Last night I had the good fortune to see Aiobheann Sweeney read at my store from her debut novel Among Other Things I’ve Taken Up Smoking. The room filled up with Sweeney’s many friends and family—she’s a native Cantabrigian as it turns out. I had written about this strong book some months ago and was looking forward to meeting the author. She was nervous as this was her first reading, but she did a terrific job reading the packed room the first chapter.
The question period began with many of the people in the room asking her about the title, feeling like it had nothing to do with how the book ends. The publisher came up with the title, she says, and as long as it didn’t have some thin girl on the cover smoking, she didn’t mind it. I personally like the title and didn’t see what the fuss was about. I had read Ron Hogan’s account of meeting her for lunch and had a few questions about the book, mainly about her novel being considered gay literature. It hadn’t struck me as a “gay” novel, more of a coming of age and it just so happens that Miranda likes girls. She appreciated this and says that it could be a sign that the times have changed, since none of the reviews so far had even mentioned the gay aspect of the novel. Speaking of reviews, she kindly mentioned how much she enjoyed litblogs more so than the “canned” book reviews (she even thanked me out loud).
All in all, it was a really nice reading ,full of exuberant people. I’m glad that my store got to be her first stop for a reading.