Upon hearing about Atria Book's plan for a multi-author twelve-city bus tour, I could only be grateful that it wasn't me who'd be stuck in a bus for umpteen days (Eight? Twelve? Two hundred? ) However long, I could only imagine bad food, cramped quarters, and the wheels of the bus going round and round until I needed Dramamine.
Now I'm wondering who to bribe to get invited on the next one.
I went for my friendship with M.J. Rose, and for being a fellow Atria author; I left clutching four new books and wearing an energized smile. In our age of pajama-clad, social media isolation, this in-person (I went to the Framingham Barnes & Noble) event engendered a yearning to read more and a sense of reading community. These four Atria Mystery Bus Tour authors thoroughly engaged me:
John Connolly's declamation on books as touchstones of our lives brought uh huh's, you tell it, brother, church nods, from the audience. William Kent Krueger's stories of mid-life crisis, dire winter settings, and earrings for men had me eager to read his books. Liza Marklund's vibrant descriptions of her character -- Annika Bengtzon -- intense, demanding, and vulnerable, left me dazzled. M.J. Rose's explanations of how Cleopatra's lost book of fragrances stimulated her novel, wrapped her story in history, and merged it with the 'what if' we seek in great fiction. (And she actually had perfume for the audience!)
It's a wonderful thing to be in the community of readers -- and it was clear that these four authors were first and foremost, book lovers. I'm sorry if any of them get car sick, but it's a great ride for those of us lucky enough to catch them in action. Check the schedule. See if your city is included. Take off your pajamas and get thee to a real life bookstore.