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Hangin’ with the Literati…or just hangin’?

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Cool event in Hudson recently.  The Hudson Library and Historical Society–in their amazing facility in back of Off Main (It really IS off Main St.) entertained a whole slew of   Ohio authors, who proved to be pretty amazing in their own right.

Straight ahead from the entrance was the section for writers who aimed their works at the younger set.  There were about twelve of them and they ranged from David FitzSimmons’ Curious Critters (with absolutely stunning photos–take note Joe Malmisur & Matt Sorrick) through The Case of Itch and Rash (about Malcolm Finney, pint-sized medical detective–health education worth investing in) written by Erika Kimble and illustrated by Laurel Winters, to a series–Max & Annie by Sandra J. Philipson featuring her spaniels (not just Max & Annie but Tak & Penny too), the best part of this one was the fact that one of the dogs was there too…and probably better behaved than some of the children who will buy the book, a lovely canine.  The Liar Society series by the Roecker sisters looked good, as did The Rambunctious Garden and Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day by Villager columnist, Mialie T. Szymanski (who illustrates her book too…And had it published by Villager Printing–she knows which side of the butter the bread is on).  My personal favorite of mostly pictures and noises was Phoebe and Digger, about a little girl, her new baby brother, a mean girl at the playground and her excavator toy–great for read-aloud time–my kind of gal.

THEN I went back and around the corner to another room with authors producing work for ADULT readers (I know, I know, you’re thinking “Wrong for you, sweetheart!”).  Another literary feast!  There were spots for thirty on the map hand-out but a couple didn’t make it.  So who knows?

Again, it was quite an assortment and range of topics.  John France of Mantua, author of The Idea Hump has thoughts on how to get through the beginning stages of developing an idea and taking it to success.  Barb Frye got through a life-changing event and tells how in Stop Wishing, Start Living.  And that’s how it went, all over the map.  Mysteries, Mennonite/Amish stories, romance, local history (High Bridge Glens of Cuyahoga Falls by Mary McClure, Mark Price’s The Rest Is History : True Tales from Akron’s Vibrant Past), poems, memoirs, The Other Audubon–bird eggs and nests, support for autism research, scary stuff–It Came From Ohio, a cookbook, of sorts–Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams( looked delicious!).  Cleveland’s West Side Market : 100 Years and Still Cooking prompted me to recount the tale of my Grandpa hauling in produce from the family truck  farm in Avon(now probably covered by Mc Mansions) in the wee hours of the morning.  Eat Your Way Across Ohio by Karen Patterson is aiming to give a look at local eateries around the Buckeye State and the influences that shaped regional cuisine(like the Finns in Fairport Harbor).  It was all quite amazing!

Wait!  Wait! There’s more!

Still ANOTHER room featured an appraiser–Andrea Klein, from The Bookseller, Inc., Old and Rare Books, who had her trusty laptop and a line of people out the door and seated in chairs waiting their turns–very quietly too, this IS Hudson, after all–to see if the family Bible that came across the Alps in Grandma’s bosom or across the Atlantic in Grandpa’s steamer trunk with the underwear for the whole family is worth enough to send the descendants to college.  The inherited treasures even made the room acquire a certain “old” funkiness like unto what one encounters in an attic or long-closed  room.  She seemed to be patiently explaining to many that simply being old does not equate with value.  Rarity, condition–of the binding, the cover, the pages (sometimes they can be “foxed”, that is, discolored with yellow or brown stains), the illustrations count for at least as much as the age in many cases.  Gold-stamped titles and all may be good looking but not necessarily valuable.  There were plenty of paper bags and plastic totes and hopeful waiters there every time I looked.  I’m thinking that my dad’s first edition (cloth-bound, not zebra print) of Tarzan of the Apes might not be what’s going to save the farm (If, indeed, it needed saving) unless it’s got a genuine signature of one of the apes…or my sisters, whichever is more likely.

Watch for this event next year, National Library Week; it’ll be the fourth annual Ohio Writers exposition by then.  If nothing else, you can pick up enough brand-new, colorful book marks to last you…oh, maybe until the next library book sale…or the next free fine day.

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