We will be presenting this event virtually, using Zoom. RSVP here.
Join us for a midwinter escape to Nagspeake as we launch The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book online with Kate Milford in conversation with Grace Lin, and use the preorder link to receive an art print from Nagspeake with your purchase of the book!
Readers of Greenglass House will remember the book of Nagspeake folktales loaned to Milo Pine by one of the mysterious guests who arrive at the remote smugglers’ inn just before Christmas. Here at last is The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book itself, in which the fifteen tales told by stranded travelers turn out to be more than simply entertainment to pass the time. Something very strange is afoot at the Blue Vein Tavern, and each tale is a clue to the mystery. But outside the rising floodwaters have almost reached the front door…the guests have one chance to save themselves and their city, and time is short.
Those who’ve read the other interconnected books in Kate Milford’s Roaming World will meet some old friends and spot tons of Easter eggs, but The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book is a standalone tale, and it’s not necessary to have read anything else first. If this is your first visit to Nagspeake, welcome! We know you’ll enjoy your stay…but pack your rain boots.
To celebrate the launch of The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book, Kate will be in conversation with Grace Lin, the multiple award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and its companion novels as well the host of the podcast Kids Ask Authors and Book Friends Forever. Kate and Grace will be discussing storytelling, folklore, the challenges of writing interconnected tales, and possibly chickens.
From the publisher:
Nothing is what it seems and there's always more than one side to the story as a group of strangers trapped in an inn slowly reveal their secrets.
The rain hasn't stopped for a week, and the twelve guests of the Blue Vein Tavern are trapped by flooded roads and the rising Skidwrack River. Among them are a ship’s captain, tattooed twins, a musician, and a young girl traveling on her own. To pass the time, they begin to tell stories—each a different type of folklore—that eventually reveal more about their own secrets than they intended. As the rain continues to pour down—an uncanny, unnatural amount of rain—the guests begin to realize that the entire city is in danger, and not just from the flood. But they have only their stories, and one another, to save them. Will it be enough?
Praise for The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book:
“Rain pours down and waters rise as a group of travelers, trapped by the weather in an inn above the river Skidwrack, tell stories. Twelve guests plus innkeeper, maid, and neighbor Phineas Amalgam (compiler of these tales, according to the title page) make up the company of 15, including one child, Maisie, who is traveling alone. The stories, part morality tales and part facets of a drawing-room mystery, suggest a hidden conversation among the assembly: supplicating, surmising, interpreting, warning. Each guest is matched with an activity: dancing, building with cards, whittling, offering cigars, binding papers into books. Milford’s rich, complex language hints of magic and connection, of interwoven fates and tragedies. The stories celebrate patterns, numbers, marvelous inventions, puzzles, and possibilities. Several stories of peddlers, choices, crossroads, and arcane clockwork devices point to the mystery, and maps, keys, and music figure prominently. Madame Grisaille, Maisie, Petra, and Gregory Sangwin have darker skin while others are assumed White, or in the cases of the beautiful young man Sullivan and the tattooed brothers Negret and Reever, possibly other than human. The inn is full of its own secrets. Its rooms and layout will feel familiar to Greenglass House fans, but it’s set earlier in time, with a steampunk focus on cartography, gearwork, and combustion. At times wryly humorous and at others marvelously unnerving and superbly menacing, this novel delights. Deliciously immersive and captivating.” (Kirkus, starred review)
Kate Milford is the New York Times bestselling author of Greenglass House (winner of the Edgar award for juvenile literature, long-listed for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and a nominee for the Andre Norton Award and the Agatha Award for Children’s/YA) as well as The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book, The Thief Knot, Bluecrowne, Ghosts of Greenglass House, The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, The Left-Handed Fate, The Kairos Mechanism, and the forthcoming Rialto (2022) and Seacritters! graphic novel series with Lucy Bellwood (2023). She has written for stage and screen, and as a contributing writer at nagspeake.com she has authored scholarly articles on subjects as varied as self-aware ironmongery and how to make saltwater taffy in a haunted kitchen. Kate grew up in Riva, Maryland, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family. You can find more at www.greenglasshousebooks.com.
Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, her Geisel Honor LING & TING, her National Book Finalist WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER and her Caldecott Honor A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR. But, it also causes Grace to persevere for diversity as an occasional New England Public Radio commentator and when she gave her TEDx talk “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” as well as her PBSNewHour video essay “What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist?” She continued this mission with a hundred episodes of the podcast kidlitwomen* and now currently hosts two other podcasts: Book Friends Forever and Kids Ask Authors. In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House and Grace, herself, was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling.