Presidents’ Day weekend is big for art and boats — but it also kicks off a couple of unique book events, too.
On Sunday, short story master George Saunders appears at Books & Books for a reading — or rather a performance — of his first novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” which delves into the mind of the 16th president after the death of his son.
Saunders, who performed a passage from the book at the Key West Literary Seminar in January with special guests, has assembled an impressive audiobook cast (including David Sedaris, Nick Offerman, Carrie Brownstein, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader and Megan Mullally. Don Cheadle and Lena Dunham). He’ll gather a few guest readers at Books & Books as well.
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But Saunders is just the literary opening act. The most eclectic and intriguing event is “Music, Magic & The Muse: An Evening With Paul Auster” Tuesday at the Arsht Center, which includes a reading from Auster’s critically acclaimed new novel “4321,” music by Auster’s singer/songwriter daughter Sophie and a set from illusionist David Blaine.
“We wanted to do something special for Paul,” says Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan, who produced the event. “His birthday was earlier this month, and this is a major, major book. I wanted to bring the event out of the realm of just reading.”
Here’s a sample of the audiobook for ‘4321,’ available on Audible.com:
Kaplan spoke with Auster about the important people in his life and learned Auster became friends with Blaine after the author published his novel “Mr. Vertigo” in 1994. Kaplan had no trouble getting Blaine on board to pay tribute to the author of the New York trilogy as well as such novels as “Sunset Park” and “The Book of Illusions.”
Speaking of important people in Auster’s life: His wife — novelist, scholar and feminist Siri Hustvedt (“The Blazing World”) — appears Monday at Books & Books to discuss her new collection of essays “A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women.”
If You Go
George Saunders and ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’: 4 p.m. Sunday, Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
Siri Hustvedt: 8 p.m. Monday, Books & Books, Gables.
Paul Auster (with Sophie Auster and David Blaine): 8 p.m. Tuesday, Knight Concert Hall, Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; $15-$40; www.arshtcenter.org