What it’s Like to Give a Book Reading

I volunteered to go first. It’s my “confront it and get it over with fast” mentality. Rip that bandaid off quickly! So I stepped up to the microphone. Sunny’s was crowded with friendly faces. Whenever I looked up to make eye contact whoever I saw either smiled or looked interested.

I read just a few paragraphs from the very beginning of the book, but I kept losing my place. I saw a trick the last reader used, which I will try next time. He just simply moved an index card down as he read so when he looked up at people and back he could find his place again. I kept having to re-find my place. My face would flush and my heart would race. “Where was I???” I always found it in a matter of seconds, but still.

Then I just talked. I talked about how the lab got started and what they tried to do. I told my favorite stories, like the one about the missing boy Bruce Kremen, and finding the letter from the Exorcist priest. I forgot a lot of things I meant to say but it’s probably just as well. Less is more, as they say.

But the feel of the room was good. I didn’t feel like I was walking in molasses, the energy was there and lively. People came up to me at the break and told me their ghost stories and other experiences. The host Gabriel Cohen did a good job of hosting, he made people feel welcome and he made me feel at ease. And he brought pastries!!

I took this on the ferry home. This is the southern tip of Manhattan. I was happy. Something scary was not only now firmly in the past and over, I did okay.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

5 thoughts on “What it’s Like to Give a Book Reading

  1. Oh, guess what!When I got up the other day and was preparing the ritual coffee I looked out the kitchen window and a full grow bobcat was slowly walking across my neighbor’s back yard heading toward the woods. I was astonished! First one I’ve seen that closely. I never have a camera handy for those unexpected shots :>(

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