Chris Bohjalian subjected himself to simulated plane crashes for book research

(Credit Ron Charles/Washington Post)
(Credit Ron Charles/Washington Post)

The Las Vegas-themed gala at Howard County Library came up all lucky 7s on Saturday night.

Library officials said more than 600 attendees raised nearly $92,000 for the library’s education initiatives. While patrons played blackjack and roulette with funny money, feathered dancers and (candy) cigarette girls worked the crowd.

I talked with special guest star Chris Bohjalian about his life and books. The bestselling author recalled the hilarious — and terrifying — evening when a crazed cab driver dumped him and his wife into the middle of a drug bust in New York. That thrill inspired them to move to a tiny town in Vermont more than 25 years ago.

In this video clip, Bohjalian describes subjecting himself to simulated airplane crashes to research the opening scene of his novel “The Night Strangers“: 

“I’m a big fan of any literary gala that mixes showgirls and books,” Bohjalian said afterwards. “But the particularly wonderful thing about the library’s Vintage Vegas evening? It reminded us of something we try and teach our children and grandchildren all the time, but as grownups we all too often tend to forget: Reading is meant to be fun.

The HoCo “Evening in the Stacks” gala raises money to fund library activities throughout the year.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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