Familiar faces were seen on Friday, June 3 at An Evening for Book Lovers. Readers gathered at the Hamilton Public Library on York Street for a night of snacks, wine, and of course, reading.
Upon entering the library, people were given a book-talk passport, which was used as a raffle ticket in order to win one of three large bins of books at the end of the night. During the quick intermissions between readings, people were encouraged to ask library employees about which book they were reading, what it was about and why they liked it. After talking to an employee, listeners were given a sticker to place on their passport. When at least three stickers were obtained, people then put their passport in a ballot in order to be entered to win one of the bins – a great way to interact with staff, learn about new books and have a chance at winning a prize.
Throughout the night there were readings from Kim Echlin’s Under the Visible Life, Brent van Staalduinen’s Saints, Unexpected, and Gary Barwin’s Yiddish for Pirates, three authors whose books were also featured during the gritLIT festival at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in April. Each author read from their books in very different but very entertaining and engaging ways — Echlin’s reading was accompanied by a pianist whose jazzy tunes fit the mood of the story while Staalduinen’s soothing tone and Barwin’s comedic voice each engaged listeners and brought them into their narratives in different ways.
In addition to hearing passages from all three amazing books and collecting passport stickers, wine was offered and snacks were available for everyone (including delicious cupcakes from Bitten on Locke Street). Epic Books (also on Locke Street) was at the event as well and had a table set up where people could buy books that were being recommended throughout the night.
Sadly the event came to a close but not before the Hamilton Reads book of the summer was revealed. A black cover hid the title of the book but there was no hiding the audience’s suspense waiting to see what it was. Once the covered was pulled, the audience clapped and cheered for the Hamilton Reads book of the summer: The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, a story about Keita Ali, a marathon runner from one of most corrupt and poorest countries in the world.
Hill was unable to attend the event but a video of him talking about his book was sent in for everyone to watch, closing the night off by reinforcing the main reason we were all gathered there: the importance and beauty of reading within the community of Hamilton.