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I’ve just completed a wonderful trip across the U.S., sharing my new book, “The Age of Desire.” As I traveled, I saw some of the most striking landscapes in the United States, from the sylvan beauty of Lenox, Massachusetts — where I was so thrilled to read at Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount — to the sparkling turquoise waters of La Jolla, California. I will carry those beautiful visual memories with me always. But I also learned more subtle and indelible truths:
1. Despite the barrage of media choices that surround us, reading a book is an intimate experience many of us still cherish above all other options.
2. Libraries are an incredible community resource, helping not only to make books available to everyone, but steering readers to new books, ideas and events. What wonderful lively places the Rancho Santa Fe Library and The St. Louis County Library are! They’re magnets for their communities. Places for people to meet, feel at home, enjoy. It makes me look forward even more to my upcoming events at The Omaha Public Library and The Nashville Public Library!
3. Independent bookstores are growing, changing and serving their communities even better than before, offering classes, discussions, book groups and children’s events. Bookstores face challenges these days, but the good ones have earned a fierce loyalty from their customers and have become even more beloved. Gibson’s in Concord, NH, Warwick’s in San Diego, Book Passage in San Francisco and Parnassus Books in Nashville are amazing places and their communities are so lucky to have them!
4. Large numbers of people hunger to hear authors talk about and read from their own work. I do too. It lets me hear the author’s voice in a whole new way. I was warmed by how carefully my audience listened, and how keen their questions were.
5. I loved sharing “The Age of Desire” with readers. I doubt I’ll ever be able to top the gorgeous, eerie sense that Edith was listening in when I read that beautiful afternoon at The Mount. In truth, every single one of the stops on my tour was a gift to me. I know I will be forever grateful to all the people who took a quiet hour out of their overcrowded lives to come listen.