Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s topic is “Ten Authors I Really Want to Meet.”
I moved to New York City 9 years ago, and I found myself in a paradise for bookish people. Dozens of fantastic independent bookstores. Book festivals. BEA. And pretty much an essential stop on most author tours. I would stalk every bookstore’s author event pages and squee with delight when I saw that a favorite author had an upcoming event. I went to dozens of events a year. I don’t go to as many these days, but I still go to my very favorites, and love having the opportunity to do so.
I’ve met Bill Bryson, Norman Mailer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, Neil Gaiman, Yann Martel, Billy Collins, Jasper Fforde, Ruth Reichl, David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris, George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lisa See, Geraldine Brooks, Maira Kalman, Chuck Palahniuk, Marissa Pessl, Haven Kimmel. And many others I can’t remember off the top of my head.
But here’s the thing: the best part of an author event is getting to see and hear an author read from their work, speak to the group, and answer questions. It’s also lovely to get your books signed. But in terms of “meeting” authors – you do technically meet them, but you don’t really get to spend any significant amount of time with them.
You usually have about 15-20 seconds in a signing line to tell the author anything you’d like to say. I rarely know what to say in such a short amount of time. Example: I told Norman Mailer that I really loved his appearance on Gilmore Girls. (I have no regrets about that.) I’ve gone to about four Bill Bryson events, and I usually get a bit more time in front of him because I bring a large stack of books for him to sign, to give as Christmas presents. We’ve had a couple of lovely, very brief conversations, mostly about growing up in the midwest.
Since I’ve already “met” so many of my favorite authors, I’ve decided to change this top ten meme slightly. I’d love to have lunch with some of my favorite authors. I had to think carefully about this list – there are many authors I love, but I have no idea what we’d talk about over a meal. So I focused this list on people who I’d love to have a conversation with, and who I think would make a good lunch date. (The idea is that I get to go on 10 individual lunches. I’d have to think about this in a whole different way if I was creating a giant Round Table-esque luncheon.)
The Ten Authors I Really Want To Have Lunch With:
One of my very favorite authors. Bill Bryson is interested in and delighted by so many things, as evidenced by the wide variety of subjects he writes about. He’s the very definition of a wonderfully curious mind, and I’d love to share travel stories with him, and find out what subjects he’d like to write about in the future.
I’m only two authors in and I already want to modify this theme. I’d like to go on a walk around NYC with Maira Kalman. I love her curiosity and her eye for unusually beautiful things – I’d like to see the world through her eyes. (You can actually take an armchair walk with her in the book On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz.) I’d also like to tour her apartment and studio and have her show me all her incredible collections.
He would have me laughing and giggling the entire meal.
She’s just so wonderful and wise, I’d love to talk with her about her life and her love of nature and the outdoors. She’s another author I’d love to go on a walk with – this time a hike through a beautiful forest.
Getting to share a meal with J.K. Rowling and listen to her talk about life and Harry Potter would pretty much be the greatest thing ever.
I’d basically like to have my own personal “Dear Sugar” session over lunch, where we could go over each aspect of my life and do a mini advice session on it. She’s so wise and down to earth; she’s the author I’d most like to be friends with.
Malala is one of my feminist heroines. Talking with her over lunch would be an honor, and also, I suspect, a lot of fun.
He’s technically an author, so I can include him on this list. Having lunch with the President would be pretty awesome. And Michelle better come too! And Bo and Sunny, while we’re at it. We’d better just have lunch at the White House so I can meet everyone.
Ursula K. Le Guin
She’s so smart, surprisingly funny, and a total badass. Lunch with her would be ridiculously awesome.
Her wonderful travel memoirs about traveling the world solo helped inspire me to take my own trip, and I’d love to talk with her about her adventures.
Authors who would be on the list if they were not, unfortunately, dead: Kurt Vonnegut, Laurie Colwin, Nora Ephron, Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery.
What authors do you most want to meet? What would be your ideal “date” with an author – lunch? A walk? Book shopping? Road trip?