I didn’t realize there was a bookstore where I live until last weekend, when I decided to Google it. Clearly, I don’t get out much, but I’m happy to have found a place worth getting out for.
My sense of direction is so bad I often say I could get lost inside a paper bag, so I’m honestly proud of myself just for finding it without much trouble. It was on a downtown street I knew fairly well, though I’d never been to that part of it before. Even more luckily, I was able to find a nice parking spot nearby.
Inside, the selection was small, which was about what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised to find several titles I recognized and had enjoyed reading in the past, as well as a few that are on the list of books I want to read sometime soon. Even better, it had exactly what I was hoping for: all three Lord of the Rings books, plus The Hobbit! While I was thinking the store might offer one or more individually, I was thrilled to find them in a lovely box set that looks excellent on my bookshelf, and I picked up a used hardcover of A Tale of Two Cities as a bonus.
I also found out while exploring the store’s website that they host events for writers, including workshops and an open mic night. While checking out, I picked up a paper listing all the dates and times and got some more details from the owner, and I was back a few days later to listen to some local writers whose talents just amazed me. There were poets, essay and short story writers, and even singer-songwriters with their guitars. There was a great variety, and everyone was so good it was honestly intimidating.
I came in with the first few pages of my novel just in case I got pushed into reading something, but I’m ultimately glad I held off. The owner did ask if I’d like to, but there was no pressure at all, which I really appreciate. I was nervous enough just being in a brand new situation, and having time to sit back and absorb it all definitely helped, especially because it seemed like there was understanding rather than judgment. Hearing what the others presented, I got a feel for what the expectations are. I found out what the standard length of time should be and also saw that most people read pieces that are complete, so when I do go back with something, it’ll be a short piece, at least to start with.
I’m half convinced I’ll still be blushing and/or shaking even with this preparation, but I’m looking forward to getting more practice with this so that I hopefully get better. If (when?) I do publish a novel, I definitely want to be able to do readings at libraries and bookstores and wherever else I’m able.
The takeaway for readers is that you can look forward to a review of The Hobbit coming soon! And also an update on my own reading performance… if I don’t lose my nerve.