The Other Guys

I’ve recently been on a tour of readings by the other guys, i.e., other guys who write baseball books for kids, which by chance have been lately blowing through Minneapolis like the smell of lilacs in May.

First on the miniature tour was Mick Cochrane, whom I’ve blogged about before. He’s a local guy, back in town for a day or so, and I caught his reading from The Girl Who Threw Butterflies and had a chance to trade a few words about Knopf and the Twins and the new ballpark and other pressing concerns.

Second was John H. Ritter, who’s written one of the best-known youth baseball novels of the past decade, The Boy Who Saved Baseball. I saw Ritter in the middle of a session on baseball books and reading at the International Reading Association, where they talked about a lot of good baseball books (including Mudville) and how teachers build reading units around them; interespersed with some baseball poetry. It was really interesting.

Third was John Coy, who read from his book Top of the Order at Micawbers, where I was a couple of months ago. Coy’s well known around the Twin Cities, and both locally and elsewhere kept asking me if I knew him, probably thinking two guys who write baseball books for middle graders in the same city ought to be playing darts together every Thursday, and they are probably right.

It’s interesting to see how different people approach an author’s appearance, whether they basically read from the book and take one or two questions, or tell long rambling stories about each book before reading a short passage, reminding me of the way folky Todd Snider goes about playing a song, or get everybody involved in audience interaction, one-potatoing and two-potatoing along with the story. I won’t say which writer is which kind of reader, but it’s given me some ideas about how to polish my own author appearances, and maybe I’ll incorporate elements of all three. In any case, all three are good guys that I was glad to meet and am glad to be with in the same enterprise.

9 thoughts on “The Other Guys

  1. I’m jealous! Those are some cool other guys. Man. I recently read TOP OF THE ORDER. I really liked it. Did you read it? I really want to ask a question about this book to someone else who has read it. Even better — ask John over darts! No, seriously, let me know if/when you read it.

  2. I haven’t read it; just bought it today at the reading. It looks like a quick read, so I’ll peruse it and get back to you. John was a really nice guy, even pointed me out and told everyone about my book although I’d only met him briefly once like three months ago (at the same bookstore, though.)

    I also really got some good ideas for how to do school visits; he does a bunch of them and a lot of what he did was clearly borrowed from school visits.

  3. Also, he read a picture book and said the editor at Random House was Nancy, who turned out to be the Nancy I met in NYC and again in Denver and whom you probably met when you went to the Knopffice. Small world.

  4. Wait, which Michael?

    Oh, and my first trip to the Knopffice is this coming Thursday so I’ll hopefully meet Nancy then!

    Jon’s book has a sub-plot about an author making school visits that is really fun. Good writing advice in there! I bet he’s great at it.

  5. Ah yes, Northrop. Awesome! I was trying to remember if we discussed both knowing Michael Stearns. Stearnsie knows everybody. Also, no one calls hims “Stearnsie,” so don’t repeat that 🙂

  6. Right, Bear Stearns is his father. Strange first name. Haha. Michael Stearns is an agent at Firebrand — he was an ed. at HC before that. I only actually met him the once. Very smart fellow. I like to read his blog “As the World Stearns,” which is a pretty great blog name.

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