Our unforgettable NWU-Boston Book Party, January 29, 2017

See photos from our Book Party here

by Charles Coe. Co-Chair, NWU-Boston

Craig Lambert, this year’s Book Party keynote speaker, really got the audience’s blood flowing. Craig is author of Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day. Shadow work includes all of the unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations. It’s slipped into our routines stealthily; most of us don’t realize how much of it we’re already doing. We pump our own gas, scan and bag our own groceries, execute our own stock trades, and assemble our own furniture. Andy Borowitz calls Shadow Work “a visionary book that will change the way you look at—well, just about everything.”

Writers as well as those who do manual labor are affected by the phenomenon. Craig pointed out how so many jobs for those who write about films, books, and restaurants have disappeared with the emergence of online companies whose business models feature “user-generated content,” a development that gives new meaning to the idea that “everybody’s a critic.” He went on to describe the growing use of “writer bots”—programs that can crank out boilerplate news and public relations copy.

During the lively Q & A, Craig didn’t offer easy solutions or suggest that there’s anything we can do to reverse these trends as they affect writers. He simply offered the challenge to make ourselves indispensable by doing the best work we possibly can. Basically, to out-write the machines.

That’s a challenge I’m confident our talented, hard-working NWU members can meet!

by Barbara Beckwith, Co-chair, NWU-Boston

It was a pretty good winter for the Boston area: only sporadically buried under snow, invigorated by celebrating the New England Patriots fifth championship – and by honoring our members whose books were published in the previous year.

Our featured authors were fascinating. Rachael Evelyn Booth drove four hours from northern New Hampshire to read a section from her memoir about “crossing the gender divide.” Marion Kenneally read about her convent years, before crossing another divide: from believer to atheist. Leslie Lawrence revealed her experience of leading “a life outside the lines.” Sports writer Jim Kaplan disclosed his love affair with baseball. And Martha Collins read poems both lyrical and historical about how the 1904 World’s Fair and Bronx Zoo fed the eugenics movement. Click here https://nwu.org/chapters/boston/our-2017-boston-chapter-book-party/ to see our party photos and to read about the 12 books we celebrated.

A highlight of the party was the looped PowerPoint display of images submitted by all of our Book Party sponsors – ranging from book covers to company logos. Thanks to all those who stepped up with their sponsorship. And a special congratulations to Willie Pleasants, who won the 50/50 raffle.

Here’s some praise for the Book Party from devoted members:

“Great and diverse readings this year! Charles’s short but memorable (and well-applauded) speech was a highlight.”  – Wayne Soini

“I’m always touched by the warmth and spirit –and the keynote was provocative in the best sense of the word.” – Leslie Lawrence

Thanks to all those who contributed to making the party a success:

  • John Oberteuffer and Barbara Mende for the PowerPoint display
  • Our party sponsors who donated money to cover party expenses
  • Wayne Soini and Sheila Parks for helping with refreshments
  • Jim Kates for hosting the readings and raffle tickets
  • Gordon Webster for taking our party photos
  • Janet Spurr, time-keeper for the readers
  • Charles Coe, our party M.C.
  • Shannon O’Connor for organizing the volunteers
  • And volunteers Barbara Brandt, Walter Ness, Mary Bonina, Liz Samit, John Hodge – and any others we may have forgotten!