Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recent Author Events and Readings

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!

13 comments:

JoAnn said...

Oh, you lucky girl!!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Wow, a pic with Atwood and everything. What a great opportunity. Thanks for sharing this!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, such fabulous authors to meet! I lent my copy of My Father's Paradise to my mother and she talked about it for months.

Frances said...

What a great experience! I am always amazed at the generosity of some authors. Somehow you expect distance, and then they turn out to be as accessible as say a new neighbor. Thanks for sharing this cool story and photo.

Elena said...

OMIGOD Margaret Atwood!

Soooo jealous

Charley said...

Very cool. I am unfamiliar with Ariel Sabar, but Margaret Atwood is certainly a name I know.

Care said...

awesome awesome awesome. Did you hear Anita Diamant read from her new book? it so reminded me of My Father's Paradise! at least in being set in Israel, 50's. I wish I was more aware of these goings-on! so fun.

Alayne said...

I live outside of Boston and wish I had attended the book fest last weekend. I remember reading about it on your blog, and then completely zoned out. Such a shame! Congrats on your week though, sounds book-ish and fabulous. I have not ready any of Margaret Atwood's novels, but I would really like to. What would you recommend to start?

Alayne
thecrowdedleaf.wordpress.com

Marie said...

Care, no, I was extremely busy as a volunteer and didn't get to go to any events. :-(

Alayne, most people start with THE HANDMAID'S TALE. My personal favorite is ALIAS GRACE.

Zibilee said...

I think it's so cool that you got to meet John Hodgman, got a picture and autograph from Margaret Atwood, and hear Ariel Sabar do a talk! You had an awesome day!

avisannschild said...

You're so lucky you got to meet Margaret Atwood!

Serena said...

I haven't read Atwood before, but this sounds like an author I should be reading...Jules Verne! Love it.

I'm glad you had a great time, and I love the photos.

writergal said...

Hope you don't mind if I start to do this. Good idea. I go to so many book readings, esp. at Brookline Booksmith . . .
Great pic with Margaret Atwood. How cool is that?