Library Author Series kicks off with timely topic of pandemic
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic may have canceled many beloved events for the summer, but the Bud Werner Memorial Library has not been stopped from bringing authors to the community.
“Literature does not pause for a pandemic,” said Jennie Lay, adult program coordinator for the library, “and there are incredible works of fiction and nonfiction that authors have been toiling away at for years, if not decades. … Books continue to be published, and our curiosity to consume those stories and ideas is unwavering.”
Two such authors, David Quammen and Mark Honigsbaum, will grace the virtual stage for the library’s first author series of the summer. Both are nonfiction, science writers whose books focus on the timely topic of pandemics — those of the past and those of the future.
Quammen’s book, “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic,” was published in 2013, but due to its focus on the next big pandemic crossing over to humans from wildlife, it is finding relevancy again, as more comes to light about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honigsbaum’s book, “The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris,” focuses more on pandemics of the past, from the Spanish flu to more recent scares, such as the Ebola and Zika epidemics.
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“This is not disaster, pandemic porn,” Lay said. “This is deeply researched science and social history that makes all of what we’re living through make more sense.”
Quammen and Honigsbaum will not appear in person but rather engage with the Steamboat Springs community virtually.
“These will be Saturday morning coffee talks from your couch instead of midweek evenings inside the library,” Lay explained.
From May 25 to June 4, the Bud Werner Memorial Library has been screening “Eating up Easter,” a film following the impact of climate change on Easter Island.
Though the library has had to move all free film screenings online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this particular film going virtual has brought a silver lining, because it includes a live discussion with director Sergio Mata’u Rapu and writer Elena G.K. Rapu.
“(This is) something that doesn’t happen a ton in Steamboat, because it’s just challenging to get filmmakers in house for our free screenings,” said Jennie Lay, the library’s adult program coordinator.
The discussion will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 4. Visit steamboatlibrary.org/events for more information and to register.
But for community members who are in need of an escape from all the talk of pandemic, the library also has something planned later in the month with fiction author Anne Enright.
“Anne Enright is the kind of fiction writer we always dream of luring to Steamboat, having won the Man Booker Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the Irish Fiction Award and a Pen Award, and now, we’ve got her virtually to talk about her brand new novel,” Lay said.
Enright’s book, “Actress,” follows a tangled and complicated relationship between a celebrated actress and her daughter. The New York Times has called the story “intoxicating,” and Lay said it has been the perfect dose of escapist literature she’s needed.
Quammen and Honigsbaum will being their discussion at 10 a.m. June 6, and Enright will do the same on June 20. For more information and to register, visit steamboatlibrary.org/events.
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