Bookshop West Portal & Simon Winchester

Bookshop West Portal (which I’ve written about in my earlier article on West Portal) often arranges author readings. This Friday evening, it was Simon Winchester talking to a standing-room only audience.

The best-selling author, Simon Winchester. In our little neighborhood independent bookstore.

Simon Winchester

Not only does Winchester write fascinating, well-researched non-fiction, he’s an entertaining speaker and raconteur. He was promoting his new book,  Atlantic. Instead of reading from his book, as authors commonly do, he told us stories: The story of how he came to write the book; the story of how he decided to structure it (it’s based on Shakespeare’s  ‘Seven Ages of Man‘); and then several stories from his book research, from places as far-flung as the Faeroe Islands, Tristan da Cunha (where he’s not allowed to land), and the Skeleton Coast. In between, he recounted how acetone was linked (via World War I, Chaim Weizmann and the Balfour Declaration ) to the founding of Israel.

Afterward, he autographed books for people. It was a great evening.

Bookshop West Portal also made an announcement about its knitting classes (and Simon Winchester has a funny story about knitting, too). The instructor’s holding some special classes for those who want to knit gifts such as scarves and fingerless gloves.

If you want to be kept informed about all the interesting authors and activities at a store only 2 miles from us — get on their email list. I’ve found this a pretty useful and painless way of staying in touch.