Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blessed Are the Meek Authors

For they shall occasionally be blessed in the shadow the great. At least, I think that's how that verse goes.

Last night I got to hang out with Roxanne's awesome book club as they discussed my Everliving. Nice little ghost story for an October meeting. My thirteen-year-old asked, "But what if they didn't like the book? They can't say that if you're there." I told her that I would come late, so everyone would have plenty of time to vent, and leave early if it looked like they still had more to say. Roxanne assured me, however, this consideration wouldn't be necessary because they were a pretty honest group. And right off the bat, dear Linda proved her right by saying she didn't like the book! The problem was, to my relief, a generic consideration. Linda was not a paranormal fan. Fair enough.

But besides beverages, yummy food, and lively discussion, it was a thrill to be there because their group had been meeting for 11+ years! They had originally been formed at random by Park Place Books, and they had gelled and powered on all this time. Roxanne handed me a list of 130 books that they had read since their inception (!!!) which bowled me over for three reasons:
  1. That is just way too organized. My own book club, which has been meeting in some form for probably nine years, just recently started a Goodreads group site, and we have been wracking our brains with limited success to remember every book.
  2. Some books get read by just about everyone. Seriously. Those fortunate authors who make the must-read book-club lists are sitting pretty. The Help? Check. Cutting for Stone? Check. Life of Pi? Check. To Kill a Mockingbird? Check. The Glass Castle? Check. Check check check. I'd say Roxanne's list had at least a 30% overlap with my book club's.
  3. Piddly little me made their list! How awesome is that? There I sit, just as legitimately on that list as Jonathan Franzen, Edith Wharton, and Cormac McCarthy. And I only got Linda's thumbs-down, not the unanimous drubbing given Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. Score.
Roxanne's list also gave me some great books to add to my own to-read pile and some to avoid. Thanks, ladies and one gentleman.

Worrying about piddly authors following him around
Speaking of crouching in the gigantic shadows cast by famous authors, Seattle U invited me to do a session at their 2013 Search for Meaning Book Festival, where the keynote speaker is...drumroll, please...Michael Chabon! Yikes almighty! Michael "Yiddish Policeman's Union" Chabon. Michael "Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" Chabon. That means, when I'm not delivering my modest talk on Jane Austen and The Beresfords to ten people in a side room, and when I'm not pinned to the book-signing table next to a bestselling author, I can stalk him!

I accepted the invitation to be an author-stalker with hesitation, having struggled some in the past at the book festival, but I think we would all agree that lessons in humility are valuable, if unpleasant. Bring it on.

So put Saturday, March 3, on your calendar. You'll hear more from me (like what my session will actually be about). And as we get closer, I'll be sure to do another begging post.

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