All posts by Mark Pinsky

Book Club Appearances

I’ve started appearing at book clubs here in Central Florida, a first for me, and it’s been fun to get some direct feedback and support. Several weeks ago, at the invitation of a neighbor, I met with her group at a nearby Japanese restaurant.  The half dozen women were in their 30s and 40s, most with children at home,  and had read — or at least started — the book, and had some stimulating questions.

Last night, my wife’s book club met at our house. I’d seen them there before over the years, but had never sat in on a session. Sallie had chosen my book the month before and, to accommodate several members,  moved the meeting from their regular week night to Saturday evening. She invited the husbands, and made it a pot luck dinner. After a few hours around the table (marinated lamb chops, salad, corn bread, flavored rice, with mountain music on the CD). we moved to the living room. The group, which has been meeting for 11 years, is composed of politically sophisticated, suburban  women  in their 40s, 50s and 60s, most with graduate degrees.     All five of the members who attended seemed to have read the book, some in earlier manuscript from, and came prepared with probing questions, some in writing. I was able to share with them some insight into the research and writing process, and explain some of the editing choices, including material that didn’t make the final cut.

I have one more more area book club appearance next month, with a group that includes another of Sallie’s friends. Members of this group, along with most of Sallie’s group attended our launch party at the Congregation of Reform Judaism in early October. I’m hoping to coordinate visits to the Durham area with appearances at friends’ book clubs.

Launch & NC Tour

I’m just back from our reading and signing tour of North Carolina. About a week before we left we had a launch party in Orlando at our temple, where we drew nearly 100 — thanks in part to free food (including my wife’s zucchini and banana bread) and a local bluegrass band. I did a short reading.

Thanks to a nice piece in the local weekly, the Mountaineer (which I will post) we had 20 people at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, Haywood County, a good crowd, according to the owner. Nice discussion after the reading, with one former SBI agent, one former FBI, some Madison County folks.

In Asheville, Rob Neufeld wrote a great column about the book for the Citizen-Times, (which I will also post) and I had 50 minutes of drive on WWNC, the big AM news/talk radio station, with host Pete Kaliner. All of which turned out 28 that night  at Malaprop’s, although I helped paper the house with old Dukies — Alan Ray, Sallie, Elmer Elmer Hall and Margaret (formerly Bunny) Small.

The next day I spoke to a criminal justice class at Mars Hill (now) University, with Madison County sage Richard Dillingham in attendance, and then on to an extended signing only in Marshall,at Penland & Sons, a great general store, drawing mostly locals, many of whom wanted to talk about the Morgan case.

        The next night in Hot Springs, near where Nancy Morgan’s body was found, and Richard Johnson lived, we had our best turnout — 60 people for a reading/signing benefit for the county library. Mostly post- ’60s “newcomers” but a good representation  of older natives. Sallie said that when I read the section introducing Richard Johnson, that group was nodding. Another good discussion following.
       Then down to the Piedmont. On Monday night, after a short interview with WPTF in Raleigh,  we had 24 at Regulator Book Shop, my home away from home,  almost all familiar faces from the old days. Tuesday noon we had a small group for a noon time signing.
        Now we’re back. I’ve taped an “Intersection”  interview with Matthew Peddie of WMFE-FM, our local NPR affiliate, which I expect will air in the next several weeks.