A Dinner in Chicago
Chicago’s winter takes no prisoners. It is cold here. Too cold to snow. And yet, a lovely upstairs room at MK quickly filled up with intrepid booksellers, out on a cold, cold night. Fortunately, they agreed with me that it was, indeed, cold. I tried not to whimper. The room was warm and the booksellers warmer. Again, I am struck by the openness and willingness of booksellers to engage with stories, to take books to their hearts. Yes, of course, their businesses are books, but these are the very best of readers, the people you want when you’re looking for a good read. And how lucky I am that we had gathered to discuss my book, Amity & Sorrow.
These booksellers engaged with the book on a number of personal levels and the conversations were quiet, intimate, intense. It is thrilling that each city is so separate, so in and of itself. There is a universality of the passion one must have to sell a book, of course, and then there is the specificity to each shop, each town, each city. I am heartened that different kinds of readers can find different ways to read the same book, different paths through it to follow, different strands to push and pull. The dinner in Chicago felt completely different to the other two, and that is the strength of a tour of this kind. It is a reminder that each reading and reaction will be different and individual, and rightly so. It is up to each reader to decide which character or which element of story they will follow most closely. Or, perhaps it is not even a choice. Perhaps we really read with our hearts.
I am grateful to the many booksellers and local journalists who came out of the cold and into the warmth of our dinner and book chat. Many thanks to sales rep, Steve Marz, for his hospitality. It is much appreciated.
When next in Chicago, do visit these fine, fine independent bookstores and booksellers:
57th Street Books
Barbara’s at Willis Towers
Follett Higher Education Group
Lake Forest Books
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
The Book Stall
And last, but certainly not least, Women & Children First