What Readers Say

Or, 5 Days at the Book Fair 

What I love most about book signing is interacting with readers. They say the nicest, and often, the funniest things.

From morn till night (except on Sunday morning [last day] when I worshiped God in my home church), I chatted with readers at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). Priceless hours.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
While signing "BFF" and "BRB"

Lady 1 to Lady 2:  Buy BFF and I'll buy BRB. After we've read them in a day or two, we can exchange books.

My thought balloon: These books are for tweens and you finish a devotional not in two days but in one year! 

Me: Good idea. 

While signing “What, Me Retire?”

White-haired lady: Oh, so you're Grace Chong. They told me you are a grandmother. You're not!

Me: Believe me, I am, cross my heart.

She laughed as though she heard the world's funniest punchline.

While signing “Quiet Time with Mateo”

Mother: (with two children in tow)  Oh, another Mateo book! Oh, no, it's a devotional! Are these excerpts from the “Oh, Mateo” series?

Me: No, these are 52 new stories, not excerpts.

Child 1: Mommy, I want the 52 new Mateo books!

Me: (explaining to the boys) All the 52 stories are in this one book.

Child 2: But I want the 52 new Mateo books! 

Mother: (rolling her eyes) I will explain later, kids. Let me go and pay for this one.

Child 1 and 2: (tailing their mom) Mommy, buy me the 52 new Mateo books! 

While signing Oh, Mateo! No. 14, “A Flood of Kindness”

Teenager: (incredulous) I just browsed through this book, how come all the Oh, Mateo! characters are in it?

Me: That's the last book in the series.

Teenager: That was what I suspected! You're killing Mateo?!

Me: Well, it's . . .

Teenager: You can't do that. I look forward to a new Mateo book every year!

Me: Here's a new Mateo devotional. There are 52 new Mateo stories in this one book.

Teenager: But I'm collecting the Oh, Mateo series!

 Me: Well . . . how about writing your own sequel of Oh, Mateo! That would be fun!

Teenager: How did you know I like writing?

Me: Uh . . .

Teenager: I've written poetry and some stories. I will be an author someday.

Me: Why don't you write your own Mateo story now and it's all yours to keep? I'd love to read  the manuscript if you'd share it with me.

Teenager: (appeased) Yeah . . . why not? 

While signing “Grace Found Me”

Young man: I bought one for my grandma yesterday. She is a speed reader, she's now in April,  I think.

Me: Tell her to read very slowly, one page at a time.

While signing “Solo Flight”

Me: For whom is this?

Woman: (whispers) Me . . .

Me: Oh, you're so blessed to be single!

Woman: (louder voice) I am?

Me: Yes! After reading the book, you'll discover that singleness is a blessing,  

Woman: (eyes lighting up) Are you serious?  

While signing any Mateo book

Mother: My baby is named Mateo.

Me: (surprised) Really?!

Mother: He was named by my older son, a fan of Oh, Mateo! He was four when I was  pregnant and he said, pointing to my tummy, “Mateo is in there!”  

Me: I am speechless.

(Note: I was told by about a dozen other mothers and grandmothers similar stories in the next four days.)

Five straight days at the book fair must have sapped all my energy and speech, I slept quietly, like a log, for eight straight eight hours that Sunday night, with zero trip to the bathroom.

The hours of book signing were long, but the grace that came with those hours was longer, so much longer.



The Dragon Scribe said...

hahaha! hahaha! I enjoyed this post so much especially the blind items. I think I know that young man who told you that he bought "Grace Found Me" for his grandma and was already in April the next day... hahaha.... I really enjoyed it so much.... plus our picture together. I am simply speechless =D

Grace D. Chong said...

Hahaha! You caught that one! Enjoyed writing this piece. I could have gone on, but I keep to a certain number of words in my blogs. Thanks, JP!

Ryan Rotor said...

I too am guilty of reading devotionals in one or two sitting. Hahahahaha! MIBF 2012 sure is fun! =D

Grace D. Chong said...

Till the next one, Rye. Meanwhile, write that book.

The Dragon Scribe said...

I really love the part about the two ladies buying BFF and BRB... that thought balloon just exploded when you said "Good Idea". Funny funny funny!

Faye Chelabian said...

I like this post too! It was fun to read the conversations!

Grace D. Chong said...

Thanks, Faye! There are actually so many more, quiet funny too, but I didn't want the post to be too long. ;D

Vie Lising-Velasco said...

Hi Ms Grace! I have a student (Grade 3) who lost her mother roughly a month ago. I gave her Teo's devotionals. She loves the book! God bless you!

Grace D. Chong said...

Hello, Vie!

May the good Lord continue to embrace your student and her family. Thank you for giving her "Quiet Time. . ." I pray she finds solace in the devotions and feel God's presence in her life.