Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello Gaithersburg Book Festival!

When I left the office on Friday I had a list of fun things to do this weekend:  visit the Clark's Eliok Farm, the library, the Air Show, the zoo, or the Strawberry Festival, to name a few! 

I also added:  read The Paris Wife, by Paula McClain to my summer reading list..  {{This will be important later.}}

Then, I woke up Saturday morning, checked facebook as usual, and saw this post on my profile page: "Aren't you going to the book festival today?"  {{Thank you my friend!!}}


The boys proceeded with their plan to go to the Air Show.  Lulu and I wanted to go to the book festival.  No one wanted to drag Brielle along -- sorry Baby Bee!  I couldn't ask my parents to watch her at the last minute -- and it did not make sense to send her to the air show -- so, we took her to the book festival, hoping for the best.

Why did I want to go to the book festival so bad?

I wanted to go because Matt Logelin was going to be at the book festival.  He was the keynote speaker at 4:00 p.m. and signing books at 5:00 p.m.  Matt's is a blogger.  He blogged his wife's entire pregnancy and delivery.  His, wife, Liz, died suddenly as she stood up to go to the NICU and see her baby for the very first time after her delivery.  His blog follows his struggle between his grief after Liz's death as well as his joy for his new baby -- Madeline.  I have been reading his blog since very shortly after Maddy's birth.  He recently published a book about his experience and it is a NY Times Best Seller.  I just have a soft spot in my heart for this dad. 

Moving on! 

Since I had Bri with me, I knew that I would not be able to stay for Matt's speech nor wait in the line to get a book signed.  Nonetheless, I still wanted to go and see what the book festival was all about.

Beltway traffic getting to the event was nothing less than horrendous.  And, my preteen was starting to have a meltdown and wishing she was at the Air Show instead of in the car on the way to the book fair; I remained calm and tried to crack jokes -- stopping at McDonalds helped a bit too!

As soon as we were inside the book fair things took a turn for the better.  First, we saw a famous cat. 

Then, we got some food and found some shade.

I checked the schedule and saw that Paula McClain was doing a book signing right then!  The lines to get to the authors were surprisingly empty.  I was able to enjoy a pleasant conversation with Ms. McClain and she signed a book for Ms. Beth, one of Brielle's care providers.  Ms. Beth and I talk books every time we see each other.  I am giving this to her as a belated Teacher Appreciation gift.  I am so excited!

We walked over to the Young Adult tent and found an author reading some of her book and taking questions from the audience. 

Lulu peeking over at Brielle who was less-than-excited to listen to this author.
Lulu was interested in the book.  Yippee.  She is not a lover-of-books, unlike me, so I am thrilled when she takes an interest in reading.  We learned that the author, Dominique Paul, is signing books right after her reading so we went to the sales tent to buy her book, The Possibility of Fireflies

What did I see when we got to the sales tent? Piles and piles of Matt Logelin's book Two Kisses for Maddy.  Sigh - it was only 1:30 p.m. and there was NO WAY my kiddos would last to see him speak at 4:00.  Sigh.

We bought The Possibility of Firelfies and scooted over to Dominique Paul's book signing.  While we waited behind the only other person in line, we overheard that Ms. Paul's book is soon going to be a Hollywood movie.  In fact, the author, Dominique Paul, is directing it.  Ms. Paul recently had dinner with the Travolta family and is still making cast selections for her movie; she dropped some names of some big time popular actresses!  We were star struck!

We were so star struck, in fact, that this is the only picture that I have with Lulu and the author/director.

Having experienced as much as we were going to, from the book festival, we headed out.  Along the way I spotted a booth for the Liz Logelin Foundation.  This foundation was created by Matt Logelin (ahem... keynote speaker -- a #1 NY Times best seller) and the money raised goes to help other recently-widowed parents. 

As I neared the tent, I started to sweat.  I literally gasped as I saw... Matt... standing right there!  Oh my gosh -- why is this semi-celebrity (he's been on Oprah ladies) just right here?  Where are the gobs of people?  Isn't he supposed to be tucked away in his tour bus right now (he is totally NOT a  tour bus kinda guy). 

After I stopped shaking sorta composed myself, I emptied out my wallet made a small donation to the foundation.  Matt shook my hand.  I said something totally stupid brilliant and inspiring.  He asked if I wanted to enter the raffle to win a book signed by him and Maddy.  I declined -- I don't know why.  And, then I took a picture -- crazy groupie --  and snuck off into the sunset!

We passed by the tent a few more times.  Sometimes Matt was signing autographs and sometimes he was chatting with the one or two people at the tent.

I wish I had said hello to the lady standing next to him.  I am sure it is his girlfriend Brooke.  On his blog she has stick-straight brown hair.  Today, she has wavy blonde hair.  I didn't recognize her -- or maybe it isn't her at all.

Had I read Matt's blog before I left the house I would have known that his daughter, Maddy, was at the festival too.  Alas, a missed opportunity to see the sweetie I have been following in pics for so long!

Anyway, I do not mean to stalk the poor guy.  I was just shocked to see him.  He presented himself in the cool, calm, and collected manner that he always does on his blog -- no surprises there.  Maddy is very blessed to have such a great dad! 

What to expect at the Gaithersburg Book Fair:  This book fair is full of lots of things for kids and adults to experience.  It is not super crowded.  You will get the opportunity to meet and share the work of loads of local authors (some more famous than others).  Next year, I will probably be selfish and leave the kids behind.  I will research which authors will be speaking at what times and then spend all day going from tent to tent and experiencing the love of reading from those who bring it to life -- the authors themselves!

Have you ever been to a book festival? 
Add it to your bucket list.

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