The buzz stops here

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Have you heard about Book Buzz yet?  On February 17, our Penguin Random House library rep will be on hand to share the insider publisher scoop from New York City, forecasting popular titles for the months ahead.  PRH is sending enough “Keep Calm and Read” tote bags, advanced reading copies of forthcoming titles, and catalogs for everyone (which is why we must limit registration to 75; you can register here.)  The ARC you take home could be the next Gone Girl or Gray Mountain.

AND staff will be circulating among attendees with trays of goodies and “mocktails”.  Those nonalcoholic treats were a hit when we served them before.  It’s fun to sip colorful beverages and pretend they’re upscale concoctions at a fancy New York venue.

As long as we’re imagining– just think what diverting library programs we could expect if our favorite fictional characters were presenters.  What if one of these protagonists from recent popular fiction were the speaker for a future library event?

Matt Biggs from Kenneth Calhoun’s Black Moon:  The first thing you’d notice would be our guest lecturer’s disheveled appearance. However distracted, incoherent, and sleep-deprived he might appear, he’s better off than most of the population; they’re unable to sleep at all and currently shambling about in red-eyed derangement (also seeking to destroy anyone suspected of not sharing their fate).  Hmmm, before we share further insights about Mr. Biggs, I’ll just step over and check the lock on that exterior door…

Claire Frasier from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (most recent, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood):  Claire’s 20th-century medical know-how impresses–and rescues– characters in earlier centuries; her encyclopedic knowledge of herbal remedies and contributions to the Revolutionary War and other landmark events would dazzle audiences here.  One caveat:  should the persuasive Claire need to intervene in some distant era, she’ll depart for the nearest stone circle on another time-traveling mission before she’s finished her presentation–and some audience members will have acquiesced to the “loan” of their engagement rings.

Tsukuru (from Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage):  However much the audience may long to engage Tsukuru in an empathetic de-briefing of his so-called friends’ wrongful accusation and shunning, let’s not.  Instead, we should bolster his self-esteem by rapt attention to his lecture on the intricacies of train station architecture.

Sarah, the housemaid from Jo Baker’s Longbourn:   This servant’s unvarnished below-stairs reportage of the Bennet family (of Pride and Prejudice fame) will keep attendees riveted–and we will not invite the poor girl to serve the refreshments.   Gossip generated by a houseful of marriageable daughters, inheritance worries, the handsome new footman (and let’s not forget family secrets) will tide us over until the next Season Five episode of you-know-what on PBS.

Matthew Clairmont from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy (most recent, The Book of Life):   Vampire Matthew could enlighten us on numerous topics:  many centuries’ worth of eye witnessing historic events; his close personal relationship with Christopher Marlowe; wine; stonemasonry.  But aren’t we primarily interested in just getting a good look at him?