Labor Day, My Birthday, and Book Festival Etiquette

My excuse for not posting a review this Monday was that, in the U.S., the first Monday of September is a holiday (Labor Day). On which, oxymoronically, you are supposed not to labor. So, mostly, I did not.

My excuse for not posting a review today (Tuesday), instead, is that today is my birthday. 30-something and holding, tightly.

The above excuses were actually really just my excuse for posting this last item. Not so much an item, as a question.

When is it okay to heckle an author at a book festival? Is it considered in poor taste to quote her worst transgressions during her speech? I ask only because Kathryn Stockett is coming to town.

I jest, of course, because all the seats are sold out AND all the overflow seats are sold out AND all the spots on the waiting list have been taken. The joke is on me.

(I truly wish Stockett the best. I just want my $10.00 back.)

10 Responses to Labor Day, My Birthday, and Book Festival Etiquette

  1. Firstly, happy birthday Kerry. I rather wish I were still 30-something and holding (tightly or otherwise!). Secondly, I’m rather glad I’ve kept walking past Kathryn Stockett in the shops. Thirdly, I read some more The good soldier today. It’s going well – but slowly – as for the first time in a long time I’m reading two books at a time (and the time I have is sorely stretched at present). I’m hoping that I can keep it all together and make some sense of it at the end. But so far, I’m intrigued and am enjoying the style.

  2. Sarah says:

    Am trying, unsuccessfully, to contain my unholy glee at the idea of you heckling Kathryn Stockett. Completely unjustified on my part, since I do not have any financial complaint against that unfortunate lady. On the whole, probably best not to heckle writers; I believe that they can be quite an agressive bunch!

    More importantly: Happy Birthday, Kerry! Is your TBR burgeoning as a consequence?

  3. pburt says:

    My first thought was Hallelujah there is actually someone else in this world that didn’t like The Help. I had to listen to my book group gush about this book and I could barely stand to get through it. I thought Stockett needed a far better editor who would have slashed about a third of the book out as unneeded and unnecessary and sent it back for a radical rewrite. Instead I have to listen to countless women asking me if I have read the help and didn’t I just love it.

    Not to mention the people who insist it must be good because it has been on the best seller list for so long.

    Spare me please.

    And happy birthday!


    • Kerry says:

      Thank you! Also, belated thanks for the link in your “Sunday Caught My Interest” post. I do appreciate it.

      But, The Help. It is always a pleasure to hear someone else had a painful experience with the book. Er…well, that doesn’t sound nice. I mean, it is nice not to be alone in thinking the book is vastly overrated and overread. And, jeez, using the bestseller list as the barometer of whether a book is good is cringe inducing.

      Love your blog. And am thrilled to have your comment.

  4. Kerry says:

    Whispering: Thank you for the well-wishes. You make me happy by walking past the Stockett. I really shouldn’t discourage people from reading The Help quite so adamantly, but there are so many other better books with which to spend one’s time. Thanks for the update on your Ford Madox Ford progress. I am eager to hear your thoughts. And, my impression was that it is amenable to a long slow read.

  5. Kerry says:

    Sarah: I am glad you saw the humor. I actually am always happy to see author events sold out, even when I wish a different author was having that success. More power to Stockett, and I hope her next is much better.

    Your point is a good one. The idea of heckling, say, Hemingway, seems quite foolhardy.

    Thank you, lastly, for the birthday well-wishes. My TBR pile has grown by about 1000 pages. Last night, after this post, I received a copy of Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth. I will be getting to it very soon, but first the also long Freedom by Franzen which I have to pick up from the library or lose any opportunity to read it free before sometime in 2015 (due to the length of the waiting list).

  6. Well, the thing about heckling Hemmingway is you probably would have had about half a dozen glasses of something before raising your voice. He, of course, would have had more. By way of contrast to your rational approach, Tony Blair had to cancel his book launch at Waterstones on Piccadilly because of the demonstrating crowd outside. So you can see, Kerry, that direct action is still an option for some. ūüôā

    Belated birthday wishes. Canada still awaits your presence.

    • Kerry says:

      You are telling me there is precedent for this sort of thing, and it actually succeeded. I was all set not to heckle and here you have to go and encourage my baser impulses. If I do, I promise to post the video to YouTube….heh.

      Thank you, Kevin, for the birthday wishes. I am determined to make it up to your wonderful, one-roaded country, hopefully sooner (within a year or so) rather than later. In the meantime, I will enjoy your always awesome Giller Prize coverage.

  7. I think it would have been great if, instead of heckling, you had got to a mike during question period and did a version of the following:

    I…um…was wondering…(cough, cough)…if…(lengthy pause)…given her extensive…research…, the author would…ah…venture a…(stutter, stutter)…comment or…perhaps, even…an opinion…on how…(a few deep breath intakes)…burning the Koran [say that part really, really fast]…relates to her…um…truly outstanding work.

    And yes please make a YouTube video of it. Tony Blair be damned; he, like Stockett, is doing better than he deserves.

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