Ayelet Recalls Worst Book Signing

Ayelet Waldman’s worst book signing ever? It was her first, according to a cool article on bad book signings by The Baltimore Sun.

“My very first book was published on the same day that one of the Harry Potter books was published,” she said. “I sat at a table at Waldenbooks telling people, ‘Right down the hall and turn left.’ I didn’t sell a single book, but I gave many, many people directions” to the stacks of J.K. Rowling books.

Waldman appears to have her dates mixed up a little. Nursery Crimes, her first novel, was published June 1, 2000, a month before The Goblet of Fire hit stands. She probably meant to say her signing was the same day Harry Potter came out.

Chabon Discusses Current Reading

Newark Star-Ledger caught up with Chabon and asked him what he is reading right now.

Among the books: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “Persuasion,” and “Emma,” part of an Austen kick Chabon’s been on lately.

“I love Austen’s tone,” he says. “It’s all about the tone and the point of view. I go over her paragraphs endlessly, to see how she manages to convey the amount of contempt you are supposed to feel for a character, or the respect you are sup posed to feel for a character, and the way that she modulates contempt and respect in the same paragraph. There is great pleasure in reading her books.”

Chabon says he also recently re-read “The Charterhouse of Parma” by Stendhal.

“I love the way that he is addressing his French readers and trying to make these Italian characters comprehensible, when he is actually mocking his French readers,” Chabon says. “I was close to Fabrizio’s age when I read it. I was 18. I think I missed a lot of Fabrizio’s ironic detachment as an older man looking back at his youth. I just admired his adventurous spirit. The fact that he was kind of an idiot was lost on me then.”

Chabon also says he recently read “The Death of the Detective” by Mark Smith, which Chabon says it one of Jonathan Lethem’s favorite books.

“The novel is set in the Chicago underworld with a detective investigating a murder,” Chabon says. “It’s a huge 1970s novel, from the era of Pyn chon and Gaddis.”

$10,970 for Obama

Again, apologies for the lack of recent updates. Chabon news has been hard to come by as of late, and I’ve been busy with life myself.

I thought, though, given all the headlines of late about the Democrats and fundraising, we might check in on how Chabon and Waldman are doing. As you may recall, in April, Chabon and Waldman endorsed presidential candidate Barack Obama. Their goal has been to raise $25,000 for the guy.

Where are they so far? Since then, they’ve raised $10,970 from 51 people for Obama, according to their outreach page.

And since April, Chabon has himself jumped into the donor game. Waldman had already donated $4,600, this site reported, but records at the time hadn’t shown any contributions from Chabon for 2007. Now, according to FEC records, Chabon has himself contributed $4,800, the maximum amount for both primary and general election cycles. The contributions are both dated April 28.