read up

Book festivals make me so happy. Mostly because I get to meet readers in person, which is the best part of my job. Some readers even drive long distances to be there. Like five or six hours each way! It is always an honor to meet you in person at book events, whether you travel from far or near. Thanks to everyone who came to Read Up, a shiny new festival in Greenville, SC that had such amazing energy.

Here is an example of how amazing the energy was.

Susane Colasanti and Jay Asher, Read Up 2016

See, this is another reason I love book festivals. Jay Asher and I had not yet met in person, even though our first books came out close to each other about 10 years ago. When It Happens came out in 2006 and 13 Reasons Why came out in 2007. We even had the same publisher. But for some reason, we just never met at any events over the years. I always felt like Jay was a mentor from afar, an author I looked up to and admired. Now I understand that we were destined to meet at Read Up. Because when I asked him for an ARC of What Light, he had already saved one for me! And when he gave it to me he swooped me up for this fabulous photo! I mean, how awesome is he? Obvs this was the author highlight…followed closely by discovering that Stephanie Perkins and I both ate lunch in the bathroom in high school during our panel discussion. More proof that you are never alone.

Our panel was a blast. Michael Giller, our moderator and local high school hardcore librarian, was a master moderator. He even tweeted a pic before the event with our books and Office paraphernalia because he knew all about my Office love. And then he gave me Dwight’s ID badge and we all got to pick out magnets at the panel! I really enjoyed the southern hospitality of South Carolina, but Michael wins the Most Gracious Host award.

Susane Colasanti and Michael Giller, Read Up 2016

Speaking of awards, M.Judson deserves lots of bookstore acclaim. Like we should just throw awards at them. M.Judson is one of the most spectacular bookstores I have ever seen in my entire life…and I have seen a lot of bookstores! First of all, their entryway is designed from stacked books. So right when you walk in you know you are entering the kind of place you will never want to leave.

M.Judson bookstore in Greenville, SC

There is such an abundance of positive energy at M.Judson it feels like you can bottle some up and take it home until the next time you are in Greenville, SC. Seriously, if you are anywhere near that super cute town, go to M.Judson immediately! You will love the adorable seating areas, the beautiful design elements, the blackboard paint on the walls of the children’s reading room, and tons of natural light making you feel uplifted and refreshed. My only regret is that I did not try one of everything in their cafe, which looked like the kind of place you’d want to be a regular at. Snaps for the magnificent M.Judson!

It was time to leave too soon. I really wanted to explore more of Greenville, which has a total indie vibe and was the perfect place for a book festival. Three seconds after I got there I discovered their dopest coffeehouse, Coffee Underground, and was in mocha mint frap heaven in no time. Too bad I couldn’t snag one more for the plane home. Not that I could take it through security, but the airport had a sweet frap-sipping lounge area that Nova Ren Suma and I immediately commandeered. The airport was so small there was pretty much only room for the two of us…plus our buddy in the background.

Susane Colasanti and Nova Ren Suma, Read Up 2016

Shout-out to festival founder Lee Yarborough for working so hard over the past 18 months to bring Read Up to life! Lee is a fellow organization enthusiast. Which is why the day ran so smoothly you would think Read Up was in its tenth year instead of first. She thought of every detail, including longer handles on our totes because short handles are annoying. I know, right? Lee even had her husband Hubert and daughter Caroline working the festival, too. Hubert was the perfect escort schlepping us from the airport because he is the friendliest neighbor ever! And Caroline managed her group of volunteers like a pro. You could feel Lee’s passion for this event in every part of the day, which made it feel so welcoming and alive. You should def plan on being at Read Up 2017 if you are in the area!

Happy summer reading 🙂

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