Alison’s Top 10 Author Events of 2010

I like making lists, and I like reading lists, so let’s add another one to the year-end pile, shall we? I have the fun and enviable job of booking fascinating authors to come to BookPeople. And while nearly every author and event is great, some really stand out. Here are my ten favorite author events from 2010. 1. Justin Cronin – The store fell in love with Justin’s amazing book The Passage, and we were all a little nerdy around him when he was here, wanting to know any hints or spoilers about the next two books. And while we didn’t get any of those (drat!), we did get to talk with a funny, smart, and really cool dude. During his event, he was interviewed by Cyndi Hughes from the Writers’ League of Texas, and that interview format made for a really interesting conversation about not only his book but the art of writing itself. Also, Justin did an impression of Cyndi Lauper, and you can never go wrong with that. 2. Dave Eggers – What can you say about this guy? Passionate, witty, and totally inspiring, the staff (and customers) could have talked with him all night. He even came by early the next morning to sign extra books before the store opened. During the event, he invited fellow McSweeney’s author (and former BookPeople employee) Bill Cotter to read from his book Fever Chart and also had Annie La Ganga crack us all up with her poetry. For teachers, publishers, booksellers, or anyone wanting to make the world a better place, listening to and talking with Dave is a great place to start. 3. Condoleezza Rice – I never would have predicted how much I loved this event. Dr. Rice’s political views are nowhere near my own, so I wasn’t prepared for how much her personal story and love of her parents would resonate with me. She mesmerized the audience with stories about growing up in Birmingham, and how her parents molded her into the woman she became. I could have listened to her talk for hours. 4. Karen Valby – Everyone I know should be blessed enough to also know Karen Valby. Author of BookPeople favorite Welcome to Utopia, Karen is one of those people who constantly makes you giggle. And then, she drops the double whammy of also having a huge heart and beautiful way of writing. Her event was filled with friends and people from Utopia, and I loved every minute of it. 5. Sarah Silverman – This woman is just hysterical. But, even better, she is also incredibly nice and genuine. After reading from her book, then signing for a couple hours, she even agreed to tape a video message to a couple BookPeople staffers who couldn’t be there. I’m pretty sure every single one of us (men and women) left the store that night with a crush on Sarah. 6. Anthony Bourdain – This was the second time I’ve gotten to meet Tony, but the first time I was lucky enough to host him at the store. And, let me tell you, this was the BIGGEST reading we’ve ever had. Nearly 800 people packed themselves onto the second floor to listen to him talk about food, traveling, and Yo Gabba Gabba. Watching Tony interact with his fans was amazing, and seeing BP staff members lose their cool around him was even better. 7. Cherie Currie – This event didn’t happen at the store. We were called out during SXSW to sell books at giant show where Cherie was promoting her memoir Neon Angel. And, in true rock star fashion, the event was anything but typical. Instead of a reading, Cherie chainsaw sculpted a denim jacket out of a giant log. I am totally not making this up at all. It was amazing, and I was covered in a fine layer of sawdust by the end of the day. She was sweet and unassuming while talking to you, but you better watch it when that chainsaw gets going! 8. Luis Urrea – There have been very few events where I have nearly cried from laughing. Luis’s event for Into the Beautiful North was one of those. Not only is his writing lyrical, but it’s also hysterical and so is he. With slides from his trips to Mexico and fake postcards, Luis won me over for sure. 9. Adam Richman – From his Bugs Bunny silly bands to his three-piece-suit, Adam dressed to impress. But what was the most impressive to me was how he interacted with each and every one of his fans. A lot of authors do a smile and hello, but Adam had a conversation with everybody. Discussing everything from where to eat in Austin (Azul Tequila, Casino el Camino) to watches, no topic was off limits and everyone left having a great time. Including me, as I went straight over to Casino el Camino for an Amarillo Burger. 10. Jimmy Carter – I have been lucky enough to host both President Carter and President Clinton before, so I knew what to expect from this signing; crazy security procedures, tons of people, and a very precise timeline. But when you get to deal with arguably the sweetest former President ever, none of that really matters. President Carter is known to have the quickest signature in the book business (he signs 1000 books in an hour – just 3.6 sec per book), but he also takes the time to talk to everyone. The world is lucky to have him, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet him. I hope that some of you remember these events fondly as well. We have another killer events calendar lining up for next year, so watch out for fabulous authors stopping by. And, if you haven’t been to an event here before, what are you waiting for?! --Alison Kothe Nihlean I like making lists, and I like reading lists, so let’s add another one to the year-end pile, shall we? I have the fun and enviable job of booking fascinating authors to come to BookPeople. And while nearly every author and event is great, some really stand out. Here are my ten favorite author events from 2010. 1. Justin Cronin – The store fell in love with Justin’s amazing book The Passage, and we were all a little nerdy around him when he was here, wanting to know any hints or spoilers about the next two books. And while we didn’t get any of those (drat!), we did get to talk with a funny, smart, and really cool dude. During his event, he was interviewed by Cyndi Hughes from the Writers’ League of Texas, and that interview format made for a really

Judith Rock, The Rhetoric Of Death, Mon. December 13th

It's fitting our new mystery store within a store, MysteryPeople, gets to introduce debut author Judith Rock, who's starting a new series. Rock's book, The Rhetoric Of Death, takes place in seventeenth century France, when the Catholic church was entwined with the monarchy and there was a hunt for heretics (aka Protestants). Rock gives us an intriguing series character in Charles du Luc, an ex-soldier and fledgling Jesuit, who's need for justice and order are tested by the rules and politics of his religion and society. Finding himself at odds with both, he is forced to teach ballet at the Jesuit school. When one of his dancers is run over by a horse cart and another murdered, he investigates, finding himself in the middle of royal intrigue and the dark shadow of history. Judith Rock is both a former police officer and dancer. She has lectured on and written for various publications on dance, art, and theology. Her knowledge is apparent in her attention to detail of the period. The staging of the ballet holds as much suspense as the mystery. She should be a fascinating guest, so please come out Monday, December 13th, at 7PM and support a new author.

For the ‘Book Snobs’ on your list…

I’ve written here before about my love of book snobs. I love em’, and you should too. They do all that bookish research, helping their friends find those obscure gems of literature that are, sometimes, less likely to make the ever present ‘top 10 of 2010’ lists. Even though they act like you’re a waste of space if you’ve never heard of the newest Nobel Prize recipient, they’re still glad to point you to that new novel by the 8 year old prodigy who wrote an 8oo page novel without vowels. That’s a service I appreciate, but the one time of year they get a little less lovable is during the holiday season. Snobs are incredibly hard people to buy books for.

Voyage Out

I love my book group. It’s a diverse bunch of incredible readers. We laugh, we think, and we argue! It’s a lot of fun. We’re BookPeople’s very own Voyage Out Book Group, and we read regional fiction, picking three titles from similar locales, then discussing those as a way to expand our literary chops, meanwhile creating a mini, imaginary vacation. Literary tourism without leaving Austin, this is why having a local bookstore is such an asset to our city.