Friday, July 16, 2010

Anxiety of the literary kind

by Rachel
A few weeks ago I went to see Peter Carey at a reading for his new book, Parrot and Olivier in America. Just a little over 200 people crammed into a small theatre to hear—in my opinion—a storyteller like no other. With his thick Aussie accent and dry sense of humor, the audience was captivated and on the edge of their seats (at least I was—I was sitting in the back and wouldn’t see otherwise) as passages were read from the book. Following an amusing discussion and question/answer session, I thought, Peter Carey is as cool as a cucumber; he’s an amazing writer and speaker.

If you read Melanie Benjamin’s article on Huffington Post, you’ll realize that not every author is as cool and calm as we think they are. This is truly an hysterical take on what it’s like to be an anxious author at a book club meeting. I’m sure Melanie appears cool and calm in person, but reading of her dread at the thought of skyping with readers made me laugh, especially after reading this line: “I'd have to arrange good lighting, so that my older face would match my younger voice. I would have to experiment with camera angles, so that my nostrils wouldn't frighten whatever small children might be in the room.”

I haven’t been to any disastrous book club meetings or bookstore readings (yet), but I love a good hot literary mess, and would love to hear about your experiences!

2 comments:

  1. I saw picture book author, illustrator Christopher S. Jennings doing a reading of his book Animal Band at a bookstore. He was delightful and got the kids to interact with his musical noises at each page turn. When he talked about his inspiration for the book, his cat Rock that had died before the book was published, a child in the audience asked what Rock did all day. He replied, “He loves pushing up daisies, for those who know what I mean.” We all laughed at his attempt at avoiding an awkward moment, and he carried on seamlessly.

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