• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Everybody Plays the Fool Somtimes



I had a reading over the weekend at a local Barnes & Noble. It was a Saturday morning and I figured I’d be lucky if two or three people showed. There were seven or eight, plus me, my mom, and one other Bridge lady. We just sat around and talked about mothers and daughters, and assisted living options in the area.

Do you go to readings? What are you looking for?

7 Responses

  1. No, I don’t go to readings. I used to go to readings, a long time ago. I was looking for love. That’s what I’m always looking for. Along with food, clothing, shelter, gainful employment, and affordable medical care. Wish me luck! They’re out there, somewhere (Area 52?).

  2. No, but I should! If I did, I’d be looking for tips. Like, how to not look nervous (a place to set your book while you read is key, I would think)

  3. The last reading I went to was yours in Madison, CT.
    I’m not sure what I was looking for other than a place near enough (to the famous author) so I could hear but not be called upon (by the teacher).
    The place was packed, the reading was great, your mom’s a hoot and it was great to meet you; everything a reading should be.
    Oh, the book is damn good too.

  4. I’ve worked a thousand readings in my bookselling days. The round-table discussion with six people seem the most meaningful. Readings are always wistful (when I’m not working them), because you have a relationship with the book but not the author.

  5. No. I like my book experiences to be private. Like when I am in my hammock or favorite chair. I don’t like to give readings when I am the only author and have started refusing invitations to do them. I would much rather be on book panels with interesting authors to discuss writing ideas, literature and life in general. I will only go to a single author reading event, if you are also a great actor, have a Scottish accent, and have memorized every line of Macbeth (Alan Cumming). So those criteria keep me at home most of the time.

  6. Sometimes. I went to visit with a friend in Lake Placid last year and brought along a copy of his book. His was more a signing than a reading. Kind of boring.
    Went to a Russell Banks reading and that was really fun — he read some stories and was gracious while signing books for his attentive audience.

  7. I go to readings with authors I love and I plan to go to yours when you’re in the Philadelphia area or Cape May. Your book is awesome, and I’d really enjoy meeting you and hearing you (and your mother if she’s with you) read, and speak about your process.

    As a publisher/author, my work is all about mother/daughter stuff, so I feel your pain. The poorest turnout for a reading my mother and I did was at a Walden Books (remember them?) in the Cherry Hill Mall. It was the autumn of 1992 and there was a large dump of the re-released Autobiography of Malcolm X (to coincide with Spike Lee’s film) next to our table. Madonna had just released her aluminum-bound, shelf-banned book, SEX, which was kept under the counter, behind us.

    My mother and I were presenting THE VIEW IN WINTER, a book of poetry by my 92-year old grandmother, Margery Wells Steer (1899-1992), illustrated by my mother, Alice Steer Wilson, who was a well known painter. Margery’s book was up against Malcolm’s and Madonna’s. As the publisher/editor/publicist I was ready to slit my wrists! A steady of stream of customers would enter, walk past us, and ask the staff, “Do you have SEX?”

    My Victorian grandmother’s book had no sex, but we did entertain a handful of readers and sold some copies. I measure the success of a book event by book sales, friends made, and lessons learned. Margery’s book is still in print, still selling 🙂

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