BROCKWAY – Mengle Memorial Library continues its book talks by bringing a longtime Brockway resident to talk about his memoir.
Nick Hoffman, who was an editor at The Courier Express for many years, recently published “He Was There All The Time” through WestBow Press, and the book was recently added to the US Review of Books. He will be at Mengle today, March 15, at 3 pm
“I’m really excited to have Nick Hoffman speak about his book as it features many memories from Brockway,” Mengle Head Librarian Darlene Marshall said. “He did an outstanding job writing this book, in my opinion. My hope is everyone in our area will take time to read it and learn about important people who influenced our area. It shows the impact one individual is able to have on a life.”
“He Was There All The Time” is a collection of recollections and columns focusing on the idea that, perhaps, there is an unseen hand guiding people’s lives. From the book’s description: “Behind every face is a name, and every name has a story. They don’t all command headlines, but each of them matters.”
Hoffman said that the book is finding the right audience.
“The reaction has been very positive and encouraging,” he said. “It brings back a lot of fond memories for many people and, I hope, reinforces the reality of how much we need each other and depend on each other. Wherever we get to in life, we don’t get there alone. But sometimes we don’t appreciate how many people it takes to keep us intact and headed in the right direction. And at the same time that we’re benefiting from the influence of others, we’re influencing others, too, often without realizing it.”
Hoffman said that the initial plan to write the book was to check a box on his bucket list, but then the book grew into more than a collection of columns.
“I’d always wanted to do something with all the columns –dozens of them –that I wrote about people while I was at the Courier,” he said. “When I finally did get around to it, I realized it could be formatted as an autobiography with the columns woven into where the various people ‘fit’ into my life and what impact they had. But it’s not about me as much as it is a reflection that will allow –I hope –readers to put themselves in similar positions in their lives and think back to their own experiences.”
Hoffman is excited to head over to his hometown library and do a book talk and signing.
“I spent a day with the seventh-grade English classes at Brockway a couple weeks ago, and I told some of them that when I was their age, the library was where I felt the world was at my fingertips,” he said. “All the newspapers, magazines, books –it was all there, waiting for me to discover it. Today, they have the Internet and smart phones. The means and methods might have changed and will probably continue to change, but the important thing is that we find our appetite for knowing about the world around us and never quit feeding that appetite. There are few places I’ve found in my life that were as much a ‘sanctuary’ as a library.”
Marshall said that these book talks are a great experience for the community.
“The book discussions have gone well, and we appreciate the time each author has spent at local libraries talking about their experiences,” she said. “Each author had something unique to share. We will continue to provide opportunities for authors to present if they contact our library. These book talks have been a good opportunity for us to transition back to providing programs for our community.”