Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 3 Recap

Week Three of the Great American Book Tour was a banner week. On Sunday, world-class independent bookstore Books on the Common co-hosted a great event at the Ridgefield (CT) Library.

At Madison (CT’s) renowned R. J. Julia Books, I read the local historical society some whopping big fibs from Walking to Gatlinburg. They were very good-natured about it all. Thanks!

On to NYC and 192 Books. I don’t know if I would walk from Vermont to Gatlinburg for any reason, but I’d walk to 192 Books just to browse through their wonderful fiction selection. Thanks to my terrific agent, Dan Mandel, and the best editor in these United States, Shaye Areheart, for coming to hear this born liar. Also it was a huge pleasure to meet Jay and Hannah Silverman and their many friends.

Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Books in Richmond, VA, is one of my all-time favorite booksellers. “I love people who love books,” Kelly told me. Her sense of humor ranks with Mark Twain’s and on that subject, the incredibly knowledgeable booksellers at Chester Co. Book and Music Company in West Chester, PA, kept me laughing all evening.

My dear friend Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books, brought in a great audience to hear me tell more lies. Nancy’s one of the two or three best-read persons I’ve ever known. I’m halfway through a terrific book she gave me called LOOKING IN THE DISTANCE by Richard Holloway, the former Bishop of Edinburgh. This is a powerful and beautiful book by a remarkably thoughtful man.

No one could accuse Bad Blake, the down-and-out country singer in Thomas Cobb’s fabulous 1987 novel CRAZY HEART of being thoughtful. How he stays with me, though. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’d rate Cobb’s book right up there with William Kennedy’s masterpiece, Ironweed. It’ll make you laugh and cry in the same two seconds. “It is one hell of a thing,” Bad reflects, “when fifty-six-year-old men are sent out on the road with only ten dollars.” (I hear you, Bad.)

My award for the most original bookstore name goes to Malaprops, the literary Mecca of Asheville, where I had a lovely event Saturday night, after a memorable Saturday morning with a good many of the very loyal customers of McIntyre’s Books at Fearrington Village, NC. Bookseller par excellence Pete Mock’s mystery-novel room at McIntyre’s is something to see. And thanks to Pete for naming WALKING TO GATLINBURG his favorite noveL of 2010 so far.

Then came Nashville, Music City USA, where my beloved daughter, singer/songwriter Annie Mosher, brought out a big crowd of fellow singers, songwriters, musicians, and book lovers to hear the born liar, her dad, tell some stretchers at on of my favorite southern independents, Davis-Kidd. The following morning I had one of the real thrills of my life. Hall of Fame radio personality Bill Cody of Guitar Town’s great WSM interviewed this country-music lover on his morning show, “Coffee, Country & Cody.” What an honor. Bill’s a voracious reader and a truly kind guy. That was a lot of fun.

So. How’s the Great American Book Tour shaking down thus far? Hey, I’m loving it. Sure, novelists are frauds and liars by profession, but as long as we admit it, who not? The world needs made-up stories and human beings have been making them up for a good long while.

On behalf of all of us prevaricating spinners of tales, tall and otherwise, thanks to our independent bookseller friends for selling our books and our readers for buying them.

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