Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rosecrans Baldwin May 1st, 7PM

Read Rosecrans Baldwin's hilarious new memoir.  Buy it here.  See him at Flyleaf May 1st at 7pm.

Months ago before I had the chance to read Rosecrans' memoir, I had the pleasure of attending a small dinner party hosted by him and his wife Rachel. The weather was nice enough that a long table on the porch was set. Before the introductions were done the hosts put a drink in my hand and made me feel comfortable. As evening darkened candles and hanging lights brought a pleasant ambiguity of place -- being out in the country, they brought me to the city, as if the lights were ambient glow of city buildings, of streetlights and signage. But if I were in the city, atop some highrise, I am sure these same lights would transport me to the country, the string of lights the stars, or somesuch. In other words, I felt transported and I attribute this to Rosecrans and Rachel. Unlike other doting hosts I have encountered, whose eagerness to please made me feel uncomfortable, their hosting style was so effortless, unobtrusively pouring wine, serving food and keeping the conversation going. Carafes of water were within arms reach of everyone -- so simple, so genius! Now having read Rosecrans' memoir, I can see how his time in Paris influenced him -- and not that any of the dinner parties in Paris I Love You, but You're Bringing Me Down went so smoothly, but that might just be it, that which makes his writing so compelling. Rosecrans has a clear eye for how things should go, so he is a great observer of when they do not.

Of course the memoir serves to show off his rare writing talents we previously saw in his debut novel You Lost Me There, the way his sentences surprise and delight and his amazing ability to convey character in a few quick lines. Take this paragraph introducing Bruno, Rosecrans' advertising partner:  
"Bruno was a late-thirties Parisian, stocky and morose. Year-round, he was reddishly tan, with a rosy flush that became a glower the more he drank. Bruno was roughly good-looking. His lips were plump, and one ear was scarred from rugby. There was a good deal in Bruno -- his sad confidence, his ponderous horniness -- for women to get hooked on. Over time, we'd talk a lot about girls. Bruno liked a good time. He liked wine, photography, gourmet food, the sea, and the hours he spent on Sundays repairing antique furniture. For Bruno, cigarettes were life itself. Same for his Yamaha scooter."

 Underpinning Rosecrans' writing is a kindness, humor and thoughtfulness that makes him so endearing as a memoirist, makes you root for him when his French lets him down in crucial awkward moments, but also when his French is satisfactory enough tell off a baffled telemarketer. This is probably why it is so fun to see him, with such natural humor and grace, in desperate moments of humiliation and confusion.

Please help me return the favor of a good host and welcome Rosecrans to Flyleaf Books on Tuesday, May 1st at 7pm.


Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night Delight

Up early and ready to give away my World Book Night books, I turn into the parking lot of UNC Cancer Hospital this morning before 8:00 am.  I know just where to go.  Two and a half years ago I made that same drive every morning for four weeks.  I was being treated for breast cancer.  I had the first radiation appointment every morning so I could go to work immediately following my treatment.  Every morning I was greeted by the parking valets who helped patients sicker than I out of their cars and into the hospital. That’s exactly where I started this morning.  I walked up to the valets with my box of books and explained what I was doing and why I wanted to give them each a copy of the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  They were surprised and grateful; one wished me a blessed day.

I made my way back to the registration/scheduling desk.  Two women I recognized from my time in the hospital were having their first cup of coffee of the morning together.  With my box of books in hand, I approached them and explained how much I appreciated the care I had received and that the book was a small token of thanks to them for what they do daily.

There are always people in the waiting area of this part of the hospital.  They are friends or family of patients or patients waiting for treatment.  A woman sat in front of the computer placed there for their use.  I walked over to her and asked if she was waiting for someone or a patient herself.  She told me her husband was a patient.  She was waiting on him.  Giving her a copy of The Poisonwood Bible I said I hoped the book would help make time pass easier as she waited.   She thanked me with tears in her eyes. 

That’s how my day started.  Books were a great solace to me when I was sick and tired from my cancer treatments.  I hope everyone who signed up to be a World Book Night “Giver” has as much fun as I did putting my books into the hands of strangers with whom I shared time or experience.  I know the people who receive the books will be touched by the act.  I can’t wait until next year to do it again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Books Have Arrived

World Book Night is right around the corner and today I saw the boxes of books that have arrived at Flyleaf.  Saturday morning I will be labeling boxes with givers' names in anticipation of distribution of the books Monday evening.  We did get a few additional boxes of books, so if you'd like to be giver please contact me or Jamie at the store so we can add your name to the list.
Here are the details on picking up your box of books at Flyleaf Books:
In fact, we’ll have an Open House here at Flyleaf from 5pm to 8pm 4/9. We will be on hand to help you and to answer questions. The reason for the Open House is because we thought it’d be fun to get as many Book Givers together as possible before the event so we can meet folks, answer questions and hear where you plan to give the books out.  If you can’t make it that night, don’t worry!  We’ll have your box of books available for pickup any time we’re open from then until April 23rd, the day of the event.  We are open 9am to 9pm Mon-Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday.

Come back and share your stories Monday, April 23rd
We will be camped out at Fosters Market next to Flyleaf from 6pm to 8pm.  We'd love to hear about how your day went!  If you can't make it, email us your story, or send updates on Facebook or Twitter.