Joyce Hinnefeld


Friday, October 29, 2010

Death of What Book?

I'm just back from a couple Stranger Here Below events. At the first, at the wonderful Busboys and Poets bookstore and cafe in Washington, DC on Monday night, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Shireen Dodson, author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of the novel Wench. What smart, interesting, and funny women! (That's Dolen with me in the photo below.) I loved talking about writing, books, history, and daughters (among other things) with them. And what wonderful women were there in the audience as well. Thanks to Emily Sachs, and to the Women's National Book Association, for sponsoring this great evening.

Then on Tuesday night I got to share a fantastic dinner at the Parkside American Grille in Harleysville, PA with a wonderfully noisy group of thirty women, from five different book groups--all of whom had read either In Hovering Flight or Stranger Here Below. Kind of a writer's dream-come-true. They came with smart and thoughtful questions, and a couple even came with beautifully crafted work (a basket, a table runner, a shawl) from Pleasant Hill and Berea. I'm so grateful to Shelly, Sue, and Stephanie from the fine independent bookstore, Harleysville Books, for arranging this evening. And I highly recommend a trip to Harleysville--to shop at Harleysville Books and then enjoy a meal at the Parkside American Grill.

Evenings like these remind me of how valuable books have been, and how valuable they still are. They bring us together in meaningful ways, through the shared experience of reading, and then trying, together, to understand their particular magic. For a while now there's been a lot of talk about the death of the book--talk that can get to me at times, frankly, and make me wonder about my plans to keep writing (and teaching) books. But evenings like Monday and Tuesday remind me of why I want to keep on doing it, and make me think that the rumors of that particular death have been greatly exaggerated.

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