The children’s section at the bookstore where I work is next to the events space; I am nearly always assigned to be near the children’s section, which means I am within at least earshot if not eye…shot? of nearly all of our author events. I’m not going to pretend to be blasé about this– it is effing awesome, so much so that the fact that I am the one who moves bookshelves and sets up chairs every night for these things has not begun to bother me even after doing so over 230 times (I did actual math based on my length of service to arrive at that number that I won’t bore you with. Just know I didn’t inflate it at all) because that means I’ve also seen 230 author events in the last 18 months and I probably don’t need to tell you how much that doesn’t suck. I mean, just look at this.
On Wednesday there was an event with Leslie Jamison, who is the author of The Empathy Exams. The first essay is excerpted here; I hope you will read it, as it’s now one of my favorite pieces of nonfiction, up there even with Death of a Pig. The Empathy Exams, if it hasn’t already, is about to become That Book You See Every Girl Wearing A Dress You Like On The Subway Reading, and with good reason. It is amazing, and Leslie’s event was one of the best author talks I’ve ever seen, which is saying something considering the aforementioned 230 of them I’ve banked.
Leslie Jamison also blew my mind with an idea that she admitted stealing from someone else whose name I can’t remember I’m forever crediting it to her regardless. She had a copy of her book with her, and for every copy she signed for a reader, she had that person sign her copy, as well. She not has a whole book of both her words and words from people who came to various events specifically to hear her speak and meet her. I can’t think of a better physical object to have.