Explosions, Iraq, Fine Dining

After the endless cycle of readings at bookstores and their awful audience questions (“What is your writing process?”), it’s refreshing to attend a different kind of literary event.

Josh Landon hosted author Matt Gallagher at Vinegar Hill House last night in what can be described as a hybrid of meet-the-author and dinner-with-friends. It certainly helps that Gallagher’s book is perfect dinner conversation: his Iraq blog was famously shut down by the U.S. Army for criticizing his superior, which lead to a Washington Post article, a reinstatement of the blog, and, of course, a book deal in the form of Kaboom. (Did you know soap melts in Iraq, because it can get up to 137° F?)

My fellow diners included a few publishing colleagues, a book reviewer, and an independent bookseller. The talk was lively, the food amazing, and it was a genuine novelty to hear about an author’s work outside of the hard sell (or even the soft sell). Here’s to more events like this in the future.

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