When I was little, books lived mostly at the library and occasionally came home with me by way of treasures ordered from Scholastic flyers we received at school. I loved those days when the teacher distributed the neatly rubberband-bound piles topped with order slips bearing our names. I don’t think I ever verbalized it to my parents, but even then I was consciously building a library.
My family had a few books and a collection of encyclopedias that I adored on shelves on the back porch, but the only people in my extended family who had anything close to what I envisioned as a proper library were my Aunt Natalia and Uncle Wasyl. The shelves in their family room were filled with what looked like ancient and exotic Ukrainian books.
I loved the places that brought me books, but they were not really gathering spaces for book-loving communities. The tiny chain bookstore at the mall lacked designated seating spaces, so my best friend Cheryl and I would sit on the floor in the metaphysical section reading about dream analysis and palm reading, trying to find ways to predict or control the future.
Somewhere around junior high, I discovered the used bookstore on Addison Street, situated on the end of the block where we lived– past the Superette, past the bakery, but just before you reached the corner bar. It barely had room for customers; its narrow aisles were filled with classics and pulps, dusty shelves and tables overflowing. That’s where I would take my babysitting money and buy science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, sometimes filling a brown paperbag for $2. I still have some of those early purchases, and they are like old friends in my bookcase.
I discovered the Book Cellar not long after it opened in 2004. Serving good coffee AND wine, it was a community hub with excellent books and literary events. After having launched both Conclave: A Journal of Character and The Silence of Trees at the Book Cellar, there was no question in my mind where I wanted to celebrate the Chicago release of Geek Parenting.
We had a wonderful turnout on April 16th–a beautiful, warm, Chicago Spring afternoon. I was overwhelmed by the number of friends, family, and strangers who came to listen as Stephen and I read from Geek Parenting, answered questions, and signed copies.
Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing passersby stop and peer in the windows to see why such a large crowd had assembled. It’s one of the charms of a neighborhood bookshop–the neighbors come by. Some even came in to listen, joining the lively audience who filled all the seats and stood in between the stacks. We answered a few questions; and then my sister cut the cake while Stephen and I signed books and chatted with people.
Sincere thanks to Suzy and her wonderful staff, to everyone who came out to the Book Cellar or has attended events in Seattle or Philadelphia, to everyone who has bought our book, has given it to friends, or has helped to spread the word.
Thank you. So much.
It has been a wonderful beginning to our Geek Parenting book tour, and we’re excited about the next few stops on the East Coast in two weeks (click here for dates and more information), as well as those still to come.
Geek Parenting is a celebration of the lessons we learn from some of pop culture’s most famous families, but it’s also a book about the different ways we share and shape our visions for a better future. We do it with stories and imagination, and we do it with friendship and community.