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Robert L. Patten, emeritus professor of English at Rice University and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens, looks at Dickens’ writings through a modern lens in a Renesan Institute talk at St. John’s United Methodist Church on Thursday, Oct. 18. 

Among the readers are actress and humanitarian Ali MacGraw, who reads the Christmas chapter from Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic, The Wind in the Willows; and Pasatiempo movie critic and local actor Jonathan Richards, who performs a piece of wintry nostalgia by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas about a Christmas of his boyhood. 

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In the six years since Jim Kristofic released Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life (University of New Mexico Press), his memoir of his childhood as a bilagáana (a white person) raised on the Navajo Nation, the author has been teaching high school and working on a series of illustrated books aimed at conveying Navajo myths to children and young adults.

Champagne Sánchez could have been anything he wanted. He loved to learn and was a quick study as a boy. He enjoyed school, from science experiments to handwriting lessons, but life got the best of this Albuquerque barrio boy, the title character of The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sánchez, by Rudy J. Miera.

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On a recent Saturday afternoon, Book Mountain was completely sold out of 1984, the George Orwell classic about a society in which privacy and dissent have been criminalized. 

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José Skinner talks about his work and signs copies of The Tombstone Race; writer and controversial 1980s activist Demetria Martinez reads for the Bread Loaf School of English at St. John’s College; and one of today’s foremost Chicana authors, Ana Castillo, reads from and signs copies of her new memoir, Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me.