Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Book Signing

For someone who loves books as much as I do, I've been to very few book signings/author events. I've never felt that much need to see an author in person. Mostly, it rarely occurs to me to make a special effort to go to a signing.

I did go to a couple of signings as a child, by Marguerite Henry. Her horse books were among my favorites, so Mom took me, a sister and a friend to see her at Robin's Bookshop in Geneva.

Perhaps 20 years later I went with Dad to a canoe expo in Madison. Not a likely place to meet an author, but Eddy Harris was promoting his book Mississippi Solo about his canoe trip the length of the Mississippi River. He looked about as out of place there as he must have felt on his trip, but we had a nice conversation. He went on to write other books about the African-American experience, including traveling in Africa.

A few years ago, I noticed that Christopher Moore was going to be at Third Place Books, which is not only one of my favorite places, but also easy for me to get to. He was so funny and entertaining that I've since gone to 2 more of his appearances. He draws quite a diverse crowd.(Although he is one of my favorite authors, he's not one I recommend to everyone. His books are most often classified as comic horror. Some parts are sometimes hard for me to take, but his witty use of language makes me laugh out loud.)

Last night, I went to see Alexander McCall Smith, also at Third Place Books. He was promoting the latest book in his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, called Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. There was a huge crowd, with a high percentage of gray-haired ladies. It got off to a rousing start as he was preceded into the area by a bagpiper in full regalia including kilt. I was a bit surprised that he didn't have more of a Scots accent, but I guess that's because he spent a lot of his life in Africa. He talked for about 30-40 minutes, actually talking about each of his series, and then answered some questions for 15-20 minutes before signing books.

He mentioned that in the new book, Violet Sepotho (Mma Grace Makutsi's arch enemy) takes a job at the Double Comfort Furniture Store for the express purpose of stealing Phuti away from Grace. The audience, in unison, oohed disapprovingly. And Alexander responded, That's exactly how I felt.

Someone asked if 'traditionally built' was a phrase used in Botswana. He said no, it wasn't used there, he had invented it for the first book, and he was 'jolly proud' that it had become so popular. It was a fun evening.


  1. That sounds like a fun time. I have read the whole series of the Detective Ladies and enjoyed them.

  2. I have read some of these but not all yet. I really enjoy the books and the TV series. Have you seen the series on HBO? I like it a lot

  3. I haven't seen the TV series - I don't have HBO. But Mr. Smith assured a questioner that it would be released on DVD. He thought it was well done, by the way.