Monday, May 16, 2016

Laura Pedersen Makes Library Audience Laugh

If I haven’t said it before, I’m going to say it now. Even if I have said it before, it bears repeating. The programs at the Lockport Public Library are always fantastic, especially when they bring in authors to speak about their books. Just think of some of the authors who have spoken there, like Joyce Carol Oates, David Ebershoff, or Laura Pedersen. So, this past Tuesday, May 10th, we had a return visit by Laura Pedersen.

Author talks by Laura Pedersen are like no other author talk I’ve ever been to. Part stand up comedy, part reminiscing, and part philosophy, Pedersen wants the reader to not just enjoy the book, but also think back on their own lives. She uses moments from her life to recreate a period of time. “Nothing makes me happier than when a book group, or audience, explains what they did during those moments in life,” she stated.

I had the honor of sitting next to her mother during the time she spoke. As Laura regaled us with tales of what she got away with as a kid, her mother shook her head and laughed a little bit. After the talk, she told me, “I really had no idea what she was doing most of the time.”  I get the impression that Laura was quite a handful. Thankfully, she turned all those adventures and all that energy into her writing. Her books are highly entertaining.

Some of the observations she made during her talk were about her time in Western New York, and growing up in the 1970s. She misses the excitement of when the phone rings and not knowing who it is. Caller ID has taken the run out of racing to answer the call. She also misses slamming the phone down to end the call. A simple swipe on a cellphone just doesn’t have the same impact. The same goes with long-distance calling. Those calls were only made after the rates went down. And if someone called during peak, it meant that someone died.

It is observations like these that make Laura Pedersen so fun to listen to. She adds simple life experiences into her writing, incorporating the humor behind the stories to pull you in. Her goal is to get the reader to react and then start to think about their own lives and the craziness they went through. I know she got me thinking about my life growing up in  Lockport.

If you get a chance to read Laura Pedersen’s books, please take the chance on them. They are truly fun and enlightening. If you get the further chance to see her in person, please, please do yourself a favor and attend. I love that the Lockport Library is able to bring in authors like Pedersen to speak with us about all that is good in the world of writing.

Craig Bacon attempts to make it to every special event at the library. He even goes when there is nothing special going on. Although finding new treasures among the stacks is pretty special.