Tag: libraries

libraries

Authors and Books and Readers, Oh My

 Crime conference season is still in full swing. Thrillerfest takes place in New York City in a couple of weeks. (Yes, I’ll be there!) Bouchercon happens in Florida in September. Dozens of other events are scheduled worldwide between now and November. I counted 17 on Sisters in Crime’s upcoming events calendar. Libraries also kick off their summer reading programs this time of year. They host author events in conjunction with their efforts to encourage people to get out and read. This Saturday, June 30, from 1-3pm, I’ll be at the Dixon Public Library in Dixon, IL as part of their Summer Author Series. Author events and conferences have several things in common—authors, books, and readers. Beyond that, they’re as different as, well, authors, books, and readers. Some feature moderated panels. Several authors answer questions they may or may not have received in advance. Some feature interviews. Someone, usually an author, interviews the featured guest author in front of an audience. Authors read from their works at some events and give prepared speeches at others. Sometimes an author hosts a table. Readers may spend the entire event seated with the table’s host or they may move from table to table and meet several. These events usually involve food. Yum. This weekend’s event at the Dixon Public Library is a meet and greet and Q and A. Readers will ask me questions and I’ll try to answer them. What’s your favorite format for author events?

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Reader Seeks Unattached Book

 My local library is hosting “Blind Date with a Book” in honor of Valentine’s Day. The librarians put books inside gift bags so readers can’t see the title. (I’ve seen other libraries gift wrap the books.) They write a brief, cryptic description on the outside of the bag; readers choose a mystery book based on the description. I decided to try my luck and selected a bag based on the description: “Cambridge, Warm Beer and Hot Jazz, Jewelry Theft, Art Forgery”. The book inside turned out to be The Grantchester Mysteries: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death.Instead of asking the Missdemeanors a question this week, I gave them a challenge: Set up a book for a blind date–write a personals ad. Think of literary Tinder or eHarmony or old-school newspaper Lonely Hearts column. Can you guess the books from the descriptions? (No peeking at the answers, listed at the end of the post) TraceeMan wishes to meet woman who will ignore the recent brutal murder of his wife. Would prefer gal with house in decent neighborhood, but is willing to fund cheap hotels. Young daughter part of the deal, but she’s quiet and will give up riding shotgun and take the backseat. Must love tattoos, have no side deals with current prison inmates, and know how to follow life-and-death orders without question.BTW….. this is an amazing book.  SusanForty-two year-old Englishman looking for gentle companion to be his second wife. Offers a beautiful mansion in Cornwall, called Manderley. No need to worry about housekeeping, which is handled by a very capable woman. Prefers that candidate not like boating.  MicheleFormer television meteorologist who no longer wears make-up, no family to drag you to on Christmas, really it was an accident with my husband,  great relationship with my dog, seeks middle age guy who likes booze, islands, asks no questions, tells no lies, and doesn’t squirm when an occasional body shows up.  RobinSingle white male seeks companion for dinner. Likes: Italian wine, stimulating conversation. Dislikes: boredom. Fascinate me with your story and I’ll tell you anything.  CateSexy, 30s, homebody seeks same for candlelight dinners in. Must love red wine and cuddling up to old movies. Ability to play chess a plus. Handiness a definite plus. Ability to spend hours–weeks, years even–indoors an absolute plus.) AlisonTall, rugged self-starter seeking companionship in Wyoming. No strings attached. Wanderlust and love of coffee a plus. Please bring your own toothbrush. AlexiaSeeking companion to attend gathering on private island. Join eight other guests for food, drink, swimming. Housekeeping services available. Must enjoy gramophone recordings, poetry, and solving riddles. Weather may be inclement. Plan accordingly.  Choose your date. Guess the title. Tell us in the comments or over on Facebook. Answers listed below.  Tracee: She Rides Shotgun by Jordan HarperSusan: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurierMichele: No Virgin Island by Michele DorseyRobin: Silence of The Lambs by Thomas HarrisCate: The Woman In The Window by A.J. FinnAlison: The Midnight Line by Lee ChildAlexia: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie    

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For Love of Libraries

Today, at 7p.m., I am speaking at THE RAMSEY PUBLIC LIBRARY in Bergen County, NJ, where I grew up and now live. I am so thankful that they invited me and that I live in a place with wonderful local libraries.   Librarians rock. By and large, they are amazing sources of information. Most read constantly and pride themselves on acquiring good books and then recommending them to their visitors. As a result, a strong library system can be the difference between a wonderful work of fiction getting discovered by the masses.  One of the most well read people in the mystery, thriller community is librarian and author Jeff Ayers. Track him down at the next mystery conference and ask about a book that you enjoyed which no one has been able to talk to you about. Chances are, Jeff will know it. Chances are, he’ll even personally know the author. The library was where I discovered my own love of reading. My mom would take me several times a month to the TEANECK PUBLIC LIBRARY to stack up on new books. I loved holing away in a corner of the building, surrounded by the sweet, faintly earthy smell of paper and ink, and getting lost in a fictional universe for hours.  When I had my first interview for BusinessWeek, a magazine where I would later work for several years, it was in the Teaneck Public Library. I applied right out of college, before I had enough experience to warrant the job. The editor decided that I deserved some encouragement and met with me at the library to talk writing, journalism, and books.  Now a mom, I take my kids to the TENAFLY PUBLIC LIBRARY every month. They love picking out new books, though they have a bad habit of pretending they own them and integrating them into their own bookcases. The children’s librarian there has turned my kids on to some wonderful series that I would not have otherwise known about.  Do you visit your local library? What is your favorite library memory?    

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Your local library…

 I’m leaving in a few minutes to drive to my hometown (9 hours away, not a short hop). I’m doing this today – on this particular weekend – because they are having an author’s event and as a hometown girl I want to participate. Plus, I believe in local libraries. The Hopkins County – Madisonville Library was ‘my’ library growing up. It’s where we learned how to access microfilm and use interlibrary loan for research papers. It’s where books we would never have seen in our local bookstore were on display. It was a temple of quiet and calm and reading!  I have even fonder memories (no research papers attached) of the library near my grandparents. They lived on a plantation in northwest Mississippi and the next but one nearest town was Ruleville. (As an aside, Ruleville had a population around 3,000 and it was the BIG town.) When I was in grade school we spent every day of summer break at my grandparents, and I spent a good number of those days at that library. I remember it as a lovely modern brick building with small courtyards. My memories are so precise and pleasurable that I have never tried to find a real image on-line, I risk being disappointed.  In this era of digital and on-line everything I still believe in libraries. As an author I hope they stock my books, that they encourage reading, and provide a place for people to reflect and find joy.  Take a look at your local library and see what they offer…. then stop by for a visit. I suspect you’ll enjoy it.

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