February 5, 2009

Authors In Person

This post from CB James got me thinking about all the authors I've met.  I worked in bookstores for many years, have gone to see them at author signings just because I'm a fanboy, and have even been lucky enough to have gotten to know some as friends.

The point of CBs post was finding out about the real person, usually from their biographies, after having liked their work and how that can sometimes change your appreciation of the work.  I can honestly say I've never gone sour on an author after having met them.  There were some that were not pleasant that I wasn't a fan of already like Henry Rollins (a dick) and Terry McMillan (surprise, a drama queen), and Robin Cook (nuts).  There were some that didn't come off well but book tours can be hard and long and tiring, so I still like Sarah Vowell and  Gary Paulson even though they were not at their best.

I was at a conference once and noticed that Orson Scott Card was nearby, signing.  I am a fan of the first Ender book (the second two were fun, but not as brilliant and I haven't read any more by him).  I avoided his table because I've heard him say some anti-gay things and just don't read him anymore.  I don't think it's necessary to agree with an author on everything and I'm sure there are writers I like that are not the best people because, let's face it, we're all just people.  So I try to be open minded.  But I don't read Card.

The list  authors that are just as cool and interesting as their books is long: Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Dan Simmons, Mario Vargas Llosa, John Ford Noonan, Geoffrey Wolfe, Lloyd Alexander, Janell Cannon, Aliki, Russell Banks, TC Boyle, David Sedaris, Carman Deedy, Joanna Cole, Laurence Yep, Brian Pinkney, Walter Dean Myers, David Shannon, Laurence Block, Jack Gantos, Cristopher Paul Curtis, Steven Kellogg, Tom Wolfe, Jerry Spinnelli, John Green, Mo Willems, Jane Yolen, Christopher Moore....

The list goes on and on.  I have cool stories about each and every one of those experiences.  What authors have you met or read about?  How has that changed your appreciation of their work?


Kathy said...

I've also met quite a few from your list too - Jack Gantos was a professor of mine in college (Emerson) and he is also an alumni of Emerson as well - Mo is just awesome but the author that has made the biggest impression on me was Coleen Salley - I had the chance to host her at my school and have dinner with her last May- sadly she passed away in the fall. One of my favorite things about my job is hosting authors/illustrators!

Teacherninja said...


Jack Gantos was your professor! How cool are you? His Hole In My Life was a-ma-zing.

I loved your posts about hosting and knowing Coleen Salley. That was wonderful.

I feel the same way with my associations with Aliki, Janell Cannon and Carmen Deedy. I'll definitely try to snag as many authors and illustrators as possible when I become a media specialist!


Kim Kasch said...

I've met lots of authors at conferences. They all seem to be a friendly, welcoming bunch.

The one thing I read recently was about Stephen King dissing Stephanie Meyer. Now, I first fell in love with Stephen King back in the 80's with Salem's Lot so it's kinda sad to hear this. Paper says he's talking down about my new love: SM, and her Twilight series. Say it isn't so...

Teacherninja said...

Hey Kim:

Well, there's plenty of writers whose works we like despite their prose style. He mentioned JK Rowling and while I love the Potter books she suffers from adverb overuse and her exposition can be laborious. I have no knowledge of Ms. Meyer. (I mean, I know who she is, but haven't read her).

C. B. James said...

Thanks for the plug. It's an interesting topic. I suspect most people have some line somewhere that once an author crosses he becomes someone they won't read. Fortunately for me, that line is not crossed very often these days.