Thumbs Up from the JOYful Readers Book Club!

We received a very warm welcome this weekend from the members of the book club, which is based at Mount Joy Church in Edwardsville, Ill.

 I did a reading and signing on Saturday in nearby Glen Carbon. Most of the book club members in attendance had read the book, and let me tell you: They are careful readers!

Their questions were informed, pointed and thoughtful. They asked questions about plot, characters and story that delved deep into the novel and made me appreciate their attentiveness as readers. We even had a lively discussion over the origin and meaning of the novel’s title, The Moaning Bench.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the book club members for having me, and a greater debt for their careful reading of my work.

Kim and I were hosted by my cousin and Copeland Road home girl, Linda Crawl-Jackson, and her husband, Pastor Steve Jackson. They were fresh off a celebration of his 39th year as Pastor of Mount Joy Church in Edwardsville, Ill., and her 20th year as First Lady, and they still took the time to prepare an elaborate spread for us.

Linda and I hadn’t seen each other in some four decades, but the years just melted away as we sat and chatted.

Kim and I also had a chance to do a bit of rainy-day sightseeing in nearby St. Louis, Mo., including a visit to the Old Courthouse Museum.

This is the courthouse where Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, first sued for their freedom – a case that led eventually to the loathsome 1857 Supreme Court decision, which found people of African ancestry could not claim U.S. citizenship. That asinine and totally political ruling was later overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment.

In the meantime, please stay tuned for the first Atlanta book signing and reading – coming soon!