“Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.”
― Stéphane Mallarmé
“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” notes Stephen King in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Despite dire predictions on the printed word, a recent report in Publishers Weekly said sales of printed-on-paper books rose almost three percent in 2015, to 652 million.
Six hundred books were sold at last year’s Summer Book Signing, an annual fundraiser for the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon that marks its 20th year this Friday. As library benefits go, it has pretty rich offering for bibliophiles, with two open bars, generous hors d’oeuvres, and a chance to mingle with 33 authors and illustrators, all ready to chat while signing their latest. Children’s books and their authors start on Friday at 4:30; adult books start at 6 p.m.
One of them is humorist Roy Blount Jr., a resident of the neighboring Berkshires, who once said the characteristic he most admired in others, was “a cheerful willingness to buy books.” His latest, Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations, contains insightful meditations on bacon froth, grapefruit, Kobe beef, and biscuits. Blount has edited six editions of Mark Twain’s work, so he may enjoy schmoozing with fellow author Richard Zacks whose Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour describes in detail the long trip Twain went on to recover from financial disaster.
Love golf? Love someone who plays it? Sally Cook’s How to Speak Golf: An Illustrated Guide to Links Lingo will help with your golf conversation. Betsy Lerner’s memoir, The Bridge Ladies is a bittersweet story of “ladies of a certain age and era” who might have played golf but do play bridge.
Simon Winchester’s latest history, Pacific, is sure to sell well – and here’s your chance to ask him how he manages to be so prolific. Nathalia Holt’s Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the story of the women mathematicians who helped propel men to the moon. Sharon’s own Peter Steiner returns with his fifth Louis Morgan thriller, The Capitalist.
Page Dickey, who just returned from visiting famous English gardens, will be on hand with her book on the best of American Garden Conservancy gardens, while celebrated seed-saver Amy Goldman’s Heirloom Harvest digs into the history of old vegetable varieties.
New York Times and Yahoo News correspondent Virginia Heffernan will illuminate the virtual world’s “logic and aesthetics” with her timely Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art.
Sports radio fans will be at home with Frank Deford’s collection of NPR commentaries gathered in his new book, I’d Know That Voice Anywhere. And fiction-lovers can gorge on a pair of enticing new literary novels, They May Not Mean To, But They Do, by Cathleen Schine, and Did You Ever Have a Family, by Bill Clegg. The latter was long-listed for both the Man Booker prize and National Book Award.
The complete list of authors is here
The 20th Annual Sharon Summer Book Signing is this Friday August 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. (admission is $35); there’s a free Children’s Book Signing for kids and their caregivers, from 4:30 to 5:30. 860-364-5041 or www.hotchkisslibrary.org.