Saturday, April 3, 2010

15 Things I Learned in Italy

In lieu of actually trying to summarize the actual book fair (which I'm happy to attempt if any book geeks out there want specifics) I figured I'd do a cheater photo tour of my Bologna/ Florence trip. I will do a cut for obnoxious levels of photography. Here are a few things I learned while overseas.

1. In Italy, they have giant light boxes at the Random House booth, and one of them is of my crit partner Tessa Gratton's debut! This is my first photograph of the trip.

Bologna for Tessa

And this was the second.

Bologna for Tess

2. In Italy, they also have lightboxes for me. Like this pretty one for Linger.

Bologna floor lightbox

3. And also this giant ten foot long one. I think I may get one installed in my bedroom. Mood lighting. Those are my fantastic foreign rights people, Lisa, Rachel, and Janelle.

Bologna Floor The Gang

4. Thirty-two foreign publishers is a lot, especially when it doesn't include Canada, UK, and Australia, which are all covered by Scholastic. And when you put most of those publishers under one roof for a dinner party just for you, it suddenly gets a heckuva lot more real. There were so many people absolutely crazy and passionate about Shiver -- it was literally like a dream.

Also, they fed us multiple courses until 11 p.m., and then we rolled back to our hotels to have more food six hours later.

Bologna Silvio Dinner3

And of course a few Shivers with accents were in attendance.

Bologna Silvio Books 2

5. In Italy, they like to drink sparkling water and look at you funny if you don't. They ask when you sit down, "Gas? No gas?" and this does not mean what you think it means.

Most of these bottles in these photographs are water. Some gassy. Some not. Also, some of the people in this photograph are Dutch. Some not. (I love my Dutch publishers by the way. I believe in this photo she is explaining to me what is living on the plate in front of us).

Bologna Silvio dinner

6. When they say "Scholastic cocktail party at the castle" they mean a real castle. I feel warm/ cozy about being a Scholastic author at this moment. I barely restrained myself from reenacting any of the scenes from Anastasia.

Bologna Castle

7. It is cold at night in Italy in March. I brought my husband to stay warm.

Bologna Castle lips

8. They have a lot of vehicles I would like to have intercourse with in Italy. I want this Land Rover like WHOA. (technical term)

Florence Rover

9. My husband has weird ideas of what constitutes picturesque tourist photos. We are alike this way. He took this photo in Venice.

Bologna Venice Workman

10. They have cops in Italy. Some of these cops where helmets large enough to store sandwiches in. I'm not sure if they do actually use them for this purpose, however. (I would) If they did store sandwiches in there, they would be ham, because ham sandwiches are all the Italians eat between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Unless it's fish paste. They also eat fish paste.

Florence cops being coply

11. They have copies of Shiver in Italy. When I tried to explain to them that I wrote this book and I would be happy to sign their stock copies if they liked, they explained to me they have no English copies. When I finally convinced them I was Maggie Stiefvater, through a series of pictionary clues, mime activities, driver's license photos, and finally, English-speaking bystanders, the manager read the bio in the back of the book and said only, "You have a Camaro named Loki?"

Also, this was when my eye started turning red. Can you tell?

Florence Shiver in situ

12. In Florence, they had a lot of violent statues. Like, people chopping off Medusa's head.

Florence Perseus

And people raping Sabine women. (yes, I realize that is only her butt cheek. I wanted you to see how amazingly realistic it was in real life, with the fingers pressing into butt cheek. I was impressed).

Sabine's Butt

Also, there Florence had a small but active clubbing scene.

Get it? Get it? Oh, I kill myself with the funny.

Clubbing in Florence

13. In Florence, they had living statues because they just didn't have enough not-living ones per capita.

Florence Living Statue

14. If you take a photo of a living statue on their cigarette break, they will show you Italy's version of the finger, which takes a lot more arm muscles. And looks really impressive if you happen to be painted in all gold.

Florence Living Pissy Statue

15. And finally, in Italy, they eat kraken.

Florence tentacles

I just realized that this was possibly the least informative post ever. However, I'm not changing it. I'm going to go not eat squid.


Carrie said...

Awesome post, which made me laugh out loud repeatedly. I especially enjoyed the look at Florence's clubbing scene. I'm also excited to see Tessa's cover. I'm really looking forward to reading her book. Thanks for sharing!

Reverie said...


The end!


Unknown said...

Wow! What an awesome experience! And the pics are great too!! Love them!

Unknown said...

squid.. yuk!! Thats the nastiest thing Iv ever seen that's supposed to be food. LOVE all the photos thou, looks like it was a lot of fun!!

soulfulll said...

After reading this entry, I think I'm gonna go not eat squid as well! Thanks for posting Maggie :)

Anonymous said...

WOW, you are very lucky Maggie

Mariah Irvin said...

I was in Florence last summer and I saw the same living statue (the silver guy0. Glad to see you had such a good time!

erica m. chapman said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing the pics Maggie ;o) Okay. Now I want to go to Italy!

Tori [Book Faery] said...

Beautiful pictures. I so wish I could have gone!

And that Kraken video? You are awesome Maggie

Crystal Cook said...

I love this! All of it! You are just hilarious and it looks like you had so much fun!! This may have been the least informative post ever, but it sure was fun :)

cat hellisen said...

This post left me hungry for calamari. Thanks. :D

smr said...

this book geek would like to hear more about the book fair!

Akoss said...

This is really neat!!! thanks for sharing with us.

Zia said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip and I don't blame you on the squid. There's no way I could eat that lol. The sculptures are amazing!

ray said...

I was in florence in august and it's amazing! but sometimes italians seem weird... especially when they try to drive a car!! when i was there i took a taxi from a restaurant to my hotel and the driver drove threw a red light! i hope you had fun there! and the kraken video is hilarious!

storyqueen said...

You've just inspired me to write something awesome enough to get to go the the Bologna Children's Book Fair!!

Off to write awesomeness.


SJDuvall said...

I think my favorite picture is of you and your husband! :)

Anonymous said...

No no, this was quite informative. I liked the sculpture pics.

Sara {Rhapsody and Chaos} said...

Love all the pics!! The party in the castle looks ay-may-zing! Do you have any more pictures of it posted anywhere?

Donna Gambale said...

I should've learned by now not to read your posts while at work, since laughing out loud is a dead giveaway that, for two minutes, I'm not quite laying out a newspaper.

molly (a dazzling distraction) said...

thanks for sharing your pictures - i especially love the clubbing scene (and your sense of humor) - i literally laughed out loud

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Hee hee. Thanks, guys. smr, more book geekery to come!

And I don't have any more of the castle, unfortunately, Sara. But it was part of the Piazza Maggiore..

Caffenero said...

Ah ah ah!
Indeed we (I'm italian) like sparkling water, did you try the "lightly" sparkling one? That's my favourite :P
However I'm happy to have found your "Shiver" and discovered your world! If you have any question about Italy and Italians, please you have only to ask :D

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I did indeed try the lightly sparkling! It made my nose laugh. ;)

I'm so glad that you enjoyed Shiver and hope you keep loving the series! Thanks for the offer!

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