We Went to Our First Bookish Event, and Here’s How it Went:

June 20, 2016 Marianne's Thoughts 6

 

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Up until about two years ago, there weren’t any real bookstores here in Puerto Rico, and if there were, no events would ever occur in them. That’s why it’s been such a fervent dream of ours to one day attend BEA/Book Con, because we’d finally be able to meet our favorite authors! However, an answer to our prayers was given to us with the opening of Puerto Rico’s newest bookstore, The Bookmark Boutique (the sister store of The Bookmark). It’s a small independent bookstore that carries a variety of books in both English and Spanish. To celebrate the opening of the store, they have been bringing in authors for book signings, and on May 20th, they brought David Levithan.

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The event was scheduled to begin at 7pm, and you want to know at what time Jennifer and I arrived? 6:55 p.m. Oops. To be fair, we both lived pretty far from the store (45 mins approximately for me, and 90 minutes for Jennifer),  we didn’t actually know where it was (had to use GPS), Jennifer doesn’t drive, and my car was having issues; so we had my wonderful Uncle take us.

Once we arrived at the mall where the bookstore was at, came the dilemma of actually finding the store, because we didn’t know that either. We looked like out-of-place tourists asking employees where to find “The Bookmark” and getting confused stares in the process. Nevertheless, we arrived, and… the store was packed.

Before arriving I had counted on the fact that maybe David was a relatively less known author, so maybe there wouldn’t be many people and we’d be able to have a more “personal experience” (yes, I was selfish), however that wasn’t the case. Jennifer and I actually had to stay standing up for the whole event (an hour and 30 minutes standing up.. but #WorthIt).

 

The Event Itself

David was met with a loud applause and a warm welcome from all of us inside the bookstore. He began by taking a picture of all of us with his small plush toy named ninja.

From the very beginning, David’s presence really took over the room. The way he was able to ease the overall tension, and make everyone laugh was incredible. After the initial introduction, and a little bit of information on his books Every Day, and Another Day (the books he was promoting), he began reading the first chapter of each book.

Now, David Levithan is an amazing narrator. I’m not just saying that. He had a way of capturing the attention of everyone in the room, and even some passersby stopped and listened to him reading the words he’d written. Before the event, I had not read Every Day (even if I owned it), but when I got home that day I HAD to start the book. In the case of Jennifer, she didn’t know much about the book and bought it on the spot because of his voice narrating about this peculiar character had you wondering what was going to happen next, and you had to find out.

After David read from his books, he opened up the floor for some questions, but warned that he really didn’t like the question “what is it like writing a book from the point of view of a girl?” {Another Day}, because it really isn’t that different from writing from a boy,

Some of the things David answered in his Q&A:

  • The most difficult book to write for him:
  • How to deal with writer’s block
  • Books he’d recommend: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • Writing with other authors (Rachel Cohn, John Green)
  • Character of his books that he relates to the most: You Know Me Well 

I even battled my timidness and actually asked him a question! When it was my turn, I blurted out: “what is it like writing a book from the point of view of a girl?” and immediately followed up with “I’m joking”, which led to a couple of laughs and David joking around as well. My real question was about his book Two Boys Kissing, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I asked him how different it was writing this book from the others he’s written, since Two Boys Kissing was narrated Greek Chorus style by the generation of gay men who died of AIDS before him. He said that he didn’t intentionally write it that way; it just happened. The real challenge for him was trying to speak for a whole generation of men when he himself wasn’t a part of it. David also mentioned that it was fortunate of him to have someone close to him who had lived with AIDS for 30 years and was a part of that generation to consult. He ended up being the first reader, and he had approved of it, and that it was into something. In his own opinion, this is the nest book he feels he has ever written

 

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Jennifer’s Signed Books and Bookmarks

 

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Marianne’s Signed Books

Books to Look Out For:

 

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour: David said he related the most to the character he wrote for this book.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan: Out in October 2016. If you were a fan of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares like we were, you’re sure to be excited about this book!

The Takeaway

Some tips for attending a book signing:

  • Wear sensible shoes. Seriously we cannot stress this enough. Sandals? Not a good idea. Wear those granny shoes, your feet will thank you!
  • Arrive early. Arriving early gives you more possibilities at securing a seat, and you can also get your books signed faster.
  • Take money. I wasn’t planning on buying any books when I got there, but after hearing David read Another Day, I knew I had to get it and get it signed right there.
  • Eat something before the event! Bookish events take more time than you’d believe, and being hungry that whole time will be torture. You don’t want to faint in front of your favorite author, either. 😉
  • If you have questions, write them down! Jennifer and I had tons of questions, but at the time of the event, we were so excited that we kind of forgot them all… Oops.
  • Remember that authors are also people! I was so nervous when I went up to get my books signed but David immediately made me realize that he was just a normal person. We even talked a bit about music, and he cracked some jokes while signing my books.
  • Do fanart for them to keep or sign for you! Jennifer did some watercolor bookmarks related to Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and David loved them. It’s a good ice breaker if you’re nervous next to them and they appreciate it.

Overall, our first bookish event was a success! David Levithan was an absolute joy; he made you feel like a close friend for the short time you spent with him, and there was never a dull moment in the signing.  All in all, the event was amazingly put together by the team at The Bookmark Boutique, and we’re so happy we got the opportunity to meet one of our favorite authors.

 

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Marianne with David Levithan

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Jennifer with David Levithan

 

 

Stay tuned for next month, because we’re meeting Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places

Have you ever been to a book signing? What was it like?

 

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • I would love to meet David in my lifetime! Lucky you!

  • I would love to meet David in my lifetime! Lucky you!

    • A cool author came to PR (where we live), a miracle on its own. I’m sure that if he was able to come here, he’ll be able to go where you live for you to meet 🙂 <3

  • Karen

    Yay! I love bookish events! I just picked up the *books to look out for* books at ALA this past weekend at a signing for Levithan. He’s always VERY popular at BEA/ALA when I’ve gone.

    No one ever comes to my area either :-((

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  • Karen

    Yay! I love bookish events! I just picked up the *books to look out for* books at ALA this past weekend at a signing for Levithan. He’s always VERY popular at BEA/ALA when I’ve gone.

    No one ever comes to my area either :-((

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  • Awwww fabulous wrap up Marianne it sounds like it was a really fantastic event and that you both had a really great time! David sounds like he was really lovely and entertaining and his narration sounds really moving. He’s coming to my city later in the year so I can’t wait to experience it as well!

  • Awwww fabulous wrap up Marianne it sounds like it was a really fantastic event and that you both had a really great time! David sounds like he was really lovely and entertaining and his narration sounds really moving. He’s coming to my city later in the year so I can’t wait to experience it as well!