Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Book Reading by a Favorite Author

An activity that my husband and I like to do from time to time is attend book readings, sometimes called "author events" on a bookstore's web site.

These can range in quality to really interesting to really dull. Sometimes, if an author we've seen once and enjoyed hearing comes out with a new book or a paperback edition, we'll go see him or her again.

Last night, I saw a particular author for the third (or was it the fourth?) time. My husband came with me; I believe it was the second time for him.

Were it not that I follow her blog, I might have missed it, because I don't regularly check the author events page at Third Place Books. Had that been the case, I would have been thoroughly bummed.

What I have always liked best about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's presentations is that she gives a completely original talk. And it is always funny.

Last night, she departed somewhat from this format.

After her introduction, she took the customary photos of the audience with her current sock project in the foreground.

You can see what it looked like from her perspective here.

She then proceeded to talk about why she writes (it's a job where you don't necessarily have to wear a bra, particularly if you're a freelancer), the merits of wearing brown pants on airplanes (so they don't show the coffee stains that you habitually apply to them), and the advantages and disadvantages of being the only person writing humorous essays about knitters and knitting, getting many laughs from an audience that was admittedly predisposed to laughter.

This time around, however, she also read two essays from her book.

I'm not saying the selections she read weren't interesting and humorous, because they were. But it was not what I have come to expect, and I hate to say it, but I felt a little disappointed. It was so . . . conventional. And unnecessary, given Stephanie's dedicated following (as indicated by the SRO crowd and the fact that if you want to get a good seat, best to arrive as early as possible).

I had already bought the book, as undoubtedly many other attendees had. I expect that when I read it, it will amuse me. I don't need to have it read to me to sell me on it.


  1. I haven't seen her new book, but I know what you mean.. I think she'd be a bigger hoot with off the cuff comments. Sorry YOU are on the other coast, because YOU sound like fun, too.

  2. Dana: Did you check her tour schedule in the sidebar of her blog to see if she'll be coming to a bookstore near you?