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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jeremy Mercer: Time Was Soft There

Author Jeremy Mercer reads from Time Was Soft There at Collected Works - 7:30 p.m.

Time Was Soft There tells the story of a crime reporter who flees to France after a threat from a gang source. In Paris, he discovers the wondrous world of Shakespeare and Company and is invited to live among the creaking shelves of this revered bookstore. During his five months under the wing of the store's quixotic 89-year-old owner, the author experiences adventure, mystery and ultimately redemption.

Jeremy shows off on his laptop computer the cheapest way to stylishly cut one's hair. With a lit candle. God forbid you use scissors for that 'straight' cut. Well, the frugal George Whitman did pay $800 for his first bookstore way back when...That sounds pretty cheap.

Mr. Mercer obviously picked some lessons in frugality in France as he explained that he paid several Euros for the clothes he wore this evening. He does look stylish with his loose fitting sweater, dress shirt and oddly knotted tie. However, his stature is made for his rakish authorial look and this attire undoubtedly would look ill-fitting on my robust belly.

I do have to say that Mercer's reading was a textbook example of how to give one. He called the bookstore ahead of time to ensure there was a carafe of hot mulled wine available for the store's patrons. Nice and spicy. He arrived on time, which is to say after most of his friends and family had arrived, giving him a deserved welcome home. His presentation did require a modest set up as he had to gather his papers and power up his computer which he did quickly and efficiently - all the while signing books. I have not seen such a well-organized multimedia presentation since Paul Anderson's Hunger's Brides extravaganza last October 2004 at the OWIF. (And that's a good thing). He passed around the room many bits of culled ephemera ranging from news clippings, geneological data, and photos. Impressive. More information on Jeremy Mercer can be found on his website: He even has his own blog about his book tour.

View more of my photos of Jeremy Mercer's visit of his hometown of Ottawa on my Flikr account:


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