First off, I cannot type that phrase ("24-Hour-Read-a-Thon") without always mis-typing it as "24-Hour-Read-a-Thong," which (although funny) is weird, right? Second, I posted this blog (click the link to go there) saying I was going to try to update throughout the day as kind of a semi/quasi live blog of my adventures. However, I was a douche bag and didn't do that. Here's my run down (post 10:55 AM)
I drove up to the north side of Indianapolis so I could get poised for the John Green event; went into Borders and was immediately off-put by their signage that Borders Club members (of whom I count myself because I've got a card that says I'm a member) can get one free hour of Wi-Fi with a purchase of $5 or more. Seriously, WiFi costs money at Borders? I only get one hour free? That's totally bogus--if Chick-Fil-A can provide free WiFi, Borders should be able to. So, with that negative image in my mind I went to find the Paper Towns display (which was easy because it was large, well marked, and directly in my path about 15' inside the store); however, I saw that the book was $19, and I'm notoriously cheap. Seriously, I hardly ever buy hardback books and I generally like to read books from the library and/or from the 1/2 price book store because I'm so cheap. I picked up Green's first book, Looking for Alaksa, at 1/2 Price Books for $5, and got a second-run paperback edition of An Abudance of Katherines for $4. I had a really hard time justifying paying more than double the combined cost of the first two books for the third book. I'll get it, I promise, it's just that I'll wait a bit. Plus, and this is a bit of a rationalization, I prefer paperbacks because they're more lightweight and often smaller, so I can fit them in my purse and carry them with me--something I love to do so as to always have a book on hand.
Daunted from all that suckage at Borders, I took my person and my free time over to the mall and got a great little crappy Chinese mall food lunch (steamed vegetables and two spring rolls from Panda Express) and sat in the food court reading The Sparrow. This book is seriously awesome, and I love it. So good. Can't say it enough. So good. See, I just repeated it.
I was caught up on The Sparrow, so I left the food court, stopped by my car to pick up my copy of Beloved and walked over to Borders to get myself a seat for John Green's appearance. Whilst waiting for John Green, I was reading Beloved and loving it. Seriously (am I saying that a lot in this post?), Toni Morrison deserves every single award they give her. I was reading the section about Sethe's milk being stolen and Halle hiding in the loft of the barn, and Paul D not being able to talk to him when Halle had the butter on his face because Paul D had a bit in his mouth, while sitting there and I thought I was totally going to lose my stuff. I was like 2 seconds away from devolving into a big sloppy crying mess in front of a crowd of strangers. So tragic. So beautifully written. Awesome writing.
Then, the show started, and we started to transition away from awesome. I do like John Green, I promise with everything within that I do. However, there was something surreal about this event that was kind of like an out-of-body experience that I'll describe in Section 2 of this post. Weird. Anyway, Green's funny and provided some opinions and read some great portions from his book, and then I left.
I drove home and met my sister at our block party that we went to under duress because we wanted to be neighborly. Anyway, we high-tailed it out of there as soon as we could.
We drove over to our church and participated in the harvest party/missions conference. This was a wholly uninteresting experience (although I ate three of the tastiest hotdogs EVER). I tried to read some more while in the pew without being obvious.
We got home and watched three episodes of The Wire and I read more of Beloved during this. There's something about watching The Wire that's like swimming. You don't realize the toll it takes on you while you're at it, but afterward you're completely bushed and want to go to sleep.
Sleep. Sorry, I majorly sucked at the 24-Hour-Read-a-Thong. I'm such a douchy loser.
#2: John Green Appearance
The concept of Paper Towns is fabulous--one of the fundamental characters in the book is purposefully written so as to be unknowable, people think they understand her, but they don't. This is a giant allegory for the human experience--we can never truly know the pain/suffering/emotions/experience of anyone other than ourselves. This is both a good thing (allowing us to exist because with perfect empathy we would implode) and a bad thing (we trivialize and/or dehumanize others' experiences because we project our perspective onto their life).
What's so wonderfully ironic about this is that this is why I didn't have the most super stellar time at this book reading event that I had hoped to have had. First off, John Green is a brilliant writer (I'm reaffirming this). Second, he is genuinely funny. Third, I tend to have unrealistic expectations that are unnervingly vauge and will change capriciously, making it essentially impossible to please me. All that to say, I had built up these expectations that going to this event would be like the greatness of watching his YouTube channel magnified by like 100 times or something. Unfortunatley, and this is probably entirely my fault, it was exactly like watching his YouTube channel--no different except that he was talking in person at a Borders, rather than me watching him on my computer at work. Second, (this might be an oversaturation thing or some phenomena of our media-obsessed culture), but many of the questions were similiar to things that I had seen him speak about previously on his video blogs and could have predicted the answers that he gave--there were no new revelations (again, I remind you that I think I had anticipated some fire breathing or other great dog and pony show tricks, which was my fault).
It was just so weird because he starts off with a reading of the book (brilliant) and talks about the message of the book. And the experience that I'm having at this book reading, which mind you, I think I'm the only person experiencing these emotions because it seems as if everyone else is seriously blitzed by the event, is exactly what this book is talking about and I'm thinking that this is so weird because it's like I'm outside of the book or something. So weird. Very existential. Whatever. I can't truly describe the weirdness of the experience because it doesn't truly make sense on a rational level.
I left there thinking that: 1) I should not have built the event up in my own mind so much beforehand, that was unfair toward the author on my part; and 2) Authors (and actors and anyone else with any degree of "celebrity") are just people. I wondered why I would go out of my way to have him read an excerpt to me (which he's done on his blog)? I understand that it's a thing to show support for the author, but also purchasing a copy of the book is a means of showing support. Whatever, I'm probably weird and too in my own head space to get a firm grip on reality right now.
#3: The Library/Graphic Novels
I love the library. Love it. Like in the way that I can build up expectations and the library never ceases to surprise me with its goodness and ability to please me. I went on Sunday to renew the movie Great Expectations because I still hadn't watched it. Anyway, I was browsing around and stumbled into the Graphic Novels section and picked up some seriously choice works. I have a love for anyone who can do something really well--play the cello, draw comics, speak another language, whatever. I find true genius in many forms, and am wowed by the people who do great graphic novels. I'm just starting to find the genius of this, but here's what I checked out: Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know, The Making of a Graphic Novel, 300, 1602.
I leave you with this quote about graphic novels:
"Far from being literary fiction’s halfwit cousin, the graphic novel is actually its mutant sister, who can often do everything fiction can, and, just as often, more." - Dave Eggers [Source]