- Fizzy Thoughts: Booking Through Thursday - Live and In-Person

Booking Through Thursday - Live and In-Person

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?


Earlier this year I went to a Book Group Expo. In fact, that reminds me I started a blog entry about the experience. Maybe I'll just go find it and paste it into this entry.

Here it is, from way back in June...

Saturday, I left the house at 6:30 (yes, am) to drive to San Jose. Once I had made it just north of Paso Robles I set the cruise control and didn't touch either the gas or the brake until Gonzales. When suddenly all of the semis seemed to speed up and pass me. Including one that had this gem painted on the rear doors:

We don't haul chickens
We haul ASS!

Lovely. And no, I didn't embellish the font. That is exactly how it appeared. I had plenty of time to stare at it in disbelief as the trucker pulled in front of me.

However, that is not the point of this entry. I drove to San Jose to attend Book Group 2007. And it was totally worth the drive. The expo was modeled after the salons of the 18th century, when people would gather to discuss literature and ideas. There was a variety of salons, and a variety of authors at each salon. And, in between, there were plenty of vendors to check out in the marketplace. Including some who gave away free books. Score!

The first hour I spent listening to Sara Davidson, Po Bronson and Elizabeth Gilbert talk about "Finding Our Passions, Finding Ourselves." Sara was kind of unrealistic, Po was down to earth and Elizabeth Gilbert was downright funny. She totally stole the show, although it wasn't intentional. At one point, there was a mysterious beeping noise that interrupted her answer to a question. Without missing a beat she said, "I'm sorry, that's the mother ship, I have to go." The three authors were to respond to a question about changing your life. Sara Davidson started by saying you have to follow your passion and do what you love, blah, blah, blah. Po Bronson disagreed, saying that "it's not what you do, it's what you are working toward." There was more to it than that, but he made a hell of a lot more sense than she did. They certainly weren't arguing, but they were coming from different perspectives. Elizabeth Gilbert agreed more with Po, but admitted as the youngest child, she felt the need to resolve the conflict. She added that you can't just jump into something without being prepared, especially if you have responsibilities. And she told the joke that is in her book, the one about the man who prays to win the lottery. At a different point in the discussion, she talked about her sister's Platinum Rule, "Don't be a turkey." And how she tried to follow that when writing her book, because she didn't want to come across as dogmatic or pious.

Afterwards the three authors were available for signings, and there was a mad rush of people buying Eat Pray Love. I bought one of her books I hadn't read, and she smiled when I handed it to her and said here's one I haven't seen today. I spoke to her briefly when she signed it. I actually told her she was so not a turkey, and she laughed. Laughed, not chuckled. She is definitely a cool person, and comes across as someone who would be fun to go to lunch with.

Next, I went to a salon on speculative fiction, featuring Carolyn See and Jean Hegland, neither of whom I've read. Although Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (an awesome book, by the way) was written by Carolyn's daughter, Lisa See. This was an interesting discussion, although I don't know that I'll ever read their books (both are about post-apocalyptic near futures).

The third salon I attended had Marisa de los Santos, Jennie Shortridge and
Carolyn Jourdan. All three have written books featuring reluctant caregivers. The only author I had heard of was Marisa, whose book Love Walked In I read a few months ago. Once again, the funny one stole the show. Carolyn Jourdan is from Tennessee, has a thick southern accent, and loves to laugh at herself. Everyone bought her book. Except maybe me. I was trying really hard to limit my book purchases, and I had brought my copy of Love Walked In. So while everyone was in line to have Carolyn sign, I walked right up to Marisa and told her I really enjoyed her book and she looked happy that I had actually read it and then she wrote (not just signed, but wrote!) in it. And when I told her I was excited to hear she was writing another book, she told me it should be out early next year and it was a follow up to Love Walked In. Woo-hoo!

And that's all I wrote before I totally flaked and forgot all about finishing it. There was more to the Expo, but it's all a blur and the last salon wasn't that memorable.

So to make a long story short, yes, I have met both Elizabeth Gilbert and Marisa de los Santos, two authors I very much enjoyed. It was totally worth the drive.

3 comment(s):

gautami tripathy said...

I liked the post! Very interesting too!

softdrink said...

Thanks!

BookGal said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I'd rather hear people talk about books than just stand in line for an autograph.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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