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Big Shot Author to Grace Chicago with His Presence, But No Autographs, Please

By Anonymous on Aug 16, 2005 3:30PM

We have to admit that felt a little thrill when we found out that his excellency John Irving would be visiting Chicago for a reading--we read the bizarre A Prayer for Owen Meany in our literary-formative high school years, and the man is a bit of a legend. He'll be at the Harold Washington Library tonight to discuss his eleventh novel, Until I Find You.

We can't decide, though, whether to be weirded out or impressed by the insistence of the materials advertising his visit that "Mr. Irving will not be signing books at this event." Um, okay. Personally, we're not into the whole signed-book thing--we buy books to read them, not for their resale value or to admire the dips and curls of an author's signature. We'll take a signed book if it's available, or use a signing as a chance for a brief chat if the opportunity presents itself, but we see little point in waiting in line for hours to force someone with an aching hand to deface a book for us. So, whatever. He's not signing books. Good for him. Maybe he has tendonitis?

What bothers us, we suppose, is the idea that it's necessary to warn the plebian masses that Mr. Irving will not be signing books at this event. Like there'd be a riot if he just showed up, did his reading, and didn't sign books. But also, like, was he all "I'll go to Chicago, but don't ask me to [shudder] sign any books"?

But, anyway, hey! John Irving at the Harold Washington Library tonight! And we're sure he's really a nice guy. The reading starts at 6, but doors open at 4:30, and we recommend you get there early or you'll end up in the basement watching a "live video feed."

John Irving, Until I Find You
Tonight, 6:00 (doors open at 4:30)
Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State