Completing the full spectrum of emotions, a lunch-time group at the "Brown Bag" Blanco Library Book Review Series heard stories that took them from "tears to laughter" at noon on April 3rd.
"This time we've had together today was informative, inspiring, and just plain fun," said Jan Redmond, the Blanco Library Head Librarian.
As those in attendance ate lunches they'd brought with them, three speakers, (Jackie Hinton, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, and Sandra Paine), held the room spell-bound as they described a story full of mystery and intrigue; how a successful author began writing and pursues her calling; and how old age is "one of the best kept secrets of the world."
Reviewing "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks, Jackie Hinton recanted the journey of a spiritually significant book, the "Sarajevo Haggadah." Complete with handouts (a map of the journey the book took and a pictorial description of the Haggadah), Hinton read passages from Brooks' book as the group sat mesmerized while listening to the story, gasping in surprise at several points in the review.
"This book has far more excitement and mystery than I could ever tell in just one sitting," explained Hinton. "At the end of the book, I felt a deep sadness at the centuries of pain that we have caused to each other in the name of religion."
Introduced as Blanco's own "Writer in Residence" by Librarian Jan Redmond, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers laughingly said that she is a writer because of a kite.
Smith-Rodgers gave a light-hearted version of her struggles to become a published author. Having been rejected many times from publications, she persevered and finally had her first essay, "Love on a String ," published in Southern Living. Holding up the childhood kite that inspired her essay, Smith-Rodgers read her whimsical essay to the group, inspiring listeners to continue pursuing their dreams.
Laughter rang throughout the room as Sandra Paine, who Redmond introduced as "a guiding light of the Blanco Library" reviewed "Growing Old for the First Time" by Peg Br a cken , rounding out the "Brown Bag" event.
Paine said Br a cken tells us in the book that you don't know you've grown old "till one day the Social Security check arrives in the mail" and "you begin to wonder how you can just get out of the way" of being old. Then you realize "there's nothing you can buy in a bottle that will change it."
"In reading the book, I found a quote from Michelangelo that told me I actually have something in common with him. He said, 'My memory and my brains have gone to wait for me somewhere else," Paine said as the group appreciatively laughed in unison.
"We hope to share this on going program with as many people as possible in our community," said Redmon d after the program ended. "Everyone is invited to enjoy hearing about a good story as they eat with us. Just bring your lunch and we'll have the speakers."