I have conversed with author Jonathan Odell via this blog and finally had the pleasure of meeting him in person yesterday. Mr. Odell appeared at Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 7. He signed copies of his newest novel The Healing at 5 pm and then read from the book at Lemuria’s Dot Com Building at 5:30.
Mr. Odell arrived early. He met Lemuria staff and then signed about 400 books. He still had some time before the signing began so he popped downstairs to Broad Street Baking Company and Cafe for a break and a latte.
When 5:00 came, my mother and I were the first of his fans waiting in line. My mother and Mr. Odell spent some time catching up. They both attended R.H. Watkins High School in Laurel, MS. My mother was a childhood friend of Mr. Odell’s twin brothers, Doug and David. She remembered Mr. Odell being in the band.
Mr. Odell was so friendly not only to us but to everyone who attended. There was a fair-sized crowd. He took his time talking to us and inscribing and even lining books. Everyone remarked on how personable he was and how much they adored The Healing.
Book signings at Lemuria are a joy to attend. It is always great to see Zita, Lisa, Maggie, and Joe. We were sad, though, to miss Nan. It is also wonderful to catch up with friends we first met at Kathryn Stockett’s signing of The Help in May of last year. We love seeing Susan and Wanda!
You just never know what treasure you will find at Lemuria. For example, in one of the rare book rooms, my mother came across a very special John Grisham book. My mother, it has to be said, loves Mr. Grisham; he is her favorite author. She opened a signed copy of The Runaway Jury to read “Official 5/22/96 Lemuria Signing Elbow Book.” Puzzled, she asked what it meant. Joe Hickman explained Mr. Grisham liked to write quirky things in a few novels to see if they would end up on the internet for sale. This particular copy was what he rested his elbow on as he signed books. What a find! It took some persuasion on my part, but she bought it. Now she has a message for Mr. Grisham: She will treasure it always and never put it on Ebay.
You will not want to miss an author coming to Lemuria next week: Alex George, author of A Good American. Mr. George is very friendly and loves to discuss his novel. He will be at Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, on March 14 for a signing and a reading beginning at 5 pm.
Book signings are a great way to make new friends and meet your favorite authors. Just as we were lucky enough to meet Mr. Odell. I urge you to pick up The Healing. It is one of those rare novels you will cherish for years to come.
Thanks, Mr. Odell, and thanks, Lemuria!