Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weekend Recap!

I grew up in a small town.  After  two years away, I returned to finish my college education in the same small town.  I return on a regular basis to see my family, visit friends and spend hours on the (empty!) beaches listening to the waves.  Even though I haven't lived here for fifteen years, I still consider Humboldt County my home.

So when I discovered that GILT was going to be made into an actual book, I went to my favorite Humboldt bookstore and asked if I could do an event.  

The Booklegger in Eureka is a used bookstore.  Their shelves are full of classics and literary novels, romance, comic books, photo books, garden guides and rare, intriguing titles that scream to be taken home.  The owner, Jennifer McFaden, has amazing taste in literature.  And she remembers me from when I was in college, working at the bakery next door, and coming into the store on my lunch break, poring over exotic guidebooks and the travelogues of Paul Theroux, Colin Thubron and V.S. Naipaul.  Even after five years in England, she remembered me.  That's the sign of a great bookseller.
This past weekend, the Booklegger had a GILT-fest.  Jen, Amy and Nancy spent the morning cutting out Henry VIII paper dolls, clothing them in finery and decorating the front window with them.  In the afternoon, I went next door to pick up a cake I had ordered from Ramone's Bakery (yes, where I worked during college!) and discovered that the decorator had hand-drawn the book's title on the top with such intricate detail it took my breath away.  

The best part of the afternoon was the crowd.  Sure, there weren't a lot of people there.  But those who did come made the entire event a party.  The mother of one of my oldest friends showed up - having already read the book - and asked careful, interesting questions.  My high school prom date was in town just for the weekend for his father's 80th birthday and took an hour to spend with me, asking questions about history and writing.  And the man who taught me how to pull a perfect shot of espresso at the bakery next door, and who filled my college years with music singing with local band Small Fish (and who happened to be in town for his father-in-law's 75th birthday!).  And the booksellers.  And people I didn't even know.  It was intimate, awe-inspiring and so much fun.  I love doing readings and talking about writing and books, and have had some amazing experiences, but this, I think, was my favorite so far.  Memorable and humbling.  

So if you're ever in Eureka, California, stop in at the Booklegger - I can almost guarantee you'll find a book you want to read (I left with seven on Saturday).  And grab a cappuccino at Ramone's next door.


  1. Huntley FitzpatrickJuly 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Katherine, this post brought tears to my eyes. Something about returning to a place where you have lived other incarnations (as it were) as a writer, to find people who remembered you then and can truly celebrate you's pretty amazing. I'm so glad it happened for you and I love the way you told the story of it. As consummately written as Gilt!

    1. Thank you, Huntley! It was truly an amazing experience...

  2. That sounds amazing, Katherine! I'm glad it was so special. That cake looks amazing!

    Oh, and the Tudor paper dolls! YES!

    1. The cake was incredible, Beth. And they let me keep all of the paper dolls! (I see blog posts in my future...)

  3. Aww, so glad to hear you had a great time! It sounds like you had a blast and even though it wasn't a huge event, sometimes smaller is better and can make the experience more special and intimate. I wish I could have been there to help celebrate Gilt :)

    P.S - That cake looks delicous ;D