Last night, I drove my son up the peninsula to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. It’s a fantastic store–it used to be my bookstore when I lived further north, years ago–but I hadn’t been there in years. It’s still as great. But last night just felt extra special, and I’ll tell you why.
We were there to hear Eoin Colfer speak & buy a copy of his new book, the very unexpected 6th book in Douglas Adams Hitchhiker “trilogy”—And Another Thing. Colfer told a wonderful story (btw, if you ever get a chance to hear him, all his stories are wonderful–it’s like going to a stand-up comedy show) about hearing from his agent that Adams’ family wanted him to write the book. Talk about “the call.” He also told us how this was the book that changed his reading life when he was a teen–that showed him you could put comedy into science fiction and fantasy. Which is now what Colfer does–brilliantly.
The room was packed. True confessions: I may have been the only person in the room who hadn’t read Adams’ books, which will be remedied–for fear of the flying rotten tomatoes with which Colfer threatened any of us who qualified. The chairs were filled with many people my age and with…boys. Yes, there were a few girls, too, but to me the boys were the ones who were truly rapt with attention for this man who had written the books they wanted. Lots of Artemis Fowl fans, even more, I think, who were really happy about the idea of a possible sequel to The Supernaturalists.
When Colfer opened up time for questions, those boys raised their hands. Yes, all of them. The ones a bit younger than my son, wanting to know about the characters in Artemis Fowl, and the older ones with really deep voices asking serious questions about his writing process. And when the line formed for Colfer to sign books, those kids had STACKS of books for him to sign–some they’d bought that night, some they’s brought with them. One boy had a book Colfer had signed before & he was going to get a second signature.
I hear SO much about boys not liking books, about losing boys from reading as they get into their teens. I watch my son and, too often, see him as the exception–myself as the lucky parent who gets to keep sharing this with her son. Last night, I realized he’s not the exception and neither am I. Write for the boys, folks. They’re here, and they’re starving for more books to read, more books that show them why they want to write, too.
And for those of you Hitchhiker fans who are wondering, son hasn’t put the book down since we got home last night.