September 21st 2013
The 2013 National Book Festival hosted by The Library of Congress had many fabulous authors. The one I was most excited for was none other than Veronica Roth, author of Divergent.
But, first, let me tell you about my day.
It's a Saturday. I get up at around 8:30 -- that's early for me on a weekend. I eat breakfast, grab my already packed stuff (always double check you have your books with you), and head down to the bus. The DC metro is horrible on weekends because it's when they do track work so if your train isn't delayed for 30-40 minutes or longer, you are lucky. Anyway, I go and wait for the bus and I am waiting and waiting. Finally after 30 minutes, I see it but it's stopped at a corner. And in front of it is a car. A man gets out of the car and is looking at his fender. The bus I'm waiting for just hit a freakin' car!!!
I watch as all the buses' occupants start running out, making a bee line for another bus that goes a different route but still into DC. I run after them like a stalker.
And I get to the National Mall in tact though later than I wanted to be. I walk around a little, find the tent where Patrick Ness is speaking, and stay to listen a bit.
Then I text someone from my book club and ask if they are there. She says she's already waiting in line for V Roth. What?!? It's still about 3-4 hours before the signing even starts.
I make my way to the line starting point and there is already a good 30-40 people. I, being the pessimistic and anxious person that I am, decide to just get in line now, even if it means missing Patrick Ness' signing.
The line after about an hour or two:
Hundreds of people showed up. Luckily I was in one of the first rows of people.
So I take my seat under the trees. There is a mother and daughter in front of me and a lone woman behind. Mind you, I, too, came alone to this. I do that for most bookish things since all the people I know who like YA who live near me are only from my book club and who did not want to wait in line for 3 hours to get ONE book signed. In summation: they aren't as crazy as I am.
It was completely worth it for me.
Anyway, the three ladies and I began to talk and pretty much socialized through the entire wait, talking about books and authors we met. The lone woman behind me was obsessed with getting books signed and had hundreds of them signed. She said her bed room is FULL to the max of them, most she has never even read. Her best story was waiting 12 hours for a Harry Potter book on opening day.
The mom and daughter came on a bus from somewhere upstate with their group just for a Festival.
I recommend, if you go to these things alone, talking to the people around you. I think book lovers are some of the friendliest people because they just have this enthusiasm for a subject and luckily it's one you both share! Although I classify myself as almost a complete introvert, I am always surprised about the amount of people I meet and talk to at these types of things. And if you really knew me, you would be very surprised how social I can be.
Anyway, the ladies held my spot for me while I went to get an outrageously priced hotdog at a seedy truck close by. I was walking past the lines and saw that Patrick Ness' line was almost over and super short! I raced back to grab A Monster Calls, the only book I've read by him and one I randomly bought at a used book store.
I got in line and two minutes later I got to meet him. I exchanged my camera with a girl behind me who was also going solo (another trick: make friends in line for photos). I told him how much the book effected me because I had lost someone. It was so cute to see him a little lost for words at my personal confession. It was nice to not be the only awkward person in the conversation.
Anyway, here is Patrick and I:
Back to Veronica. After waiting for several hours, finally it is 2:00 pm and the line begins to move! It only took half an hour from that point on.
I was so nervous going up to meet her. I followed her blog when I was right out of college and obsessed over it a little. I'm not sure what it was about her story that I connected to and admired so much (other than the mega success). She is my number one author I follow because I like her personally, the second is Tahereh Mafi.
|This photo is largely butt. Sorry girl.|
Anyway, I gave my camera to my line friend because there was no time for posed pictures since the line was so long. This is normal with big name authors. Also, as with most big name authors, Veronica only had time to sign one book. Surprisingly, she also personalized it. Usually they don't do that if they only have time for one.
Here's the pic of me gushing and telling Veronica awkward things! At least she looks like she's enjoying what I'm saying.
After the signing, which a lot of people at the end of the line didn't get to do (hey, you snooze you lose), we went over to the pavilion where Veronica was going to give her talk! Our one book line friend got separated from us and we didn't see her again. So weird spending hours with someone then POOF they are gone without even a goodbye.
Anyway, we got lucky for seating because once we entered the tent, three people left their seats in the front. Perfect!
The talk was great and I was maybe 20 feet from the stage.
It began pouring pouring pouring rain just as Veronica arrived. The tent was so full but it was raining so hard that it made everyone squeeze in even tighter. I saw Veronica's husband (see how crazy I am I knew what he looked like) waiting behind the stage. When her talk was over, I said goodbye to my new friends and tried to see where she was going, but by then it was just a sea of umbrellas.
I walked around a bit more, got completely soaked through, then went to the metro and went home.
IT WAS AN AWESOME DAY....
with a very soggy ending.
Holly Black and James Dashner at the Bethesda Library
Ransom Riggs at Barnes and Noble