Last Thursday, Kristi and I had a great time meeting John Green! He was doing a book signing at a Barnes & Noble in Orlando, which is not only where he and Hank grew up, but also where Paper Towns takes place.
I was not sure I was able to go that day, but things worked out and I a short work day. At the last minute I figure out that I will be able to go and I ask Kristi if she wants to go. She had no school the next day (it was a teach work day or something) so I thought it would be a great mom/daughter night out.
“YES!” she said excitiedly. She has been watching several of John and Hank’s YouTube videos and have loved them . And being at a book signing would be even better since she wants to grow up to be a writer the same as me :).
I told her that she had to finish her homework in order to go. And she stuck to it! She finished before the pizza guy came with the pizzas. She also made a sign for John and Hank that said “John Green and Hank….ROCK!!” and colored the background green (of course!).
I quickly ate pizza (I was starving!) but not too much because I did not want to have a stomach ache. Designated driver 😉
The event started at 7. According to Google Maps, it would take a little over an hour without going on toll roads. With it raining and windy, I added on a few more minutes. I virtually “drove” through some of the turns on Google Maps to get familiar with landmarks for specific turns. That saved me at least 10 minutes. In the old days (before the internet) I would do a dry run to find out where an event was because my vision is very bad. I can’t read the name of a street until I’m practically passed it. And this time with Kristi in the car, who has perfect vision, and who doesn’t need to be focused on the road so she could read the signs, we were just a few minutes late :).
The Barnes and Noble was part of a large shopping center. I didn’t see a mall, just rows of shops & restaraunts and a big Barnes & Noble that took up a big corner section. We carefully crossed the divided up parking lot (pretty busy for a Thursday!) and went inside.
We headed towards the back of the store where I saw a large crowd and the sound of John’s voice (Hank wasn’t there, darn it! 🙁 ). I had brought both a video camera and a photo camera, and turned on the video camera. Where I was standing, I could see John, but Kristi could not. I looked down while recording and saw Kristi looking sad while trying to peek though the people. So I moved down the right side in a book aisle. Still too many people. Down another aisle. That didn’t work either. Finally the last aisle worked. There were just a few people standing there, and it was closer to John! There was an empty spot a little ahead of me and I suggested to Kristi to stand there. It was perfect for her!
While I was doing all of the moving around, I had the camera recording because John was talking about the meaning of the book and how we relate to each other on how we think we see ourselves. He also talked about how a book by self has no meaning, it’s the reader that interprets it and puts meaning to it.
After his talk, he had a question and answer session. I was too excited to think of a question (of course later on I though of a few).
And then came time for the signing of the books! John said that in addition to him signing books and anything else “except skin!”, he asked everyone to sign a copy of Paper Towns that he would take with him.
We were really lucky standing where we were because that’s the area where they started the line for the signing. Kristi and I only had to wait a few minutes to get to John. While waiting, Kristi signed his book (wrote her name in bautiful cursive along with a message “John and Hank Green Rock!”) and I wrote “Thanks for coming to Orlando!” and just printed my name (no fancy cursive from me).
Up came our turn. I brought the book that I had bought the previous Friday. The woman who was preparing everyone for the signing asks me if I want the book inscribed.
“Yes!” I said with excitement
“What’s the name?”
I had Kristi hold the video camera while John signed my book.
“Would you like a picture?” another lady there asked me. She was the official picture taking person. I had tried to take still pictures during Johns’ talk and they either came out dark or fuzzy. So I had little hope that another one would work. But I thought “what the heck” and gave the picture taking woman my photo camera.
Meanwhile I’m standing in front of John.
“Hi there!” he says to me and looks down to get ready to sign. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I just introduced my daughter to him as he signed the book.
“Hi!” he says to Kristi. I could tell he was tired but was sincerely glad and surprised with all the people who were there.
We walk around the table to have the picture taken with him. I get by John and Kristi stands on my other side, so I moved her over in between John and me. While posing, I’m thinking “This will *not* turn out.” After the picture, I thanks him for signing the book and the picture, and then Kristi gave John her sign.
“Is this for me?” he asked excitedly.
“Yes” Kristi says with a big smile on her face.
“Thank you! It’s so sweet! Thank you very very much!”
“And make sure to show your brother!”
“I definitely will, I promise.”
We left the signing table and wandered around the store for a few minutes, and then I remember that I had wanted to get the other cover to Paper Towns. I excused my self through the line to grab the happy Margo cover and scooted out of everyone else’s way.
We went up to the check out desk. While waiting in line I was worried about the book I brought in, but then noticed the sticker on the back with the other store’s information. Whew!
After buying the book, we looked around at the other books. Kristi saw a couple workbooks that she wanted along with a couple Pokemon books. I told her I would buy the workbooks, but if she wanted the others, she would have to spend her own money. So she put the Pokemon books back.
Then I thought of having John sign the book that I just got, and have it inscribed to Kristi. While she is too young for his books yet (they are not really dirty but they deal with teenager subjects), I certainly would let her read them when she was ready for them.
While waiting in line, I met and chatted with Nichole who worked at the B&N but had that night off and she came in to see John. She said that she was in the back room talking with John while he was doing a live video stream on blogtv before coming out. She was waiting in line to have her book signed as well. She said she didn’t think of having him sign it while they were in the back room.
I had waited for a while after getting the book before getting in line again. I wanted to make sure that all the people who came in late (one person came in just as we were lining up the first time “You mean I missed his talk? Man!”) got to get in line before I stood in line a second time.
Nerdfighters don’t cut in line, especailly among other Nerdfighters! 🙂
There was a split in the line and Nichole called over to have the others in the other end to come behind us. No fighting or arguing, everyone just calmly walked over behind us and waited.
So we approached – again – and I told John that we were in line again to have anotehr book signed for Kristi.
“Hi Kristi! Thanks for standing in line again. That’s pretty awesome of you,” he says while signing
“Yeah!” Kristi says with a small giggle.
“I hope you enjoy reading this,” he says and hands her the book.
“I won’t be letting her read it for a while,” I add.
“Not for a few years yet,” John says looking at me with a serious look which surprised me for some reason.
So we left the line again and wandered around the store more. We headed over to the classic literature display where I named off the stories there and gave Kristi a brief description of them. She picked out Dracula and Frankenstein, I guess because of Halloween coming up.
It was a few minutes after 9 when I hear John walking past us with a couple of friends. Kristi calls out to him.
“John!” she says, not really yelling but a little louder than a normal voice.
He turned around. And I begin to get nervous, and afriad that Kristi might say something embarressing.
“Yes?” he says with his huge backpack that carried his laptop
“Can you show my sign in your next Brotherhood 2.0 video?”
“I’ll sure try to” he says says and laughs.
“And can you do your happy dance? Because I really love it!”
“I will. Thank you so much . You are so sweet!”
With that we thanked him and he headed towards the checkout desk (there was some talk of him buying something for his friend)
We headed out the door, across the parking lot streets and through sprinklers.
It was an awesome experince, and great to hear at the event that John made #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List! (I had not seen Hank’s video made earlier that day making the announcement) YAY for John! It was his first time, and as he said in other people’s videos who recorded the same event, it takes some doing to get listed.
And that was my Paper Towns Adventure, or rather Adventures! And who knows, maybe there are more adventures to come! 🙂
First, what the heck is Paper Towns? It’s a brand new book (released last Friday) by a certain Mr. John Green, author of young adult fiction and along with his brother, Hank, is a NerdFighter.
Although it’s aimed at the teen/early 20s crowd, older readers like me seem to like it. (I have not finished reading it yet, but have enjoyed it a lot so far). Takes place in Orlando, Florida and is about a teen boy named Quentin, aka Q, and his friendship with Margo Roth Spiegelman.
So here’s how I bought my copy:
I’ve known about this book since John read parts of it on his and Hank’s YouTube channel. And when it came time for the release of the book, I was determined to go and get me a copy. I went to the local used book store where they also carry new books in the hopes they would have it. I asked the lady behind the counter if they had it. She wasn’t familiar with it, looked it up and said it would not get there until the next Tuesday.
I talked to her and another woman behind the counter about the book, who wrote it, and that he grew up in Orlando and that the book also takes place in Orlando. They certainly seemed interested in the book and after chatting a bit more, I left. A bit disheartened that I did not get it but glad that I was able to talk about it with them.
I headed home and on the way back, I figured that I would head over to another book store later that day after Katie woke up from her nap. Which is what I did.
Rushed down to another book store and looked for the book in the Teen section. I found his others: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and one of the stories in Let It Snow: Three Holiday Stories. And I was soooo tempted on buying those. But money being what it is, I decided to just look for Paper Towns.
Not finding it, I went up front to the check out desk and asked the woman there. There was no one else at the desk so she wasn’t able to come and help me find exactly where it was, but she looked it up and offered a couple places of where to look. One being the teens section, the other being one of the tables down the middle of the store.
Looked at one table. Nope. Another. Nope. Meanwhile I pushed Katie in her stroller. Whenever I stopped to look, she would get fussy.
Looking down all the tables, I decided to look at the Teens section again. And there it was, in a different segment of the bookshelf, and not with all his other ones.
There have been two different covers for PT made, both having Margo on the cover. One is bright with a yellow background with her smiling. The other is dark, blue background, and Margo is looking sad. The store only had dark Margo. So I grab it, buy it, and head home….
The exciting part happens the following week when I meet John Green!
Here’s a vid of John reading a rough draft of PT last year. I love the visuals that he puts in it: