Yesterday I attended the 3rd annual Books by the Banks, an awesome book/author fair put on by the Public Libraries of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. It runs from 10 AM to 4 PM, with panel sessions beginning on the hour every hour, 3 panel sessions at a time. Guess how many I went to? :P I had a great time, met several wonderful authors and ran into a few people I know, and then went home and passed out for 3 hours because I was so exhausted, lol.
Here are the highlights:
The Author Pavilion, where people can purchase books from 80+ authors (not all of whom led panel sessions, many of whom were local) and get them signed.
Celebrities! Curious George, Clifford, the Cat in the Hat, and a random turtle I didn’t know all made appearances in the kid’s corner.
Sharon Draper is a Cincinnati local, former teacher at Walnut Hills, and author of Copper Sun, Tears of a Tiger, and the Ziggy and Sassy series for children. She did a great job tailoring her talk to this particular audience (adults and children as opposed to just one or the other) as well as interacting with and incorporating us. In return, she had some obviously loyal fans of all ages.
Garth Stein, author of the acclaimed and beloved Art of Racing in the Rain, which is narrated by a dog named Enzo. He began with an impassioned plea for Cincinnatians to pass Issue 7 (a levy for the public libraries) and then alternated between telling funny anecdotes and reading passages from the book. Overall a great talk and a really nice guy. Also, he had incredible blue/gray eyes. The two women sitting next to me might have been a little in love with him.
Jennifer Weiner, chick lit / women’s fiction author. Her books include Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and most recently Best Friends Forever. I love that she writes about full-bodied women and isn’t afraid to tell her publicist that the models on her covers need to be digitally fattened with Photoshop, not made thinner. I also love how she is so comfortable with herself, telling Jew jokes and talking about her mom coming out of the closet at age 52. She was hysterical, and genuine, and totally won me over. I will be buying her books in the future. (I didn’t buy any there because they only had the newest book in hardcover, and I’m sorry, I’m way too broke to buy a $27 book right now.) But seriously? LOVE HER.
Ellen Schrieber is another Cincinnati local, and the author of the Vampire Kisses series. She actually wrote the first book back in 1998, before all this Twilight/True Blood/Vampire Diaries craze, so I give her credit for that. Also, she was very sweet, unique (as you can see), and did a great job fielding questions from her younger, somewhat fanatical audience.
Me + Garth Stein. Maybe because I was tired, but I felt super awkward going up to the author tables yesterday, so Garth and Jennifer were really the only people I approached. Jennifer left a little early so our conversation was brief, but Garth was pretty nice, chatting about how his career as a documentary film editor contributed to his storytelling sensibilities, taking this picture, etc.
My one regret is that I didn’t ask any questions (during the panel sessions or during these private conversations) about e-books. I felt like the whole how-is-technology-affecting-reading issue didn’t get addressed yesterday.
But whatevs. It was a fun day full of jokes and reading. Plus I got to imagine, “Oh, how will I answer that question when I’m sitting up on that stage?” ;P What more can you really ask for?