Guys, you should know by now I look forward to this event all year long. It happened on Labor Day weekend, and I’m upset this is two weeks late, but it couldn’t be helped. So without further ado, let’s take a peek at my Decatur Book Festival adventures for 2014!
We began the day by getting lost as soon as we entered the festival area. This year, my friend and I decided to volunteer (because, hello, free T-shirt) and the YA stage wasn’t in the same place as last year! At least that’s our excuse we told the stage mangers after we circled the stage about three times looking for it.
Our scheduled volunteering time was from 10-1, but we decided to stay until 2:30 so we could talk with Stephanie Perkins and Maya Van Wagenen.
THE AUTHOR LINE UP WAS WONDERFUL. We met Adi Alsaid (Let’s Get Lost), Jennifer Amentrout (Don’t Look Back), Isabel Gillies (Starry Night), Adele Griffin (The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), Jennifer Mathieu (The Truth about Alice), Terra Elan McVoy (In Deep), Lauren Myracle (Internet Girls), Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss), Jennifer Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver), and Maya Van Wagenen (Popular). Whew, that’s a mouthful.
I haven’t read anything by Terra Elan McVoy, Isabel Gillies, Jennifer Amentrout, or Jennifer Mathieu, but meeting them was still fabulous. Plus, I want to read Truth about Alice so badly it hurts. I almost bought it there, but full-priced books are my undoing, despite the ability to get it signed.
Anyway, my gorgeous friend who accompanies me on all my bookish endeavors made Stealing Pages T-shirts. Yes?! It’s cheesy and a tad embarrassing in that mom-don’t-dance-in-public-but-I-secretly-love-you way, but it’s also super thoughtful and adorable. Luckily, she’s better at design than me, and the shirts are really cute.
Plus, she had another fabulous idea: get the shirts signed by all the authors, so I didn’t even have to buy the books to have their signatures!
When we volunteered, we went down the line and wrote the names people wanted their books signed to on sticky notes and stuck them inside the cover. We directed people and talked to authors when it was slow, and I was the designated book opener for Stephanie Perkins, which was completely exciting.
I didn’t talk to her much because she had the longest line on the panel and crazy amounts of fans, and I had just finished Anna and the French Kiss about a week before and still felt high from the awesomeness of it. Unfortunately, she had to sign other books when she finished with the line for The Little Shop of Stories, and I didn’t get to chat with her afterward either. Creepily, though, I listened in and smiled at all her fan meetings, and she is so sweet! I have definitely developed a bookish girl crush on her. Honestly, I liked her personality more than I liked her book. I know, weird, right? But if you ever get to meet her, jump at the chance!
I don’t know about volunteering next year, though. The stage managers are very nice and helpful, but I didn’t get a chance to listen to any of the panels. Plus I got rushed when I wanted to get my books signed/ meet the authors, but I also didn’t really have to wait in lines because I volunteered.
The authors are all nice and actually care about their fans. Adi Alsaid and Jennifer Smith especially stuck out to me. I hadn’t read Let’s Get Lost at the time, but Adi’s personality made me want to read the book because he’s so funny and interesting which is reflected in his book. I actually didn’t like Statistical Probability by Jennifer Smith, but she’s a really sweet person and was very good-natured.
It’s weird seeing Maya, who wrote Popular, since she’s so young. She’s only 15, and she’s on her way to a best seller, and I’ve heard rumors about a movie. I hardly talked to her at all because we began to leave right as she started signing, but my friend adored her confidence and poise (and you can read all about her road to confidence in her book!).
After we exhausted all the YA authors we wanted to see, the usual stroll around the festival tents called to us. We passed out some Stealing Pages cards, snapped up some bookmarks, and talked to bookish people along the way. I think I’ll venture to say this is my favorite part of the festival. Decatur is such a cool town filled with hipsters and readers and everyone in between. The area is adorable, and it’s so book-oriented and fabulous and I feel right at home strolling through the many tents looking for deals on used books and talking to emerging authors. It’s lovely.
I only got a couple books this year. We got a free coupon for two for volunteering at one of the tents, but young adult books were few and far between. Last year, we went on Sunday and stayed until closing, so the venders were blowing out the books and practically giving them away for only a dollar.
Unfortuntely, the heavens decided to burst around 5ish, so we didn’t get to see the whole festival this year. One minute we’re grabbing King of Pops, and the next minute the cart’s umbrella is floating away and the rain is soaking everything (which isn’t something you want at a book festival) with hardly any warning at all. So we raced to the car and decided to keep the young adult theme alive by going to see If I Stay (movie and book review coming soon).
Overall, the day was wonderfully bookish and exciting, and next year I’m feeling we make it an all weekend event!