I’m sure we all have an author that we fantasize meeting and upon meeting, you think you’re going to calm, cool and collected. You think that your brain won’t fritz, and you won’t go completely starstruck, because authors are just people after all.
You would think.
Eragon was published in 2005, but I think I found it in 2007…or at least I remember reading it over and over and over again in 2007. I remember reading the book and falling in love with the idea of telling my own stories. I’d been reading for years, since by 2007 I was in sixth grade…seventh grade? Honestly, I don’t feel like doing the math, but I’d been reading for years and falling in love with stories. But something changed when I read Eragon – and I read that book so much that it’s basically falling apart.
I fell in love with the idea that I could write my own stories, that I had that ability to craft something that would make me, and others feel the way this book did. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times over the years I’ve read Eragon, but I do remember reading it roughly 7 times in the course of like 7-9 days in 2007.
I still don’t know how I managed that, but I breezed through the book over and over that Spring Break. I think I brought other books with me, but either they didn’t hold my interest, or I read those too. Honestly, it’s been so long. This was back when I lived in England, my family and family friends, rented a villa in Spain (I don’t remember exactly where) for Spring Break. There’s a lot about that trip I remember, from pulling a small child from the frigid deep end of our pool, to my brother getting sand in his eye and scratching his cornea (long story, all of it) but mostly I remember reading Eragon in various places. My bedroom, by the pool, on the plane rides, in car rides…that book traveled with me for that entire vacation. I read it over and over and over again, never growing tired of the world, it’s characters. I still have the plan boarding pass to Spain tucked in the book, the only thing I ever used as a bookmark.
Then fast forward a few years, I’m a sophomore in high school, and I’ve reread Eragon a few more times, Eldest was read, as was Brisingr, and we were tasked to write a paper on someone we admire – at least I think that was the topic. My high school sophomore year was so long ago now, I don’t remember specifics, but I remember I chose Christopher Paolini as my topic. Hell, maybe I was a tad obsessed, but prior to Eragon, writing my own stories was something I never thought possible, and when I learned that he wrote it initially as teenager, my mind was blown. If he could write a book at roughly my age, then I should be able to as well.
Also, by this point, I’d been writing, but it was all garbage. That’s not me being too hard or unfair to myself, I legit mean it was all garbage, but we have to start somewhere.
So, I wrote this paper in 2008/2009, got an A and went on with my life.
Fast forward another few years, it’s 2012, I’ve started my first truly serious attempt at writing a novel (there was a fantasy WIP attempt prior to my SF WIP, but it didn’t go anywhere), and I learn that Christopher Paolini is going to be in D.C. for the National Book Festival in September, and no matter what I was going. I told my parents, my mom agreed to take me, and so we planned the trip.
I had these grandiose plans that I was going to meet Christopher Paolini, and I was going to tell him how much I loved his book, how much it meant to me, and how because of it, I was now writing my own book. I was going to tell him that his book legit changed my life and made me want to be a writer.
Now, maybe you’re wondering how that went…maybe you already have an inkling based on how I opened this post.
Y’all, I was mute.
Nothing came out of my mouth.
If I hadn’t been repeating myself for days leading up to the event, my mom wouldn’t have been able to step in for me and tell him everything I wanted to say. I was meeting my idol and I lost my shit. I just stared and smiled, and let me tell you, I immensely regret my inaction and inability to form any kind of coherent thought that day. How foolish I must’ve looked, standing there, as Christopher signed my tattered copy of his book, unable to say anything, because oh my freaking god, it’s him.
It’s weird, that day is so vivid, but also so vague in my mind. I do remember him being impressed that my copy was so beat up, that it has a ripped cover, and bent pages, and basically lays completely flat because the spine is broken. I don’t remember if I managed to say anything at all, or if he said anything to me, or what actually happened, apart from his comment about my copy of Eragon. I left that singing with my copy of Eragon and Inheritance signed (1 book signed, per person – so I chose book 1 and 4).
My signed, tattered, falling apart, paperback of Eragon is easily my most prized book. It’s something that I will never part with. Unlike a lot of my other collection posts, where I have numerous copies of every book in which ever author’s published list, I don’t feel the same need to collect numerous copies. That paper back copy of Eragon is worth so much to me, it has such a personal tie to who I am, and how I got started writing, that it holds so much more value than numerous copies. I don’t have that same drive of needing to collect like I do other books.
I love collecting numerous copies, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel that way with these books. These books came out as I was figuring out who I was, what I wanted to write. I guess I kind of consider them steppingstones of my journey in becoming a writer. I would be wrecked if anything ever happened to that book, and I hope nothing ever does.
I’ve said it for years, that when I publish my first book, I’m planning on dedicating it as such –
To JK Rowling who taught me to love reading, and to Christopher Paolini who taught me I could write.
I feel like I can’t appropriately explain the emotional connection I feel to and for this book, but I’d run back into a burning building for it.
Maybe one day I’ll get to meet Christopher again, and maybe I won’t lose my shit, and maybe I’ll be able to form words and tell him how much his book means to me. I can only hope I get that chance, but until then, I’ll just have to show y’all my collection and anxiously anticipate his upcoming releases.
I also want to note that I have a partial eARC of his upcoming book To Sleep In A Sea of Stars and it’s fantastic and waiting until September for the rest of the book may kill me. It’s the Science Fiction book I didn’t know I needed, and it feels like some of my favorite SF shows – but I won’t go into too much detail, since I’ll have a mini review going up later this week.
Now that I’ve talked way longer than I thought I would, let’s take a look at what is probably my smallest collection of books on my shelf.
Pictured (top to bottom): US PB Eragon, US HC Eragon, US HC Eldest, US HC Brisingr, US HC Inheritance
My 5 book collection of Christopher Paolini books. Years ago a friend managed to find me hardcover copies of Eragon and Eldest as I wanted a hardcover set, and had my OG paperback copy, and the newer paperback copy of Eldest. She some how managed to find two copies that weren’t completely beat to hell, or weirdly very expensive. So now I have a matching hardcover set, and my prized, tattered paperback, and I love them so much.
Links: Eragon / Eldest / Brisingr / Inheritance
As I stated early in the post, I also have an eARC of his upcoming book- To Sleep In A Sea of Stars and so far it’s amazing. It’s only a partial ARC, but what I’ve read has been so good.
It was supposed to be a routine research mission on an uncolonized planet. But when xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic beneath the surface of the world, the outcome transforms her forever and will alter the course of human history.
Her journey to discover the truth about the alien civilization will thrust her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact, epic space battles for the fate of humankind, and the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
If you haven’t already, you should check out the Inheritance Cycle, and come September, check out To Sleep In A Sea of Stars. All of these books should be on you radar.