I arrived 5 minutes into Sarah Vowell's appearance at Stacey's Bookstore this afternoon. There were perhaps a hundred of her fans in attendance, as well as a babbling baby that I could hear but didn't see. She is plugging her new book The Wordy Shipmates. It seems to be a nerdy but conversational book about the Puritan sect during the Colonial period. I only know Ms. Vowell from her radio stories on This American Life, & it was hard to reconcile that voice of a 12-year-old with the businesslike woman reading from the podium.
During the question & answer section, people were anxious to get her to comment on the current political situation. When asked how she thought things might be different under an Obama presidency, she said that it might be nice if the man sworn in to defend the Constitution had actually read the Constitution. She also recommended that we read FDR's fireside chats, which offer a contrast to the fear-mongering rhetoric of the current administration.
At the end of the reading she thanked the big crowd for giving up their lunch hour & added, "I didn't know that so many people in San Francisco worked."