Tonight my sister and I went to the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch to meet Christopher Paolini, the author of the incredible, epic, engaging Eragon series. They say don't judge a book by it's cover, so I can tell you that while these covers might look like they are for a younger audience, you would be wrong. They are some of the best fantasy cross-over that I've ever read. I don't know anyone who hasn't loved the books.
First a note about the series: if you haven't read it - read it. It's one of the best reading experiences of my life. The books are so sharp, so well-written, with such excellent pacing, character development and thrills that you'll be hard pressed to find a more fun fantasy series. And if your excuse is "the movie wasn't very good..." I would say - the movie almost ripped my heart out. It was so terrible and so unlike the book that I felt like if it had had a different title it wouldn't have even been related to the book. If Eragon was really made into a movie, it would be much more like Lord of the Rings. So yes...READ THE BOOKS.
It had already started snowing when we arrived. I was expecting it to be a mob scene, but it was pretty mellow, due mostly to the fact that it was crazy weather and crazy traffic (Both presidential candidates have visted here in the last two days and they make this go really smooth by shutting down all our highways). We got our ticket number and took our seats, but not before wandereing around Tattered Cover's amazing selection. Cindy bought the last book of the series, Inheritance, which was the same one that I brought, only we have hard-back copies of all the Eragon books. They are that good. My copy was much loved.
The author arrived, and literally walked in the door, got some water and then stepped up onto the podium. He didn't even have time to breathe before he was in front of 200-some people. Right from the get-go, he was fantastic.
I've been to a lot of book signings, and this one was by far the best. He told us about how he wrote the books. How he came up with the idea for the novels. How he got published (the son of Carl Hiassen read Eragon and then passed it on to his Dad, who gave it to Random House). He was funny and charming and so nerdy, but in a cute way. He read from all four of his books, and it wasn't some dull reading either - he did voices and accents and even read some in two of his INVENTED languages. That was sort of amazing.
He also didn't mention this obvious thing: he's a genius. He began writing these incredible and complex books when he was 16. Yeah. It sort of makes me want to smile and throw myself off a bridge at the same time. Watching a book signing as an author was so interesting. I took notes on everything he did. He is the author I hope to be sometime in this lifetime.
At every author signing, there is the obligatory creepy fan. This time it was some wiseguy at the front who kept trying to have a jokey conversation with Paolini DURING the presentation. You know, that guy who when the author says, "I play a lot of video games." he laughs really loud and says "Me too, man! Me too! We should uh, be X-box friends." Then the author is like "Uh, sure. Remember how I am talking to like 200 people right now??" There was also a girl there who had a total nervous breakdown when she met him - it was a Beiberish freak out - and was crying. It was adorable and weird at the same time. It must be really weird to have people cry when they meet you because they love you so much. The only person that loves me enough to cry is my Mom.
He took audience questions and answered them with such grace and hilarity that Cindy and I both agreed that we could stay there all night. I asked a question: "What are your feelings about the changing nature of publishing today?" He complimented me on my question and then said "I feel terrible." We all laughed and he went on to explain that he believes in 5 years that mass market paperbacks will be gone, but e-books and hardback books will remain. I agree with him completely.
After that, we lined up to get our books signed. He told me I had a beautiful name and I probably blushed like a schoolgirl. Then I blathered on about how wonderful the series was and how it was one of the best reading experiences of my life, that and Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and he was like, "Hey, at least mine are finished!" I laughed too loud and then immediately walked away. Cindy was next and he said, "Cynthia!!! Cynthia!" and she giggled like a 12 year old too, so I felt better.
And now we both have our signed copies of one of the most popular books of the last ten years.
We were starstruck. Like total idiots. Thank you Christopher Paolini! I am now copying my dear friend Stefanie and making a "Signed" shelf on my bookshelf. It's about time.
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