After I snuck onto the Libba Bray line, the supervisors started letting people back on it, so I stopped being afraid of getting kicked out! I managed to see her five minutes before her table closed and I am so happy I did. Meeting Libba Bray had been a dream of mine since I first read A Great and Terrible Beauty when I was 12 years old! I have been reading her books for ten years, and I told her so when I tentatively handed her two hardcovers and told her she “really inspired me.”
Libba was so nice and asked me what I was doing nowadays, told me I “made her day” and asked me to give her a hug! She signed both my books and even consented to a quick iPhone photo. After that, I knew my day was made too!
Here are a couple photos of Libba Bray and me, as well as the signatures in my copies of The Diviners and A Great and Terrible Beauty.
The other highlight of the event was the Jason Segel panel. I’ve been a fan of Jason Segel for years because of How I Met Your Mother and his other film work, and I knew he was a smart and talented guy, but hearing him speak and learning about his childhood and the life experience that inspired his new children’s book, I was filled with a new love and appreciation for him. Major crush!
I actually took notes during his talk because I was so enamored with his eloquence and the passion he showed for his project, the children’s book named Nightmares! that is co-authored with Kirsten Miller. The book was inspired by the night terrors he had as a child, and this book is the realization of a dream he’s had since he was 21; for all you Jason Segel fans out there, he first had the idea of this book (first a screenplay) when he was on Freaks and Geeks!
Segel spoke a lot about how he has learned to conquer his fear of rejection and “never take no for an answer” when you’re working on something you really believe in. He said that he “believes in magic” and that the universe helps you achieve your dreams when you work hard (a sentiment that reminded me of Paulo Coelho). He also spoke of the universality of stories and that children’s books should never be dumbed down to suit children, because children are able to handle difficult things, “they want to handle difficult things,” he said. I completely agree.
He was really dorky, charming, and intelligent all at the same time, saying things like “Jeez Louise” and “Holy Mackerel” while citing Joseph Campbell’s theory of myth. He told the audience not to “forget about the magic” we felt when we were kids, that so many adults forget what it’s like to be children, and that happy people never lose that childlike wonder and sense of magic. I seriously fell in love with him.
My favorite quote from this panel was when Jason said, “I wrote the Dracula musical from Forgetting Sarah Marshall waaay before I wrote the actual movie.” I died laughing!
So that was it. I enjoyed meandering around the BookCon and seeing the different publishers/exhibitors but next year, the BookCon had better up its game.