I was a reader well before I was a writer, and curling up with a good book is still one of my favorite activities. I usually have a stack of books scattered around the house. (And now that my daughter is just like me, those stacks are precariously high.) If I had to choose between reading and writing, it would be hard, but reading would win. (I could still TELL stories in this deal, right?)
Although I must confess I’ve downloaded ebooks (mostly when pressed for time) I still prefer to buy them in the old-fashioned format. I like to wander the aisles of a bookstore and stumble upon an author I’ve never heard of before. I like to open a new book and have the world around me disappear, to stand, barely breathing, until the voice or the shadow of another customer jostles me back to reality. I like taking that book to the counter and hearing the clerk say “Oooh, you are going to love this. And have you read X?” and then having a 15 minute talk about our favorite authors. I don’t want that to go away.
That’s why I’m so happy that places like The Andover Bookstore and RJ Julia exist. And why I was so happy to do my first two readings at these stores.
Here’s the scoop on the first reading at the Andover Bookstore – I was nervous. So nervous that I could literally feel my knees shaking. (The high heels I was wearing didn’t help much either.) I looked out and saw so many people I couldn’t breathe for a second. But then the big blur turned into individual faces — my family, my friends, my children’s teacher, my husband — and I found that if I could look at each person, not at the crowd, it was okay. And then I looked up — The Andover Bookstore has a second story with a balcony — and I saw my daughter and her best friend, waiting for me to start, and suddenly I was just a reader in the aisles, sharing a bit of a book with my favorite fellow book lover. And I took a deep breath and was able to begin.
If you came that night, thank you. If you’ve been to the Andover Bookstore before, you know it is a cozy kind of place, with cookies and coffee, deep armchairs and a fireplace. If you’ve never gone, do me a favor and check it out. You may even find me there, hidden in the aisles with my daughter. Make sure you come over and say hi, because we might not see you. We’ll be reading.