On Author Readings:
When I first moved to New York, I was amazed by how many gorgeous, eclectic bookstores the city held. But, more than that, I was blown away by how many authors themselves traipsed through, signing books, talking on panels, doing readings, and mingling with their fans. I could meet an author? Out in the world? Seriously?
Predictably, my childhood had been full of bookstores, but they had always been quiet, cozy places of respite. Now, in New York, I was realizing that they could also be filled with pulsing energy, laughter, loud conversations, and droves of eager fans descending to hear their favorite authors speak. Author events were completely new to me, and while I thought I would hate them, that they would make my idols alarming real and fallible, I ended up being instantly enamored.
I will never forget the first time I saw Toni Morrison speak in the Union Square Barnes and Noble, her voice filled with a mysterious power that instantly hushed the entire room. Or the time Alice Hoffman enveloped me in a hug and took a picture with me at the adorable 192 Books in Chelsea. Or the time Amy Waldman filled a room with her wit and intelligence at Soho’s McNally Jackson. Author events have brought me closer to the words and stories that mean so much to me, and because of that, the thrill of meeting one of my literary gods will never get old.
But, that doesn’t mean it can’t take on more dimensions. Once I started working in publishing, I could go to readings and panels and book launch parties already knowing the guest of honor, already having worked with him on one of his books or hung out with her in our office (ahem, resident editor/author Jen Smith). And I expected it to put a damper on the whole process. What’s the point in going to a reading when you already talk to the author on a daily basis? Where’s the glamour, the mystique, the fun?
Well, as our debut author John Gapper’s reading at Book Court last night proved, the glamour, mystique, and fun are still plenty alive. Not only do you get to see how excited the audience is for an author you worked so closely with, but you also learn more about him and his writing process through the Q&A section, get even more of a feel for his humor and wit (and let me tell you, John Gapper is one funny guy), and, I’m not going to lie, you feel kind of famous by association for being a part of the author’s inner circle.
It was a great reading last night, and I’m glad that knowing the authors hasn’t taken away at all from my literary stalking elation. Can’t wait for John’s next event at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn (7:30pm on July 2). Hope to see you there, just as awestruck as I am.