Friday, April 18, 2008

books and authors and earthquakes

I woke up Thursday morning to the gentle shaking of an earthquake. It was not a bad way to wake up. I giggled and went back to sleep.

It was a long day, especially after the ER visit the night before and the little sleep I was running on. One of my favorite events of the year, the Book and Author reception was that evening. It was even better this year, since my sisters, dear sister-in-law and Mom were there.

Mom, Nora, Anna, Beth and Ann

I’m a member of the Christamore House Guild. The Guild does amazing things and is a huge financial supporter of the Christamore House. I never thought of myself as a Guild type of woman. Of course, I was not quite sure what a Guild did and I kind of thought you had to be blonde, be married and live in the suburbs. I was wrong, they welcomed with open arms the occasional dark haired, single urban dweller. I was hooked on Christamore House Guild when I first went to the Book and Author Benefit three years ago.

The first Book and Author luncheon was held 28 years ago and supports the Frances Carter Coburn Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund has provided over $850,000 to 550 students from the city’s Haughville neighborhood. My role in the Guild is to raise underwriting funds for the event.

This year’s authors were, Peter Carey, Hillary Jordan, Sue Miller, T.Jefferson Parker and Cokie Roberts. There was an author’s reception on Thursday evening. Cokie Roberts was not in town in time for this part of the benefit- the Guild was usurped by the Pope. The other four authors gave a little talk, mingled with the guests and signed books.

First time novelist Hillary Jordan has already won the Bellweather Prize for Mudbound. The award was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to recognize literature of social responsibility. Hillary was delightful and spoke about on the great work of the Christamore House. After hearing her speak, I went back for a second copy of her book. Don’t tell Mom about her Mother's Day gift.

Peter Carey has been called one of the greatest storytellers alive. His Illegal Self is his latest book and is set in New York in the 1960s. He is witty and charming. After hearing him speak I also purchased another copy of his book for a birthday gift.

Mom and Sue Miller

Sue Miller latest novel, The Senator’s Wife is based on several of her friends of friends who have taken an estranged spouse in during times of sickness. She is teaching at an MFA program in California. I asked is she was getting to do a lot of great reading. She said that some of her students still needed to hone their craft. She was very gracious about her student’s talent.

T. Jefferson Parker

T.Jefferson Parker writes about a modern Jesse James is his novel L.A.Outlaws. He lives in California and joked on Thursday night about loving the weather (it was 70 degrees that day) and the lack of earthquakes. He started his Friday speech thanking us “for making him feel at home with the nice gift basket and earthquake.”

The Friday luncheon was at the Indiana Roof. The event was a sell-out at 960 people. Vera Bradley gave each person an amazing book bag. It makes my canvas bags look a little plain. If you’ve ever been to an event at the Roof you know that they start the program with a faux thunderstorm complete with thunder and lightning. That just happened to coincide with the earthquake after-shock. It was very exciting!

Cokie Roberts signing Beth's book

Cokie Roberts spoke about her book, Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation. She talked about the women that helped shape our nation and the surreal experience of joining President and Mrs. Bush in greeting the Pope on the airport tarmac in New York earlier in the week.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

OOOH - that looks like so very much fun! Did you know that my co-worker Chris has a crush on Cokie? Creepy, eh?