Books, Authors, Wine, and Guilt

Last night I attended a great event for Friends of Literacy called “Readers’ Night Out,” which was hosted by Union Avenue Books — a new, small, and well-curated bookstore in downtown Knoxville. Bibliophiles and local authors mixed and mingled while drinking wine and eating delicious appetizers. Proceeds from book sales benefited our literacy programs. And one of my best friends was with me. It was a wonderful night. But I did feel a little bit guilty…

As someone with an English degree, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read much since I finished grad school in 2005. I’ve picked up a few novels and bought some of The Best American Short Stories anthologies; but compared to how much I used to read, my literary consumption has declined greatly in the past six years. The last book I read was Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, which I only finished because crazy June storms knocked out the power for several days, and I couldn’t do anything except for read. Guess the power outage was sort of a blessing in disguise. But after last night’s bookstore party, I got the urge to read again. To read good ol’ (or new) fiction. And I also felt like I should get back into writing. Creative writing. Which is the opposite of what I’ve been doing the past several years. (How many times can I use the words “leverage” and “value-added” in one day? A million!)

So during Readers’ Night Out I picked up MIchael Knight’s The Typist, which was recently selected as Oprah’s Book of the Week. And when I’m finished with that novel, I’ve got Pamela Schoenewaldt’s When We Were Strangers next in line. I wanted to get David McCullough’s The Greater Journey while I was at Union Avenue Books — but I got a hint that I might be getting it for my birthday (coming soon!). So I refrained. But it’s on the list, and I want to have all three finished by the end of the 2011. Can I do it? I’m not sure, but I’ll try.

I also need to find my book of freewriting prompts or resubscribe to Writer’s Digest’s weekly newsletters for inspiration. I’m very good at giving myself homework. There must be a hint of sadist in me.

Thanks to Readers’ Night Out and my Catholic guilt for motivating me to become a bookworm once again. The many glasses of wine also helped.

Me and Melanie with author Michael Knight at Union Avenue Books.

Me and Melanie with author Michael Knight at Union Avenue Books.