YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Walk in most any bookstore anywhere in the United States, and chances are you’ll find a David Baldacci book. On Thursday, one of the bestselling authors of all time was at the main branch of the downtown Youngstown library for its annual author event.

In the lobby of Youngstown’s main public library, author David Baldacci signed 300 copies of his latest novel, “Simply Lies” — gifts for everyone who would later show up to hear him speak.

“Tonight will be funny tales from the road, mixed in with a few serious points. I’ve always found that people remember the serious stuff if I add some humor to it,” Baldacci said. “I’ll also talk about my love for the libraries and how it sort of changed my life growing up as a kid, and how important they are to me and to the country.”

In a section of the library, some of Baldacci’s 47 novels were on display. Noticeably absent was “Absolute Power,” — Baldacci’s first published in 1996 — which most likely was on loan.

“David Baldacci is such a prolific author. In addition to all his spy and intrigue novels, he writes young adult novels. He just really reaches a wide audience,” said library executive director Aimee Fifarek.

Baldacci — who, now at 63 years old, lives in Charlettsville, Virginia — was a practicing lawyer when he started writing in his mid-30s.

“I kept practicing law for another year after ‘Absolute Power’ was sold and then finally I made the decision,” Baldacci said. “I talked to my wife and I said, ‘I think I can make a career out of this.’ She said, ‘Honey go for it. If you can’t, you can always be a lawyer.'”

Baldacci had some advice for aspiring novelists, too.

“You don’t always have to write what you know about. Write about what you’d like to know about, and that will give you sort of the passion and enthusiasm to go and find out about this world that you’d like to write about,” Baldacci said.

After signing books, the author mingled with people at a VIP reception on the library’s second floor, where shelf after shelf still holds book after book.

What does Baldacci think about the effort in some areas of the country to ban certain books?

“It’s un-American. We fight wars against countries that do that sort of thing,” Baldacci said. “Banning books is banning ideas, banning other thoughts, banning people who don’t look like you, think like you, dress like you, pray like you. That’s not what America stands for. We stand for the opposite of banning books and censorship.”

Baldacci said his favorite book is titled “Memory Man,” where he first introduced the character Amos Decker. For those readers who have yet to sample Baldacci, he recommended “The 6:20 Man” or “The Camel Club.”