Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Most Completely Awesome Reason to Read

For a while now, I've been writing really downer posts (parents getting divorced and all that), so today I am delighted to bring you a positive, upbeat post about an awesome reading experience I had this week. Oh books, how I love you.

For the last week and a half I've been on vacation in Los Angeles, which has been totally awesome, for a number of reasons (Studio tours! Celebrity trivia! Visiting the Kodak Theatre!), one of the most awesomest of which was the Emily Giffin reading I went to last week. It was held at an amazing independent bookstore called Vroman's.

(I am somewhere win this picture! But even I can't see me, so I don't think you'll be able to!)

The first part of my awesome night occurred in their unbelievable teen section. Now, it isn't any bigger than average or anything, but, can you believe it, it actually has a good selection of teen books! Going through the shelves, I nearly screamed with all the incredible, impossible to find in Canada, books they had. Moreover, their YA inventory had clearly been selected by someone who understood the genre--not just what's popular, but what's good in YA. I so wish I had a bookstore like that near my house. Instead, all I have is lousy Indigo. Blech.

It was so cool going through the shelves and feeling like the person who had picked the books had the same love for them as I did. And, of course, it was so great to be able to pick up some titles I had been dying for:


Then, I went and sat down for the reading. There was a whole stage set up, and I expected Emily Giffin to enter from behind the curtain, but instead, she just walked up through the crowd, no big deal, acting like a normal person, with no superiority complex at all, which was great. I kind of expected her to seem like an untouchable celebrity, but she was actually a real person, which was refreshing. I don't know if this unusual--another draw back of living in Canada is a lack of author readings--but perhaps not, because when I told this story to various people they all looked at me like I was crazy for thinking an author could actually be a celebrity. Though, to them, I say, look at how nerd fighters treat John Green, and try to prove me wrong.

From there, Emily Giffin was great. Hilarious, smart, insightful, other awesome qualities like that. But to me, the most enjoyable part of the whole evening was when she referenced her other books--Something Borrowed, for example--in quick little ways. "I met a couple who were such a Rachel and Dex!" she said, and I couldn't help but smile at that. But that wasn't the coolest part. No, the most completely awesome part of the whole night was looking around me and seeing that the other seventy people in the room were smiling and nodding and laughing too. They too had loved her books. They understood the references just like I did. It was so amazing to me to look around at this room full of forty year old women--I was, by far, the youngest person there--and feel so instantly connected to all of them. I loved that feeling so much, and I wish I got to experience it more often.

She signed my books and I struggled to find something to say, finally muttering something about Baby Proof that she didn't even hear, and then I headed back home.

Going into the night, I had been kind of nervous. Celebrity-type people tend to do that to me. But I didn't need to be, not for one second. These were my people, who loved the books I loved. This was a world where I felt like I belonged, where I laughed and smiled and had a great time.

Over the past year, I've really focused on the ability that books have to bind people, to make us feel understood. That night, at that bookstore, it wasn't just the books that made me feel that way. It was the community of readers. I sincerely hope I get to experience such excitement again soon.

For now, though, I'm sure I'll return to my sad, tear filled posts which have a much smaller number of uses of the word "awesome". Sorry.

5 comments:

  1. Sounds absolutely fantastic! I am also a fan of Emily Giffin, and it makes me like her even more to read about your experience at the event. I would love to be going to more readings...on other blogs, I read about all these incredible expos, talks, author meets in the U.S., and I sigh. I feel like I am totally missing out!

    P.S. I hope you enjoy your new books :)

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  2. She's actually coming to Toronto next week, and I'm almost tempted to go and see her again.

    I've read three of the four books in the post. I really, really liked Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters--it was funny and realistic. The romance wasn't the best, but I didn't even care because the characters were so good. Something Like Normal was also quite good.

    Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy Welcome, Caller This is Chloe, quite as much as you did, judging from your review. I liked Duncan, sure. But the drama with her friend didn't really make sense to me, especially with her new radio station friends at the end--they shunned her just like her old friends, for a less justified reason. And it felt to me like there were a lot of things going on, too many, in a way that made it so things were not looked at too deeply.

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