Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent Books & Reading Adventures

I feel incredibly fortunate to live in St. Louis right now ... there are SO many incredible authors coming into town. The St. Louis County Library really is amazing and they bring in a variety of authors throughout the year!  I wish I could go see them all but I have to choose carefully given the craziness of my life. Recently, I had the opportunity to see two authors who were in St. Louis - Brunonia Barry and Richard Russo. I was extremely excited to meet both of them so I thought that I'd give you a little update to tell you all about it!

Brunonia Barry was in town on June 1st to promote her new novel, The Map of True Places. I had already read both The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. I enjoyed both novels so I was looking forward to hearing her speak and meeting her in person.  My boss, Lisa, ended up heading over there with me. She'd never read any of her novels or gone to a author event so she was interested in checking it out. It was nice to have some company for my first St. Louis author event! We had a really nice time. Anyway, Brunonia Barry did a fantastic reading as well as a great talk! I learned a lot about Salem, MA as well as what inspired her to write this new novel. It was all VERY interesting. I found her responses to the audience very compelling and felt as if I left wanting to read The Map of True Places a second time! I didn't end up taking any photos which I'm bummed about but I really did enjoy getting to meet her and hear her talk about her novels.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here but I am a really big fan of Richard Russo. As soon as I devoured Empire Falls (one of my all-time favorite novels), I became a fan of his work and have read quite a few of his novels. Those that I haven't read have been on the TBR pile for some time. So .... when I read that he would be in St. Louis on June 4th, I was SO excited! I'd heard that he was an excellent speaker and I couldn't wait to hear him give his perspective on writing as well as on his own work. What a cool opportunity! So, my friend Stephanie (yes, my non-reader friend joined me lol) and I headed over to the library for the event. It was a fairly huge crowd and we ended up having to sit in the back. I was just spell-bound from themoment that he came onto the stage. He is an amazing speaker - he did a tiny reading from That Old Cape Magic (which I liked but didn't LOVE) but then did Q&A for the rest of the time. He's just fascinating and I really enjoyed hearing about his perspective on MFA programs, the publishing industry, the life of a writer, and his own novels. He also talked a great deal about having your novels made into movies and about writing for the big screen versus a novel. Very interesting stuff! I really got so much more out of it than I'd even hoped. I didn't have my camera with me but I did have my blackberry so I took this very bad photograph to document that I was there ... Again, it's a terrible photo but it gives you a sense of the scene!

One last thing before I close out, one of the things that I loved about the reading was hearing him tell us what some of his favorite recommendations are for contemporary writing. He gave a great list out (most of which are already on my TBR list) but I thought I'd share in case you're interested ...

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
The Monsters of Templeton or Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff
Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

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