[books] Sarah Vowell at Hopkins Center

The book discussion at the HOP on Friday went great- after everyone left. I was surprised how many people were showing up and by 6:30 there were twenty to twenty-five people waiting. The marketing director for the HOP said a few words about this experimental HOP-performance-related discussion and then suggested we break into smaller groups. Then an indignant woman sneered, "Where's Sarah Vowell?" Uh, she's not coming. It's a pre-performance discussion about her b- "Well, we thought she was going to be here! Ugh!" The bitch and her friend threw the discussion questions at the marketing director and stormed out, along with half of the people there. Apparently everyone thought Ms. Vowell was going to be there.

It didn't make any difference to me. To be honest, I had initially thought she was going to be there too but Val told me she wasn't and I let my book group know ahead of time. I was going to the book discussion to discuss the book, not gape at a radio celebrity (which is what the actual performance is for). In the end, the perfect amount of people remained for a nice discussion and I had a great time listening to the other readers. And I've got to give props to the old guy who showed up with his librarian wife, also thinking Sarah Vowell was going to be there, but who ended up staying and enjoying the discussion. He had never read any of Sarah's books but was thoroughly interested in what he was hearing about her most recent one. I guess being a librarian's husband just makes you that cool- hadn't read the book, stayed and listened to what we were all saying about it. I wish everyone who left in a huff had thought to be as open minded. You rock, old man.

The performance itself was meh. Sarah came out, slumped across the stage (she really is a gloomy guss) and started reading a passage I had only just read the night before- only I liked her reading it even less because the voice inside my head isn't nearly as nasally. Having said that, when you hear an author read his or her work, it is generally better than just reading it because they know their work so well and can place emphasis or inflect at just the right spots to make the story funnier. But blah blah, I was bored and seriously considered leaving 10 minutes into the performance. I'm glad I stuck it out though, because she read two New York Time op/ed pieces I hadn't heard before. Sarah is funny, in a self-deprecating yet self-righteous Eeyore kind of way. Prior to the performance I was thinking about what fast friends we could be. Afterwards I realized I wouldn't want to be in her circle of friends because I'd be the dumb one who was always asking, "So, like, what was the Iran-Contra thing about?"


nicole said...

Men who love librarians rock. I agree with you on Sarah Vowell. Meh. She also seems like the friend you would always have to cajole into a good mood.

Bill said...

I enjoyed the performance a lot more than you did but I could have done with less reading passages and more extemporizing. Her answers to questions were kind of perfunctory too, but occasionally funny. I'm a huge fan so I was pretty happy with the whole thing.