After two false starts, I was lucky enough that this was the book event I was able to attend. I showed up at the Eat My Words bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis and found a charming, if a bit small, shop. I wandered around looking for where the reading might be before heading back to the counter. I asked about it and was directed to the two people sitting in cozy chairs behind me!
The woman on the left is Carolyn Porter, author of Marcel’s Letters, the fascinating true story of a French man who was conscripted into a labor camp in Nazi Germany and whose letters found their way to 21st century Stillwater. I settled into the chair next to her and introduced myself. She spend thirty to forty minutes reading passages from the book and the next hour or so talking with us about everything we could think to ask. We managed to turn the hour-long event into an hour and a half!
The event wasn’t what I was expecting, but that turned out to be for the best as I got a chance to chat with and know the author. We even discussed the possibility of doing an event at my library in Northfield. I found the event through Rain Taxi, a Minneapolis-based literary organization. Their Twin Cities literary calendar was a godsend as I tried to plan out my project. I also found the Facebook event for the reading which gave me even more information.
The introduction was more of being pointed to the chair by the woman at the desk. I was, as I mentioned, expecting a larger space and a few more people, though that is certainly not a complaint on my end. If every reading I went to was that personal, I would be a happy man. Though if more people had shown up, I’m not sure their space would have been big enough to host them. There were two recliners and one two-person sized couch. Beyond that, there was some standing room near the front door, but that was not ideal either.
Porter herself was fascinating and hearing her story of creating a font and uncovering a riveting tale in the process was excellent. I plan on getting hold of a copy when our library gets one. When it comes to putting on an event like this (which I actually might be with her! What luck!), I’d be sure to go big on the promotion, especially in Northfield. I feel like this is the kind of story and event that quite a few people in town would be interested in. Not only that, but our programs are generally well attended. We have a newly renovated space and a sizable meeting room that would work well for hosting. This would prevent many of the constraints that could have become a problem at the event I attended. I would make sure that there was a decent amount of time set aside for a Q&A because she was quite engaging with good answers to our questions.
And, at last, a selfie for good measure: