At the Book of Wonders
07 March 2009, 1 PM - 4 PM [- 8 PM]
Today, on what felt like the first real day of Spring there was an exceptional chance to purchase Bluberry Girl ahead of time in Books of Wonder and have it signed by the creator duo along with other Gaiman/Vess titles. The book will only hit Amazon on the 10th, still, most of the 450+ people who gathered at the reading, slideshow, and Q&A cum signing session today were already delighted by the soulful words and illustrations of the award winning illustrator and author.
The idea of the picture book started out long ago as a poem Neil Gaiman wrote for Tori Amos' then yet unborn child and developed into a wonderful tribute to mother and daughterhood with the intimate and touching illustrations of Charles Vess. I only heard the end of the Q&A in the doorway as I was waiting to be let in, but the rest of the event was quite amazing and worth every minute of the wait. The originals were on display as well, and the exhibition will be open for the public until the 29th of March. Some of the proceeds from the purchased artwork go towards the RAINN organization, in keeping with the womanhood theme.
I was especially very very happy to see all the people "camping" between the aisles, all reading, reading, reading. The children were fascinated about the books and it was very good to see that some of them couldn't be dragged away from the words and pictures. (I might add, the audience was overwhelmingly adult.)
Besides, the Cupcake Store conveniently sharing the space with the bookstore had the most outrageously attractive cupcakes I have ever seen. It was pure meanness the way those cupcakes were advertised and displayed. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gave in to the temptation more than once.
Some personal stories: I overheard one of the girls working in the Cupcake Store confess that she had been working all day and was afraid she would miss having her book signed. I was amazed at her stamina: even just loitering around was terribly exhausting, let alone taking orders from hundreds of people all day. I really hope she got her personalized copy. (I also strongly hope Neil and Charles were fed at some point.)
A graver one: It was sad and shocking to find out late in the evening that Neil Gaiman went through a difficult time just prior the show. Still, he didn't let the hundreds of fans down and decided to conceal his grief and do the event. His smile was radiant and his geniality endearing even 6 hours into the session. I would like to honestly thank him for making it such a wonderful experience for us, and for taking some personal time with each and every fan in line. I hope he received back some of the energy and warmth he invested today. A long day, a long way. I wish him much strength.