Elizabeth is absolutely right -- last night was really special. If you haven't been to one of the readings, it's hard to describe how terrific the atmosphere is, how fun it is to be surrounded by people who are passionate about literature, how fabulous it is to have your very favorite writers tell you a story. Joanne and Monique were just amazing.

Joanne's recently completed memoir, Hunger Artist, explores childhood in an honest, powerful way that is refreshingly devoid of either the cheesy nostalgia or Dawson's Creek-style uber-sophistication that writers too often ascribe to the young. Monique read the beginning of her new novel, still a work-in-progress (although, of course, stunningly well-crafted), called Bitter in the Mouth. The excerpt we heard was about a woman whose roots are in the South coming to terms with her grandmother's towering presence in her life. There were several notably funny lines that drew laughs, which is such a cool thing to encounter in a story that may or may not have a happy ending.

I mets lots of new people, including a woman who is from the same town in Mississippi that my mother's family lives in. I am going to call my mom and tell her, but I already know what she'll say, "You met a girl from Hattiesburg? Well, bless her heart. Honey, that's so sweeet."

Just like Cupcake.


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