On Tuesday, August 19 I attended a FANTASTIC author event at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor. This event featured four amazing YA authors: Gae Polisner, Carrie Harris, Bethany Neal, and Lara Zielin. The premise was that each author would read four selections from her book: the beginning, something romantic, something heartbreaking, and something funny. Each selection could not be longer than 90 seconds. In fact, Gae chose a timer from the audience who had a bell to ring if and when the authors went over. I absolutely loved this event!
Gae read from her novel The Summer of Letting Go; Bethany read from her debut novel My Last Kiss; Carrie read from her latest novel Demon Derby; Lara read from her book Donut Days. Gae told the story of why she began 90 second reads. When her first novel The Pull of Gravity came out, she was part of an author reading. She was told should would have only about 4 minutes to read. She practiced and planned a reading that fit that time period – only to discover the other authors had readings much, much longer than that. So, her 90 second reads idea does in fact stick to 90 seconds. There was quite a bit of suspense as we all wondered if and when that bell would ring.
It was so fun listening to the authors read their own words. The beginning of each book was captivating. The romantic parts, especially Bethany’s, captured the audience. Each heartbreaking part was truly heartbreaking. The wording in Carrie Harris’s piece is still on my mind. And all the authors had me laughing with their funny parts. I absolutely loved this format, and a couple of us at the event were thinking of how we could use this in our classrooms.
The ladies signed books for all of us in attendance afterwards. I brought in my own copies of The Summer of Letting Go and My Last Kiss to be signed as well as purchased Carrie’s first book Bad Taste in Boys and Lara’s second book The Waiting Sky to add to my library. I appreciated the opportunity to chat with Bethany about her book and my feeling towards some of the characters. I also loved meeting Lara for the first time and talking with her as well. It was great to meet Carrie as well after hearing so much about her from my friend Beth. I can’t wait to share these books with my students.
It was also an added bonus to finally meet Gae in person. Sarah connected me with Gae three years ago when she told me about The Pull of Gravity to tie into Of Mice and Men. Gae has Skyped with my students twice and has sent me tons of sawg (including the infamous SWAG crown!). I am so happy we finally met face-to-face and got to spend some time together.
Overall, it was an excellent night with great friends and authors. I hope to have the opportunity to experience other nights like this in the future.