Saturday, February 15, 2014

A SENTIMENTAL REUNION

Last week, on the evening of February 6th, I celebrated the publication of my new novel, Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery, at Books Inc., a fine independent bookstore in Palo Alto, California. I made a few remarks, read four short passages from the book, answered questions from the audience, and signed books.


 This was a thrilling rite of passage for me, as successful book signings always are. It was a sentimental occasion, too, for a number of reasons. It was a joy to read from, talk about, and sign copies of a book that celebrates the joy of bookselling and my fondness for the Midpeninsula area where I lived for twenty years. It so happens that my novel, Hooperman, takes place in a Palo Alto bookstore in the summer of 1972. It also happens that during the 1970s I worked for a fine independent bookstore, Kepler’s Books and Magazines, just up the road from Palo Alto. And although the bookstore in my book, Maxwell’s Books, is fictitious, I can’t deny that it closely resembles the Kepler’s Books I remember so fondly.

Another sentimental connection: I graduated from Stanford University in December 1964, nearly 50 years ago. My very first job out of college was to help out during Christmas rush at the Peninsula Bookshop, a bookstore I already knew and admired. That job lasted only two weeks, but it got me started working for bookstores on the Midpeninsula. By coincidence, the Peninsula Bookshop (which years later went the way of most independent bookstores and closed its doors) was located only a few doors from the current location of Books Inc. So appearing right there seemed to close a circle for me.

The most meaningful sentimental feeling I got from that evening was pleasure of seeing friends. The house was packed. There were a number of old friends and fellow Kepler’s alumni, people I had worked alongside in the 1970s. There were also a couple of classmates from my years as a Stanford undergraduate. My favorite teacher, Nancy Packer from the Stanford Creative Writing Program, was there. Several authors whom Susan and I have published in recent years were there. Not only that, but my son Ben, and his wife, Anne, and their three children showed up. I can’t overstate the thrill I felt to be in the company of new friends, old friends, and family for this milestone evening. There were also some unfamiliar faces in the audience, and their smiles warmed me too.

I’ll close by saying I believe Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery to be worthy of all the attention it got that gratifying evening. I’m fond of this book, probably because it’s all about the joy of bookselling, the nobility of independent bookstores, and the absolute wonder of that remarkable invention: the book. It also combines a couple of love stories and tosses in a crime to be solved.



To learn more about Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery, check out this page: http://www.danielpublishing.com/jmd/hooperman.html




16 comments:

  1. Very nice post, John. It sounds like the book signing was what we all hope for, and seldom experience. And, it seems to me, well deserved. Congratulations on a successful launch of Hooperman. I am truly pleased for you.

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  2. I would love to have been there, John. A perfect book signing! Ah, the Joy of Publishing -- and especially Hooperman. Like Jim, I am so very pleased for you.

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    1. Thank you, Eileen. And good luck with ONLY YOU!

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  3. Love your blog, John. So glad your book is getting the attention is deserves!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Lucy. Nice to hear from you!

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  4. John, I had the privilege of reading "Hooperman" a couple of weeks ago. I loved the book! I wish you much success; you deserve it!

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    1. Thank you, Pat! And thanks for the generous review you posted on Amazon!

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  5. Great post! There can be such joy in storytelling and book signings. Glad that you are enjoying both. I'm about to purchase my copy. Thanks!

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    1. You make me proud, Theresa. Hope you enjoy the book!

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  6. We hear that we should write what we know and it sounds like you had the perfect background to write your story. So pleased for you and wishing you much success with continued sales.

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    1. You're right, Elaine. All my fiction is inspired by what I know, but the characters and plot are all made up. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  7. That post was so thrilling to read, I hereby declare it the winner of the all time Joy of Story Championship Series!
    As your friend from afar, never having had the pleasure of an in-person hug; as a fan of your work as a writer; as a more than satisfied client in your roll as editor, I am nearly as pleased for you your event in Palo Alto as I would be if it had happened to me.
    Wishing you ongoing joy and productivity during your sabbatical from blogging.
    From the heart,
    Madelyn
    Madelyn Lorber, Author
    THE EYES HAVE IT
    www.madelynlorber.com
    "Everything is possible..."

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    1. Madelyn, you're making me blush! Thanks, good friend.

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  8. I just ordered the book, John. Congratulations on an event like I hope to have one day. : )
    Marja McGraw

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    1. Marja, I'm so glad you'll read HOOPERMAN. Hope you enjoy it!

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