Monday, June 23, 2008

The Upstate Tour

I spent part of this weekend at events in Skaneateles and Oswego. I went to college in upstate New York, and the weather was exactly as I remembered: it rained one minute, was sunny the next, and the next minute there were sun showers. At least it wasn't snowing.

The kickoff event occurred Saturday, at a Barnes & Noble on Staten Island. I grew up on Staten Island, and my parents still live there. The crowd was small but lively, and we had an interesting discussion that eventually centered on Robert Moses, the longtime roads and building czar in New York. Moses is mentioned in passing a couple of times in BLOOD ALLEY.

Moses's career was chronicled in exhaustive depth in Robert Caro's THE POWER BROKER. It's a terrific book, and when you've finished, you can use it as a door stop.

I had not been to Skaneateles in thirty years, and the town was as beautiful as I remembered. It's on the easternmost of the Finger Lakes and it is, in fact, picture postcard perfect. Erika Davis and the staff at Creekside Books & Coffee did an excellent job hosting my appearance. It's a charming store, and we had another small but lively crowd. (The early afternoon weather was beautiful, and it's hard to compete with that.) We wound up talking about the book I've just finished reading, Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN. It's an excellent novel, and a cautionary tale, but you won't be able to use it as a door stop.

It took me about an hour to drive to Oswego for my appearance at the Rivers End Bookstore. Bill Reilly and his wife, Mindy, were enthusiastic about BLOOD ALLEY, and proved to be gracious hosts. About a dozen people were there, and we, too, wound up talking about Robert Moses (among other things). I may have to do a longer post about him in the near future. Rivers End is a terrific store, and it recently celebrated its tenth year of operation. Hearty congratulations are due to Bill, Mindy, and the staff. BTW, I received a lovely tote bag that I now plan to display all over the New York City subway system.

As I left the store, Mindy gave me a couple of pieces of cranberry/pumpkin bread for my ride back home. I devoured all of it by the time I reached Binghamton.

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