There have been some great bookish events in Boston this past week.
First of all there was the fabulous Boston Book Fest. I was a volunteer at the Old South Church, one of three venues hosting talks and signings; I was pretty busy working the signings but got to say hi to Comedy Central fixture and The Areas of My Expertise author John Hodgman, who was very sweet- every single person I saw leave his line left with a big smile, myself included.
Earlier last week, I got to see My Father's Paradise author Ariel Sabar do a talk in a Cambridge bar called Central Kitchen; Central Kitchen has a beautiful, Middle-Eastern-themed bar and event venue called The Enormous Room where Sabar was set up to do his mellow and fascinating talk about his book.
He answered several audience questions about writing the book and about his relationship with both of his parents. It was really interesting to hear him address these things, which weren't covered in the book itself.
My husband and I got there mere minutes before he started but still got excellent seats. I got to meet him briefly afterward and get a signature on my galley.
Then, on Sunday, I got to meet legendary author Margaret Atwood, twice! I was invited to spend the early part of the afternoon assisting Random House staff at a private signing where Atwood had to sign approximately 600+ copies of her latest novel, The Year of the Flood, for distribution to area bookstores. Four people and I helped open boxes, shift stacks of books, repack boxes and cart the boxes down to cars for delivery; it all took about two hours and it was a tremendous opportunity to spend quiet time with this amazing, brilliant woman. She was also gracious enough to sign my stack of books and pose for photos.
Later that evening I attended her reading event sponsored by the Harvard Book Store, where she read from Flood and played portions of a music CD inspired by the hymns she wrote for the book.
Audience members asked her questions about the politics of the book and about her feelings about being identified as a writer of science fiction; she answered that she sees her work as descended from the speculative tradition of Jules Verne rather than the space-and-aliens tradition of H.G. Wells.
(The CD is available for purchase, along with other YOTF swag, at www.yearoftheflood.com.)
It was an unforgettable day!