OPINION: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Kid #1 attending the Cat Valente signing
Kid #1 attending the Cat Valente signing

With so much angst in the inner circles of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, it is easy to forget how much books mean to so many people.

When I heard that Catherynne M. Valente would be in Lexington in support of her Fairyland series, I asked my daughter if she would be interested in going. I know Kid #1 loves books with strong female protagonists, and when she read the synopsis of the first book, she became excited and said she definitely wanted to attend.

I would be going anyway, as Cat Valente and I have known each other for a long time (I’ve published her a number of times, and most importantly, Cat is a former editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine). I’d not seen her in a few years and wanted to say hello. But being able to take my kid would vault the experience from being a cool reunion to a father/daughter memory.

We take our seats and the lady of the hour arrived. The woman in charge of running the children’s reading program at Joseph-Beth tried to introduce Cat several times—each time interrupted as she couldn’t hold back the tears. Finally, Cat stood and gave the lady a warm embrace. The woman was a huge fan and shared how much her books (both Cat’s YA and adult titles) meant to her. I’m a rather emotionless beast, but even this warmed my cold heart a degree or two.

The waterworks ended, and Cat read a chapter from book five of the Fairyland series. The lady knows how to pen a sentence.

Catherynne M. Valente reading
Catherynne M. Valente reading. The store did a nice job with decorations.

After the reading, the kids in the audience went on a Fairyland scavenger hunt. Cat signed books. Several people in the line around me were quite nervous about meeting Cat Valente. Heck, I even felt it a little. For them, her works had meaning to them beyond entertainment value. They were there for their children, or perhaps Catherynne’s books spoke to them in a personal way, or simply they liked signed books. Value comes in many forms.

I had my stack of books signed. I had a nice brief chat with Cat. We took a photo together.

Author of Radiance looks radiant. Editor guy looks like smiling hurts his soul.
Author of Radiance looks radiant. Editor guy looks like smiling hurts his soul.

I ran into Christopher Rowe making crafts under the harsh reprimands of Gwenda Bond. Those two are comedy gold.

Kid #1 and I finally go home. She’s excited about jumping into the Fairyland series. She asks me if I will read it with her.

So the rest of y’all can go back to insulting one another on Facebook and Twitter. I’m going to be reading a book with my daughter.

2 responses to “OPINION: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Joseph-Beth Booksellers”

  1. S. C. Flynn Avatar

    Yeah, great memories being made…

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