I’m still feelin’ the love from this amazing gathering of 500+ independent booksellers from all over the U.S. They held a big reception on Friday night for a few dozen of us authors, including heavyweights like Tobias Wolff, Augusten Burroughs, Andre Dubus III and Ethan Canin. We sat at tables lining the walls, madly signing galleys for the booksellers. I was at the Algonquin table with Jack O’Connell, author of The Resurrectionist and four other novels. Jack and I had a steady line of people for two hours. What a rush! They were all buzzing about Mudbound, which apparently got some strong recommendations from respected booksellers (thanks again, Joe Drabyak) during the seminars they attended earlier that day. I got to meet a number of the booksellers I’ll be seeing during my tour in March and April, including Mary Gay Shipley of That Bookstore in Blytheville and Betty Jo Harris from Windows a Bookshop. And my local bookseller, Suzanna Hermans from Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, was there — a nice surprise, to see a familiar face. The highlight of the event for me was getting to meet Ethan Canin, one of my favorite writers. He gave me a signed galley of his new novel, America, America, inscribed with his address (!) so I can send him a copy of Mudbound. I would have traded him a galley on the spot but we were completely out.
After the reception Algonquin hosted another splendid dinner for Jack and me and two dozen booksellers. What a wonderful bunch of people: intelligent, curious, funny, passionate, Mudbound-loving. Move over, librarians — I think booksellers may just be my new favorite sub-species of humanity.