“You cannot open a book without learning something.” Confucius
Last week, I attended a Times Premier subscriber exclusive event. It was a book launch and a conversation with Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review, along with authors Mary Higgins Clark, Francine Prose and Andrew Solomon. The event was an informal launch for BY THE BOOK: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life. The book is a compilation of uncut Question and Answer interviews conducted by Pamela Paul, over the years, for the Sunday New York Times Book Review section; specifically for the weekly By The Book segment. The interviews are varied and engaging, and feature 65 well known writers and notables of other disciplines.
Each interviewee is asked a series of questions that give us glimpses into their inner lives, their work, interests, inspiration, irritants and literary recommendations. Even though the book is 314 pages, it’s a delightful and easy read; some of the interviews will surprise you, while others will give you much to contemplate. Since, I want to encourage you to get the book and read it, I won’t offer any spoilers. However, I can assure you that each of the authors, listed on the book’s back cover above, will entertain you and teach you something new. I have my favorites but I’ll save that for another day.
Enlightening. Insightful. Genuinely Fascinating. These are the adjectives that I would use to describe Pamela Paul’s fantastic new book. So go “Buy the book!”
“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.” Maurice Sendak
What I enjoyed about the evening was the informal way the authors discussed their writing interests, their observations about the process, and other literary matters. There was quite a bit of laughter about the world of writing, books, critics and readers. It was a joy to listen to Mary Higgins Clark share some of her experiences with the audience; she is funny, wise and very generous with her advice. Towards the end of the event, the audience asked a few pertinent questions and, to wrap up, we all stood up and applauded. Each of us received a signed copy of the book and then we all headed off, signed copies in hand, to enjoy the cocktail hour. According to one the elegantly dressed waiters, the fabulous food was catered by either Fallier International Food Design and Catering or International Caterers of Distinction.
The waiters, all dressed in elegant Nehru jackets and dark pants, served us the most exquisite hors d’oeuvres. My friend, Yvette, and I chatted with a few other attendees and had a great time sampling the food. At one point, I got up and went over to thank Mary Higgins Clark who had just walked into the room. She was so gracious that she even agreed to sign my copy of the book and pose for a picture with me. It was a wonderful evening and I invite you to take out a Times Premier subscription to the New York Times as they have lots of events planned for the rest of the year. If that is not within your means, you can take out a General Digital subscription or an Educator rate subscription. You won’t regret it.
Positive Motivation Tip: In By The Book, each author shares aspects of his/her life that are insightful and illuminating to the rest of us. Read. Enjoy!
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos from my personal collection.