I am very fortunate to live in a small city with an awesome independent bookstore, Malaprops (isn't that a fun name?), that brings in lots of authors for signings. Unfortunately, I somehow didn't realize this until the past six months or so. Don't ask me how I missed it. And while I'm on that subject, let me recommend getting yourself on any local book store's mailing list. That's how I know who's coming to town now. Too bad so many of them come while I'm at work. I keep up with authors who might be a little farther away through a site called Book Tour. I'm set up to receive a weekly email about any authors who are going to be within something like a hundred-mile radius of me.
Wendell Berry spoke and luckily this Bio major was actually in an American Lit class that semester. The professor had us read one of Berry's short stories and a poem before he visited the campus. I loved what he had to say in his work. I went to hear him speak and enjoyed it. He writes about a small fictional town in Kentucky called Port William and about how the small farmers are disappearing and we're losing our connection to our land. I don't find it preachy, it's just presented as a fact of life to be mourned. I grew up running around on my grandparents' small farm, so I actually relate to what he writes. I bought and had him sign The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry 1957-1982, which I haven't actually finished reading. :( I have a hard time squeezing poetry in between all my novels.
Charles de Lint, came to town and I didn't find out about it until that night, when I was already at work and checking out the newspaper. Can you say crushing disappointment! Oh, I was mad at myself! I did run by the bookstore and grab a signed copy of Little (Grrl) Lost, the book he was promoting at the time, so at least I have that, but I am still disappointed that I didn't get to meet him. Last year for my birthday, my husband ordered a signed copy of a tiny little book de Lint wrote called What the Mouse Found and Other Stories, so now I have two of his books signed. Yes, that scribble really is his signature.
Sara Gruen last summer. I had read Water for Elephants pretty recently and enjoyed it, but I was nervous about going. I made my husband drive me because I can't parallel park to save my life so driving downtown is a nightmare for me. This truly was just a signing, so I walked in, got in line, handed her my book when it was my turn, said thanks, and walked away. My husband couldn't believe that was all that was going on! What can I say? I'm shy.
Sarah Addison Allen, a local author, had a signing in December to do an early promotion for her upcoming book. I wrote that up in an earlier blog post. I walked away from that one with signed copies of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen. I think (hope) I must have loaned Garden Spells to my aunt because I can't find it to scan it.
Charles Vess, fantasy artist/illustrator extraordinaire. I've already written that one up in a blog post also. What was really cool about getting Drawing Down the Moon signed was that he drew a picture of a fairy lady underneath his signature!
Sarah Addison Allen again at the official launch of The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I was supposed to work that night, but one of my kind co-workers covered my shift for a couple of hours so I could go. I wrote that signing up in this post. She is just a sweetheart.
I took my grandmother and mom to see Ron Rash when his collection of stories, Burning Bright released. I hadn't read anything by him at that point, but my grandmother had received his book, Serena and it had disappeared as it made the rounds through the family. We bought her another copy and got this one signed. I wrote a little about that signing at the end of my Serena review.
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter from Mel at He Followed Me Home...Can I Keep Him?
So that's it for me so far. There are several authors coming to town soon that I'm excited to meet, including Sharyn McCrumb promoting The Devil Amongst the Lawyers, one of my recent WoW picks; and Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians. Of course, I should probably read that one first.... Good thing I own it.
Armchair BEA. It doesn't have to be in on this topic. Write about anything you want and then go visit the other participants. We can have our own kind of BEA fun, right here at home!