Book readings are basically story times for adults. Not only do authors read their books aloud, they often expound upon their life experiences and writing practices. I first attended one for a homework assignment. After a long, full day of classes, I sat one evening in Harvard Bookstore, in Cambridge, expecting to be mildly interested, but not at all engaged. However, when two female writers took the table and shared about their recently published collections of short stories, Landslide and A Dream Between Two Rivers, I was entranced.
New to the English department at my college, and only in my second creative writing class, I was thrilled to find further fellowship with experienced authors. One talked about her father’s obsession with Big Foot and how that became a story while another offered advice on writing memoir. The delightful part about writers, is that their lives are so intertwined with their printed words, that they can’t talk about one without the other.
After enjoying my first reading, I dragged my parents to another one, when they visited. We were treated to the comedic ramblings and witty passages of the award winning author and musician, James McBride. When I went up to thank him after and mentioned I wanted to become a writer, he told me to “read a lot” and “stay in school.” And I think I’ll go to some more readings.