Friday, September 28, 2012

French the Llama

* Point of reference John Green has a YouTube
 channel with his brother Hank: Vlogbrothers
 lots of fans: Nerdfighters, and books: 
Looking for
Alaska, Papertowns, Will Garyson, Abundance
of Katherines, and The Fault in Our Stars
 = All very much awesome.
John Green was at the National Book Festival in DC last weekend. There were dozens of other authors, plenty of books and a couple of my oldest-dearest-friends there was well. But let's be honest, I switched work-shifts, changed plans with my brothers, and may have even sat-in-the-heat-for-nearly-three-hours, because John Green was there. As a nerdy-great-author-youtuber-fan-girl it was completly worth it.

John Green read the author's note and first few pages of Fault in Our Stars then spoke and took questions. Brilliant and fascinating as always. Here are some bits and pieces that I can remeber/ attempt to explain. He said it better than I do, so pretend that this is all coming from a professional-good-with-words-guy:

He summerized The Fault in Our Stars as being about questions like "Why are we falling apart? And why are we falling apart at different rates?" and "How do you find hope in that?" You should read it if you haven't yet, because it is brilliant and beautiful.

As readers we give authors two gifts: 1) Our money 2) Reading their book generously.

There's a typo in the author's note, cause it says "or" instead of "nor".  It is still a brilliant note.
He talked a lot about the relationship between authors and readers. Not only do "books belong to their readers" he said a truely successful book is one where you are least aware of the author. Because regardless of how many auto-biographical aspects can be found in a story, the author is the least interesting character.

Ideally one should not just be unaware of the author, but the stories should be so alive in your head that you shouldn't remember that its a book. This goal of having the author's voice fade behind the story is made more complicated by the fact that with the internet we know tons about authors, right down to their sandwich for lunch. Although because the internet is in fact really cool John Green  answered questions on Reddit while waiting for his delayed flight home from DC.

A couple of my favorite things that he said in his talk were answers to questions. One girls asked how he goes from an idea to a book, he said something about how he doesn't have big ideas for books -- No wizard-school-big-ideas yet. Just have little ideas like 'Why do we suffer?'

When someone asked advice for young people he said (something along the lines of) "The concept that your teenage years are the best years of your life is a lie. A dirty dirty lie. But Robert Frost was right 'The only way out is through'. And people don't tell you often that actually adulthood is wonderful. You don't have to worry about things from high school like who you are going to make out with next Friday, it's the same person you have been making out with for years. You experience heartbreak and loss and joy and love that's mature and much deeper. The stability is wonderful."

 Hearing John Green speak and then sitting in line for a few hours in the shade on the National Mall chatting with great friends, is a wonderful way to spend a day. Top it off with the heart racing rush of having John Green sharpie his sloppy signature for you -- It's quite brilliant.

"As they say in my hometown: Don't forget to be awesome"


  1. Goodness. How is John Green NOT on my reading list? What a wise man! Thank you for spreading the word.

  2. Yes I recommend John Green whole heartedly ^_^ The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska are the first two of his books I'd suggest