The post where I gush about Thrity Umrigar & a winner

Last night I was supposed to meet Bonnie at Thrity’s book signing, but on the way her car came in contact with another car whose brakes didn’t work.  Seriously?  Who is driving if their brakes don’t work?  Not to worry, she’s fine, and I missed seeing her.  Next time.

I have never read any of Thrity’s six books, but I have seen lots of love for them from other bloggers and I love to go to book signings, especially local authors.  I had no idea what to expect, but let me start by saying that Thrity was warm, personable, smart and engaging, and this may be my favorite author signing.  She read two passages from her new book, The World We Found, both of which were beautiful, and then spent an hour, graciously taking questions from the 75 people who were there.  Oh, wait, before she did any of that she heaped generous praise on the other Cleveland authors who we were there.  Sarah Willis, (Pulitzer Prize winner) Jim Sheeler, Loung Ung, Karen Sandstrom, Susan Grimm were in the audience.

I am terrible at taking photos at these events.  You can barely see Thrity up front, but on the upside, Sarah Willis is in the last row, closest to the camera.

So, why is India born Thrity a professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University? The answer is here.  That’s right she heard this Joan Baez song and decided at 21 to come to Ohio and earn her graduate degree at The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!).  One brave Clevelander pointed out that a map might have put her somewhere else since the Ohio River is hours from Columbus, but anyway…She calls this decision absurd and whimsical.  She’s been in the Cleveland area for 30 years.

When asked the requisite, who are your influences, question she answered with Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison (Thrity’s first job after college was in Lorain, where Morrison was born).  She says both have a true understanding of human psychology.  She says she’s also influenced by music and poetry, which she has written her whole life.  She spent years as a journalist because she could write and get a paycheck and feels optimistic about the future of journalism, although she had harsh words for the 24 hour news stations calling them laughable and dangerous.

A few memorable things she said about writing

“You write because it’s an act of discovery.”

“The magical part of writing is when you get lost in the woods.”

She did spent quite a bit of time talking about India, the effects of globalization and why it is so rich with stories.  The admirable people of Bombaby live on the edge and with such bravado that the stories are there for the plucking.

I really could go on, but this is already long.  I suggest you check out her book tour  to find out if you can see her in person.  You won’t regret it. I am so excited to read her book because she was such wonderful author to spend a few hours listening to.  I am pretty sure I’ll feel the same way about her books.

So, who got the signed copy of Thrity’s new book?

It’s JoAnn of Lakeside Musing!  Congratulations 🙂