Oh, my, goodness! Sit back and prepare to be entertained, dazzled, and maybe a little bit exhausted reading about the wonderfulevents BookPeople in Austin has thrown for novelist Sarah Bird. While most stores have the attitude of “if the author’s happy, the reading is well-attended, and we sell a good number of books …it’s a success,” BookPeople embraces the pursuit of happiness in a very big way! Sarah has experienced dancing (go-go and flamenco!), mixed drinks, and movie star look-alikes at her events.
Sarah Bird is the author of eight novels, the most recent, The Gap Year, is high on my to-be-read stack. The Gap Year explores that bumpy time in a mother-daughter relationship, the last hurrah before college looms and the nest empties. The Gap Year is featured in Good Housekeeping’s Summer Beach Reads 2011 and Yahoo’s 10 Best Books for Summer. You can visit Sarah Bird’s website, and learn more about her via Facebook and twitter.
Now, let’s visit BookPeople via this post (and, yes, I would LOVE to visit this store in person!):
“A Buzz With Every Book.” More mantra than motto, more mission than mandate, the best indie bookstore in America, BookPeople, set me on this noble pursuit.
At first it seemed as if my bond with BookPeople would be dance. I debuted at BP with my fifth novel, The Yokota Officers Club. That one draws on my inglorious two weeks in show business when I was a go-go dancer touring the military clubs around Tokyo as the intermission act with a third-rate comedian. No offense intended. I was, maybe, a fifth-rate dancer. In honor of my heroine getting her go-go groove on, BookP, always ready to carry on in the true Austin spirit, and I cooked up a contest: Winner was whoever could reprise the most number of moves named on “Land of a 1,000 Dances.” Generous points were awarded for enthusiasm.
Dance was foreordained for the next book, The Flamenco Academy. At nearly all the events I did for this intense novel about obsessive love, I was able to bring in a dancer to demonstrate some flamenco basics and that evening at La Gente de Libro was no exception. From Houston to New York, I presented with gifted professionals who transformed stores with their fiery duende, but no crowd was more enthusiastic than the one here in my own hometown where I taught animated Austinites the finer points of jaleo. In other words, what to yell when you like what the dancer, guitarists, and singers are doing. (Screaming olé might cut it at a bullfight, but the true flamenco insider will gravely pronounce the aficionado’s óle with the accent on the first syllable.)
My seventh, How Perfect Is That, satirizes the anomalous Republican social scene that sprang to life here in Austin when Bush the Second stumbled into the White House. Centered on a scoundrel of a caterer who’d made her now-vanished fortune during the dot.com years, our heroine is powered by greed and a concoction she’s dubbed Code Warrior. This magic elixir of vodka, Red Bull, Paxil, and just a pinch of Oxycontin begged for a counterpart in real life and so, with the help of donations from Austin’s own Tito’s Vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange, I cooked up a drain-cleaning cocktail of my own to serve.
Then, just because How Perfect is that kind of novel, and BookPeople is that kind of place, and
Austin is that kind of town, I brought in Dennis Quaid to give hand jobs and Nurse Naughtina to provide free Botox fresheners and whatever mood-stabilizer might be required. Rohypnol dispensed to help forget the Bush administration proved popular. Some at BookPeople that evening might have argued that the “Botox” was really Windex, the Rohypnol, Smartees, and that those full-release manipulations might, in fact, have been provided by my lawn guy who bears an eerie resemblance to the less-crazy Quaid brother. Many countered that whoever he was, he was better looking than the movie star in question and a gifted masseur to boot, so they did not care.
On the day after this past Fourth of July, we released The Gap Year and celebrated the independence of number eight with another BookPeople Buzz Off. Among the many things that I love about Austin is how the spirit of the counter-culture as embodied in The Armadillo World Headquarters lives on in the city’s let’s-put-on-a-show attitude. Once again Tito’s Vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange stepped forward, happy to be part of the mix for my latest creation, the Zen Mama Cocktail. Named for the unflappable persona the heroine must adopt to deal with her teenage daughter’s surliness, this concoction is, essentially, very alcoholic, very sweet, very lemony, very cold iced tea. A sort of speedball of the South, Zen Mamas proved especially popular with the moms of seniors in high school. It takes a whole lot of cocktails to get a kid into college and launched on a grown-up life these days. Thank God, BookPeople understands that.
So, while the debate might rage on about whether that was or was not a certain movie star with a killer grin fingering fingers that night, all agree that hand jobs, a nurse in pink plastic latex, and Zen Mama cocktails could have happened in no other store than BookPeople. And that BookPeople could have happened in no other city than Austin.
This post is just one stop of Sarah Bird’s online tour for The Gap Year with TLC Book Tours. Visit these other blogs for more about the author and her novels – reviews, interviews, guest posts, giveaways (hint, come back here tomorrow!):