Fall is officially upon us (and in some parts of the country, winter has already reared its head). And what that's meant to me has been more knitting. I just finished a poncho for my 2 year old and am nearly done with a cowl for myself. Leg warmers for my teenager and scarves and hats for my son and husband are swirling in my head. With knitting so much on my mind, I've really been in the mood to read Rachael Herron's Cyrpress Hollow series - and the newest, Wishes and Stitches, is just out! Today Rachael reports on the National Reading Group Month that she participated in this past month at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, CA.
There isn't anything like a book to draw people together. You can be sharing a train car with a person who looks nothing like you (she might wear a different kind of clothing, and do her hair differently; she might be a different race or age) but if she is reading your favorite book, she is a friend. There's that lovely moment of recognition when a beloved book comes up in conversation: "Oh, you love that, too? Yes, I knew I liked you."
Reading groups celebrate books, and even more, they celebrate the communal aspect of reading. We read books at the same time and then get together to talk about them. It isn't important whether we loved or hated the book in question; the important thing is that we come together.
Last Sunday, a collection of people joined together at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, California, to celebrate National Reading Group Month (sponsored by the Women's National Book Association). I was lucky enough to get to read and sign my books along with fellow author Thad Nodine.
And the great thing? At first glance, you wouldn't think Thad and I had much in common. His novel is about a blind man making a journey across the country. My novels and nonfiction have knitting as the background music.
But as we read aloud, it became apparent that he and I write about the same thing: human connection. And while we were doing it, we were connecting to the listeners in the chairs arranged before us. At one point, I swear Thad was climbing over the chain link fence he was describing in his passage and at another point, the whole room was roaring as I described evading airport security while clutching my spinning wheel.
We were all together in one room, thinking about and listening to the written word. People had come to hear him, or they'd come to hear me, but they left having made a connection with both of us, and it was a lovely, gorgeous thing. It was an afternoon I am proud to have been part of, and it further affirmed my respect for the reading group as a useful tool of our community.
Browse inside Wishes and Stitches and check out the reading group guide. Visit Rachael Herron's website to learn more about her Cypress Hollow Yarn series, and follow and friend her on Twitter and Facebook.