After having taken some time off from the book tour road to focus on teaching my summer courses, I hit the road again this August for two more readings, one close to home here in Washington and another in my old hometown of Portland.
First up was the fantastic wine bar, The Grape Choice, on the waterfront in Kirkland, Washington. I always enjoy reading in somewhat unconventional spaces, like restaurants, galleries, and, yes, wine bars because they bring in a different crowd than do strictly literary venues, and the folks who came out for the reading were a great mix of poetry lovers, wine lovers, and passersby who came in to hear some poems. The Grape Choice’s owner, Penny Sweet, is a great supporter and advocate for the arts in Kirkland, and having her host our reading was a treat in and of itself. The wine, of course, was a great bonus.
Then this past Monday, I zipped down the I-5 road to my old haunt of Portland, Oregon, for a reading at Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village. One of the things I loved best about living in Portland–indeed, one of the things that I miss most about having lived in Portland!–is the quantity and variety of independent bookstores. Annie Bloom’s might not be as humongous as Powell’s City of Books, but it does have Molly Bloom, a fantastic cat who works the crowd during readings, and a truly passionate, generous staff.
The reading at Annie Bloom’s was special for a lot of reasons–from the big turnout of friends, colleagues, former classmates, and strangers alike to the great question-and-answer session after the reading. Some readings simply have good spirit (energy? Vibe? Whatever you like!) about them, and this, for me, was one of those readings. It was a wonderful, friendly, edifying way to wrap up the bulk of my travel for Burn This House this spring.