by Elizabeth Jancsy ’18
Upon entering Bayberry Beer Hall on the West Side of Providence on a Tuesday night, you may be surprised to find people flooding the bar with drinks in hands and food flowing from the kitchen to the hungry and chatty guests, especially if you thought you were attending a book club.
Home of the locally famous Point Street Reading Series, this location breaks the mold of your mother’s book club meetings. This fun, chic, and chill atmosphere makes you forget about the boring side of reading and reminds you of the thrilling and creative side of literature.
On the third Tuesday of every month, Robin Kall Homonoff, creator of the Reading with Robin website and podcast, hosts the Point Street Reading Series, a night celebrating authors and their work.
Every month, Homonoff invites four to five authors to visit Providence to speak about their work and read from their new novels, while guests of the event can mingle, eat, drink, and purchase the author’s books.
In the past this event was held at Point Street Dueling, Piano Bar, which inspired the series’ name, but this past Tuesday was the debut of its new home at Bayberry.
Though it had only opened its doors a few days prior to the Point Street Reading Series, Bayberry became the “hot spot” of the town Tuesday night when it hosted the authors of September’s Reading Series picks. These authors included Robinne Lee (The Idea of You), Tova Mirvis (The Book of Separation), Danya Kukafka (Girl in Snow), Joe Berkowitz (Away with Words), and David Samuel Levinson (Tell Me How This Ends Well).
Unlike most book clubs, you do not need to do any prior reading for this one. The point of the series is for the authors to share their passion for their novels and why they wrote them, and to interest you in a sample of their work. Lee shared with the audience about the start of her career as a student at Yale who then went on to law school and then became an actress and later a writer.
“You know the saying everyone tells you when you say you want to become an actor: If you can imagine yourself doing something else, do that instead.’ Well, they were right.” Lee explained that her unconventional route to writing lead her to create a funny and intriguing story about a woman in her late thirties who falls in love with a young rock star.
Unlike Lee, Kukafka’s road to writing took a straighter path. The debut novelist also happens to be an assistant editor at Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Books. Kukafka detailed the calculated way she went about creating her novel, as she molded a story told from more than just one point of view, inspired, she said, after reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ famous novel The Virgin Suicides. It was then that she created her story about a small town murder case told from the point of view of three different characters.
What is so genuinely entertaining about the Point Street Reading Series is that it is not about the authors reading from their books with their heads down and their mouths hovering over the microphone, but rather the truthfulness and vulnerability that comes with creating any type of art.
Each author went up and talked about his or her struggles and triumphs. They were not afraid to admit when things were hard or when they feared they could not make a career out of their passion.
Levinson shared his personal, rather dark relationship with his dad and how that inspired him to write his novel, while Mirvis explained her understanding of love and religion and how that impacted hers.
Attending the Point Street Reading Series became almost therapeutic, as one could not help but become inspired by the work and lives of these authors.
The authors celebrated not only the work that they have produced, but also the difficult paths they embraced in order to get to this point, is which truly left an impact on those who attended. The Point Street Reading Series is open to the public, and takes place on the third Tuesday of each month.