Author Event: Samuel Shem

We braved a tremendous thunderstorm to join 40-50 others at the Harvard Book Store last night.  After previewing some other upcoming bookstore events, author Samuel Shem was introduced to a hearty round of applause. 

Shem joked that we got a ”real bargain”, with his free reading: Salman Rushdie will be at the store next month; tickets for that event are $5.  He gave a nod to independent bookstores (formerly the BookSense alliance, now IndieBound), and encouraged the audience to continue to support this vital arm of the community.

He read several passages from his newest novel, The Spirit of the Place (see my review here).  As usual, I gleaned even more from hearing the author read his work than I had from my own reading of it.  There is great foreshadowing in the opening scene, when one of the characters states, “in our very brokenness…is our wealth.”  Those who have read the book will understand how that sentiment echoes at the conclusion of the story.

Shem opened up the floor to questions from the audience.  He spoke a bit about influences from his own childhood, and from his work as a psychiatrist.  When asked for advice to a would-be author, Shem replied “I write because I can’t not write“, encouraging the novice to keep at it if she has a true hunger for writing.

After the reading and question/answer session, Shem graciously signed books.  It was a very enjoyable evening; I highly recommend that you investigate author events at your local bookstore.  Many store have readings and book discussion groups listed on their websites or via an e-newsletter.


No comments yet to Author Event: Samuel Shem

  • It’s been too long since I’ve been to an author event. Reading your post made me realize I miss them and must make time for them again.

    Hope you enjoy Abbeville. The “It’s a Wonderful Life” subtext is subtly handled — which served the book well and permitted the father-son theme, the book’s primary theme, to resonate more fully.

  • bookroomreviews

    How cool! Great picture too:)

  • kegsoccer

    Awesome that you were there! I’ve never been to an author event, and I was just in Boston a couple weeks ago. I’m sorry I missed it, sounds like you had a great time.

  • Dawn

    I really enjoy attending author events; hearing the words (at a reading) in the author’s own voice enhances the way I read a book. Often the floor is opened up to questions, and the dialogue gives more insight to the author and his inspirations and writing techniques.

    Our local book shop frequently has events on Sunday afternoons; it’s great to walk into town, sit in on the presentation, then engage in a little chit-chat and have my book signed. Maybe some of that creative talent will rub off on me!

    bookroomreviews – thanks for the thumbs up on the picture. It’s the first time I’ve asked an author for a photo, and I felt like a bit of a stalker!

    kegsoccer – check out the e-mail list for your local book store, maybe they have events like this from time to time.

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