Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Abraham Verghese Reading at the Harvard Book Store


So last night I got to attend a reading at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, something I rarely do and should do more often.

I went to see Abraham Verghese, author of the amazing and just-published Cutting For Stone. I've already told you how much I loved this book- I laughed, I cried, I couldn't put it down for all 500+ pages.

The reading was very well-attended, between the usual Cambridge crowd as well as his own friends and family who live in the area. I was very lucky to get a seat- I think it was the last available one!

He read from two sections of the book- one funny and one serious, and took questions. He talked about a lot of things- his career as a doctor, the rewards of practicing medicine, how his writing and medical work intersect, and his previous memoirs as well. Since Cutting for Stone only just came out, the memoirs are what most of his fans have read. Verghese talked about the process of writing Cutting for Stone, the research he did into 1950s medical practices, including purchasing an entire set of 1950s textbooks, and how he felt like he had poured everything he had into the novel- and believe me, it shows. If you haven't read it, you need to- it's a showstopper.

He read beautifully, and seemed like such a sweet man as well. During the signing, he took a few minutes to talk to each person in line, asking questions that showed interest in each person- even little old me. I didn't mention my blog but he had some nice things to say about librarians, which I appreciate.

And I did something I have never done- I bought it in hardcover, despite the fact that I already have a galley. I kind of had to- I couldn't find my galley for the reading and I wanted to get his autograph. Plus today is my birthday, so it was a little early present to myself. When I was in college my friend Jean and I went to readings together all the time; I have this whole collection of signed books that we got at readings. Anyway it was a great time.

Here's the trailer for the book:



So read the book, but do me a favor and ignore the terrible write-up it got in the New York Times!