November 9, 2006

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Swing a cat, hit a writer
Authors crowd local bookstore circuit
By Lisa Parsons news@hippopress.com.

Saturday, Nov. 11, is shaping up as a big day not just for veterans but for book-lovers in the area.

You can hear local celeb Fritz Wetherbee talking about his latest, I’ll Tell You the Story, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord at 11 a.m.

At the same time in Milford, science fiction and fantasy author K. Spirito will be reading from her latest novel, The Spiderling, at the Toadstool bookshop.

While those two events are winding down, things will just be getting started at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, where the Stonewall Kitchen guys will hang out and discuss their latest cookbook, Stonewall Kitchen Favorites, at noon, and then at 2 p.m. Julie Patten, folk historian from Maine, will display her father’s wartime letters and discuss her book, Another Side of World War II.

The Barnes & Noble revelry continues the next day with Amir Aczel, author of The Artist and the Mathematician, at 1 p.m., followed by Sarah Wilson, co-author of My Smart Puppy: Fun, Effective, and Easy Puppy Training, at 4 p.m. Wilson will bring her puppy for live demonstrations.

“Fall is indeed our busiest time for events,” said Lois Ava-Matthew, events coordinator at Toadstool, in an e-mail to Hippo, explaining that not only does Toadstool schedule its Teacher Appreciation Week and anniversary sale week in the fall, but shoppers are generally doing holiday shopping at this time of year. “So we book more heavily during this time,” Ava-Matthew said. Toadstool has recently hosted local science fiction writer Nikki Andrews, mystery writer John Connolly and New Hampshire historian Christopher Johnson.

And this year, as New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation-ish primary comes into view, we’ve had some extra authors on tour: those who write books to advance their political careers. Senator John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential candidate, is scheduled to be at Barnes & Noble in Manchester on Nov. 27; Karen Frist, wife of Senator Bill Frist, visited that store and others in the region in October. More are sure to follow.

“We are still getting calls from authors and publicists hoping to book events this fall but essentially we’re full,” Ava-Matthew said.

Later in November, the Milford Toadstool will host Fritz Wetherbee, psychologist-author Maria Sirois, and a slate of mystery authors; for December the store has booked New Hampshire photographer Peter Randall, local illustrator Jill Weber, and Maine photographer William Hubbell. The Toadstool’s sister store in Peterborough will host Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, famed anthropologist and author of The Harmless People and a new book called The Old Way.

Meanwhile Barnes & Noble in Manchester seems to be adding author events faster than it can post them on its Web site; new signs go up around the store every day announcing book signings and discussions. Borders in Concord will host Peter Randall but seems to be focused more on book discussion groups than author meet-and-greets.