yesterday I drove out to Rhinebeck, ny to visit oblong books, who hosted Jennifer Donnelly. the event was for Donnelly’s new book, step sister, which I've already started and fallen in love with. i’m about 60 pages in, and could have kept going, except for having to eat breakfast and shower and write this blog post and do work…but I can get back to it later today.
in the bookstore
first, i’d like to say, what a nice bookstore. robust and varied selection, personable and helpful staff—a calm retreat for any bibliophile, even when packed to the gills for an author event.
but I also think Donnelly had something to do with that. she has a quiet yet strong energy. I enjoyed her presentation, which was both heartfelt and entertaining (it’s always fun when an author reads their work and does voices, even to an adult listener).
Donnelly even brought champagne and snacks for folks.
on the town
Rhinebeck is a special place for me. my nana lived there for years, and I have fond childhood memories—and some less than fond ones (though those were wholly unconnected to my nana and entirely connected to splitting my chin open on the pool edge, and the angry goose that used to chase my cousins and me to try to bite us).
but the town itself is adorable, even though some of the places I knew as a kid were no longer there. my friend and I ate lunch at the beekman arms, a building of historical significance dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. there we discovered the most delicious pot pie i’ve ever had in my life and a friendly waitress who regaled us with tales of her cat, who she’s trained to do an impressive set of tricks (we saw the video proof, too).
we explored the downtown area, including a church and cemetery that feature in an important scene in the work I did this past semester. isn’t it funny how it could look exactly as I described it in my text? I’m sure there was some memory of it, some passing memory, from my childhood—images my brain dredged out of my past, a setting I glanced at as I roller-skated from my nana’s condo to the ice cream parlor.
we ended our day with ice cream—though not from schemmy’s since it closed permanently. Instead we went to another ice cream parlor/chocolate shop which smelled amazing inside—I wanted to buy all the chocolate. I didn’t though; I just bought a single-scoop cone and tried to prevent it melting all over my hand as we walked the streets in the 83-degree sun on a summer-come-early day.
yesterday was, for me, both literary and nostalgic. i’m headed back to Rhinebeck soon, for a different sort of event altogether, but i’m looking forward to it. I may have to visit that charming town—and its equally charming bookstore—more often.