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:
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.