Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What makes a good reading?

I don't know about you, but doing readings makes me anxious. I worry, who will show up? What if they don't like what I'm reading, or what if they hate what I have on? Going to readings can be dicey, too. I've gone to readings where authors have droned on and I've had to entertain myself by doing math equations in my head until it's over. Some authors are incredible writers but they speak in tones so soft or emotionless that you want to just open up their book and read.

So, let us now praise Clea Simon's reading. It was freezing cold last night--17 degrees with the wind chill, dark and windy but of course I went to see her. She's a great reader, her books are wonderful, and she's my friend. A handful of people showed up, but we ended up having an amazing time. What was so interesting about last night was how the event really was an event, and here's why.

1. First, the bookstore, Partner's & Crime on Greenwich, is wonderful and cozy. There's a fireplace and there are tons of shelf-talkers (you know, those labels that call out why you need to buy a certain book). The owner is wonderful and you just have a sense that this is a bookstore where they really know and love books.

2. Second, Clea. Clea got into a conversation with the audience. We talked about her book, we talked about the animal groups that want to do away with domesticated animals, we talked about reptiles and different kinds of cats and writing, and every single person was engaged and laughing and talking and not wanting to stop. It was electric!

Next reading, I'm cutting down on the actual reading and talking more to my audience. By listening to her audience and really wanting to know what they had to say and feel and think, Clea really made the night, well just plain special.


Keith Wilson said...

This is a very interesting post. I've seen articles on what to expect, and how to handle book signings. But I've read any advice on readings.

I am an author, and have done readings to various groups and at libraries. I usually read a chapter, then take questions and open to discussion. You've given me some good ideas to consider in the future.

please visit my website and writer's blog.

Keith Wilson said...

Sorry, Caroline,
I meant to say "I've NEVER read any advice..."