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‘Pushing the Limits’ Series Highlights Murder Mystery

'Thunderstruck' by Erik Larson is the focus of the Johnson City Library's next 'Pushing the Limits' program Feb. 21.

JOHNSON CITY — Learners are wanted for two events hosted by the Johnson City Library on back-to-back days.

The first is the second part of the Pushing the Limits series. This part’s theme is “Connection” using “Thunderstruck” by Erik Larson as the featured book for the gathering.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the library, 501 Nugent Ave. There is no cost to attend or enjoy a snack supper that will be provided with foods inspired by the book.

The food will be prepared by chefs Samantha and Brian Eddleman.

Library director Maggie Goodman said the menu includes meat pasties or pies.

“To get us in the mood for a dark murder mystery, some of you might remember Sweeney Todd’s famous ingredient in his meat pies,” she said.

The discussion will be led by Kim Quick, a Johnson City High School science teacher.

“Thunderstruck” is the story of Hawley Crippen, who is an unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, a creator of what looks to be a supernatural means of communication.

The men’s lives are crisscrossed thanks to one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.

The setting is Edwardian London at the turn of the 20th century on the Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia coasts when the shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners, scientific progress awed the public with visions of a transformed world, and the rich eclipsed each other with extravagant displays of wealth, according to reviews.

Goodman said people don’t have to read the book before attending the gathering at the library. In fact, she hopes people who come will be so intrigued by the discussion they’ll want to read it.

Attendees also will watch a video of Larson explaining how and why he wrote the book and view a second video that shows participants how they can “push the limits of connection and science in our everyday lives.”

“The videos are very interesting and add a different take on this just being a book discussion,” Goodman said.

There are still spots available for the ninth annual Writers Conference, which begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at First United Methodist Church, 105 N. LBJ Drive. Cost is $45 and includes lunch.

The morning is devoted to listening to the three panelists offer tips on writing. They include Jennifer Canzoneri, marketing director at BenBella Books for the past six years; novelist Bill Cotter, the author of “Fever Chart” (2009) and “The Parallel Apartments” (2014); and literary agent Mark Falkin.

Goodman said organizers added a new part to the conference. Cotter will lead a 90-minute workshop on Character Developing for Fiction.

Cotter works with the Writers’ League of Texas and judges many written pieces. He believes this workshop will assist writers tremendously in this area, Goodman said.

“In reading manuscripts, character development is greatly wanting,” she said. “He feels he can do a good job in helping in that area.”

Register by contacting registration@jclibrarysite.org or (830) 868-4469.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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