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On Monday night, I did my final “on the road” Summer Reading event at the Avalon Free Public Library. I have been doing events there since 2017. My first event in the area was at the Avalon Yacht Club in 2016, if I remember correctly. It was wonderful to see some familiar faces in the audience, and to meet one of our readers from Michigan who happened to be in town. (I am terrible at remembering names!) Susan, my neighbor, was in the audience as she also owns a home in Stone Harbor. Talk about my worlds colliding!

It has been one busy, but really fun, book-filled week.

We kicked it off on Saturday when Wade Rouse and his husband, Gary Edwards, came over for dinner. Wade, who writes under the pen name Viola Shipman (as well as his own), is on tour for FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN. We were lucky enough to get them over to the house after their series of terrific events in Delaware and at the beach in New Jersey in Spring Lake. It was their first trip to New Jersey, and they were impressed! We talked books, a lot, and I am happy to say that my husband kept up. Gary also advised us with plant suggestions for our garden. I made cherry-infused brownies tied into the cherry theme of the book, which got approval from both of them.

Wade is still on tour, and if you have the opportunity to attend one of his programs, do make time for it.

Back in college, I had few courses that I loved. As I reflect on them, they really set the tone for what I do with Bookreporter now. These were small classes where we would read a book a week, discuss it and write a paper about it. I loved this for more than one reason. First, I loathed being in a classroom 2-3 days a week for a class. I also loved having long stretches with no classes so I could leave campus and explore the city; I went to Fordham. These classes met for one long period a week, which was perfect for condensing my days in classrooms; at one point, I got it down to two days a week. The subject of each semester was interesting: Books That Changed America, The Sixties, and others with that tone.

On Wednesday night, Tom Donadio and I walked the smoke-filled streets of New York (fanned by forest fires in Canada) to attend a fabulous soiree at Cipriani on 42nd Street in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publisher, W. W. Norton. After years of no gatherings, this was a complete throwback to the parties of old.

There was a swing band playing music from a century ago while people danced. And no, Tom and I did not step onto the dance floor. But it was such fun to watch folks who clearly had taken dance lessons at some point.

I was in New York City for three events yesterday. After four decades of commuting into the city, it felt surreal to do it again. Driving in and sitting in traffic on the helix entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel felt WAY too familiar. I was thinking of the Stevie Wonder song “Living for the City,” where he says, “Wow, New York, just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers and everything.” Heading crosstown to a parking garage meant that I saw at least one car run a light. For my heart-stopping moment, there was a woman with a tiny dog who decided that the Don’t Walk sign was not for her, and she sprinted in front of my car as the light was green for me to go. She did wave and mouthed “sorry” as she did this. I had forgotten that this was a typical NYC pedestrian move.