I was a typical celebrity fan for a day, shouting, laughing and cheering with kindred souls while waiting for Nicholas Sparks at the Podium yesterday. Gosh, if Nissa was excited to give me her gift, I was just as excited to take a glimpse of one of her favorite authors, Nicholas Sparks.
The Best of Me.
It’s the newest book by Nicholas Sparks which was launched yesterday at the 2nd floor lobby of The Podium. I told Nissa earlier that I won’t be caught dead lining up for hours just to have a book signed. Signed or not, I could still enjoy reading it , right? Nissa asked me to just try since this is the first time that a very popular and well-known author is visiting the country. I am sure there have been so many authors who visited the country before but Nicholas Sparks is “the Nicholas Sparks” if you know what I mean. So I decided to go to The Podium and take my chance on a raffle that would pave the way for my book to be personally signed by the author. What a frenzy, the excitement was contagious, so to speak.
I arrived at The Podium before 11am and I was quite surprised to find that a lot of people are lining up the corners of the 2nd floor. I asked where the end of the line was and somebody pointed up, meaning, it’s on the upper floors. I reached the 3rd floor and it was the same, the 4th floor was like the first two. You could just imagine, I was finally able to join the line on the fifth level of the mall. What would you do with six hours of wait if not to know people who are in the same line with you? Chat them up, right and discuss about books, Nicholas Sparks books in particular. There I met Abby and Cielo and even before we reached the registration counter, we have already exchanged e-mail addresses and had a few shots or two with my cam. The line was very organized and it was fast.
The joys of being lucky to draw a YES for a signing pass. Earlier on, we said, what if we are qualified in the draw, are we going to shout for joy? We heard so much shouting of a YES when we were at the upper floors. When it was my turn, I silently prayed, “Lord, let this be another birthday gift for me”. Answered prayers! :) Cielo wasn’t as lucky though. I met Cryss later and we had our pictures taken at the stage before I left for Robinson’s Galleria for lunch.
I went to Robinson’s Galleria for lunch at Kenny Rogers, a favorite hangout with the kids. I was supposed to meet Tere, a friend at AFCC but they arrived late so we didn’t have the chance to see each other again. I spent almost an hour at Bestsellers. I was disappointed to see Samantha Sotto’s hardbound copy of Before Ever After selling at P499.00 at Bestsellers, same price I bought my trade paperback copy. Bakit ganun? This is the first time I saw a book selling a the same price – a lovely hardbound and trade paperback copy. Lesson learned: Ask before you buy!
By 3pm, I was back at The Podium and saw almost everyone squatted on the floor, with a lively hum of voices excited to see the start of the event. I had a chat with another soul, Camille, who said that she only started reading when she was in college and she said further that she missed all those opportunities of reading lovely and interesting books. I told her, it’s not too late.” Books will find you“, I said, ” not the other way around.” We talked about several things, her mom who died of cancer and how my treatment went. It’s kind of funny that it was so easy to talk to people you have just met and all because you have one common subject to talk about – books.
There was shouting when 5pm came, we were all eager to see Nicholas but he appeared on stage at around 5:20pm. There was a riot and everyone was standing but we were all disciplined. Cameras flashed and he was all smiles when he came up the stage. Oh my, since this was my first time to meet a well-known author, I was just like, “Oh gosh, it’s Nicholas Sparks!” Talk about the disadvantage of not being tall enough to angle your camera the right way. The guy in front of me was kind enough to take zoom shots from my camera.Nicholas briefly talked about how he wrote all those bestseller books. He talked about loving all of them but one particular book stands out as his favorite, A Walk To Remember. The Notebook was his third book and he was inspired to write it by the grandparents of his wife who had been married for more than sixty years when he met them. And when he said, “I am Noah”, everyone was shouting, probably thinking of the lovely book and the equally touching movie. I read the book twice and watched the movie adaptation several times.
There was this lady who was awarded the “early bird” . She was there at 2am. They called her up the stage and her book was the first one signed by Nicholas. Lucky, lucky lady. Then there was this other reader who wrote about her encounter with A Message In a Bottle.
It was worth the long hours of waiting. It was quite tiring but who cares, the personal encounter was just wonderful. When it was my turn to have my book signed, I said, “Finally, finally! Hi Nicholas.” Then he answered “Hello”. I was in seventh heaven. I had a picture with him, I really hope I can post it here soon.
(Thank you National Bookstore for these pics, thank you for giving us a chance to see Nicholas Sparks).