Three years ago my husband, daughter, and I moved to Columbia, Missouri. We didn’t know anyone here. It was a lonely time. We were outsiders.

Then, in the middle of September, 2011, we heard about an annual heritage festival at the local Boone County Historical Society (BCHS) and decided to go to it. We were impressed. We met several people there and my husband signed up to volunteer at the historical society. He has been volunteering there ever since, working on their Boone Village Restoration Project. He and numerous other people have beautifully restored two old houses.

Around the same time as the heritage festival, I joined the Columbia Writers Guild and met several local writers. I even joined a couple of writing critique groups.

Subsequently, our worlds united–authors were giving book talks hosted at the historical society. Cathy Salter and her husband Kit were producing these ‘Saturday Morning Book Talks’. The series had begun in July, but I didn’t know about them until my friend, author Marlene Lee, told me about them. She and I attended the one in December 2012. The speaker was author Alex George. That’s when I met Cathy and Kit. Since then, I’ve attended most of the wonderful book talks in their series.

Then in February 2014, the book talks moved from BCHS to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Hillcrest Community Center, located at 1907 Hillcrest Drive, Columbia, Missouri. The name of the series changed at that point to the ‘Osher Saturday Morning Book Talks’. I was the first speaker in that new venue, sort of. Long story. A bad ice storm forced a rescheduling of my book talk, and we ended up holding it at the library in the nearby town of Ashland. Many wonderful book talks have been held in the new Osher building since then, and the attendance has been great. The book talks are usually held on the first Saturday of each month, beginning at 10 A.M. Doors opening at 9:30. The next talk is on August 2nd, and features author John D. Robinson. He will speak about his recent book, A Road Trip Into America’s Hidden Heart (2012).

The Boone County Historical Society, located at 3801 Ponderosa Street, in historic Nifong Park, Columbia, Missouri, is now initiating a second book talk series called ‘Meet the Author Book Talks’. Author Carrie Koepke and I are co-producing this new series in partnership with the historical society’s director, Chris Campbell. This new series is not intended to replace or compete with the Osher book talk series, but rather will add to the fine talks already hosted by Cathy and Kit at Osher. The Osher series is made up of Boone County and Missouri authors with ties to local culture. The BCHS Meet the Author series will include regional authors as well as authors from all over the Midwestern United States. This new series already has a full schedule through December 2015, and includes authors from Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, and Texas. The BCHS book talks will be held on the third Saturday of each month, beginning at 10:30 A.M. with doors opening at 10:00. The first talk will be on August 16th, and features local author Liz Schulte, speaking about her Guardian Trilogy books.

At both venues–Osher and BCHS–delectable pastries and muffins from the Flour Girls Bake Shop from Ashland are available for attendees to purchase and enjoy before the book talks begin. A small $3 admission fee will get you into either talk location, with authors selling and autographing copies of their books at the end of each talk to all who want them. We hope to see you all at these enjoyable events soon. Please tell your friends, too!!!

If you know other communities that produce book talk series, I would be happy to post about those as well. We need more of these cultural events that bring readers and authors together.