There has been no end to the bookish expeditions around here lately. Our latest one was a big one: a trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to see Stephen King. I heard about the one and only book signing he agreed to do for his new book Full Dark, No Stars from Michele Filgate on Twitter, who works at RiverRun bookstore in Portsmouth. I also had heard that Portsmouth is a cute city, so I suggested to Hobgoblin that we go, and he happily said yes. He is the real Stephen King fan in the house; I’ve read only one novel of King’s, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and that one only because it features hiking and the Appalachian Trail. I liked it, but mostly I’m not a fan of horror, as I scare too easily and don’t find being scared fun. But Hobgoblin has been a fan for years, is a member of the Stephen King Library, which automatically sends him a copy of his King’s books, and has collected every book he’s published.
So this past Thursday we headed up the highway through Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. The city of Portsmouth, it turns out, is incredibly charming, full of interesting stores, historic neighborhoods, and parks along the water. RiverRun bookstore is small but good, with a great selection, and there is a used bookstore, Second Run Books, owned by the same person, not too far away. Hobgoblin and I explored the shops for a while, had dinner at the Portsmouth Brewery, and then made our way back to RiverRun to see what was going on. And there was Stephen King in the window of the shop signing books for people, with a crowd outside gazing in and taking pictures. We found our place in the line and took pictures ourselves. Here’s one of me with King in the background:
And here’s one of Hobgoblin shaking King’s hand:
I know that was a special moment for Hobgoblin. For me, I always like meeting authors, and it was great to meet one who is so famous and successful. From what I hear, King is one of the nicest famous authors out there as well. He seemed to be enjoying meeting his fans and to have limitless energy, although he signed something like 450 books, and that’s a lot. He seems to know that people are really excited to meet him and to want to make sure they have a good experience.
Afterward, we went to a cafe two doors down the street to eat chocolate cake and gloat over our books. Everybody else in the cafe had copies of King’s book as well, as did everybody walking down the street. A man sitting at a nearby table struck up a conversation with us about King and all the signings he’s been to and his room devoted mostly to King’s books. The atmosphere was celebratory, and it was fun.
We stayed in Portsmouth until the next morning when we drove back home. I realized for something like the hundredth time how much I enjoy living in a place with so many interesting cities and towns and with tons of bookish destinations. And I thought about how much I hope I make it back to Portsmouth again before too long.