Audience: About 30.
Anxiety index: 6 (out of 10).
Books given away: Wickett’s Remedy by Myla Goldberg and South African and leading anti-Apartheid figure Ahmed Kathrada’s Memoirs.
Surprise guest(s): Loggernaut‘s Jesse Lichtenstein.
No. of Moroccans who said hello: 2.
I wrapped up the West Coast leg of my book tour last night at Annie Bloom’s Books, here in Portland. A reader in the front row took copious notes throughout, which I suppose is both flattering and intimidating. It’s not the first time it’s happened at one of my readings, and yet I’m just not used to it.
I also had a great time during the Q&A because the audience was so engaged–lots of interesting questions about the book, the research, immigration, the process of writing, etc. Great crowd.
I finally did make it home last night–at 3 am! Remind me never to fly Alaska Airlines again. But things are looking up already: I’m reading again in Portland, this time at my neighborhood independent bookstore, the one and only Annie Bloom’s Books:
Thursday, October 27
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 SW Capitol Hwy
Come one, come all. It’s going to be fun!
I’m writing this from the San Francisco airport, where I’ve been waiting for a flight home for the last five hours. The aircraft I was supposed to be on had an indicator light problem and we had to deboard; the second aircraft turned out to have a door problem; and so we were sent back to the first aircraft, which we’ve been promised will leave at 10 pm (five minutes ago!) To make matters worse, some idiot tried to go through the security gate behind us without taking his shoes off, which would have caused delays I can’t even begin to imagine.
The passengers around me are occupying themselves by yelling at the gate agent; speaking on their cell phones; reading Freakonomics and Goals!; eating junk food; and, um, blogging. I am also slowly catching up on email, and wanted to thank the many, many readers who’ve written me in the last few days. I will get to your note, I promise. All this by way of saying: Don’t expect much posting on Wednesday. I think I’m going to spend the day recuperating from my airport adventures, but will probably resume regular blogging by Thursday.
Audience: About 45.
Anxiety index: 6 (out of 10).
Surprise guest(s): Yiyun Li (standing next to me in the photo) and Paul S., an ex co-worker of mine who’s moved to San Francisco a few months ago.
No. of Moroccans who said hello: 5.
It was a thrill and an honor to be reading at the legendary bookstore A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books last night. And I was also a bit surprised by the great turnout and wonderful reception. I chose to read a couple of scenes with my character Aziz, snapshots from his life before and after his trip.
Several of my cousins showed up, and it was great to be able to read dialogue that included a few words of Moroccan Arabic and know that they would get it. I got a little misty eyed during a scene from “Homecoming,” because it reminded me of a recent loss in a friend’s family, but I managed to keep it together and finish off the reading and then take questions.
Audience: About 35.
Anxiety index: 3 (out of 10).
Surprise guest(s): Writer Lillian Howan, who stopped by with her teenage son.
No. of Moroccans who said hello: 1.
Last night’s event at Black Oak Books was a joint reading with Frances Dinkelspiel, Michelle Richmond, and Kevin Smokler. We each read a brief excerpt from our books, and later had a discussion about writing in the blogging age.