Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Last night I attended a reading by Elmore Leonard at Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University. The crowd wasn't what I expected with less than 400 in attendance, but I think the freezing temperatures probably kept people at home.
Mr. Leonard first read a short story titled "When the Women Come Out to Dance" from a collection of the same name. It is the story of a stripper who has married a rich Pakistani plastic surgeon, her maid Lourdes, and, of course, a little bit of crime. I have to admit that I had a bit of trouble following the story. It takes a pretty good reader for me to be a good listener, and Mr. Leonard wasn't particularly dynamic in his reading.
Next, Mr. Leonard read the opening scene from his 1988 novel Freaky Deaky. I enjoyed this scene which features a soon to be retired bomb squad tech and a felon sitting on a bomb. It was tense yet comic.
After reading, Mr. Leonard fielded questions from the crowd. He talked about his choice of writing materials, which are yellow legal pads and cheap pens. I laughed when he commented that he has "used expensive pens, but they didn't help [him] that much."
I found it very interesting that he said Djibouti has received good reviews but also shaky reviews. He even admitted to seeing where he might have made a mistake.
Mr. Leonard also spoke about the TV show, Justified, which is based on his Raylan Givens series. He started a riff on a new bad girl he was writing who happened to be a senior at Butler University with a gambling problem. Last April she bet on Duke. It was a fun way to personalize his comments.
There was a signing afterwards, and I scored first place in line. I now have a personalized copy of Djibouti.
Review : Djibouti