Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"No, I Don't Know That Author"

The American Library Association had their convention here in New Orleans this week. They are the first convention since Katrina that hasn't cancelled, and I can't tell you how grateful everyone is. The businesses downtown need conventions to survive, so this was an important boost to the local economy. Thank you, ALA

I did a book signing at the convention yesterday. Those signings are enormous fun because the publishers give the books away for free and there are always lots of people eagerly lining up for an autographed copy. A small taste of what it would be like to be Pat Conroy.

My favorite was this one woman, who when I asked, “Would you like a free, signed book?” looked at the poster advertising my signing, made a face, and said, “No. I don’t know that author,” and walked off. I guess Pat Conroy doesn’t get that too often!

One nice benefit of signing at the ALA: you come home with bags and bags of free books. Now, where to put them all?

What I’m reading…

Fiction: A mystery I won’t name, in adherence to my policy. There’s a quote from People on the front, describing the NYT bestselling author as “The female John Grisham.” Ah…no. It’s a very straightforward mystery with none of the complexity or Faustian overtones of a Grisham novel. And this author either is a very bad lawyer, or else she has no respect for her readers’ intelligence. She seems to make it a habit of ignoring whatever might get in the way of her lazy plotting. For example, we have a long scene in which a witness is giving hearsay evidence, and our heroine attorney does not object—not once. Why? Because the author needed the testimony as a plot device. I won’t be reading another.

Nonfiction: THE HUNDRED YEAR LIE, by Randall Fitzgerald.

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