Posted by: instanthausfrau | September 29, 2008

A brush with cool, and reading for tweens.

Coraline

Coraline

This weekend, I managed to briefly be declared ‘cool’ by two middle schoolers (a feat I never managed while in middle school myself. Or since, really). The secret to my success was knowing about Neil Gaiman’s young reader book Coraline.

This is a great tween read, of the sort that parents can enjoy too. The author has commented that children find it a great adventure story, while adults reading it find themselves mildly terrified. While the girls discussed the nuances of having buttons sewn in place of eyes and the terrors of the Other Mother, I could not only let them know about the Portland, OR company working on the Coraline Movie, I was able to mention that the book’s author will be in town this Friday to promote his next work, The Graveyard Book (think of the title as a homage to The Jungle Book, and replace the animals with ghosts).

Gaiman is an An Author Who Gets It, not talking down to his younger audiences while still understanding a parent’s perspective. An excerpt from his blog (December 5th, 2005) is reassurance that even famous authors with movie deals embarrass their pre-teen progeny:

Up at the crack of dawn this morning to take Maddy to school. She doesn’t like me taking her to school normally, because it’s embarrassing, what with me driving her in the Mini, but today, Mary in Italy with Holly and my assistant Lorraine taking Lisa Snellings to the airport, I crawled out into the grey world and took her to school. Wearing a thick dressing gown and big slippers, because I wasn’t getting dressed at that time in the morning for anyone. It was strangely poetic that the passenger door decided to freeze shut (it was minus 2 F), meaning that Maddy had the entire journey to school to confront the dread embarrassment of the idea that, on arrival at school, I would get out of the car in dressing gown and slippers and then she’d have to get out on my side. We negotiated, and instead of dropping her off outside the school, I found a discreet spot in the car-park, and she slipped out there, pretending as hard as she could that she didn’t know me.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

The event is being run by the University Bookstore, and works like this: you pre-order your copy of The Graveyard Book from them, and this gets you a ticket to the event and a signed book on Friday ($17.99 is the cost of the book). Additional event tickets (with no book) are $5.00.

Those familiar with Gaiman’s book tours will know he is infamous for a huge signing line, and equally famous for staying until every fan gets a book signed. This means he’s usually not out of there until 3am or so. By having pre-signed books and no signing line, they are hoping to spare him that. Bookstore workers also assure me that this will give the man more time to talk, and I can vouch that his readings are always a fun event (I’ve been lucky enough to catch him twice). My understanding is that he’ll be reading chapter 4 of the new book, with a Q & A session after. Expect large crowds of spooky-looking but friendly folks to be in attendance.

I was assured that tickets are still available when I called this afternoon, but you will want to hurry. The venue seats 900 but generally sells out for Gaiman. Besides, middle-school parents, when is the last time you got to be thought of as ‘cool’?

Graveyard Book US Tour: Seattle
Friday, 7:00pm
Sponsored by the University Bookstore
206-545-4363

University Temple United Methodist Church
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle WA 98105

Note: This venue seats 900. Tickets are free with the purchase of a Graveyard Book voucher; otherwise tickets are $5.

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