Friday, February 27, 2009

A Warm, Interesting Place

by Cathy Pickens.

In the midst of continuing bad economic news, I’ve seen glimmers of good news. Last week in Hilton Head, record numbers of readers turned out to raise funds to support literacy efforts. Today in Columbia, the South Carolina Book Festival opens, with readers gathering in Columbia to hear writers from around the country talk about their favorite topic – books. What could be more fun than that?

Books are a perennial bright spot. I’ve lately found myself reading even more than usual. Because the weather has been cold and I want to nestle into a cocoon? Because who can bear to watch TV when the newsbreaks are naught but bad news?

Whatever the reason, I’ve been devouring books. And the reading has been good. I stayed up late last night to finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I wanted to pack Dan Simmons’ new book Drood for this weekend’s trip to the Festival.

Last weekend, I finished Michael Gruber’s The Book of Air and Shadows. Wow! It reminded me of hearing mystery writer Martha Grimes talk about lying in bed as she finished one of Dennis Lehane’s books. She closed the book and said to herself, “Well, Martha. You didn’t write that book. You might as well just die.”

I wasn’t ready to die at the end of Air and Shadows, but I did sit amazed at how he’d put together such an amazing, literate page-turner.

How else can you travel to a rainy wood in England or meet a quirky Polish family in Queens, all while curled up in front of a fire?

If you have the wherewithal, buy a book. Give books as gifts. Treat yourself to a new author or an old favorite. Books are remarkable bargains. Remember bookstores, writers, and even libraries need your patronage. So they can keep writing and offering books, so we can keep going to interesting places.

No need to wait for "beach book" season. Share your favorite reads with friends and family. Join a book club, if you haven’t already. Go listen to writers and readers talk about books at some place like the SC Book Festival. Best of all, just enjoy!

New book news: Can’t Never Tell, the 5th Southern Fried mystery, is now available. The carnival comes to town for the 4th of July, bringing a mysterious mummy.

1 comment:

Nicole Seitz said...

Was great to see you in Hilton Head! I've got a photo on my web site...