Last night is sure to be a highlight of the whole year for me. We went on a date to the library! This wasn’t any ordinary night at the library, though. It was the night of the McFadden Lecture, a free event (including free parking) open to the public featuring a visiting author. This year’s author was…Junot Diaz!!!

As soon as I found out he was going to speak, I knew I HAD to be there. I ❤ his books This is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (which made my Top 10 list from 2014). Luckily Nate joined me because he is the best, and we made a date out of it 🙂

First, I can’t say enough good things about the Indianapolis Public Library in general and in particular for this event. I’ll try to keep it concise by using bullets but no promises!

  • Accessible – Free for everyone. There was a great turnout and a wide variety of people: families, couples, young, old, students, etc. I loved the diversity represented there and the questions for Junot that came about because of it.
  • Well organized – They literally had duct tape arrows on the ground to point toward the restrooms. Genius. Also, the program ran very smoothly and timely, which is no easy feat with such a large crowd!
  • Gorgeous architecture at the downtown location – It is by far one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in and I love spending time there. If we’d gotten married anywhere other than my hometown, I would have wanted it to be at this library.
  • Informed questions – Emmy award winning local RTV6 reporter Rafael Sanchez was the moderator, so he asked thought-provoking and insightful questions while keeping the audience engaged too.
  • Amazing featured guests – Junot Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, and other recent McFadden speakers include Khaled Hosseini, Ann Patchett, Nicholas Sparks, Eric Carle, Louis Sachar, Judy Blume, David McCullough, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Peck, and more

My only regret is not having lived in Indy longer to attend more of these lectures! Seriously, some of my all-time favorite authors have been featured, and getting to see Junot Diaz was a dream come true. I’m so glad we found out about it in time to go! I definitely want to keep an eye out for more local events like this in the future so we can get more involved with the amazing opportunities our city has to offer.

The ceiling of the atrium we sat in. Like I said – gorgeous architecture!

Diaz’s books tackle some tough issues like immigration (especially relevant with the current national conversation), racism, gender inequality, etc. I loved getting to hear more about his background in these areas (he came from the Dominican Republic as a child) and his process as a writer (answer: there isn’t one). He’s a very well spoken, thoughtful, intelligent, but also clever and funny guy. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the night:

“Libraries are great for promiscuous readers like me.”

Re: writing, “Just because the result is cute doesn’t mean the process was.”

“Footnotes are like: I’m so smart I could go on about this, but I won’t go on about it. I’ll just signal that I could.”

“You might speak to people who have never been spoken to before until you wrote in their language. Do you.”

“Your job is to make the art. Your job isn’t to convince other people to like it…If you’re worried some people won’t get it, well, that’s a given.”

And now for the real highlight…meeting him! I bought The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao for him to sign while Nathan snapped some photos. I was starry-eyed and geeking out for the whole 10 seconds we spent together, as the photos prove ❤ 🙂

This is our second date where I’ve gotten to meet an author. The first was Paula McLain at the Carmel Public Library last year. These are quickly becoming some of my favorite memories, so I hope we have the chance to do this more! I saw some elderly couples last night and if I’m lucky, maybe we’ll be like them someday 🙂

If you could meet any author, who would it be? What’s the best book you’ve read recently? If I ever have the chance, I’d love to meet Ann Patchett!

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