If folks showed up to see best selling authors the way they do best selling pop stars,R.J. Julia would need a stadium and not a small house-sized space in a suburb.
It's the fall books season, and R.J. Julia, the well-run and neat-as-a-pin independent bookshop in Madison has for years been the big Connecticut stop for any author on tour.
This weekend, the store hosted James Patterson, one of the most popular and prolific writers of the past decade. Patterson's books are checked out more often from libraries in the U.S. and U.K. than almost any other author. He has a new title out nearly every month, it seems, and they all invariably hit the best seller charts.
That's a major coup for any indie book shop. But R.J. Julia also has got Kate DiCamillo coming Oct. 17. She's written The Tale of Desperaux, Because of Winn Dixie, the Mercy Watson series (about a mischievous pig) and dozens of others, making her one of the top kid's-book authors in the country. And she has two new titles out: the latest in her young-readers sister saga Bink & Golly and a new chapter book about young superheroes, Flora & Ulysses. (Hey, Kate DiMillo! Lay off the ampersands!)
Among the other insanely popular scribes on the packed R.J. Julia calendar this month: legal thrillerman Scott Turow, Oct.16; vampire interviewer Anne Rice Oct. 19; Pretty-talking elf David Sedaris Oct. 21; creepy cartoonist Mark (Lio) Tatulli Oct. 23 and actor/children's entertainer John Lithgow Oct. 24.
When R.J. Julia Booksellers can't get the author of a much-hyped new release to visit the store, they often hold a party anyway. On Oct. 15, there was a "Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy Champagne Brunch" in honor of the new Helen Fielding chick-litter.
Seriously. If these authors were equivalently famous as pop stars and this was the schedule at Toad's Place, fans would be camping out on the sidewalks for days.
For a complete R.J. Julia schedule, visit www.rjjulia.com