Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Events: This is Teen and LA Times Festival of Books

It's been a while since I've done a book signing recap, but I was able to attend two delightful events within in the last few days, so I felt a write-up was necessary.

 Last Thursday, I was went to the This is Teen panel hosted by the always awesome Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop and featuring Libba Bray (Beauty Queens), Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races), Pete Hautman (The Big Crunch), and Siobhan Vivian  (The List), with my favorite David Levithan (Every You, Every Me) as moderator. 

The panel was great fun-- topics discussed included Libba Bray's stuffed bat who is also called David Levithan, The Scorpio Races being "My Little Pony meets Jurassic Park," people trying to elect one of the "loser kids" homecoming king at Siobhan Vivian's high school (and how the people attempting that clearly never saw Carrie). There were also the discussion of beauty, feminism, and the question of "is it difficult to write from the perspective of the opposite gender," which is one of my least favorite things people ask, but the authors answered it nicely by saying that they try to nail the voice of the specific character instead of writing the character based on his or her gender.

deep thought
 That panel was great fun, and the fun continued because on Saturday and Sunday I got to attend the LA Times Festival of Books.

My Saturday began with John Green's (The Fault in Our Stars) panel.

Despite the excessive amount of screaming (well, maybe not excessive but screaming people and people who take forever to ask their Q&A questions annoy me.), it was a most excellent panel. The whole "is it difficult to write from the perspective of another gender" thing came up again, but John also answered it nicely and made the point that he's not a sixteen year old boy either so it's necessarily a huge step to write as a sixteen year old girl. Other things discussed included the length of time it took to come up with the title The Fault in Our Stars and his penchant for the title The Hectic Glow; the fact that he enjoys that teenagers, unlike some adults, do not mind saying their favorite books are "The Great Gatsby and Twilight" (as in, "high literature" and "low literature"); and his series of videos in which he plays FIFA and discusses different topics. He also discussed English soccer and that he supports Liverpool and dislikes Manchester United, and thus I think my opinion of him has to lower because my dedication to my best friend and lack of soccer knowledge means I am supposed to like Man U. (Though I appreciate that John acknowledged the lame-ness of Man City, a team I know I dislike based on the fact that Liam Gallagher loves them.)

After John's panel, I headed over with my friend to get books signed by Nina LaCour (The Disenchantments ), Gayle Forman (Where She Went), and Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door).

      Stephanie Perkins, who has awesome hair, and myself

After that signing, my friend and I headed over to the YA Stage to watch the contemporary YA panel featuring the aforementioned and awesome Siobhan Vivian, as well as Blake Nelson (Dream School) and Jessi Kirby (In Honor).

It was a fun panel, especially because the topic of writing and gender discussion was kept to a minimum (and thus I was not filled with rage) and it was mutually agreed upon that contemporary YA > paranormal and all that jazz. I concur.

And on Sunday, my day mainly consisted of seeing a panel featuring the also aforementioned and wonderful Maggie Stiefvater, as well as Lauren Myracle (Shine), Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star), and Jacqueline Woodson (Beneath a Meth Moon ).

Although all the panels I went to were great, I'd have to say this one was my favorite for the balance of humor and deep discussion was just perfect. Things discussed included: race and the fact that people assume characters are white unless otherwise noted, the controversy each person's book raises based on things like language or sexuality, Maureen Johnson writing The Name of the Star so that there would be awesome ghosts instead of ghosts like the ones on TV that just make rooms cold, Lauren Myracle talking to a meth user on a plane and being inspired for writing Shine, Jacqueline Woodson's tendency to procrastinate (a woman after my own heart), and Maggie Stiefvater writing a novel about two dogs test driving a car when she was young. The gender and writing question also, unsurprisingly, came up in this panel too but I was pleased that Maureen Johnson, in her words, turns into an animal at that question too.

All in all: an awesome few days.

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