Category: Author Events

Dec 06

An Evening with David Sedaris: Theft by Finding

Author Events, Humor, Memoirs 3

Well Hello, Bookworms!

I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve been doing, or more accurately, what I was doing in late April. I’ve always had a soft spot for David Sedaris and his quirky essays (here’s a review from a while back.) Of course, his humor and tone aren’t for everyone (as evidenced by the friend to whom I loaned Me Talk Pretty One Day who was UNIMPRESSED by the casual drug usage.) Not every writer is for every reader, but if you are a Sedaris fan, you were probably pretty stoked to hear that he was released a new book of his diary entries called Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002). *I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and have been hideously tardy in supplying a review for which I apologize. I haven’t accepted any more galleys in recent days given my sporadic (at best) blogging presence.*

Luckily, I found a kindred spirit in my neighbor/book club member/friend Catherine (remember when we threw her a bookish baby shower?) She is the sweetest, and shares my penchant for both David Sedaris and NPR. Which is why when she found out Sedaris was coming to our little corner of Illinois for a speaking engagement and to promote Theft by Finding, she texted me right away and plans were made.

Yes, we paid $40 for 2nd balcony tickets and we’d do it again!

I insisted on getting tickets in the balcony because the main floor seats in this theater have no center aisle and crawling over people whilst I was 25 or so weeks pregnant sounded AWFUL. Of course, the best laid plans were all for naught, because we still ended up having people crawl over us, but I digress. The fact that I was hauling around a sizable belly and already had swollen ankles (nope, no complications, I just retain water like WOAH) also meant that we opted out of waiting in line for the book signing. Plus, I’m totally intimidated by authors I admire and figured I’d say or do something awkward enough to land me in a future Sedaris anecdote.

The reading was mostly segments of Theft by Finding and if you’re a fan of Sedaris’s work, it’s a treat. All the weirdness you love about his essays are presented in real life snippets of diaries he’s kept for his entire adult life. The sardonic slice of life observations will delight his fans, and hearing them in his own voice is even better. If you’ve not yet indulged in Sedaris’s self-narrated audio books, I HIGHLY recommend you do so.

The long and short of it is, if you dig Sedaris, you’ll like Theft by FindingGo out and grab yourself a copy, bonus points for the audio book. And, should you discover Sedaris is coming to your town, you won’t be disappointed by attending one of his events (if it’s in your budget.) May you be braver than I and get your book signed. He’s rather creative with his inscriptions, I’m having some regrets that I didn’t wait in that line. Of course, now that I have ankles again, it’s easy to forget how swollen I was. 7 months ago Katie has ZERO regrets.

Any of you bookworms have a signed Sedaris book? Any weird doodles or inscriptions?

*If you make a purchase from a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 18

BEA 2016: What the Heck Is This?

Author Events, BEA 2016 34

Happy Wednesday Bookworms!

One week ago today I was a bundle of butterflies heading off to my first BEA. In case you missed the world’s gushiest post about how cool people from the internet can be, you can check it out HERE. If you already read the schmoop and are like, “but Katie, what did you actually do?” I shall now answer all of your questions. I know what they are, because I can read your minds. If I were you I’d be making a tin foil hat about now, because if there’s one person I don’t want rooting around in my brain, it’s me. (I cannot actually read minds, thank heaven. Wouldn’t that be the worst superpower?!) What follows are the whats and wherefores regarding what actually happens at BEA.

Expo Wandering: Alright, you guys. The majority of BEA is a ginormous expo floor. All the major publishers in the land along with lots and lots of cool less giant publishers have booths showcasing their wares. All the wares are books and book related products. Are you hearing the choir of angels yet? Since BEA is a trade show, most of the publishers are looking to drum up business with influential folks like booksellers and librarians and important Bookternet people. (Luckily “importance” is difficult to quantify when it comes to the internet, so occasionally stooges like me are allowed in. Insert maniacal laugh.) Thus, they give out a lot of free samples in the form of ARCs. ARCs (pronounced like Noah’s Ark, not like the acronym A-R-C, a thing I learned whilst at BEA… I wonder how many times I said that to people?) are early proofs of upcoming books. That’s right. Free Books. It is effing magical. Bloggers tend to get kind of a bad rep for being grabby and entitled when it comes to ARCs, but I assure you, I conducted myself with the utmost professionalism. If squeals of delight and unabashed enthusiasm can be considered professional.

Photo Courtesy of Florinda of 3 R's Blog

Photo Courtesy of Florinda Pendley Vasquez of The 3 R’s Blog (Thank you for giving me permission to use your photo! I got a lot of pics of feet and carpet!)

Panels: As cool as the expo floor is, my inner introvert got overwhelmed from time to time. Sensory overload is a thing that happens. Plus, when you’re lugging a tote full of books (or half full even, seriously, three books in a bag get heavy after a while) you start to get kind of tired and sore. Which is why it’s super cool that there are panels. Because panels have chairs. Sometimes a panel is a bunch of people pitching books. Sometimes it’s a bunch of authors discussing a thing. Sometimes Robyn Carr and Susan Elizabeth Phillips tease each other about being old and banter about the ridiculous things they put their characters through. It’s a treat, I’ll tell you what.

Author Signings: If you’re someone who is extraordinarily organized like Julie from JulzReads, you’ve got a game plan and a schedule so you can get all the books signed by all the authors. If you’re someone like me, you walk past a line and tap someone on the shoulder to find out who is doing the signing. I don’t have the best history with author signings, anyway. I mean, there was that time that I scared Jo Baker back across the Atlantic and that time Danielle Fishel was probably offended to find out that people think I look a little bit like her. Stacey from Unruly Reader has serious author signing game. She had heartfelt stories for each author explaining what their work meant to her. I did things like tell Colson Whitehead that I live in Richard Pryor’s hometown. I mean, how can an author respond to that kind of a statement? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, KATIE? (In my defense, he did ask me where I was from and Richard Pryor was the first Peoria factoid that came to mind. Well, second, but I didn’t want to have to explain the Vaudeville joke, so.) Luckily, Jennifer Close had the good grace to compliment my penguin cardigan so I didn’t have to come up with anything to say to her, and Faith Salie neglected to point out that my blog’s title isn’t strictly a pun when I awkwardly tried to explain it. I shouldn’t be allowed out in public.

That's me with Paul and George wearing the penguin cardigan. It really is rather adorable.

That’s me with Paul and George wearing the penguin cardigan. It really is rather adorable.

Speed Dating for Book Groups: I heard about this event through that glorious Facebook group of book bloggers I mentioned in my last post, and it was so much fun. Wandering around and getting free books is great, but the pace is somewhat frantic and you don’t always have a lot of time or desire to slow down long enough to give the back of the book a good long look. The Speed Dating event was like having a friend tell you all about the cool new things they’ve been reading. I landed at a rather sedate table of mostly librarians, so they were all far more dignified than I was. Thankfully, Debra from Algonquin assured me that once one stopped caring about one’s nerdiness one becomes cool by accident. Also, Laura from St. Martin’s Press was really excited to see how jazzed I was about Lev Grossman’s new release (it’s actually a re-release of his first novel, so it’s sort of time capsule-y. Eeep!) I was pretty good about limiting the books I took throughout the conference… Until Speed Dating. Everything sounded really good, you guys!

And now you know what the deal is with BEA. And that I can’t actually read minds. And that I live in Richard Pryor’s hometown. This has been an incredibly informative post, no? Make me feel less weird. Have you ever made a fool of yourself in front of an author?

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Sep 30

Author Event: I Met My Doppelgänger

Author Events, Memoirs 42

Greetings, Bookworms!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always imagined that I look a bit like Danielle Fishel, the actress who played Topanga on Boy Meets World (and now Girl Meets World.) When I was 15, a stranger told me he thought I looked like “Topanga.” I was, of course, THRILLED, because Danielle Fishel was (and is) pretty! And famous! I like compliments, okay? Thus, I’ve stuck with the celebrity doppelgänger schtick for 16 years now.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from my IRL pal Chrissy (of Quirky Chrissy) saying that Danielle Fishel had 1. written a book and 2. was going to be doing a book signing on a Friday night a mere 2 hour drive from where I live. There were a LOT of SHOUTY CAPITALS included in my response. (The odds of me making this trip for any other celebrity memoir <barring, of course, celebrities who are active comedy writers. Hi Tina! Hi Mindy! XOXO!> are slim to none. Clearly, extenuating circumstances were at play.)

normallythiswouldbeacauseforconcern

I went to the signing and purchased the book because 1. BOOK and 2. Danielle was under contract and not allowed to sign things that were not her book. (I didn’t ask her to sign my face. I bet that would have been allowed. But, you know. Sharpie. Meh.) I met up with my friends Chrissy and Lauren (of Filing Jointly…Finally) at said signing where we mostly behaved like fine upstanding citizens. (Well, Chrissy may have tried to cut in line, but attempting to cheat the system is kind of her thing.)

I was quite surprised at the number of people who queued up at Anderson’s Book Shop in Naperville, IL (holla!) There were 250-300 autograph seekers crammed into a fairly small bookstore. I prefer a good deal more personal space, but I’m willing to make sacrifices. The good folks at Anderson’s handled the crowd admirably, though, it was quite an efficient operation they had going. They went around with post-its so people could have their books personalized. The staff was writing out the names, so I just told the clerk to put “Katie” on my post it. I was telling Lauren and Chrissy that I chickened out of asking the clerk to write “To My Doppelgänger” on the post-it when Lauren rather devilishly pulled a pen out of her handbag. We then had a discussion about whether or not the word “doppelgänger” has an umlaut in it and where it belongs (I thought it was over the “O”. I was WRONG.)

Amended post-it note

Amended post-it note. No umlaut.

When it was my turn, I approached Danielle Fishel bearing a hardcover book with a post-it reading “Katie, My Doppelganger.” (No umlaut. The only thing worse than ignoring accent marks is putting accent marks in the wrong places.) When she saw the note, she gamely smiled at me and said, “You’re my doppelgänger, huh?” To which I blushed and shrugged. “People have told you that?” To which I responded “Yes” in a rather sheepish voice. She then turned and smiled for a photo, and I went on my merry way feeling ridiculous, as per usual, and slightly disappointed in myself that I had not left her a Words for Worms bookmark like I planned. Panic trumps self promotion, apparently.

IMG_6759

I’m wearing a Pride and Prejudice sweatshirt and an Alice in Wonderland necklace. That’s how I roll.

Our interaction took all of 10 seconds, and though Danielle didn’t acknowledge our twinly status in writing, she was a remarkably good sport about the whole thing. She didn’t once say “yeah, I can sort of see the resemblance… You know, if I were to gain 40 pounds.” Which is EXACTLY what went through MY head when I saw the photo. Still. Twinsies. And this is why I shouldn’t be allowed out in public. Ever. You’re welcome, Internet!

Bookworms, talk to me. Have you ever met someone famous? Have you ever embarrassed yourself at a book signing? Do you know the proper usage of umlauts? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. So will Danielle Fishel, because it’s her book. Support your favorite look-alikes, would ya?*

 

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Jul 25

My Very First Author Event: Jo Baker

Author Events, Giveaways 13

Happy Friday Bookworms!

You’ll recall that last week I was raving about Longbourn by Jo Baker (review). It’s essentially Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ perspective, and it’s pretty great. A couple of months ago, I was hunting down digital books on my library’s website (as I am wont to do) and I saw that we were having an author event. With JO BAKER. In my town! I live in the middle of Illinois, y’all. We’re halfway between Chicago and St. Louis, which seriously limits our chances of being a book tour stop. I mean, who’s going to come to Peoria when CHICAGO and ST. LOUIS exist? Actually, my erroneous assumption that nobody cool ever came through Peoria kept me from monitoring these things. No more, I tell you. High five to the Peoria Public Library!

I was SUPER excited, as I’ve never been to an author event before. I was also rather nervous, because I loved the book and, well, I’m not very good at playing it cool. At all. I vacillate wildly between tongue tied silence and giddy over-enthusiasm in such situations. Neither is a particularly attractive reaction, believe you me. Giddy enthusiasm won the night, as I wasn’t a few feet in the door before asking a costumed member of the Jane Austen Society of Chicago to pose for a photo with me.

I'm not pregnant, just a bit on the chubby side. Actually, I'm going to blame the camera angle.

I’m going to blame an unflattering camera angle for my gut, not my sweet tooth.

I managed to talk a friend into joining me at the event, and we were easily among the youngest attendees, which surprised the heck out of me. I guess I’m too used to my internet bookish peer group and expected a room full of 20 and 30 somethings, as opposed to the bus load of senior citizens from a local assisted living facility. (Not that I don’t adore any of my readers who are out of their 30s. I mean, certainly I wouldn’t have known, you all look so YOUNG, you gorgeous bookworms, you!) It was kind of funny though, when Jo Baker took the stage, I heard several people around me muttering “that can’t be her, she’s too young!”

I’m not sure how old Ms. Baker is, but she is quite adorable. An Austen fan to the core, Ms. Baker always loved the world of Georgian balls and social events, but felt a disconnect. She understood that if she’d been born in that time period, she’d have been far more likely to have been washing the Bennets’ underthings than dancing and cavorting at a ball. I struggle with this ALL THE TIME when reading historical fiction! Much of what I read focuses on the wealthy or the ultra wealthy or friggin royalty. I’m with Lorde, here, y’all, I’ll never be royal. Extra fun tidbit? While researching the book, Ms. Baker tested out some old school cleaning method. Turns out cold tea is excellent for cleaning wood floors. The more you know.

Immediately after the talk, I got in line to have two books signed. One was the galley I received (thanks Kelly!) and one I bought at the event so I could get a present for YOU! When I got up to the table, I stammered out some ridiculousness about being a book blogger, handing Jo Baker a Words for Worms bookmark, and asked if she’d pose for a photo. Even though she claimed that she typically looks like “a gargoyle” in photos, she gamely posed. I think she found me amusing. At least I hope she did…

It's a look that says either "I'm amused" or "I'm glad I live on another continent."

It’s a look that says either “I’m amused” or “I’m glad I live on another continent.” Possibly both.

Definitely NOT the face of a gargoyle!

Definitely NOT the face of a gargoyle!

All in all, I had THE MOST FUN! Austen enthusiasts in full costume? Authors who don’t call security on me? Brilliant! Ah, but you’ve heard already that I didn’t forget about you. Someone out there is going to WIN an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Longbourn!!! The only rule is that you have to live in the continental US to win, because shipping costs. Yikes. You want to win and have a US address for me to mail your winnings to? Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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