And if you still don't know who Markus Zusak is, read this book ASAP and find out.
Listening to Markus speak was amazing. I absolutely loved it. He was funny and personable and a great speaker, and his fabulous Australian accent only made it better. I didn't realize just how attractive he is. I mean, I thought he was pretty cute in his author photo, but it doesn't do the man justice. Real life is just so much better. Though I am sad I forgot my camera, so I couldn't take any of my own pictures. This one will have to do:
That face + Aussie accent = swooning Lindy.
When I went to the reading/signing, I didn't have a copy of The Book Thief. It is one of my favorite books of all time, so naturally I own a copy, but I lent it to Faith so she could enjoy the greatness of it. I had a copy of I Am the Messenger (also a fantastic book), and I figured that would be good enough. But then Markus started talking about The Book Thief and how much writing it meant to him. He read a few pages from it and teared up. That was when I knew I had to get it signed—I just had to. So I bought another copy. And let me tell you, it was completely worth that $20.
Markus spoke for about an hour, and then they called us by groups to go into another room and get our books signed. Jenifer and I were in signing group I. It took four and a half hours for signing group I to make it into the same room with Markus Zusak. Yes, you read that right. Four and a half hours. Markus spent time with everyone. By the time we made it to his table, he was massaging his hand between each book. I can't imagine how much his hand must have hurt after four straight hours of signing books, but he never complained. There was an untouched piece of pizza next to him that he wouldn't eat because he didn't want to get people's books greasy.
Markus was incredibly nice, personable, and humble, and he spoke to everyone who came through. I might have sounded a bit like a goobery fan, but I had the chance, so I had to tell him just how much I loved The Book Thief. And I don't care if I gushed too much. He lives in Sydney, for Pete's sake. I'm never going to see him again, so I had to take the chance when I had it.
A four-and-a-half-hour wait was more than worth it for what I got:
To sum up, Saturday night was fabulous. I almost couldn't make it for wholly unimportant reasons, but I am so incredibly grateful that everything worked out and that I was able to go. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I can't get over how lucky I was that I could be there. Markus Zusak came all the way from Sydney, Australia, to Provo, Utah, and I got to experience it.