J.J. Colagrande is a Miami native whose debut novel, Headz (BlazeVOX Books), is a kaleidoscopic romp through modern-day America's music festival scene. With influences that include Tom Robbins, Franz Kafka, and Jack Kerouac, Colagrande has a writing style that's breezy and fast-paced, even as it dissects the lives of several protagonists in fragmentary fashion. In other words, the plot might be a rabbit hole, but you're strapped to the back of the rabbit. Colagrande will read from Headz during his first Miami appearance this Tuesday.
In contrast, Kris Radish is a recent transplant to Apollo Beach, a veteran of best-seller lists, and a star at Bantam Dell. She'll read Wednesday night from her sixth novel, The Shortest Distance Between Two Women, which centers on Emma Gilford, a 43-year-old single woman devoted to her mother and their small South Carolina hometown. Like most good novels, the trouble begins on page 1, when Gilford comes home to a message from the one man in her past she truly loved. Like the vegetable of her name, Radish sticks to storytelling's roots: good characters who feel like real people.
Both readings are free and begin at 8 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 2, 8 p.m., 2009