I was a little embarrassed when an author who was about to embark on a book tour asked me what stop I’d liked best, and I didn’t have a ready answer. It’s partly because I visited so many places – it will be 32 by Christmas, with more to come in the New Year – and also probably because of my intense self-scrutiny when going “on stage” – e.g., Do I have salad dressing on my top?, Will I mangle the names of the central characters in The Orphanmaster? But some of the stores and other places I spoke at are honestly a little blurry.
Not so, these:
R.J.Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT, where the sparkplug owner of the shop had me upstairs behind the scenes to chat until just time to start
Book Passage, Corte Madeira, CA, which presented me with initial-engraved stationery as a keepsake as I went out the door
Bryant Park Reading Room, NYC, in the immense shadow of the New York Public Library I love so much
The Hudson Library, Hudson OH, a new, immaculate cathedral of a place that drew hordes of readers to my talk
The University Settlement Society,, where I spoke about Love, Fiercely, and met an outspoken descendant of my subject, I.N. Phelps Stokes
A stint at the continuing care facility where my folks live, with beaming, encouraging faces all through the audience
And finally the Miami Book Fair, a swirling, euphoric chaos of books and authors, where volunteers held the doors open for me when I entered the author hospitality suite and made me feel like a queen.
These are just a few highlights of the tour for which I am so thankful, which made me appreciate anew the affection people have for reading and for books, and even sometimes for authors.