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Good morning everybody. Hi we are about to start our opening salon here at Book Group Expo Chapter Two and thank you all for coming. I just want to say that it has been a fabulous experience that all of you intelligent readers and book lovers and Book Group members have made this an incredible weekend. And I am Kathi Kamen Goldmark. I am of the organizers of the event. I am the official author of Wrangler but I also work on the program with Susanne. And I am going to introduce our guests. And the thing is that this is a story that Anna has told about me many, many, many times over the years. So, it's my turn to tell my version. And many years ago I had the pleasure of accompanying Anna Quindlen on a book tour. We spent several days covering all of the Bay Area media outlets, book stores and everybody just adored her. People were eating her people were full of love, people were just; "Anna Quindlen is the best thing in the world". Okay. Finally the last night we got to Berkeley. And here is you know, nice, brilliant, progressive Anna Quindlen with her first novel and the room is packed. And she walks up and does a beautiful reading from her novel and then as authors do at these things, opens a floor to questions assuming, as we all do, that the questions would be intelligent and respectful. But guess what; there was a woman who identified herself as wiccan but not some some particular kind of wiccan who took issue with some religious symbolism that she read into Anna's very lovely and literate passage. And then there was a man who spoke so softly that no one could understand what he was saying. So he had to repeat four times that he thought her passage was suddenly sexist and pro-imperialist. So, there is Anna and she fielded the questions brilliantly, she was great, but as we were walking out she said, "Are these people always this rude? What is it with Berkeley? Are other authors treated like this?" And the only one I could think of would had as hard a time in Berkeley as Anna was G Gordon Liddy. So - so let's give Anna Quindlen a really gracious, polite, mannerly, San Jose welcome. This book Rise and Shine is an amazing Book Group read, it's wonderful. Anna will be signing in the marked place right after her presentation and here she is. Thank you so much. It's true it's true. Some one asked me I think it was in Columbus several weeks ago whether I considered myself a liberal. And I said that I was proud to consider myself a liberal, but there were part of this country where actually sometimes I felt like a radical and there was one city in America where I felt like a conservative. People think that I like to do events like this because I am a writer. That's not really true. I like to do events like this because I am a reader. I am one of those people who walks into a book store and takes a deep breath because she loves the smell. And I used to do that even before book stores started selling scones and lattes. I just love reading so much. I can imagine my life without writing, in fact I try on many occasions to create a life without writing but I cannot imagine a life without reading. I will never forget when I was in eighth grade going to take a scholarship test at a convent school in Wheeling, West Virginia; which actually sounds like the beginning of a pretty good novel but it's really true. And there was an essay on the test and at the top it had a quote in italics. It said, it is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest than I go to than I have every known. And afterwards at these big refectory tables the nuns fed us Tuna Fish Sandwiches and chocolate milk and all around me were girls saying, I didn't really understand that quote, do you know where that quote was from and what were we supposed to do with that quote and I was pretty sure at that moment that I had won the scholarship because I had already gone to that far far better rest with Sydney Carton at the end of Charles Dickens, A tale of two cities. I spend my entire childhood reading and none of them really seemed, and I think you will all resonate this, they didn't really seem like books to me. They seem like places that I visited and with people that I met and even become friendly with and then left and would revisit again. When I was a little girl there was in our living room this big comfy club chair and when I think of my childhood, I am mainly lying in that club chair like this. And my mother is standing in the doorway and she is saying, it's a beautiful day outside. It doesn't really matter what season it is or what the weather is really like, that's what she is saying. You should go outside and be with your friends. Because the truth is she, like a whole of other Americans, like the idea of reading in general but specifically feel like people who read too much, what ever reading too much might be, are kind of dreamers who ought to be forced to go outside, literally or figuratively to where real life is. And I did that all the time, except that I used to feel like I was playing a game of statues, not that the game of statues that I played out on the street with my friends, but the game of statues that goes like this, we put the book down on the side table and everybody stops and they wait for you to come back and you wait for you to come back so that you can pick it back up and they can all come to life again. I mean reading is so powerful; it's our consciousness in someone else's mind and may be the mind of someone who died hundreds of years ago. When my sister Theresa used to live with us during the summers when she was in high school and college, I used to make booklets for her and give her the books from my own library. And I will never forget the day which she came home, she had been riding on the train for a job and it was kind of hot and humid and she had my old dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice. And she came in and smacked down on the kitchen table and said, okay look, tell me if she marries Mr. Darcy. Because if she doesn't I am not going not finish the book. Now here is a book that was written more than 200 years ago by one little woman in a parsonage in England. And here is an 18 year old, in the New York City area - taking the journey, riding a ride as indelibly as though the book had been written yesterday. That's one of the most mysterious, most marvelous things that you can think about. And it's especially important in a democracy, because to the extent that we ever operate in this country on a level playing field, its reading that levels it. Its reading that enables us to know not to believe the big lies of demagoguery and to understand the things that our leaders say they understand. If you are the postman and you have been paying attention to what's going on in the news, and the President stands up and say, the State of the Union, and says that terrorists are trying to buy yellow cake uranium from a country in Africa, you have the ability to say uh-huh, that's not right. The intelligence community has already dubunked that particular piece of information. It really is the thing that enables us to stay level and as a society to we live in a society now that is deeply mired something I call geographical partite. Except for some of our cities we have set up this whole mechanism where we will never have to live near anybody who is not like us. Age wise, race wise, above all class wise and reading breaks down those barriers. You read the Bluest Eye and you are able to exist in the place where a little girl is trying to figure out why she is a second class citizen because of the color of her skin. You read the diary of a young girl and you understand what it can be like when one entire group of people in power turns against an entire group of people because of their religion in your society. You enlarge yourself as a human being and there is nothing more important except may be for the other thing that reading does for all of us and that is that it makes us feel less alone. And in a society where isolation seems to sometimes be our biggest problem there is nothing more important than you - than you can say than that. When my oldest son Quinn was 13 years old I gave him a copy of Portnoy's Complaint. Not only because he was mega reader and very funny and very smart but because I didn't want him to feel like the only guy in America on terminal testosterone one overload. That's what that's what reading can do for us. And because of all those things it seems to me that in a democratic society it's more of a threat to cut library budgets than it is to cut defense budgets. I really believe that down to the ground. And that finally is why I love Book Groups so much. Because I walk into a room and I go my peeps. You know, I mean these are the people who feel who like me feel the way about books towards that some people feel about shoe stores you know. Well all right, I really like shoe stores too but not as much as book stores you know. And one of the reasons I realize particularly, I love book clubs, is because the members of Book Groups and book clubs still believe in fiction. And the truth is and in the same way I realize that Americans don't really believe in reading they really don't believe in fiction which is odd for somebody who is both a fiction and a non fiction writer. I mean try writing a novel in which one of the characters is the host of America's number one morning show. And then just toed up the number of times the words Katie Couric come into play. Oh I I sat in a room and made this something its kind of insulting for people that think that it's literal fact. It isn't even really about TV, although the grenade that set off the action and the novel takes place on television. It's about the disconnect between appearance and reality. About the difference between how our lives look on the outside and how they really feel living them on the inside. I suppose I was little a inspired by morning television because it's such an odd game you are playing when you go on. I mean you tune it on and and it looks like two women sitting on the couch just talking. And it's only when you pull back that you see all the wires and the whistles and the make up person and all that. And and to some extend that is almost symbolic of that disconnect between appearance and reality. That's so much part of American culture now. It's a subject that I have thought of so much as a novelist, as a columnist and in fact as a mother of three kids. If we have so much why aren't we more satisfied? I mean do we have to find a way to redefine success in our culture? That's some of the issues that I tried to raise in this book. And and it was hard to parse them all out in the lives of various people. The easy part was the setting. This book is set in New York City which is a city that I love in the way that I love some people. It's also a place where appearance and reality collide everyday, where you have these very wealthy neighborhoods that look super glossy and have a certain kind of rut at their core. And you have really, really poor neighborhoods where people are managing to hold it all together. So it was the perfect place to set a novel about this. It was it was immaterial that I have really been saving string on for my entire life because I have been a reporter in New York City since I was 19 years old. I didn't have to research at all. In fact I don't research my novels although people seem to think that I do all the time. I guess because I am also a reporter and a columnist. There is no question that being a reporter was a really good preparation for being a novelist. You know, I really learned from writing down words in notebooks for so many years, how real people talk and how various and specific syntax and dialogue can be. I really learnt to look for those telling details that make a story come alive. I learned about writer's block which I get asked about a lot. If you have writer's block and you work in the newspaper business it's probably a a sign that you should take the LSATs because you have to write on demand, whether you are feeling good, bad or indifferent. People have writer's block not because they can't write but because they despair of writing eloquently. That's not how it works. Madeleine L'Engle the author of A Wrinkle in Time, one of my favorite books, once said something along the line that inspiration comes during work, not before it. And that's very important to remember. You just have to sit your butt down in that chair and churn it out and some days you plod and some days you soar and then some days you hit it and when you look up an hour or two have gone by. I always wanted to write fiction. It's under my high school year book picture, it's says the ambition to write the great American novel, well. I went into the newspaper business to pay the rent and then I discovered that for a well brought up catholic girl with napkin on her lap, suit manners, oh man going places people didn't want me to go and asking questions they didn't want me to ask was the best job on the face of the earth. I had the time of my life and so to the extend there is any reporting in this novel is the reporting that I have been gathering for my whole life. I would like to go and teach it, high schools or colleges a couple of times a year because I would like to talk to the students about a lot of things. First of all I want to tell them that a fairly ordinary person, who is actually alive, makes a living at this because when I was growing up most of the writers that I like most were English and dead. And I think it's useful for them to see a living writer who does this in the same way that a person does any job, both of my sons were writers and I think it's because they grow up with a very utilitarian, no nonsense, pragmatic approach to how you did it you know. And the other thing that I would like to do when I go out to teach is something I made reference to earlier, I want to say to these students, I hate to write. I genuinely hate to write. I have a whole group of morning rituals designed to allow me not to write. You know I read a couple of newspapers, I power walk for an hour and that says it all, I would rather exercise than write. And it seems like every morning after about an hour and a half or two hour I run out of rituals and I finally say, oh I guess I will do it now. And the reason I tell them that is because we have this particular ethos in America which is the notion that if you are good at something it's effortless. It makes no sense at all. And I want them to understand that if they are sitting there thinking I am not good at this because its hard for me and I don't love it, then I am with them but that that doesn't mean that they are not good it at all. I also tell them one other thing that as I said I put to good use in Rise and Shine, I tell them that if they possibly can they should find one thing in anything that they are working on that's easy for them, that's accessible, that makes them feel like they are in their own territory before they stray out to the to the dangerous areas where there is mine fields. And as I said with this book its New York. So I thought I just read a couple of pages from the very beginning which are about New York City. The novel is narrated by Bridget Fitzmaurice who is a social worker at a women's charity in a poor area of the Bronx. Her older sister is the host of Rise and Shine, America's number one morning show. They are very close and very different. From time to time some stranger will ask me how I can bear to live in New York City. Sometimes it happens when I am on vacation, passing the time in a buffet line filled with the sun burned and the semi drunk. Sometimes it comes up in a professional conference, drinking coffee in a corner of a hotel meeting room with a clutch of social workers; most of them were wearing the dirndl skirts and dangling earrings of the socially conscious women of a certain age. My young friends will ask, although they live only half hour north up the Sawmill parkway but in a state of bucolic isolation that might as well be Maine. Even in New York itself I will sometimes hear the question. From the old man on the Coney Island Border walk, who knew Irving Lefkowitz when he was a bar mitzvah boy and who from their benches on the Brooklyn beach envision a long and slender island of Manhattan as an urban Titanic sinking beneath the wave of criminals, homosexuals and atheists, sailing towards certain disaster. And you live there, why sweetheart? One of them once asked me with an open mouth squint, his neck thrust forward from the V of a ratty cardigan so that he looked like a Galapagos tortoise with a wool-Dacron argyle shell. Sometimes if I am tired I just shrug and say I like it here. Sometimes if I am in a foul mood or if I had a bit too much to drink, which often amounts to the same thing, I will say I live in New York because it is the center of the universe. Most of the time I say my sister lives here. And I want to be near her and her husband who is like a brother to me and her son whom I covertly think of as at least partly my on. The old men like that answer. They make a humming sound of approbation and node their modeled heads, a good girl, a family person, they pure up at Irving. The next question will be about marriage. We flee to Nathan's for a hotdog. I do like it here. It is the center of the universe. And I do want to be near my sister as I always have been, we have our rituals. Every Saturday morning, unless she is covering the Olympics, the Oscars, a disaster, or an inauguration, my sister and I go running together in the park and have breakfast either at her apartment or at the Greek diner down the street for mine. She would tell you she is forced to set a slower pace because I don't exercise enough. She sees this as evidence of my essential sloth. I see it as emblematic of our relationship. Our aunt Maurine says that I was a baby so plum and phlegmatic that the only reason I learned to walk was so I could follow my older sister. Some of my earliest memories are of wandering down the street of Old Dutch colonials and long leafed pines, the backs of a covey of eight year old girls half a block in front of me. The demand from the one at their center carrying on the breeze "Bridget, go home, go home now, you can't come." I am always a little breathless when I run with Meghan on Saturday mornings but I am accustomed to it now. Listen and learn, she said to me since we were in high school, and I always have. How weird is it that we were at the same dinner party last night? She said one overcast March morning, as we began to track down the park drive in tandem and I tried not to hear that long ago plea in her comment, go home Bridget, you can't come. It had indeed been strange to enter a vast living room, base velvet and impressionist paintings and see her at one end nursing a glass of sparkling water. Our hostess had attempted to introduce us since no one ever suspected Meghan and I were elated. Then she had disappeared to hand off the bunch of anemones bound with ribbons I had given her at the door. God, flowers Bridget, my sister said running around stroller size class of new mothers trying to trim their baby bodies. I couldn't believe you brought flowers to a dinner party. That's the worst. With everything else you have to do when people are showing up, you have to stop to find a vase and fill the vase and cut the stems and then find the place for them and if they are blue, Jesus, I never know where to put them in our apartment. And then how is it possible that you can make bringing someone flowers sound like the Stations of the Cross? Sometimes I just live them on the kitchen counter and toss them with the left overs. I knew this was not exactly true. Meghan had long had staff to toss the left overs. And the people from feeding our people, the big society starvation charity, send over a van to pick the excess food from her larger dinner parties. Just bring wine; even if they don't want to use it they can put it away for cocktail parties. Or wait and sent an orchid plant the next day. I don't know why but every damn living room on the East Side has to have an orchid plant. I think they are creepy like big white bugs. They don't look like flowers at all. I thought you love them. You always have one on that chest under the windows. What can I tell you? I am slave to fashion.