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Author reads from her new novel at the American Book Review readings series

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Sept. 22, 2011 at 4:22 a.m.

Author Christina Milletti gives a reading for the American Book Review. More than 150 people turned out to hear Milletti on Thursday. To see video of the author's talk, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com and click on the story.

The audience fell into a hush as author Christina Milletti stepped to the lecturn.

Milletti, a slight woman in chunky three-inch heels, read an excerpt from her recently finished novel "Choke Box" and a selection from her book of short stories, "The Religious and Other Fictions."

Milletti spoke at the second event in the American Book Review reading series at noon Thursday at the University of Houston-Victoria. The Alcorn Auditorium was jam-packed with more than 150 people in attendance.

Milletti introduced her readings, the first pages of "Choke Box" and the short story "Amelia Earhart's Last Transmission," noting that the stories have some similarities because they were written about the same time.

Milletti read with a cool, even voice that always propelled the narrative forward. Both stories deal with people who have disappeared, and Milletti noted that she is interested in exploring perspectives in her writing. We all have different viewpoints on our lives, Milletti told the audience.

"Having a different perspective on your life and your viewpoint doesn't always mean you're off your rocker. It can mean the rest of the world is wrong," she said.

Milletti read for about 45 minutes before taking questions from the audience. She shared how she got started writing, developing an affinity for words in grade school.

This was the first time Milletti had read from her newly completed novel.

"It was kind of like a little party for it. The audience seemed like they wanted to know what happens next, so that's a good sign," she said with a laugh.

Milletti highlighted how being an avid reader has influenced her as a writer.

"The wonderful thing about literature is it makes you think, and eventually you'll want to write down your own words," Milletti said. "Good readers make good writers and vice versa."

UHV English student Victoria Brieske took notes and listened intently during the reading, applauding warmly when it was over.

Brieske said she had to come see Milletti because of the pink hair the author sported on the promotional poster for the event.

"I'm a little disappointed she didn't actually have pink hair, but I'm a writer and my style is actually a lot like hers, so it's neat to hear about how she works and to hear her reading her own work," Brieske said.

American Book Review publisher Jeffery Di Leo said he was excited to see the response to Milletti's work.

"I don't think our speakers have been this edgy before, with her kind of dark humor. The students seemed excited about it," Di Leo said.



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