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June 9, 2011

Author Event - Tayari Jones

About a week or so ago I decided I needed to get more involved in my local book scene. I am thoroughly enjoying the community I am forming online, but it would be nice to know some local book people. Lo and behold if I didn't see in our local arts paper a reading taking place next week at a local club. Not only that, but it was being hosted by a new local indie bookstore. Color me excited! I live in an artsy college town, but we are better known for our music scene. I contacted the bookstore owner to introduce myself as a local blogger (and to mention that my publishing house has a local author). She mentioned that there was an event tonight at the library. I hadn't heard of the author or the book, but decided to go anyways. Here my take on the night....

Silver SparrowThe first thing I noticed about Tayari Jones was how personable and funny she was, also she has a great voice for reading aloud. I'm always a little envious of people who can read out loud so well. Even her stumble over words didn't break her cadence. She read the first chapter of her new book Silver Sparrow. And just as Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Book Shop, said, the story grabs you from the start. I knew before she finished the chapter that I would be walking out with my own copy.


Typically southern fiction does not hold my interest (I was hard pressed in high school to find a book to do my southern fiction term paper on). Silver Sparrow is set in Atlanta, but it is not the aristocratic south that is portrayed in the book. The plot intrigued me enough to overlook the setting. It is the story of the other family and secret sisters, you know my panache for family drama.

During the Q&A time, I thought Tayari shared a poignant thought, "No one should be born into shame." As a society we know adultery occurs, but we seem shocked when the children of these affairs are discovered. We act horrified at the thought of man having a second family, but how often do we hear these stories on the nightly news?

Another reason she writes her stories is to capture the real history of Atlanta and her generation's perspective. It might not make it into a history book, but the Atlanta life as Tayari Jones experienced it will be forever immortalized in her works of fiction. Her other novel, Leaving Atlanta, captures the dark days of the Atlanta child murders.

Tayari also had many words of wisdom for writers (one, if you write you are a writer so don't call yourself an aspiring writer). I was quickly jotting down notes, because I knew the authors I work with would appreciate the advice. Two, a writer must be able to manage disappointment and be able to move on from rejection. Even if you have sold your first book it doesn't mean the rest of your journey will be all roses and sunshine. The third piece of advice she had for writers: commit to writing the book, not because you can get it published, but because it is a story you have to tell. And the last bits of wisdom dealt with writer's block. She compared it not being able to fall asleep. The more you worry about it, the more wound up you become which makes it more impossible to accomplish the task. Just relax.

Well, there you have it - my review of the event. It was a great event; I'm glad I got out on this rainy Thursday evening for it. Thank you Avid Book Shop, The Center for the Book, and Athens Public Library for sponsoring the event. And thank you Tayari Jones for making my little town a stop on your tour. I'm hoping to find a few friends to go next week with me, but if not I'll still probably go. I forgot my camera otherwise there might have been a few more pictures to share. But like I said I did walk out with an autographed copy (I'm amassing quite a collection of signed books). I will eventually have a review of the book (my TBR pile is growing quite tall).

Do you enjoy book signings and author readings? Share with me a favorite memory of meeting an author.

3 comments:

  1. This is great! I really need to check out local events and signings also.

    My favorite time at a signing was actually just after getting my library science degree, and I listened to Garrison Keillor speak at the university. We had an opportunity to get his latest book signed, and I waited for THREE HOURS. Instead of the line moving to him at a table, he made his way down the line, pen in hand.

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  2. BooksNyarn - they should have gotten you all chairs! But it is kind of nice thinking that the author came to you.

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  3. I have been watching this book and hoping she was going to come to my state but she is not scheduled. although i just may schedule her myself. anyway you penned a good writing. i'm very interested in her book now.

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