Shelf Discoveries and Dork Secrets

July 19th, 2009

Check it out: I made it to Minnesota!

Maybe you thought I wouldn’t make it here after being stranded by Delta Airlines in Atlanta (or Hotlanta, as I like to call it, after the book series).

But Delta pulled through with flying—ha, get it, flying?—colors. Even my bag arrived on time (albeit on another flight)!

(Don’t you hate it when you get really mad about something and then people are totally nice to you and you can’t be mad at them anymore? UGH!)

Now I’m in Mankato. Those of you who grew up watching Melissa Gilbert on Little House on the Prairie (those of you who didn’t, pay attention, this is important: it involves a hot guy) know that this is where Laura used to go to get store bought dresses. Also where she finally got Almanzo to notice she wasn’t “Half-Pint” anymore.

Important! Huge romantic plot development!

“Little House” was totally my favorite TV show way into high school, something my best friend and I kept a dark “dork” secret from everyone else we knew, along with the fact that we had “Jane Eyre” paper dolls and complete crushes on Sam Neill from the movie My Brilliant Career.


In high school we could never understand why Judy Davis chose writing instead of him. I still don’t, frankly..

Anyway, I’m in Mankato, after speaking and signing at the Red Balloon in St. Paul today, where I met many fantastic Minnesotans (and some people from out of state), including Bridgette and Brittany, who arrived in these amazing handmade Airhead and Being Nikki Tees (UK version):


Bridgette and Brittany rule.

And guess what? Mankato is also the birth place of Maud Hart Lovelace, and the place where she set the fictional home of her heroine Betsy Ray! She called it Deep Valley.

Maud’s books are the ones I’ll be talking about at the Alltel Convention Center tomorrow for the Betsy-Tacy Convention….

…whose organizers have completely spoiled me by putting me up in the nicest hotel room! There is a serious danger I may never be able to stay in a normal hotel room again. Thanks, Forget-Me-Nots!

If you’re in the Mankato area, stop by tomorrow:

Monday, July 20th

11 AM – 12PM

Alltel Convention Center

1 Civic Center Plaza

Mankato, MN

(I’ll actually be signing from 10-10:30 and 12-12:30, speaking from 11-12.)

And now, for those of you who recognized my “Little House,” Betsy, and “My Brilliant Career” references–and even those who didn’t–something you’re guaranteed to love:

Out on Tuesday, July 21, for the first time ever, Lizzie Skurnick’s collection of essays (including one I wrote about why I’ve always loved Judy Blume!) Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading.

You can browse inside the book here, join the facebook page for Shelf Discovery here, or visit the original column Lizzie writes for Jezebel, “Fine Lines” (which is how I discovered her) here.

I don’t think there’s a section on Betsy in the book (I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet, since I just got my copy!), but there’s just about every other heroine you ever loved as a kid….

…plus entries by Jennifer Weiner, Laura Lippman, Cecily von Zeigesar, and more!

I was really freaking out over writing my essay on Judy Blume. I was like, “What if Judy reads this?” It’s one thing to give a speech on Maud Hart Lovelace here in Mankato…I don’t have to worry if she doesn’t like it…Maud’s no longer with us!

(Although at one point when I was packing to come here, I was like, “Oh, I better pack my Betsy books so Maud can sign them…” That’s how “current” her books feel, even though they’re set at the turn of the century! If Maud–and Betsy–were alive, they’d totally be texting, Twittering, and blogging! And Betsy would be in BIG trouble for blogging about something totally inappropriate.)

I don’t even remember what I wrote about Judy, and in my usual fashion, I can’t find the original essay now, since I have so many files called JUDY.DOC.

So you’ll have to get a copy and tell me! I’m pretty sure Judy will like it. (It’s kind of like writing about the Queen though.)

Okay, I’m going to be my typical dork self and read some Betsy and go to bed now. See you tomorrow!

More later.

Much love,

Meg