Notes From the Road – Boston
29 March 2010
Chris, a former student and my chaperone extraordinaire in Boston, tells me that “Beantown” is a non-locals term, sort of like “The Big Apple.” So I guess we can retire that word before even getting cozy with it.
Some wonderful photos that Chris took during our day about town. The first series is from Grub Street, where I taught a quick brown-bag lunch seminar to a wonderful group of writers (and had a chance to meet Chris, Sonya, and Chip, Grub’s huber-staff); the second series is from a reading at Brookline Booksmith. How ’bout that gorgeous book-lined wall as the perfect backdrop for a reading.
Thanks to Grub and to Katie at the Booksmith, warm and intelligent hosts all. And thanks to old friends whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time, along with a student (from an online class) I’d never met (and, of course, Janey, my faithful reading attender, who came all the way from NYC), for coming out to the reading! Was also privileged to meet the ladies of the New England Mobile Bookfair, (which is neither mobile, nor a “fair” really, but a Boston book-buyers must), and bookseller (and DFW enthusiast) Ben at yet another indispensable independent bookstore, Newtonville Books.
Perhaps the most unexpectedly fun part of the trip was meeting fellow travelers at the Coolidge Corner B&B. First there was the handsome young German couple, who were traveling on holiday through New York, Boston, Vermont, and on up to Montreal and Toronto, with smiley 6-month-old baby girl in tow. I applauded them for their intrepid parenting; their adventurousness even brought them to my Booksmith reading! Husband Tovi (sp?), who is in the music business, had traveled throughout the U.S. last year as part of a massive KISS concert tour. Yes, folks, that’s right, KISS is still touring, doing the same show they’ve been doing for 25 years-plus, and the shows are all sold out!
Also joining us for bagels and coffee was a lovely gentleman named Al Silverman, who, as we got to talking, it turned out is writing a book about MFA creative writing programs (doing research at Boston University). He gave me his business card, and a quick google reveals that Mr. Silverman was for many years a sports writer; then the President/CEO of the Book-of-the-Month Club; then served as President/Editor-in-Chief of the Viking Press, where he edited Saul Bellow, William Kennedy, and TC Boyle; and recently wrote a book (that I am very interested to read) about the “golden age” of book publishing, called The Time of Their Lives. This, friends, is why I like staying at B&Bs.