Avid Bookshop takes the “Rabbit Cake”

Rachel Kaplan, Avid Bookshop Assistant Event Coordinator, displays the newly released book “Rabbit Cake” from author Annie Hartnett. Kaplan organized the “Rabbit Cake” event at Avid Bookshop with Hartnett which will occur on April 6. “I helmed the event. This is one of my special projects. It’s great when booksellers are really excited about a book, and we get the author here and then they kind of take on the project,” Kaplan said. “For me, I read ‘Rabbit Cake’ and got the author to come here and this has been kind of like my baby.” Photo by Elena Gilberston Hall.

By ELENA GILBERTSON HALL – Staff Writer
By KATIE GRACE UPCHURCH – Web Master

Author Annie Hartnett will be visiting Avid Bookshop on April 6, to speak on the release of her first novel, “Rabbit Cake”, which came out on March 7.

Avid Bookshop will be hosting an event on April 6 with author Annie Hartnett, whose novel “Rabbit Cake” was published on March 7. In the past, Hartnett has written essays and short stories for publications such as Refinery 29 and Gigantic Magazine, but this is her first novel.

Rabbit Cake”, a fictional dark comedy, is highly recommended by Rachel Kaplan, Avid Bookshop’s Assistant Events Coordinator.

“It’s one of those books that I feel like my description of it doesn’t do it justice. It’s a dark comedy and the protagonist Elvis Babbit, named after the rockstar, has a mother who is a sleepwalker and a sleep-swimmer. One day, her mother sleep-swims and drowns. Elvis is trying to go through the process of grieving and you get to see the evolution of Elvis as a 10-year-old coping with her mother’s death to then how she views life and death after she processes the whole thing,” Kaplan said. “It’s a wonderful amalgamation of funny, dark, unsettling and beautiful and it pulled on my heartstrings, it made me laugh, it made me feel and you just care about the characters.”

Rachel Kaplan’s rabbit, Thumper, poses next to “Rabbit Cake”. Photo courtesy of Rachel Kaplan.

Kaplan says that she loved the book so much that she reached out to the author over Twitter, which led to planning Hartnett’s visit to Avid.

“I just loved (Annie’s) book so much that I tweeted a picture of my rabbit and the book on Twitter and was like, ‘I love this book so much!’ and we were just chatting on Twitter and then my favorite publisher, Tin House, wanted to use the picture for promotional purposes and I was emailing with them and I was just like, ‘If Annie is in the area, we would love to have her come!’ And it just so happens that Annie will be in Alabama so they made it work,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan looks forward to the “Rabbit Cake” event, and hopes that the variety of elements to the event will make it fun for all in attendance.

“At events I try to curate a few different cocktails based off the book. I try to tie the books to my culinary creations to give the events a little more pizzazz but also to show that I’m really interested in the source material and dedicated to what I’m reading and it still stays with me after I’ve read it. I really wanted to make this event special and I hope more than that, that it’s just delicious and people enjoy it,” Kaplan said. “That’s something about Avid. When we get really excited about events we turn them into parties. I want people to come and partake in the celebration of reading and writing and just have a great time.”

Kaplan hopes that the event will attract a diverse audience that will appreciate the different facets of the event.

“I’m hoping to get a very varied audience,” Kaplan said. “I’m hoping to get people who love animals, who love reading, but really this event will be great because I think that not only the book, but the author herself would appeal to so many different people. I would love young kids there, I would love adults, I would love families, I would love anybody interested in reading or writing, anyone who wants a slice of rabbit cake and a fancy cocktail.”

Kaplan says that she feels gratified when readers take something away from Avid’s events.

“A lot of events that I love are because I get to see the look on people’s faces when they are just having a great time. There might be people here who have already read the book and they are really excited to meet Annie and that will be great to see, but also just to have people come in, maybe not knowing what to expect, and then having a great time,” Kaplan said. “One of my favorite things is when someone comes up to me at an event and says, ‘I’m so glad Avid is here. I’m so glad y’all are doing this.’ For various reasons, whether people want to know about writing, whether they’re just bored on a Friday night and want something to do, they are grateful for what Avid does. I don’t think I love anything more than to make readers happy.”

Clarke Central High School freshman Trinity James, who read “Rabbit Cake”, is grateful for Avid’s programming that will give her the opportunity to meet the author.

“Having Avid in Athens is really great because it gives people the chance to see their favorite authors up close. It’s a great local store that provides us with great books and helps bring the community together at the same time,” James said. “I’m excited to meet the author and I want to know if the book is just an idea she had, or if she knew someone that she based it off of, or she read something about this somewhere that made her write this. I just want to know what inspired her because it is such a weird book.”

In addition to giving reader the
opportunity to meet the author and
enjoy book-themed food and drinks,
the event will include a fundraiser for
Bear Hollow Zoo
.

“We’ll be doing a fundraiser for Bear
Hollow, people can make monetary donations — we would ask for cash
only — and if you look on our Facebook events page or Bear Hollow’s website
there will (also) be a list of items to
donate
.”

Kaplan believes that Avid is a good
platform for doing better in the Athens community and hopes readers will enjoy
the “Rabbit Cake” event and its many aspects.

“It’s great that we can have events where we benefit an organization like Bear Hollow. To be able to tie all of that together — doing good for the community, featuring an author we love, getting people together at an event to celebrate reading and meeting new people — (is so rewarding). I hope people come to this event that I don’t know and get to meet,” Kaplan said. “I’m most looking forward to everyone having a great time and hopefully loving the rabbit cake.”

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