Last night, my colleague and I had the opportunity to attend a dinner in Cambridge, MA for two upcoming debut novelists, Hyatt Bass and Christian Moerk, at a lovely little restaurant called Harvest.
I have to tell you, I love author dinners. Not only do I get to meet these wonderful new (and old) writers, and Hyatt and Christian were no exception, but I also get to talk with other booksellers in the area to get and incorporate new ideas into the Odyssey, as well as get an excellent meal for free.
Generally speaking, it's sometimes hard to get into a detailed conversation with the writers unless you're lucky enough to sit right next to them, but last night, both authors did a marvelous job engaging both ends of the table and I would bring either of them to my store in a heartbeat. Christian's new novel, Darling Jim, which I think I mentioned before, is coming out late this Spring, and is one of the most disturbing (but great) novels I've read in a while. It takes place in Ireland and opens with the discovery of three female bodies in the house of an older woman, who at one point, has taken her nieces hostage and clearly, um, done away with them. The rest of the novel details why. It's terrifying and gripping.
Hyatt's novel, The Embers, is equally as good, but a little easier on the stomach. It's a delightful, but slightly heart-wrenching family story about the mistakes we make and how those mistakes (accidents or not) affect us. It's poignant, reflective, lovely.
So, the authors were a delight, but I also got to know a few of my colleagues (if it's ok to call them that) at the Harvard Bookstore a little better. I've met them a few times at various conferences and dinners and have found them both to be unbelievably intelligent and extremely well-read. In other words, they kind of put me to shame, and I feel like a small child in awe of them, star-struck, as they are the up-and-coming bookseller goddesses, and I'm still a bit of a newbie.
But, putting silliness and self-deprecation aside, nothing feels better than getting together with book people outside of your store who can give you fresh ideas and sympathize with your plights, along with meeting new authors, and eating marvelous food.
And, I get paid for it.