An authors’ lunch in an antique store? How strange, but it happened last week at Indulge Antiques in the Gateway Mall in Springfield, Oregon, and it was good. Amid the elegantly set tables, I found authors and book lovers gathered around a long table where books were spread from one end to the other, along with book-related cards and fancy pens. Introductions were made, and we settled in.
The paper menu seemed to list every possible concoction—I went with the sweet turkey wrap—and the dessert tray held more than a dozen cakes and tortes while the waiter described other delicacies that didn’t fit on the tray. Yes, we ate well amid the antique dressers, baskets and Halloween decor.
But it wasn’t all about food. Amanda Bird, proprietor of The Book Nest bookstore, has been hosting lunches with authors for the past two years. The program was on hiatus for a few months while Indulge moved to its new location in the mall, but now she plans for monthly gatherings. The next one is Nov. 17.
It’s casual. You order whatever you want and pay for your own lunch. You sit at the table with the featured authors, eat, chat, ask questions, and learn about their books. You can also buy the books, of course.
This month’s guests were Janet Fisher, who in her books A Place of Her Own and The Shifting Winds writes about Oregon history through the lens of her ancestors who came via the Oregon trail; A. Lynn Ash, whose books The Route from Cultus Lake: A woman’s Path to a Solo Camping Lifestyle, and Vagabonda, tell the stories of her adventures camping alone all over the U.S., and Valerie Ihsan, who wrote about her experiences as a young, pregnant widow in Smell the Blue Sky and has since written a novel titled The Scent of Apple Tea. Wonderful women all, and the casual setting made it possible to not just admire but to become friends.
I love antique stores. I love to wander among the old things and imagine the lives of the people who owned them. In some cases, I don’t have to imagine because I’m old enough to have owned things that are now deemed antiques or collectables. I also love books and authors and lunch.
I may not be able to attend these lunches often. It’s nearly 200 miles round trip, and it was raining so hard on the way there that I felt like I was driving through a river. But I got to try out the new stretch of Highway 20—truly beautiful—and escaped everyday life into a wonderland for writers.
If you are interested in attending an authors’ lunch, follow the Book Nest Facebook page and RSVP if you’re going. The restaurant portion of the Indulge Antiques is open to everyone, but you’ll need a reservation. Visit their web page for details.
I want to figure out how we can do this in Newport. Ideas? Volunteers?