One of my favorite libraries will always be the Boston Public Library. It’s an impressive building that celebrates both quiet, contemplative reading as well as a loud, enthusiastic passion for books and stories. During my visit to Boston last month, I was thrilled to attend the Boston Book Festival, a pop-up convention right out front of the Library.
Approaching the library and Copley Plaza, we saw a few long lines and soon found out they were filled with fans eager to meet Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson YA series. And in front of the library, there were pop-up tents and food trucks, all promoting great books to read and treats to eat.
Sasquatch was there promoting Cambridge Publishers, and he made me feel a bit comic-con-y. As you could imagine, there are a lot of publishers, and this year there was a focus on publishing for younger readers. Local standouts like WGBH, MIT, and Emerson College were also promoting their efforts.
One of the most creative exhibitors was Pop-up Poems. You’d chat with a poet a bit and come back 10 minutes later to pick a complete poem they’d just written and typed on a vintage typewriter. There was no fee…but I sure hope everyone generously tipped the poets. I loved this idea and I think every comic convention should steal this idea!
The Mystery Writers of New England was another favorite. I can just imagine their monthly meetings, where one member-writer gets mysteriously murdered and the rest of them try to solve the insidious crime.
At this Mystery Writers pop-up, I really enjoyed meeting and speaking with author Joanna Schaffshausen. Her books include Gone for Good and The Vanishing Season, which encompass two different series. She was everything you’d expect from a New England mystery writer; she was articulate, poised and engaging.
Author Lorenzo Petruzzielo, also a part of the Mystery Writers of New England, was promoting his recent and upcoming books. He calls A Mistake Incomplete a film noir thriller, but I think it’s so much more. He was bubbling over with pride and enthusiasm for his work. How could anyone not a buy a book from this writer? I’m almost finished reading this one, and I’ve really enjoyed it.
It is a caper-gone-wrong thriller, set in Milan, about a thief who’s also aging out of the escort business. The female lead, Beatrice, is a bartender and his on-again off-again girlfriend. Petruzzielo keeps it all moving along at a brisk pace, and I’m getting ready for a few big surprises towards the end.
But while Petruzzielo explained to me that he was inspired by Film Noir thrillers on TCM, this mystery seems so contemporary and of-the-moment. I look forward to his next mystery A Taste of Datura that comes out next spring.
And no, I have no idea what the poisonous Datura flower tastes like either.
* * *
The library itself was majestic and awe inspiring too. I couldn’t help but wander around it just a little bit. Of course, the whole time I was thinking of the recent thriller we read as part of our “Catto Family Book Club”, Sulari Gentil’s The Woman in the Library. It kind of brought it all full circle for me, although no one was murdered when I was there.
Not that I will admit to, anyway.