for us. Here, Edy shares --- with infectious enthusiasm --- her favorite panels, event highlights, and which book she’s most looking forward to reading.
Jonathan Odell's deeply moving novel, MISS HAZEL AND THE ROSA PARKS LEAGUE is set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi. It's the story of a town, a people and a culture on the verge of a great change that begins with small things, like unexpected friendship. Jonathan himself grew up in Mississippi, and here he shares his journey, as a "recovering racist," toward a greater empathy and understanding of others who are like and unlike him. Read on for his story, and click here to watch a video where he further explores the issue of race in America.