Happy Birthday to Us

September 10, 2008

It’s TKE’s 31st Birthday! And not only that, it’s also the one year anniversary of my hiring. Hard to believe, isn’t it? So I thought, in honor of the day, I’d do a little retrospective on the highlights of my first couple of months at TKE:

  • Our 30th Birthday with Diane Ackerman, September 10, 2007: This was the first event I worked at TKE — talk about a whirlwind! As exciting as it was to come into the store during its 30th year of business (buy local!), it was even more exciting to meet one of my favorite nonfiction authors of all time. Not only was it fantastic to meet her and hear her talk about The Zookeeper’s Wife, but I literally got chills when she was nice enough to sign and personalize my very dog-eared copy of A Natural History of the Senses.
  • Pam Munoz Ryan came, September 17, 2007, to sign copies of Paint the Wind, after spending a day at local schools. This was the first time I was attached to an author for an event, which means I was introduced into the fine arts of book prepping — PostIt-ing books for kids in line, getting stock ready for her to sign, etc. Ask any events bookseller, it really is an art.
  • September 22, 2007, was my first Shannon Hale event, for Book of a Thousand Days. If you’ve ever been to one of our events for Shannon, you know exactly how overwhelming they can be. Definitely a lesson in crowd control!
  • October 11, 2007, was the first time they ever left me alone to run an author event; it was also the first time I introduced an author. To understate, I was nervous. Fortunately for me, it was the lovely and talented Alexandra Enders, in town to promote her debut novel Bride Island. She was sweet, the crowd was great, and everything went well. Phew!

Since then there have been too many events to count, all buckets of fun. You may think I’m just saying that, but it’s true. Ask any events coordinator: All the madness of setting up the event, finding a venue, publicity, making sure you have the right books, making sure the books get to the venue on time, staffing, and the million other details that need your attention — all of that fades to nothing as you watch an audience and an author connect.

Author Update | Barbara Beery & Shannon Hale

September 26, 2007

Here it is, part three of last week’s authors (Pam Munoz Ryan & Frank Beddor were, respectively, parts 1 and 2). Saturday was a double-hitter, with Barbara Beery signing at 2 p.m. and Shannon Hale reading and signing at 4 p.m.

Fairies Cookbook by Barbara BeeryIn honor of Barbara’s new book, The Fairies Cookbook, we made cupcakes. I still can’t believe how fast those went! A tribute more to the love of free food than to my cooking abilities, I’m sure. And then there were her books. Just looking at them makes you hungry. Listening to Barbara talk cooking with three year olds is an unrepeatable experience, one I feel privileged to have had. These kids are the future Top Chefs of America! I wish that someone like Barbara had been around when I was growing up — I might not have lived on ramen for quite so long.

Barbara’s signing went so quickly, it was 3:30 before we knew it, and time to get ready for Shannon Hale and her newest, Book of a Thousand Days:

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, a forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.

Sadly, by that point in the day, it was raining. Deprived of our patio, we set up Shannon in the Children’s Room and her accompanying bluegrass band, the Stormy Mountain Boys, in the Mystery Room. We had quite a crowd, and it was pretty cozy, but absolutely worth it to see Shannon dressed up as her main character, along with her parents in the full glory of the clothing they brought back from Mongolia (the inspiration for the book). And, though the signing line moved on the slow side, there was cake and toe-tapping music from the band to keep everyone entertained and hopped up on sugar.

If you come into the Children’s Room today, you’ll see that we have plenty of copies of all of Barbara’s cookbooks, all signed, and lots of Shannon’s books as well