I'm not much for poetry readings, but I love books and had always wanted to visit Shakespeare and Co. bookshop in Kernersville, so I drove up to see what was going on at the Press 53 Wine and Words fest. http://www.press53.com/
The questions in my mind - shallow though they seem - were: Is this store as great as it sounds, with rooms and rooms of old books and nooks to get lost in? Is the wine free? Do I have to stay the whole 3 hours or can I graciously slip out?
The answers: Shakespeare was pretty neat, but not what I expected. It's all NEW books - a regular bookstore - and only a couple of rooms of the huge warehouse that is becoming a funky, great courtyard, not-very-accessible kinda mall. The wine was not free, but I still enjoyed it. The disadvantage to drinking wine is that you can't take it with you, so I ended up staying and being tempted by more books! And no, I didn't have to stay the whole time, but I was having fun so I did anyway.
I bought a mystery with a great first sentence, and the Press 53 anthology - less than a week off the press. I had some of the winners sign it. One young man smiled sheepishly and said this was the first book he'd ever signed - how cool is that! I never seem to get around to reading anthologies, but I devoured one of the stories before the show got started. And the poetry readings were very good.
I thought I was done spending money when another book called out to me during the break, "Last Child in the Woods." I've long had a theory, with no hard evidence, that electronic media is a major cause of attention deficit disorders. In other words, have you ever met a child with ADD or ADHD that never had T.V., like in the Amish communities? Well, this author had researched the media, as well as indoors-all-the-time factors. It called to me.
Looking at that book was like communing with the author, while the room full of living, breathing literati faded into smoke. The exception was the lady who sat next to me. She is just as obsessed with history as I am. She's writing about the history of the land on which she lives and I am writing about my ancestors. She was very encouraging - what are the odds of us sitting together!