Last Saturday, A Gift of Grace: Proof of Heaven described my timely find to fill 14 long hours in the car. The timing of my post was serendipitous for a friend who was fixing to drive north to visit her ailing father. Then an old UGA friend commented that she had recently enjoyed hearing Dr. Eben Alexander speak, and I responded that I would be on the lookout for him in RVA.
The next morning, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published this article in its Books & Authors section:
Talk about Serendipity.
The Junior League of Richmond’s Book & Author Dinner is an annual highlight that I try to attend ever since I was a provisional in the League 20+ years ago. Famous among the publishing houses and a favorite for authors who get wined and dined and chauffeured around town by League members while they are here, the whole event is always beautifully orchestrated. I have been fortunate through the years to spend time with some of the authors who are usually initially unknown to me.
Most memorable was one entertaining lunch with Rick Bragg on the back patio of a gorgeous Richmond manse. He was thoroughly entertaining on that hot afternoon with little in the way of shade, and I have subsequently devoured his books and look forward to his monthly columns at the end of each Southern Living issue. Other favorites from the past include then unknown Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of the beautiful Cutting for Stone, which I now list among my most favorites, and crowd-favorite and western Virginia native, Adriana Trigiani.
After meeting with editors and publishers, the highly-regarded Book & Author committee always picks a great mix of authors, at least one of whom is a first time author. This year appears to be no exception with the list:
Michael Shelden - Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill (available March 12, 2013*)
Leigh Newman - Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home (available March 19, 2013*)
Andrew Gross - No Way Back (available April 2, 2013*)
Rhonda Riley – debut novel, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope (available April 23, 2013*)
Lucinda Scala Quinn – Mad Hungry Cravings (available March 19, 2013*)
After the authors finish speaking, lines form for book signings. The Junior League sells the books at the event or you can bring your own copies purchased in advance. Though it is not my usual m.o., you may actually have read one or more of them in advance and have something intelligent to say. I wonder if I can come up with something dazzling to say to Dr. Alexander.
Even if you don’t have time to read or listen in advance to these books, you should put this dinner on the calendar. It always sells out, even in the huge Greater Richmond Convention Center. Get ticket information at www.jlrichmond.org.
My book club is going this year. Is yours?
February 23, 2013
*available to pre-order now