–Thursday night, Odyssey Bookshop: South Hadley is a far away land, at least for me, and if driving through two hours of non-accumulating-but-annoying snow and sleet is some kind of entry-into-the-Berkshires-test, I aced that sucker. Or maybe that’s a Free Masonry test, I’m not sure. Regardless, I shared the reading stage with the talented and magical Jedediah Berry. Jedediah read from The Manual of Detection, and then read part of a modular short story (which was envy-inducing with its awesomeness) , with scenes written on note-cards that he shuffled like a deck and had an unsuspecting audience member cut. All I brought was a rock.
In the audience were three other amazing writers (and yes, I’m implying Jedediah and I are amazing writers) Holly Black, David Anthony Durham, and Robert Reddick. The five of us went to dinner in Amherst and had a lovely time while a man in another room played the blues and in the men’s bathroom, the locals gathered for lively conversation. I am not speaking in code. (Read this for David’s account of the evening)
Later, I crashed at Jedediah’s place, met his housemate Katy and Milton the wonderdog. Milton was particularly charming, though he hazed me by unfolding the blankets that I had painstakingly folded, which resulted in a citation and a small fine because I broke an obscure blue law: one must not allow guest-used blankets to be unfolded by a Chihuahua with a first name that begins with M.
(Thanks to Emily and the staff at Odyssey for a great event!)
–Friday Night, Front Street Book Shop: Front Street Book Shop is in Sciutate, a small coastal town on the south shore of Massachusetts, home of my in-laws. I met owner Peg Patten last fall at a mystery con where our dinner table was forced to write a murder song. Thankfully, there was no singing on Friday. But there were, however, three real Genevich’s in the reading audience. I was only verbally threatened twice during the evening.
Peg and her staff (including one woman named Peggy; I never asked if FSBS was like the Ramones of bookselling) were incredibly warm, helpful, and accomodating, and I hope to back there very soon.
–Saturday afternoon, Cornerstone Books: It was a beautiful spring day in the city of Witches. Salem that is. I grew up in Beverly (the town neighboring Salem, and the home of John Hale, of course) so this was sort of a hometown gig for me. Jonathan (thanks Jonathan!) at the Cornerstone let me run amuck through the store, which was probably unwise, but I didn’t do any real damage. I did notice that Joe Hill had already been to the store, signed everything, and left little red horns everywhere. While I did not morally approve of his obvious use of witchcraft and other assorted warlockery, I remained composed for my stay at the store.
At the reading I met John, he of a history degree and reader of noir and PK Dick. John’s wife helps to run the Salem Athenaeum which is only one of 16 subscription libraries left in the US. They were celebrating the library’s 200th birthday on Saturday, along with a fundraiser that evening. I hope it went well for them. And coincidentally enough, there was an article about the Athenaeum in the Globe today. Give it a read and consider a donation!
My children were at the reading too. They were bored. Sorry, guys.
Post-reading, there was dinner with friends and family, then my mother, aunt and I hit Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, which, apparently, is rated number 1 out of 38 things to do in Salem. I thought there was at least 53 things to do in Salem, but I could be wrong. The Gallery was harmless fun. It was nice to see Hammer Films (an Oliver Reed werewolf) and Peter Cushing’s likenesses represented!