Calling all book groups

Last Friday, quite unexpectedly, I found myself chatting to a book group in NYC. Kristina Jelinek had mentioned on Twitter that she was reading Shady Characters for her book group at work; I offered to join in too, if they’d like to have me, and so I spent an absorbing forty-five minutes answering questions over Google Chat. (I’m Skype-literate too, I promise, but our Internet connection was uncooperative.) This coming Tuesday I’ll be at the Bonanza! book group at the Blue Blazer here in Edinburgh, and now that my appetite has been whetted I can’t wait.

So, to any and all book groups: if you’re reading, have read, or are planning to read Shady Characters, I would love to join your discussion! It’s great for me to have the chance to meet to the people who pay Shady Characters’ bills, so to speak, and perhaps I can return the favour by answering some of your questions about the book and the stories behind it. I can participate via Google or Facebook chat; on Twitter or Google+; on Skype or Google Hangouts; and everything in between. Drop me a line via the Contact page, or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, and let’s get planning!

As a bonus, here are Vulture’s “5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature”. My favourite is the first period in Moby Dick: “Call me Ishmael.” (Call me predictable.) What about you?


  1. Posted January 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keith, a bit off-topic, but I thought I’d tell you that one of my children gave me your book for Christmas. I got a kick from her comment. “Not exactly what I thought it would be about.”

    • Keith Houston
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Rondina — that’s great! I assume she meant that in a good way :)

      • Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Keith, I think my daughter thought it was a novel about “shady characters.” Little did she know.

        • Keith Houston
          Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Ah, I see. No wonder she was surprised by it!

  2. Rebecca
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    While I’m not in a book club, I just wanted to say it is really lovely and beyond the call of duty for you to do that. Thank you.

    • Keith Houston
      Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Rebecca — it’s very kind of you to say so! Honestly, though, it’s as much selfishness as anything else; I’ve genuinely enjoyed talking to book groups about Shady Characters, and it’s enlightening to hear other perspectives on the book and how I might improve things for the next one.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Solo Owl
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    In a comment on the listicle of 5 best punctuation marks is found this link
    to a paragraph concerning the punctuation mark “==”, the “double equals”. The paragraph has a link to the interview where the poet explains what she means by “==”.

    Thought you overlooked this new punctuation mark‽

    • Keith Houston
      Posted March 28, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t notice that. Thanks for the link! Are there any online examples of the “==” as used in Alice Fulton’s poetry? I’m having trouble understanding what she intended it to mean.

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