Here’s your feel-good story for the day.
You may have read in The New York Times recently about how indie bookshops in North Carolina are in a bit of a jam. As Linda-Marie Barrett, the manager of Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, explained in a lovely op-ed titled “Why Should My Store Be Boycotted Over a Law I Despise?,” some authors have decided to protest the HB2 bill (aka the discriminatory “bathroom bill”) by canceling their North Carolina book tours. While the boycotting authors may have good intentions, the decision to back out of scheduled appearances actually hurts many of the folks who agree with them most about the hateful bill. (This is an issue the music world has struggled with as well, with artists divided over whether to cancel North Carolina tour dates.) Barrett wrote:
As justified as a boycott can be, we ask authors to consider a way of protesting other than boycotting bookstores. We need your voices, your presence, your art. When you cancel events with us, you deprive readers of a voice that can buoy them up, enlighten them, and demonstrate the fellowship of being there for each other, in community.
What to do?? This:
To prove that showing up and speaking out makes the greatest impact of all, several authors teamed up with Malaprop’s to raise their voices together on the night of Alexie’s canceled event. They formed a group called Authors for Action, and I’m delighted to be part of their “Kill the Bill” event on Wednesday, May 18. This party will have everything: book signings; a fun, inclusive crowd; and COCKTAILS. (Bonus: It’ll help the literary community in Asheville recoup their financial losses from canceled tours, not to mention raise funds for local nonprofits that do good things for all people.)
COME PARTY WITH US on May 18 in Asheville! I’ll be there with Penguins with People Problems. (Inequality is a people-problem if there ever was one, right?) Tix are $20 for regular seats or $50 for swanky seats plus a VIP reception. Get ’em online here.
In other news: If you’re in Nashville, I hope you’ll come downtown this Thursday, May 12, at 8 p.m. to the Ben & Morey Show, Music City’s live talk/variety answer to Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert. These guys are hilarious. Ann Patchett did the show last season and had such a blast that she convinced me to do it, too. Come make faces at me from the audience, won’t you?
I’ve decided to call these two events in one week “The Rhyming Cities Mini-Tour.” If you live anywhere called Trashville, Smashville, or Crashville, let me know and I’ll see what can be arranged near you.
PS: This was kind of a serious post. Thanks for reading. As a reward, here’s the true story of how Prince got his windmill.