John Green is Pretty Awesome

Friday, November 4, 2011

(Horrible iPhone photos of Green signing my book and speaking)

On Nov. 1st I got to go see John Green speak in Indianapolis. One thing I learned was that the man has some serious teenage groupies, which on one hand is wonderful because he’s reaching a whole new generation of readers. But, on the other hand, it’s annoying to have to sit next to dozens of giggling piles of hormones. Anyway, that’s beside the point and even though I’m only 27, it makes me feel old to say that. What I really want to talk about it the author himself.

So here’s the thing about John Green. Yes, I think his vlogs are hilarious and I really love his books, but seeing him talk in person leaves me with a different reaction. I feel like he’s just a normal guy who I could grab a beer with and I love that. I feel like I could run into him in Indy and have a great conversation about life or books, etc. There are some authors that are so intimidating for one reason or another, but Green isn’t one of them, and that’s a good thing. I think that’s also why his writing is so accessible. You can relate to what he’s saying.

The talk was great, aside from a few awkward audience questions, like “Will you give me a hug?” Really people, that’s never an appropriate question to ask a stranger who is on a stage in front of hundreds of people. I loved hearing him read from his new book, The Fault in Our Stars, though I wished I could keep reading it instead of waiting until I get my pre-ordered copy in January. I got two more books signed by him afterwards and I was reminded of just how much I love hearing authors talk about their work. It always gives me a deeper insight into their work. Just hearing them talk about their lives or writing process allows me to connect a bit more with the work.

One thing that he said has really stuck with me. He referenced a well-known quote about how dogs have it so easy because they know how to be dogs. Then he talked about how people don’t really know how to be people and everyday we have to try to figure out what we’re doing and what the point of it is. It was much more profound when he said it. So, if you haven’t read anything by him, you definitely should. Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns would both be great places to start.


Ana S. said...

I'm glad to hear you had such a good time! I've heard him read from The Fault in Our Stars in videos and I'm so with you on not wanting to wait. January can't come soon enough!

April Books & Wine said...

That sounds like an EXCELLENT TIME.

I will never understand what would possess someone to ask such an awkward question like that -- Can I have a hug? What the hell. But I've see stupid questions too at the book signings I've attended.

I can't freakin wait for The Fault In Our Stars. I bet it'll be SO good!

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time (with a few fangirl bumps)! I'm new to John Green books but so far I am super-impressed. Like you said, his writing is so accessible.

Waiting impatiently for January :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Nymeth - I saw a bit of the video as well, can't wait!

April - There were some strange questions. One girl basically asked him to do her homework. Not cool.

Kat - It was a lot of fun. I still have his Katherines book to read. I've been saving it so I didn't run out of new work by him.

BookQuoter said...

Great that you got to see him!!
I can see how he has tons of fans. My post for Looking for Alaska probably has my most hits of all time.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (his book with David Levithan) is pretty awesome too.
So happy he has a new one coming out!

Bybee said...

I've read Paper Towns and that turned me into a John Green fan. I feel fortunate that I have so many other books of his to look forward to.

Those questions! Shudder!

Jillian said...

How exciting!! John Green has officially been added to my favorite authors list just recently, not only because of his books, but because of his videos with his brother. Watching them has opened up a whole new world for me to be honest, and I am loving it!!

Meytal Radzinski said...

The thing about John Green is that I think understanding him as a person helped me understand him as an author. I didn't love Looking for Alaska, loved An Abundance of Katherines and only then discovered his online persona. By the time I read Paper Towns, I understood the way he thinks and writes and though I could recognize flaws in his writing, I was able to ignore them much more easily and appreciate the nerdy charm of his characters. I wouldn't be surprised if in meeting him personally, I'd have one more piece of the puzzle - he's just that sort of author.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

BookQuoter - I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson, another great one.

Bybee - Looking was my first, but Paper Towns was the one that made me understand he wasn't a one-hit-wonder author for me.

Jillian - I love their vlogs. They just crack me up every time.

Biblibio - I completely agree. I think that getting to see that other side of the author makes you appreciate them so much more. I always seem to enjoy books more when I know a bit of the back story that brought the author to write it.

Meg @ write meg! said...

How awesome that you saw John Green speak! I love his works and will admit I think he's cute, but -- you know... I wouldn't be one of the squealing teen groupies, that's for sure! I've been saving Paper Towns for a rainy day. I think it's the last of his books I haven't read.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Meg - That's funny, I've been saving An Abundance of Katherines. It's interesting that we feel the need to hang on to one book from authors we love. I do that with other authors too, especially ones that are already dead. I don't want to run out of new books to read from them.