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>Craigslist or Freaky Friday?

>Missed Connections: leaving Stony Brook station around 6:00 PM yesterday. Me, tall middle-aged man in a bowtie listening to iPod. You, medium-height young woman reading the Horn Book.

Any authors out there ever similarly catch a reader unawares?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >Oh, yes. I was in the public library looking for a book for my son’s science project and the boy behind me asked his mother if she could check out a book (one of mine). It was by the same author as another book they had both liked. No, it isn’t, his mother said. Yes, it is. No, it isn’t.

    Yes, really, it is, I said.

  2. Mitali Perkins says:

    >One of my secret fantasies is to catch a teen reading one of my books on a plane or in an airport, so when we’re traveling and I see a girl around 14 lost in a novel, I wander as close as I possibly can without scaring her (with my teen sons murmuring “Mom the predator” in the background).

    Alas, my dream has never come true, but at least if the reader looks up startled I can tell her that I, too, enjoyed Sarah Dessen’s LOCK AND KEY, Laurie Halse Anderson’s PROM, or Shannon Hale’s BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >I heard John Irving tell a story once about seeing a reader on an airplane throw down The Hotel New Hampshire in disgust–possibly even tearing it in two? And then, some time later, faced with the tedium of a long flight, dig it out and resignedly start reading again.

  4. Andy Laties says:

    >I went into a well-known children’s bookstore two years ago and had a conversation with the owner. After the owner had stepped out of the shop, the store manager approached and asked if I was the guy who had written the book she was secretly reading in her spare instants, and which she was keeping stashed in her purse, so the store’s owner couldn’t see her reading it?! (Thus the owners wouldn’t realize that she was herself planning to quit and open her own children’s bookstore…)

  5. >When I first started writing reviews for an alternative weekly paper, I was always trying to discern whether people I saw reading the paper were reading my reviews. Later I started writing a column for the same paper, and then people came up to me on the street, said, “You’re Laura Crossett, aren’t you?” and proceeded to tell me their thoughts. These were sometimes good thoughts, but not always. I think that sort of encounter is probably always a mixed blessing.

  6. >After years of looking at the books being read by kids in airport waiting rooms, it finally happened – I saw someone reading one of my books. The reader wasn’t a youngster, though. She was a school librarian, and she seemed as pleased to meet me as I was to find her reading my book. It was the highlight of my trip.

  7. janeyolen says:

    >In Portland, stopped in a children’s bookstore in time to hear a mother asking whether they had a children’s novel where at a Jewish holiday, a girl goes back in time.

    The store owner, my husband, and I said simultaneously, “DEVIL’S ARITHMETIC” and the woman said, “Yes, that’s it! Do you have it?”

    And I got to do the Big Reveal, which was great fun.

    But except for one other time, that’s been it.


  8. Wendie O says:

    >I was at the library Information Desk one day when a boy came up with my biography of George Washington in his hands. Is this any good, he asked? “Oh yes,” I said. “I know the author.” He went happily away, never suspecting that I WAS the author. _wendieO

  9. >Just heard Walter Dean Myers accepting the Kerlan Award in Minneapolis and he told a story of seeing a young woman reading MONSTER in the subway in NYC. He said she looked up for a moment from reading, staring off into space, and he felt very strongly that, at that moment, they were “inhabiting the same world.”

  10. Melissa Walker says:

    >I did just catch a girl in the Union Square Barnes and Noble reading my latest release, Violet by Design, while sipping Starbucks by the window. She turned out to be a teen model (like my protagonist) and we spent an hour chatting. It was just perfect timing and it made both of our days!

  11. ChatRabbit says:

    >I had a funny experience in church, whereby a little girl was climbing on the pew in front of me with a coloring book I had illustrated for Golden Books years ago. Truly unexpected. I didn’t say anything- you’re not supposed to talk in church. That didn’t stop the little girl, though!

    Finding your book in the hands of an actual person is way more fun than finding it at a yard sale or flea market…

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