Last Friday night, I took the bus downtown, and when the friendly bus driver asked where I was headed, I told him I was going to the library. He said “That’s how you’re spending your Friday night? At the library?!” But you know what? Hell yes, I was. Also it was a licensed, 19+ event, and glasses of wine were five dollars. FIVE DOLLARS. Where else can you get a glass of wine – and it wasn’t even plonk – for five dollars? Nowhere, that’s where. Plus a lovely spread of cheese and crackers, Roma pizza (I firmly believe there is a bylaw that states you cannot host a party in Hamilton without at least one Roma pizza in attendance) and then a table of desserts. COME ON. Best deal in town, honestly.
And while the wine was very attractively-priced, we were also there for the reveal of the Hamilton Reads One Book One Community choice for this year, and for the lovely Jane Urquhart, who read from her new book A Number of Things: Stories of Canada Told Through 50 Objects.
I will admit to being skeptical of the entire concept of A Number of Things, because there is this tendency, among Canadians, to focus only on the stereotypes when compiling lists of “Canadian” things. Toques and moose and hockey, amirite? And I still haven’t read the book, so I’m withholding judgement, but from what Jane read on Friday night, I feel I might be pleasantly surprised by the insight and depth of research, by the thoughtful inclusion of important, culturally significant objects, as well as some of the ones that may more generally spring to mind. I mean, she’s Jane Urquhart, after all. I suppose I needn’t have worried.
Worries aside, the entire evening was a delight. A packed house, standing room only for books and authors on a Friday night? Hamilton, you never disappoint. And of course, the big reveal of Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People as the choice for Hamilton’s One Book One Community!
HPL has organized a season of programming designed around the OBOC pick, and there are some amazing events lined up. I’m not sure the details are available online yet, but you can pick up this little booklet and make your plans for the fall. There’s even a series of workshops by me! Pretty sure I’ll have a lot more to say about those later this summer. Other than, you know, “Eeeeeeeee! I’m running some writing workshops, you guys!” I promise, ok?
HPL staff were also there to offer book talks for those who were interested, and listening to two book talks meant you were eligible to be entered into a draw. 12 tote bags with books were up for grabs, as well as a large bucket o’ books. I didn’t win, but my friend Jessica won one of the tote bags, which made an already great night even better.
Finally, HPL is also running, for I believe the first time EVER, an Adult Summer Reading Club! It will surprise virtually no one that I consistently OWNED at summer reading club as a kid, and over the years I’ve wistfully watched from afar as other library systems began advertising their own adult versions, so I’m happy HPL is finally on board! Grab your card at any library branch, or download from the website, and print your own.
So to recap, wine and cheese, door prizes and authors, book talks and cupcakes. And all for just 10 bucks. Friday nights at the library? Absolutely, and let’s do it again soon.
Love your library system, folks. Hamilton truly has one of the best.