Fancy Pantsing at The Well
Fall for the Book is over for 2017, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Last Monday I was inducted to the "Well Library," inside the Mason Club at GMU.
The Club is an on-campus restaurant and bar for faculty, current and retired, and the organizers of Fall for the Book are re-building their library of faculty publications there. The original Well Library was installed at the now defunct Mason Inn. Inductions are being held at open houses where a few faculty members are invited to briefly talk about their research and/or read from their work, after which they sign their books. Not a lot of people show up to these events--the audience is pretty niche--but I pleasantly pleased to see may 15+ attendees.
Hosted by Bill Miller, the director of Mason's Creative Writing program, the event started off with a quick presentation by historian Jack Censer, who talked about his 2016 book, Debating Modern Revolution. He spoke specifically about Napoleon's soldiers in the 1790s, which was an accidentally apt lead-in for what I read--the first few pages from Crybaby Lane--the 1796 scene where Peter Horup murders Joseph the settler and then the 2016 scene where Peter's last descendent, Viola, gets conked on the head. Following my reading was Rutledge Dennis, a highly awarded professor in the Sociology and Anthropology, who discussed his experiences as a an insider/outsider researcher of race and ethnicity within African American communities.
It was pretty much a cocktail & gossip situation, and I brought along a copy of both Crybaby and The Mean Bone in Her Body, which turned out lucky, because a woman came up to me after and said, "Well I'm hooked. Where can I buy these books?" Which led me to develop a theory--authors have better chances of selling at wine events than beer events--not because of any class issue, but because at beer events you have wetter hands. Think about it.