Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Time I Lied to Christopher Paolini

About seven years ago, when Eragon first came out, Christopher Paolini did a book signing at the Phoenix Zoo. At the time, I was a student at ASU, majoring in Secondary Education to teach English, and taking a class called Young Adult Lit (the class where I discovered and fell in love with YA lit, btw, but that’s a different story.) As an extra credit assignment, my professor encouraged us all to go to the book signing. Since I’d missed several days of class due to my son’s unexpected health problems and several emergencies that put him in the hospital, I knew that I needed the extra credit.
Plus, I’ve never been able to resist meeting an author. And I was doubly impressed when I learned how young Paolini was at the time, to have a book out with Knopf that was doing so well.
I recruited my little sister to go with me, partly to keep me company and partly because I felt that, at 15 years old, she helped legitimize me among the teenage group. Okay, and I also wanted someone to help me watch my baby.
Paolini spoke for a while about his journey to publication (a really interesting story that you should look up when you get the chance) and afterward offered to sign everyone’s book.
I’d taken my sister to Changing Hands bookstore just before the signing so we could purchase our books, and I’d cracked mine open and read a few pages while we were waiting for him to speak. I’ll readily admit that fantasy is not my favorite genre to read and I was skeptical about liking the book. My 14 year old cousin (boy) had enjoyed it, but I was a 22 year old young woman. Married. With a kid. And, I’ll admit, I like romance a lot (big surprise, seeing as how I wrote one and everything). I didn’t see Paolini weaving a heart-stopping romance into his dragon book.
Me and my sis got in line to have him sign our books. When it was our turn, he took my copy of Eragon and flipped it to the title page. I thought he might just sign it and move on like he had with most people, but I am not most people, apparently.
He finished signing my copy, but held onto it for another second. “Have you read it?” he asked.
“I’m reading it right now,” I replied, truthfully. But then I opened my big ole mouth and continued. “I’m about half-way through.” Half-way? What now? I was about 12 pages in and had spent all of five minutes that day reading the book. How in any world is that half way through a 400 page book? I honestly have no idea why I even said it
“Huh.” He looked down at where my bookmark clearly stuck out in the very front pages. “Are you liking it so far?”
“I love it. It’s so awesome. Really hard to put down.” Someone needed to come shut me up right about then. Seriously.  I thought my sister might blow something from trying not to laugh.
At that point, I was chanting in my brain: Please don’t ask me any specific questions about the book that don’t have to do with the first 12 pages.
Paolini sat back a little in his seat. “I find that really interesting,” he said. “When I started writing this book, I wrote it thinking that it would be guys like me reading it, not…” He kind of gestured toward me, and I knew he of course meant extremely good looking young women (with babies and tendencies to run off at the mouth when nervous). “I’ve been surprised at the different people who are enjoying it.”
He—thankfully—handed me my book back then and thanked me for coming, signed my sister’s book with a nod, and we were out of there. I waved down my professor so that he could see I that I came, dragged my sister and the baby away from the signing area, and explained to her that I hadn’t lied, I’d just exaggerated (I am supposed to be a role model to her and everything).
For those who are curious, I did in fact finish Eragon about four years later one Sunday (in my pre-Kindle days) when I was dying for something to read and it was the only unread book on my shelf. It really was a good read. It’s not necessarily my flavor (I didn’t finish out the series, even though I’ve recommended it to people who are into fantasy), but I’ll bet my boys love it when they’re a little older.

4 comments:

  1. I had to read this post when I saw the title. That's so funny. My son spent half his winter break reading Inheritance. He's read all of Paolini's stuff.

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  2. So funny! Eragon isn't really my thing, either, but I understand your predicament!

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  3. Too funny! I had a hard time getting words out when I met an author for the first time. I've never read this series, and I'm saving so that my son and I can read it together. I love fantasy but I understand when a book just isn't your thing. ;0)

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  4. That was funny! If there are too many made up worlds and languages, I lose interest in fantasy all together. My eyes glaze over.

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