Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or treat: Turn to books for the best treats!

By Judy Christie

As reader and writer, I’m astounded at how many treats there are in the world of books. You don’t have to knock on your neighbor’s door to savor these, and costumes aren’t usually required.  A few ways to experience the best book treats:
** For a jolt of delight, make a quick list of books that have been treats for you, stories that surprised, delighted, moved you to action, changed the way you think.  For most readers, this list is long and diverse.  For example, I’d put the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warren here because as a child, the series helped hook me on books. I’d add “The Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd, a terrific book that made me commit to write a Southern novel of my own.   What books do you have in your bag of treats?
** Read different kinds of books.  When I started my consulting business eight years ago, a friend gave me “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber.  I learned much from that book and recommend it. Great ideas are great ideas, and they pop up in all sorts of books.
** Attend events where you can meet authors.  No matter where you live, I can almost guarantee there’s an author headed to your neck of the woods.  A great example:  the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend in Jefferson, Texas, each January. Last year I met Pat Conroy, Mary Kay Andrews, Elizabeth Berg and a long list of other fantastic authors. They were accessible, entertaining and enlightening.  I heard Kathryn Stockett talk about “The Help” at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. I met Charlaine Harris at Author! Author! and Rick Bragg and Clyde Edgerton at Authors in April, all in Shreveport, La.  With a little research and not a lot of money, you can hear lots of great authors in many venues.
** Visit sites that have literary significance. This past week I went to the John Steinbeck Museum in Monterey, Calif., a phenomenal museum that made me want to run out and read every Steinbeck novel and sit down and write more novels myself. Find special spots in your area or on your travels.
** Attend a book club. I recently spoke to a group in Minden, La., about my novels, “Gone to Green,” and “Goodness Gracious Green.” This club  started in 1919, and I wonder how many lives have been changed by what the group has read and the ensuing conversations. As  a member of the Red River chapter of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, I participated two weeks ago in a Skype visit with Helen Simonson, author of ”Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” a charming and bestselling author chatting and answering questions.
 ** Invite an author to an event or for a conference call.  Years ago, when I was a newspaper editor on the Space Coast, a staff member asked Pat Conroy, aforementioned famous and busy author, to participate in a call with our writing group.  He said yes, and the discussion was a literary treat.  Most published authors are happy to connect with readers. I know I am!
So, on this Halloween weekend, what are your literary treats? Would love to see your comments below.What books delighted you? Have you had a treat of an encounter with an author?

About the author of this blog:  Judy Christie loves to sit in the porch swing and think about books.  Her second novel, “Goodness Gracious Green,” part of The Green Series, came out in August, and she’s the author of the Hurry Less Worry Less nonfiction series. For more information about Judy or to receive her e-newsletter, see  Judy also welcomes Facebook friends.


Peggy Webb said...

Reading your post was like taking a tour through your library. Loved it. Elizabeth Berg, whom you menioned, writed lovely, spare prose that sings on every page. I'd have to add her books to some of the many treats I've enjoyed through the years. She's a great lady, too. I met her at the Southern Kentucky Bookfest in Bowling Green. BTW, that's also where I met our own gracious Karin Gillespie!

Unknown said...

Judy, you mentioned it for me, our annual Girlfriend Weekend! We are SOLD OUT this coming year but I do a smaller more intimate version of that weekend too! Come to Books Alive, the other book festival that I do where Judy Christie will be here in person to talk of her wonderful books, November 12 - 14, 2010,! No tricks when it comes to treating ourselves to reading books and not as fattening either, hahhahahaha! Loved you blog!

nreddick said...

Great post. You have some great ideas for writers to get even more connected. The story of the group phone call with Conroy is an excellent idea!

Anonymous said...

You gave me some ideas for reading things I read a long time ago - with an adult eye this time! Love you! - Sis