Phew. What a day. The 26th Annual Book and Author Lunch was held at the Newton Marriott (with over 245 people in attendance) to hear Andre Dubus III and Anita Shreve speak. Mayor Setti Warren made a nice speech before the lunch and the very dedicated Friends of the Newton Free Library did a wonderful job organizing this event.
When the Library has visiting authors, someone from the volunteers “hosts” them – basically makes sure they are comfortable. Anita Shreve was to be hosted by a lovely friend who needed me to pinch hit at the last minute. Gladly. I like Anita Shreve’s writing and have read more than a few. Was I nervous? Well, if you measure sheer nervous energy by the sheer volume of words – yes, I was. I have hosted authors before and didn’t think I would be, but I was. I did google her before lunch, mostly to refresh my memory – I knew Weight of Water and The Pilot’s Wife off the bat but she has fifteen books listed on her website (a very thorough and lovely website). Hopefully we made Ms. Shreve feel welcome (I did open her water bottles and protect her dessert) and luckily Andre Dubus is a charming force of nature and is friends with Anita. So I scooted over and let them sit next to each other. The conversation was lively and the talks were inspiring. Go to the Newton Free Library page where I hope that Anita’s recommendations will soon be posted, I want to read (or re-read) each writer on her list.
Andre was engaging, funny, charmingly edgy and handsome (bonus in a room of women) and most of the audience is ready to sign up to audit one of his writing classes. You can tell that he loves what he does, both writing and teaching – and his enthusiasm is contagious. You can see for yourself in this video.
His new book is due out in February, called Townie about growing up in a New England mill town. I can’t wait to read it – I think his voice will be so strong in this book. All in all a very interesting day.