Confessions of Hopeless Book Nerd: Chaos Walking or Meeting Patrick Ness 101

by |March 26, 2010

Please Give a Warm Welcome to our Guest, Amelia Vahtrick – Blogger, Bookseller and Editor of Booktopia’s 6 – 12 Buzz. Over to You Amelia!

I am a big book nerd. I work in books. I decorate my house in books (not so much out of an aesthetic desire, simply because there are SO many of them and they’ve got to go somewhere), and I probably don’t have to tell you that meeting favourite authors has got to be THE biggest perk of my job.

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet the author of the fantastic series Chaos Walking – the incredibly charming Patrick Ness.

If you have no idea what I am talking about then get thee to Booktopia because Chaos Walking is a series not to be missed. Whenever I’ve tried to review this book in the past, all that seems to come out is gushy, and not really a proper review that ends in something like “Just trust me, read it. It will keep you up until four in the morning it is that gut-wrenchingly good”.

Book one, The Knife of Never Letting Go, opens in Prentisstown – a town populated entirely by men. All the men have a disease called ‘Noise’ – a condition which means their thoughts are constantly projected out, and their minds in turn are bombarded by the Noise of other men. Todd Hewitt (our hero) finds a pocket of absolute silence in the swamp near his house. A discovery which prompts all hell to break loose.

I really don’t want to say much more than that – this is the sort of book which slowly reveals itself, bit by bit – it is best to read it in complete ignorance of what is to come.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to meet Patrick Ness a few weeks ago. A bunch of book-groupies and myself went along to hear him speak – this is the author of a YA series, and there were perhaps two teenagers in the crowd. Booksellers, librarians, teachers and people from OTHER publishing houses were, however, in abundance. He spoke about writing, about where his books came from, about knife crime, terrorism and war and finished up with a few musings on joy. He read from book three, Monsters of Men, (and let me tell you – it is going to be an ASTOUNDING read) and then did a signing.

In true me-meeting-authors-I-love fashion, I was suitably star struck. I like to think I conducted myself a bit better than when I met Joanne Harris (when I said something along the lines of “This must be what normal people feel when they meet a rock star!” Her response was something like ‘okayyyyy… name please?’) I made a few jokes, told him he was great, and in return, he wrote in the cover of my book that I was ‘lovely and nerdy’.

I would like to know that I am not the only one who gets this star-struck with authors. Surely I am not. Surely there is someone else out there who has stammered out “Oh my god I love everything you have ever written” to an idol. Someone else who has blushed when they met a philosopher? (Hmm, maybe not. I think Stephen Law thinks I am a lunatic, but that is another story). I am sure if I met, say, Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood I wouldn’t even be able to get out the most perfunctory of compliments like “Love your books”. More likely I will blush bright red, stammer out my name and grin like a loon at the object of my reading affection.

So, tell me, anyone out there as nerdy as me? Has anyone met an idol and embarrassed themselves? I don’t think anyone will be able to top my sister, who tried to sell John Boyne (author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) a copy of his own book…

Thank you, Amelia.

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  • Joe

    March 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Great review Amelia. Can someone please advise what is the youngest age that his books would be suited for? Based on your review it sounds like adults would enjoy reading it as much as teenagers and I assume they would be suitable for male or females. Thanks again.

    • toniwhitmont

      March 31, 2010 at 5:21 pm

      Good question – definitely both sexes because there are strong male and female lead characters. As for an age range, a competent reader over the age of 12 would get into these books, but I have to tell you as an adult, they make really satisfying reads.

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