Tonight I attended a reading at Book Court in Cobble Hill. The book shop, located in a former greenhouse, is celebrating its 30th year serving the readers of BoCoCa and beyond, and regularly hosts events for bookworms, some with free wine, and even host children's books events (most likely without wine). Guest readers for this particular evening's reading were three female authors: Paula Bomer, Jessica Anya Blau and Susan Henderson.
The triple reading honored the release of accomplished writer/editor/publisher Ms. Bomer's first collection of short stories, Baby & Other Stories. Autographed copies of the book, which the night's host, Adam, described as "incredibly blunt, honest and unapologetic," were for sale at the shop. Ms. Bomer read an excerpt from the book's title story, "Baby," which was a sardonic account of a first-person narrator describing the process of becoming a mother -- from beginning to notice other women's "pudgie little charges" at parties and attempting to hold them, to her own sexual desires once she and her husband became pregnant, to her whimsical daydreaming of the perfect little baby girl that was growing inside her, which turned out to be a boy. Ms. Bomer's wit was so spot-on that even she could not control her own laughter as she read aloud from the pages she had penned. I almost purchased the book for a pregnant friend, but decided against it at the last minute, lest it cause her anxiety about becoming a new mom. (Shameless plug of a relative's blog about motherhood in 3, 2, 1... MotherhoodWTF?!)
Ms. Blau (author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties) was promoting her own new book, Drinking Closer to Home, which, drawn in part from true stories of her own life, also has a satirical nature to it, and describes the familial journey and nostalgia of three siblings who are forced to face the death of their pot-smoking nudist mother after she suffers a heart attack. As I listened to two excerpts by Ms. Blau, paying close attention to how she purposefully altered her voice each time a new character was speaking, I could almost picture what it must have been like for young children to have to hide their parents' marijuana plants because "Bubby" (Yiddish word for Grandmother) was visiting. While it certainly seemed like an interesting life, this story did not grab me as much as the other two books this evening, although the consensus in the room seemed to be one of overall enjoyment.
I was particularly struck by the last reader, Ms. Henderson, who read an excerpt from the first chapter of her book, Up From The Blue, almost as if she herself were the fictitious eight-year-old narrator whose mother goes missing in the 1970s, and who thereafter refuses to give up the search for her. Maybe because I personally love a good mystery, Ms. Henderson's excerpt really intrigued me the most and grabbed my attention. I actually held the book for nearly ten minutes as I contemplated purchasing it, but in the end decided I would look it up at the local library. (Stay tuned for a future post about making the most out of your local public library...).
To read more about these authors:
Paula Bomer's Website
Jessica Anya Blau's Website
Susan Henderson's Blog -- Lit Park