I've had the rare good fortune to meet many of my favorite authors. Notably, Douglas Adams, Arthur C Clarke, and, a few weeks ago, Terry Brooks. I've also met Cory Doctorow, Mo Willems, Will Wheaton, Frank X Walker and a host of other authors, and each time was struck by the humanity of great people. I deeply regret that I never had an opportunity to tell Ray Bradbury how much his work means to me.
Two of the authors I've met have since died, and I remember meeting them - particularly Sir Arthur - as high points of my life. Shaking the hand that penned Rama was an inexpressible honor.
(Indeed, I've had the fortune to meet many of my heroes over the years - that's a post for another time.)
Several weeks ago I met Terry Brooks, the author of The Sword of Shannara which, for a long time, held the title of Favorite Book Ever. That spot has since been usurped by Dandelion Wine, and I somehow think that Terry might not begrudge Ray Bradbury that spot.
Mr. Brooks was signing books at Joseph Beth Booksellers, in Lexington.
Mr. Brooks answered a *lot* of questions, and really gave them thought, and spoke to the people asking them as though they mattered. He read a *long* section from his new book, but carefully chose a section that didn't actually give anything away. And he signed books. Boy, did he sign books. He signed everything that anyone brought. One guy brought a suitcase. I am not making this up. A suitcase which purportedly contained The Complete Works. And Mr. Brooks signed them.
When we went up to have our books signed (alas, I only took three!) he spoke with us as though we were people. He made eye contact. He wrote our names in the books, and made sure he was spelling them right.
I was so impressed that I've now started buying and reading all of his books that I've missed over the years. And, somehow, having heard him read makes the books come alive a little more. I think Sword might be creeping back up my favorite book list again.