The Reading at the Southern Festival of Books

Oh, you guys, it was awesome. First of all, Peg came by to say hi, even though she couldn’t stay for the reading, and I was all “What are you doing here, person from Illinois?!” This probably should have been a clue things were about to get Midwestern. I ran to the bathroom and then my parents were there when I got back!

They had been in town since yesterday. They even had dinner with the Butcher and his Friend. And I had no idea.

Mike Turner and his daughter were there. A bunch of y’all were there. Jess’s son wrote a book while I was reading. It is about dragons, but I will have to wait until the next one to find out what happens. Dude who wrote Miss Perigrine’s School could learn a thing or two from this kid about telling people up front that more is to come.

And it seemed like there were a lot of people in the audience. And I would say probably about half of them I didn’t know. So, that was cool.

But here is the best part. I went up for my book signing and no one came. No, no, I know. That sounds terrible. But let me tell you why no one came. Because they sold out of my book yesterday.

Anyone who just stumbled by my reading and was like “Oh, I want to read that” was out of luck because the Festival was SOLD OUT.

I am so thrilled.

Best reason to not sign books ever.

I am so tired, but so very grateful.

Things and More Things

In the future, I will try to arrange it so that I read before I work at the Southern Festival of Books, if I’m lucky enough to get this opportunity again. I’m feeling completely like I want to stay in and see no one and I need to get revved up to read some stories. I saw everyone and their uncle yesterday, which was so nice. I saw my friend, Tom, who I haven’t seen in a million years among them, which was awesome.

And I saw Jim Ridley, which was nice because I was telling him all about my Ben and Sue Allen piece and I realized I had to move the “so what?” to the beginning.

I also decided that I’m going to stop reading this book I’m a hundred pages into. I don’t really like it, even though it’s gotten a lot of buzz. But the plotting is really good. The story itself is really solid, but the writing somehow feels like every other word is extraneous. Like if there’s a tree, the tree is “magnificent.” Which, fine, I guess. I’m not opposed to description, but either give me some concrete description–the tree towers ninety feet above them–or there’s just a tree. Magnificent really doesn’t tell me anything.

But the thing that really bugs me is that part of the premise of the book is that this guy gets sent his daughter when she’s six. He, until then, didn’t know she existed. He begins to train her for this task only she can accomplish. In order to train her, he repeatedly cuts her fingers open and breaks the bones in her hands. The book specifically says that she has a temper, perhaps an uncontrollable temper.

And yet, never once are we told that she hates this stranger who abuses her. We never see her even daydreaming about getting good enough at her task that she can turn her power on him. And we’re never told why, if she doesn’t think those very natural things, that she doesn’t.

It truly bugs me. Like I don’t feel like she’s a real person, just a cartoon.

And I met @kimu, this woman I follow on Twitter. I recognized her right away, but then floundered as I tried to figure out how I recognized her her.

It was cool, though.

And I am exhausted. But I need to get over it pretty quickly.