The beauty of living in a college town is that most of us here really love books. And of course, we also love the people who write them.
Almost every day of the week, every week, there is some opportunity for us to meet authors, to listen to them talk about their work, and to maybe shake their hand.
I had some free time on Monday evening and on Saturday afternoon. I looked through community calendars and bookstore events and with little effort I got to see two authors whose work has been on my bookshelf for years.
When I lived n Southern California, the must-read book was "Slouching Toward Bethlehem." It made people look at their surroundings through a totally different prism. On Monday, I got to see Joan Didion, the author of that book, at the First Parish Church. Ms Didion is a sharp writer who is now focusing her keen observations on frailty and on how hard it is to wrap things up at the end of our life's journey. The place was packed.
As a movie buff, I've seen all the film adaptations of Dan Brown's work. Stories that weave complex strands of plot intrigue me. On Saturday, I went to hear Umberto Eco, His "Name of the Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum" are rich novels that explore lies and conspiracies and convoluted visions. It was funny that one of the questions Mr. Eco had to address was whether it would have been possible for there to have been a Dan Brown without first having an Umberto Eco. Once again, the place was packed.
That there is so much access to literary culture in Cambridge is a good thing. That so many people actually show up and stay for standing-room-only events is fantastic.
Adults who read, who talk passionately about books, who care about writers, are important. They are the role models our children need.
November marks Massachusetts Family Literacy Month. Of course family literacy is important because we want our kids to be able to read. Knowing how to read not only enriches the mind, but it also correlates with a higher-paying job.
There are two good ways to get children to want to read. First, you have to have some books around the house. And second, kids need to see adults reading.
Seeing how many people are attending these Author Events makes me not only appreciate living in a college town, but it also gives me great hope that reading is not becoming a dying trend.