I wrote earlier that I would be blogging from the road during my book tour, but that was before I realized how exhausting—and exhilarating—two weeks on the road would be. In all, Daniella and I hit eleven cities in fourteen days, starting in Phoenix and ending in Seattle.
The highlight of the tour was definitely Yuma. The Yuma Sun, a local paper, had run a front-page article about the book a few weeks ago, and when I entered the Barnes and Noble I was greeted with a large display—of the sort usually reserved for writers like Dan Brown—holding all three of my books (the store manager even told me that Working in the Shadows was the store’s top seller!). Probably a once in a lifetime experience, which is captured below:
A few minutes before the event was to begin we already had sixty people in the audience, but what made the event truly magical was the presence of three of my coworkers from the lettuce crew: Julio, Norma, and Adriana. They were instant celebrities, speaking to the group and signing books after my brief talk. A number of folks in the audience had already read the book, and so went rushing after the three with all sorts of questions (they also gave them several rousing ovations).
The second highlight had little to do with the book. I was invited to speak very briefly at an event in support of comprehensive immigration reform in San Jose. The event, a prayer vigil organized by People Acting in Community Together (PACT), turned out to be electric, with more than 650 people in attendance. It was an honor to be invited and incredibly inspiring to witness–and the turnout totally blew me away. With the national march for immigration reform set for Sunday, March 21st, it also made me realize how much incredible organizing is going on just below the media radar. I’ll be writing about this grassroots movement–which is pushing forward despite conventional wisdom that immigration reform is “impossible” at this time–for The Nation in a forthcoming issue.
The other great aspect of the tour was getting to meet so many people, reconnect with old friends, and put faces to names I only knew through email correspondence (that, and avoiding a snowstorm in New York). So I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the people who came out, and express my gratitude for the many important projects you all are working on.
Now that I’m back home, I’ll resume posting more regularly (which means at least weekly). And if you’re in the New York City area, I’ll be at two events next week. The first, on Monday the 15th at 7 PM, will be held at Housing Works bookstore at 126 Crosby Street in Soho. The event, “Writing on Human Rights,” will also feature Mac McClelland of Mother Jones Magazine and Dana Goldstein of The Daily Beast. More info about the event is here.
On Tuesday the 16th, at 7:30 PM, I’ll be at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Greenlight, a new and independent bookstore, is located at 686 Fulton Street at the corner of South Portland. The reading is being sponsored by Pratt Area Community Council–a fabulous non-profit where I used to work as an organizer–and more information about the event is here.