I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin and picked up a friend who traveled from Toronto and together we drove to Spring Green, Wisconsin, population 1444. After we checked in to our hotel, we popped in to the Rock and Roll Drive in for a bite to eat. Inside the restaurant was this weird hot dog guy who looked a little to eager to be eaten. And wearing a sombrero. He was pretty convincing though, because my friend indeed had a hot dog for dinner. I had a hamburger and we both had some delicious root beer in glasses so frosty that the foam from the root beer that dripped down the sides froze to the glass. Next we drove up to the crown jewel of roadside attractions The House on the Rock. The House on the Rock plays a key role in an important scene in the book American Gods, by Neil Gaiman which is why Mr. Gaiman was there signing books. The whole weekend was a celebration of the book and the role that the house plays in it. So we checked in for the event and found out that our assigned book signing time would be after the evening's reading. So unfortunately, the book I was going to have him sign was still back at the hotel. Fortunately, they were giving out copies of The Graveyard Book (newly out in paperback) so I had that for him to sign. Also for sale were presigned copies of his other books so I bought a signed copy of Odd and the Frost Giants to keep for myself.
The reading was fantastic! He read part of the chapter in the book that takes place at the House on the Rock. There were several hundred people under the tent listening to him read and you could have heard a pin drop during his pauses. My friend and I had lined up early so we were able to get a seat in the third row in front of the stage. I was in heaven! After he read from American Gods he was interviewed by Steve Paulson of Wisconsin Public Radio. He had a lot of interesting things to say! I think they were recording it so as soon as it's available online, I will put up a link. Then there were some questions that were submitted earlier by fans and after that, he read two more short ghost stories which were great!
When the reading was over, it was time for the signing. My friend and I stood in line for two hours to get our books signed. It was a long wait but we talked to people in line around us so it wasn't so bad. When I finally got to the table I asked Mr. Gaiman to sign my book for Marshall Lane School and he did and doodled a little gravestone. He looked pretty tired when I got to the table but he kept signing books for another hour! He is very good to his fans. We were pretty tired by this time as well so we went back to our room and went to bed. It was a pretty great day but the next day was even better! I'll tell you about that tomorrow! In the mean time, go to mousecircus.com to listen to (and watch) Neil Gaiman read The Graveyard Book for free!