Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My First Book Party

On Sunday afternoon, my generous aunt and uncle threw me a book party at their home in Washington, D.C. They hired Politics and Prose, an independent D.C. bookseller, to sell copies, as well as caterers and a bartender. It was an outdoor event and the weather was gorgeous—a perfect day to blast off my book into the world.

My aunt and uncle's highly successful friends attended the party: former Secretary of Defense, an author of 16 books, a Washington Post writer for the last 28 years, a CEO of a solar energy company, among others. It was an honor to be celebrated, and seeing my yellow book in just about everyone's hands—hiding behind the crowd before poking its shiny head out for a brief moment—was exhilarating. But hearing publicity experts discuss what it takes to sell a lot of books was overwhelming. I will be spending most of my non-working, non-exercising, and non-Redskins-watching hours trying.

Though technically I saw some of the Redskins game Sunday and thus will continue my streak of seeing every game since 1997, I did not watch much. I did not realize that D'Angelo Hall intercepted four passes until afterward. Sadly, I did not know the outcome until afterward (Redskins won 17-14). Of course I wanted to watch, but I was expected to mingle, and I did so begrudgingly.

Benjamin Rubenstein speaking at book party
I had prepared a short speech, and my aunt and uncle had me deliver it twice in case some guests didn't hear it the first time. My jokes were exactly the same each delivery. I didn't get too many laughs the first time, and a whole lot of crickets the second. I was so nervous I forgot to thank Mary Tabor, who helped so immensely with my book.

I may have turned a corner, though, in my ability to speak publicly. In my tenth grade Honors English class, I had to deliver a five-minute speech as part of my group project. My group members had been Zeke, PepperoniNip, and HollaAtYoBoy. When it was my turn, my voice cracked. Those horse's asses burst into laughter, which sparked the rest of the class, including myself. Unable to stop, I placed my note cards on the podium and took my seat with the rest of my classmates. Our teacher, oblivious to what had just occurred, said, “Ben, what are you doing?”

PepperoniNip realized I was laughing too hard to speak, and said, “Ben won’t be able to continue, so I’ll finish his part.”

For the rest of the semester, my friends volunteered me to read in front of the class.

Sunday, my aunt and uncle volunteered me to read a book excerpt. I found a way out of that one, but I may not be so lucky at the next event. So if you attend a book signing of mine, and notice that, during a reading, I grew nine inches and look exactly like my cousin, then keep it to yourself.