'Camel Bookmobile' author marks library week

A modest but enthusiastic audience enjoyed a special appearance by author Masha Hamilton Tuesday night at the Carson City Library, where she spoke on her book "The Camel Bookmobile." Her appearance was in celebration of National Library Week, which will continue to be marked this week in other appearances and events.

Hamilton is a foreign correspondent who has worked in the old Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Israel. She is married and lives in New York City with her TV producer husband and three children.

In discussing her "Bookmobile" work she said, "I never went there until after I finished the book; I didn't want my journalistic experience to shape the story." She researched on the Internet for African lifestyle and used some of her Israel experience for the book.

She got the idea for work from her daughter, who later accompanied her to Kenya, where the book its set.

"I made one condition for her to go, that she never be away from me except when going to the bathroom," Hamilton said, spoken like an veteran journalist.

Hamilton, a vivacious, blondish woman, read from her book, picking two selections that illustrated important points. She's a fine reader, an actress in voice and body movement. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she appeared in a colorful skirt, leather boots and a black blouse.

Before she spoke she explained her novelistic writing style. "I don't plot, I create a character and see what happens. Of course, I had an idea of what the 'Bookmobile' would be about."

While the story is about a traveling bookmobile in the northeastern, arid part of Kenya, the underlying theme is about the contrast of the new and the old, how a tribe lives now as it has lived for 1,000 years. The bookmobile inevitably will slowly change the lifestyle.

"I watched as the bookmobile stopped at a village. They would crowd around, but it was the under-20 (crowd) who actually took out a book. They will change their people." There is no fee for bookmobile works, only that they books must be returned. And no censorship, only that religious books not be offered to the Islamic villages.

Before speaking Hamilton said that this visit was a late addition to a trip that will take her to California, Tennessee and Boston.

Advice for would be writers?

"Write at least 15 minutes every day, seven days a week."

As someone who has read her "Bookmobile" novel, she knows something about writing.

Other library events this week include local Box Sled Publishing introducing three of its authors Thursday, and a Sock Hop! at the library Saturday. Also, free sci-fi movies at 3 p.m. through Friday in the library auditorium.

• Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.


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