Signed Book Collection
I love my signed book collection. If there was ever a fire in my house I would save them first.
My first signed book came from my Uncle Steve, an English teacher at a private school in England in the early 90s. Michael Dorris paid a visit to his school and he bought a book for both my sister and me. It says, "Merry Christmas Katelyn 1995." I was nine. I took that book with me to every household I've lived in which is about a dozen different addresses in my thirty years.
So that was first. Then, when I started working in bookstores in 2009 and began being a part of the bookish online world I realized I could order signed copies from my favorite authors from afar. I bought a copy of The Madness Underneath signed by Maureen Johnson from Books of Wonder. This was fun because it was an author I was already a fan of. I had read and loved the first in the series The Name of the Star. While it was great to discover an author it was quite thrilling to get an autograph from someone I admire.
When I first started working with WORD one of the perks was attending events through NAIBA. Many times an author or two would stop in and present their book to us. Invariably, they would sign them. I have books like The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon who was gracious and fascinating in the few moments I meet her. Rarely did we get enough time to really have a chat. But it was always lovely and I cherish some of these books dearly. Those interactions cemented my path in bookselling.
Fourth and finally, when I had been in this business long enough, I got to meet the current authors that I adored. Authors whose books had shocked me, had recalibrated my thinking. Those are the few books that I would fight for. They say something meaningful to me just by looking at them. Among them is Mort(e) by Robert Repino and The Painter by Peter Heller.
I think the love of these enhances the metaphor that authors are rock stars to many. Just having their signature was a gift but getting the opportunity to interact with them on a human level is special. I hope you have been making time in your life to attend an event where you'll get that same chance. Feel free to tell me your favorite interaction with an author in the comments!