Authors & Beyond Words (#ArmchairBEA)

Hello, Everyone!

It’s Day 2 of Armchair BEA and I for one am having a blast. I think it’s serendipitous that the event falls on one of the few times of the year when I actually have a bit of a break, so I’m doing my best to really interact.  I joined last night’s Twitter party, which was super fun, and I’ve been visiting new and old blogs alike, commenting like a madman and getting to know some gnarly people.  What a community we have!

Anywhat, onto today’s themes:

Author Interaction 
Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online.

8130308As someone who has been doing this for quite a few years, now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I still go “fanboy” over author interactions, especially when it involves some of my favorites.  I’ve had the opportunity to chat with and work with some incredible writers who are also incredible people.  These include Andrew Smith (author of Grasshopper Jungle and The Marbury Lens), Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of Jumpstart the World and Pay It Forward) and Kathe Koja (author of Under the Poppy and The Mercury Waltz).  

jumpstartWhat thrills me most about reading their books, now, is that I feel I know a bit about the minds and souls that created them.  These writers’ talent cannot be denied –it’s something that reading their books alone will testify to– but their kindness, thoughtfulness,  generosity, and general grooviness, well, that’s something you can’t get straight from the books, and I feel lucky to have “met” each of them (among many others) through blogging and interactions on Twitter/Facebook.

More Than Just Words 
On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats?

8621462To be honest, I read primarily classics and literary fiction, both of which are all about, well, words. I haven’t read many graphic novels (although Blankets by Craig Thompson is fantastic) and while I could look back on my time as a reading teacher to discuss picture books, like King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub and Where the Wild Things Are, etc., I’m not sure that’s what this question is after.  I also do not really listen to audiobooks (except poetry), so that doesn’t work…

image.phpThere are probably plenty of books that I’ve read in the last few years which do use images, and if I scroll back through my log I might find more to add to this discussion, but the one book I can think of now, off the top of my head, is one that has stayed with me for a long time: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd. The story itself is brilliant and touching, but the drawings add so much depth and emotion. It’s a piece of work I think most people will appreciate – beyond beautiful, and very difficult to describe. Go experience it for yourself, yeah?

everyyoueverymeI also really enjoyed the book Every You, Every Me by David Levithan. This one incorporates photographs into the story, in a kind of mysterious way.  It’s a great book with a great story, an the use of photographs to advance the plot and add layers of mystery and intrigue (and emotion) was very clever.

Thanks for visiting!

14 Comments on “Authors & Beyond Words (#ArmchairBEA)

  1. I really liked Koja’s Buddha Boy, but I think someone must have lost my library copy. Her other books seem very different. I’m not a huge fan of pictures in general, so this was a hard question for me. Enjoy Armchair BEA!


  2. You know, I think that the biggest thing for me in interacting with authors is remembering that they are, in fact human just like the rest of us.
    As far as the more than words topic, you know, I struggled with that one. I don’t do audiobooks or graphic novels, or at least I haven’t as of yet. I didn’t think about books that included pictures.
    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader


  3. I love A Monster Calls! The illustrations are amazing and were certainly a refreshing change from the largely text only books I normally read.


  4. I’m a words person too but was equally bowled over by the Ness illustrations. I read a fascinating article about the illustrator and how he approached the task. He didn’t read the book in advance and never met Ness so his illustrations are purely the work of imagination.


  5. Oh no! I was so close to buying ‘A Monster Calls’ but decided to be”sensible” and save money… I’m so silly sometimes! I will definitely have to go out and get it now because it looks absolutely spectacular! It’s amazing you’ve been able to work with and meet authors because you really do get a better insight into their character and where their stories come from! Talking about pictures btw, the cover for ‘Under the Poppy’ is beautiful! Great answer, hopefully I’ll see you at the Twitter party later!
    Juli @ Universe in Words


  6. I want to read Blankets so bad!!! I have been begging the library to get it. They are still curating their graphic novels department. It’s mostly Manga and I just can’t get into that.


  7. Like you, I read mostly literary fiction, but I’m definitely curious about graphic novels and have meant to pick up A Monster Calls because I enjoyed The Knife of Never Letting Go so much. Years ago I received a terrific graphic novel, Asterios Polyp, as a gift and enjoyed it very much, but sadly whenever it comes time to choose a new book I never think of checking out a graphic novel or audio book, even when I’m in a slump. Happy ABEA!


  8. Every You, Every Me sounds pretty cool. I know A Monster Calls is supposed to be good but everyone says it made them cry. I don’t know if I can do it!


  9. Meeting authors IRL is exciting – even if I don’t particularly like their book, after meeting them, I appreciate the effort they’ve taken and I can often see how their personality shines though their words.


  10. Hi Adam!
    I was here reading your post from today, and started to comment when a window popped up showing me you left a comment on my blog! LOL!!! GREAT minds think alike!! LOL! Thanks SO MUCH for taking the time to visit me!
    I LOVE what you wrote about authors and friendships with them, meeting them, and especially still feeling like ‘fanboy’! LOVE that part! I was contemplating adding that in my post when I wrote it, and probably should have! I do feel that way a lot! I do feel extremely grateful I do have the opportunity to connect with authors the way we get to! It is a blessing!
    I love what you wrote about the books and the books you chose for examples! Great ideas!
    I simply loved your post! GREAT writing in a nice, neat and concise way! Myself, I go on for toooooo long! LOL! I’m working at trying to get it better!
    Thanks SO much for coming by my blog today! It’s always wonderful to talk with you!
    OH! You surprised me about your teaching! I didn’t know that about you! I bet it was very gratifying! I can just see you doing it and loving it!
    Enjoy the rest of the week! This is a LOT of fun!
    PS. I was at your site when I saw ‘this’ and it reminded me, and had the link, too, to go over and sign up! My computer crashed twice, then a third time the hard drive DIED! I’ve been in and out. More out than in. We did fix it twice (with The Geek Squad), but it took 7 hours the first time, and another 5 the second time! Finally I had to take the computer in to the store and have The Geek Squad fix it. The computer was LESS than 1yr old when it went haywire! The 2 months previous to it crashing was the worse! I just picked it back up today! YEAH!!!!! I am not on it because I have posts to do, and I wanted to visit other blogs, too! I don’t want to lose time syncing Google again! I think I’ll keep my husband’s computer for a few more days, or until this is over and then get mine back up and running.
    Take care!!


  11. Oooh! A Monster Calls looks promising. I am going to check it out in more detail.

    I am a big fan of audiobooks. I like to listen to non-fiction, literary fiction (while walking), and romance books. Audiobooks help me diversify my reading. I tend to hover around mysteries, thrillers, and suspense books. I like solving things.


  12. I loved ‘A Monster Calls’! I know that I’ll buy a nice edition someday (I got the illustrated pdf from the library)… I definitely appreciate books that include images or different fonts and I’m more likely to get them in print (big ebook reader here). Another book that comes to mind is ‘The Sky is Everywhere’ (the UK edition in color…)


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