Sunday, November 18, 2018

going to the book fair / Salon du livre de Montréal 2018

How many people go to Montreal's book fair? I don't know but wow. There are more than 2500 authors invited for signings and other events.

Above is the view from my table,and here's me watching the streams and streams of people passing at 11 am on a Sunday morning!

The longest lineups are for children's books. For one author there's a lineup of parents and kids down the alley and up the stairway and around a corner three or four abreast. When R comes by to see if  I need anything, he asks if maybe I want to write a children's book.

I'm watching how many people meet my eyes as they walk past. I sometimes get a smile and even a Bonjour. A woman asks if my book is for adolescents or adults. Another asks what my book is about and says she'll keep it in mind. She comes back 10 minutes later and buys it. Nice!

I love watching the kids who walk past swinging or hugging the bag with the book(s) they've been allowed to choose. Some return my look solemnly. Some look away. Some smile. One asks her mom if I wrote a book too. Yes, I say. It's important for kids to know that ordinary-looking, talking, walking people write books. When I was young, I loved to read but hadn't the least idea who wrote books. I thought you had to be born in England and have a snooty accent. 

I get questions that have nothing to do with my book. "I have an 11-year-old and a four-year-old. Can you tell me which children's authors are at the Salon right now?" She's holding her phone and I suggest she pull up the site and look. We do that together. And then from left field: "Madame! Madame! Why is this book $39.95 here and in my bookstore in St-Hyacinthe it's $34?" I say I'm not the manager, I'm an author. I don't normally say that I'm an author. It sounds so la-di-da. (See snooty accent above.) But being here makes it okay somehow. The woman apologizes and leans in to hug me. Glances at my book but doesn't buy it.

The publisher stops by now and then to see if I need anything and to chat. I appreciate it.

A friend underhand-pitches me a piece of sucre à la crème--like fudge--through the crowd. To my surprise I catch it. Keep your blood sugar up, he says. 

I step across two seats when I realize that a new author who's come at noon is Sylvain Neuvel, who also lives in Pointe St-Charles. He was at the Salon yesterday too and said that he had another writer from the Pointe beside him. Good writing vibes in the Pointe these days! 

I stay long enough to cross paths with Eric Dupont whose recent book, La route du lilas, I've started reading and admire hugely. Before he even arrives, he has a lineup. The woman at the head of the line has a list of questions. I ask if she hesitated before undertaking to read a 600-page book. She's very surprised. The more pages are only the more pleasure! she says. The whole day so far has been an Alice tumble into a world where words and books reign.

But I'm ravenous for lunch and R recalls the smell of fresh bread when we were walking to the Salon from the Pointe, and we head off to find the bakery-café he's positive exists.