Friday: “My eyes slammed themselves capital O open…” Morning had come too soon. The previous evening, Thursday, Steven Hall, author of The Raw Shark Texts, read at Wordsmiths as part of the Baby Got Books Reading Series. The result: an incredible day an an evening that went fairly late for a school night, which resulted in at least one sleepy blogger who spent his Friday figuring out how to sneak in a nap. Here’s how it all went down:
Wordsmiths’ Russ and I picked up the author at the airport and immediately whisked him off to Little Five Points for burgers at The Vortex and a lap around Criminal Records. From L5P, we took it on down to Wordsmiths. Steven Hall and I had discussed these blog posts (1 and 2) from the Omnivoarcious blog in which authors discuss what beers best go with their books. He instantly replied “Amstel, of course”, because that’s what the characters in his book drink. However, we decided to collect additional data by ducking into the Brick Store Pub. If you’re keeping score at home, I spent most of Thursday going to my favorite places in Atlanta with one of my favorite authors and drinking beer. I’m still having a hard time believing that any of that actually happened – even after processing it all over the weekend. Eventually I had to take off to get ready for the evening and pick up Mrs. Got Books, etc.
Go time: Back at the store, Steven Hall began his reading with a selection from “Stories from a Phone Book”. Originally published as a short story in New Writing 13 , the piece will be included in a collection of stories that the author is working on now. The author then read several selections from The Raw Shark Texts, including part of this section that you can listen to Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton read here. Following the reading, the author answered questions from the audience.
Steven Hall reads from Stories for a Phone Book
The evening’s Raw Shark moment: Just as the reading finished, a group of about 10-15 people walked through the front door all dressed in white shirts/blouses. They stood quietly and listened to the Q&A, then they filed out before the band started – without a word. Thanks for coming!
Following that bit of weirdness, Blue Screen Love Scene took to the stage while Steven Hall signed books and talked with the crowd. They opened with I Am a Scientist, my favorite BSLS tune, and finished strong with a cover of Siouxsie and The Banshees’ Hong Kong Garden (for you youngsters out there – that’s awesome).
Blue Screen Love Scene performs
While the band was playing and the author was signing books/chatting with the crowd, we continued the multi-tasking by celebrating BGB contributor Shaft’s 40th birthday. To mark the occasion, as well as the awesomeness of having Steven Hall in the house, Mrs. Got Books cooked up an amazing shark cake. I wish that I had had the presence of mind to get a picture of it when it was whole, but this is what it looked like after people had begun to dig in.
A partially devoured Raw Shark birthday cake
After BSLS wrapped up their set, the remaining crowd departed en masse for celebratory post event pints at the Brick Store. The mob quickly took over a large portion of the upstairs Belgian bar where everyone chatted with the author and enjoyed the company of other Raw Shark fans. A good time was had by all.
My hope is that our efforts will ensure that Mr. Hall will put Atlanta atop his list of cities to visit on his future book tours. Either way, it will surely be an event that those in attendance will be talking about for a long time. I know that I won’t be able to shut up about my day with Steven Hall for a long time.