2012 Bison Books paperback edition

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Tour: Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

Me and grandson Kevin, signing books

Politics & Prose - what a great, fabled independent bookstore! I had heard about it for years, but had never been to 5015 Connecticut Avenue in our nation's capital before my Native American Son book signing date on November 8. 

Every detail seemed to be perfect in this quintessential book haven. The children's section downstairs was like a time travel dream -- all the favorites I remembered + new titles that looked terrific. My grandson diligently pulled all the squishy books off the shelf and then re-shelved them, over and over. Who says books are a doomed artifact?

It was a good group of grownups upstairs for the reading. Some passionate Thorpe fans, some women, and one man who came all the way down from Harrisburg, PA, ready with his questions and enthusiasm. It's interesting: there is always at least a handful of true fans among the audience who have been waiting for a chance to express their devotion to Thorpe. 

Maybe they learned it from their father or grandfather, but it's always the same questions:
  • was it true Jim couldn't hit a curve ball? (no)
  • did be beat Army in 1912 all by himself? (just about)
  • was he as good as my grandfather said he was? (yes)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On the Road: The Book Tour

Los Angeles, LA84 Foundation, Book signing: Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book tours are grueling. Adversarial people show up. Nobody shows up (well, not really). Your hand gets cramped signing lots of books. You wish your hand got cramped signing more books. Back and forth. The usual, except that the national book tour -- maybe like bookstores -- is now pretty rare, soon to be extinct, they say.

So, it has been a wonderful and a little sad but sweet privilege to be sent out by Knopf on a proper book tour for NATIVE AMERICAN SON. I am acutely aware that even having a hardcover, beautifully designed and edited non-fiction book to my credit is, in 2010, rather like owning the last Model T to roll off the Ford assembly line.

This Christmas, so the news feed says, will be the "tipping point" when e-readers may overtake books themselves as holiday gifts. Last weekend, at the Kingston, NY Barnes & Noble, as I headed to the back of the store for my scheduled book signing, I passed a booth right inside the front door with an employee demonstrating the Nook. Hedging their book bets.

In my next blog I'll list the highlights of this official, publisher-sponsored, book tour. As it might be the last I'll ever do, I'll try to bury it with honors -- while I enjoy every single minute.