“Refraction,” a new novel by former Reading Eagle staff writer Christopher Hinz, has been published by London-based Angry Robot Books.
The contemporary science-fiction thriller begins in Berks County when Aiden Manchester learns he was one of seven orphaned children victimized for an illicit experiment. As an adult tormented by peculiar side effects, Aiden embarks on a cross-country trek to find the perpetrators and uncover what was done to him. But facing the most lethal enemies imaginable is nothing compared to the stunning revelations that will call his entire life into question.
Hinz, a Lower Alsace Township resident, is the author of eight books. “Liege-Killer” won the Compton Crook Award for best first novel and earned a nomination for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. He has scripted comics for DC and Marvel, and co-authored the novelette “Duchamp Versus Einstein.”
Publishers Weekly says of “Refraction”: “Hinz packs this twisty novel with action and mystery while striking a fascinating balance between modern reality and science fictional innovations. Readers will be hooked.”
“Refraction” is distributed in the US by Penguin Random House and is available from bookstores and online retailers.
While the world slowed and shutdown for the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, former Reading Eagle freelance writer Michael C. Upton took the opportunity to pen a travel guide of his home, Lancaster County. Pulling from 20-plus years of experience writing feature stories, interviews and reviews, Upton compiled 50 locally-inspired tips for those traveling to Lancaster County.
“Greater Than a Tourist — Lancaster County” is published by CZYK Publishing and is available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle digital version.
Over the years Upton cultivated relationships with business owners, artists and community leaders providing him with a unique perspective of the often-visited Lancaster County. In “Greater Than a Tourist — Lancaster County,” Upton avoids sending visitors to everyday tourist attractions and shares an exclusive insight into the area’s history, attractions and natural beauty.
From Instagram-worthy spots along the backroads of rural farmland to personal accounts of some the area’s top dining experiences, Upton shows visitors how to experience the best Lancaster County has to offer.
Berks Sinfonietta presents the fourth concert of its virtual fall season on Saturday at 7:30 pm. The performance will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube or click on the link at www.berkssinfonietta.org.
This month the string orchestra performs Gustav Holst’s “Brook Green Suite,” which he wrote for the St. Paul’s Girls School Junior Orchestra in 1933, 20 years after writing the better known “St. Paul’s Suite.” During 1933 he spent a good deal of his time in the hospital, but there were very few weeks when he was too ill to go on composing. He conducted the dedicatees in their first informal run-through of the suite in the school hall in March 1934, two months before his death. The cheerful tune half-way through the last movement is one he remembered hearing played in a puppet show when he was on holiday in Sicily.
The strings will be joined by oboist Kirstin Myers to perform Emma Lou Deimer’s “Lament.” This short, lyrical work creates a pensive, despondent mood that stays with the listener long after its final notes have sounded.
Sinfonietta’s wind section will perform Joseph Joachim Raff’s charming “Sinfonietta.” Born in 1822 in the small town of Lachen, on the shores of lake Zürich in Switzerland, Raff showed great natural talent as a pianist, violinist and organist, and taught himself the rudiments of harmony and composition. He plucked up the courage to send some of his piano works to Mendelssohn, who was impressed and recommended them to his publisher, Breitkopf & Härtel.
Raff was the first composer to use the name “Sinfonietta” for an orchestral work in several movements like a symphony, but shorter and lighter in content. The name was used by many later composers, most notably Janacek. His single example of the genre he created is symphonic in style with seriousness of purpose and technical brilliance. However, the work has a relaxed sunny nature and a lightness of touch.
Viewing is free and open to all, though the orchestra asks for donations equaling its usual ticket costs of $15 for adults and $5 for children.
The Penn State Berks Freyberger Gallery is providing art for the community featuring timely issues, such as the coronavirus pandemic and politics, through a series of virtual exhibitions this fall.
The most recent exhibition is titled “Connections.” Gallery director Marilyn Fox explains: “Artists who have participated in previous shows were asked to invite the artists who have influenced them, or who they’ve collaborated with or admire, to submit their work. This work is featured in ‘Connections.’” It can be viewed at https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/3175789/connections.
As a follow up to the recent “Red, (almost) White and Blue” exhibitions, the gallery presents “American Pie.” This politically motivated exhibition was co-curated by Fox and Kristen T. Woodward, professor of art at Albright College. It can be viewed at https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/2711551/american-pie.
“By just about every American’s perception, our country is at a crossroads,” Fox said. “Conflicting political and spiritual ideologies, economic challenges, immigration and a global pandemic all question what it is to be a citizen of our United States. Great art can hold up a mirror to these pressing issues of our time, reflect who we are, and perhaps who we will become. With these ideas in mind, we asked artists throughout the country to submit their work. Our co-curation reflects selections with an eye towards this moment in time.”
Both exhibitions were created on the Kuntzmatrix platform, which allows viewers to “move” through a virtual gallery. Exhibitions will also be available on the Freyberger Galley web page, berks.psu.edu/freyberger-gallery, as iMovies or virtual galleries.