Hometown

Hometown

So, as many of you, I went home for Thanksgiving, and while there I did a reading/talk/signing for Blame It on Paris at my hometown library, which was FANTASTIC. First of all, this is the library I made my parents take me to multiple times a week, because I would read through my checkout limit within a day or two. They had summer reading programs where the children’s librarian, Mrs. Morehead, would create these fabulous themes through which you would progress for every five books you read. It seems as if we could only go up one stage a week, though. I remember feeling frustrated because I was reading far more than five books and not able to jump ahead to the FABULOUS DRAGON CAVE waiting at the end, into which the children who had read 25 books that summer could crawl. That Dragon Cave. It was a work of genius. She had other themes over different years, but that Dragon Cave was brilliant. Even a child who didn’t like books had to be willing to read 25 of them to get into a DRAGON CAVE. Who could resist that?

Roni Tewksbury, the head librarian, talked about how she remembered my younger sister Anna and me both arriving at the checkout counter, trying to hold our stacks of books with our chins and get them onto the counter, because we were trying to check out more books than our actual physical size.

I worked at that library as a teenager as one of my first jobs. The miracle was that I was actually a pretty efficient shelver, even though I started reading nearly every book I tried to put on the shelf. I was a re-reader, too, so if I had loved a book, I still had to peek into it when I tried to put it on the shelf.

SO, it was wonderful to be able to do a signing for my first book there. First of all, for all those reasons, as I said.

And SECOND of all, because, even though it was Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving, and people had all that cooking to do and all that family to see, SO many people turned out. Friends of my parents, friends of friends, friends from high school I hadn’t seen in eighteen years. And everyone was wonderful. They SOLD out of books. People kept buying for everyone on their Christmas list. That is really something. There is something very special about a hometown. I had a great time. The only weird thing was that there were so many family members in the audience I deeply regretted my traditional choice of reading, the wine-tasting scene, which features many of them. It is very strange to be reading out loud things you’ve written about people who are sitting in the audience. Next time I do a reading and my family is there, I’m reading a scene from Paris.

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