Sunday, April 15, 2012

From Where I'm Standing [7] - Athena and Rachel Hawkins

On March 28, 2012, I had the great pleasure of traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, with my friend and writing buddy, Megan, from Myth-illogical.

Our trip served two purposes. The first revolved around the Parthenon, a Nashville landmark that is a full-scale, fully-restored replica of the temple of the same name in Athens, Greece. Megan, being from Florida and not subjected to the school trips to Nashville as I had been, had never seen it. Seeing that Meg is currently writing a YA series based around Greek mythology, I thought it imperative she visit.

The second purpose (and really the whole reason we decided to go to Nashville on this particular day) was to see Rachel Hawkins, author of the hilarious Hex Hall series, at Parnassus Books.

After hitting a long string of traffic on the way into Nashville, Meg and I finally made it to the Parthenon Wednesday afternoon. It was an extremely pretty day so we took some pictures outside before heading indoors to the museum portion which, unfortunately, does not allow photos. The museum inside showcases some artwork as well as using photographs and artifacts to tell the story of the original Nashville Parthenon, which was part of Tennessee's Centennial Exposition in 1897. I took some notes as there was a lot of interesting and unusual facts about the Expo that could be used for a story someday. ^_^

Once we were done looking around inside, we headed upstairs to the main event, the four-story, gilded statue of Athena. This was my third time seeing her and she is as magnificent as ever. I took plenty of pictures and Meg took even more, being sure to get the informational stuff as well to use as research. On a side note, many of you have probably seen the movie Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, and you may notice from my pictures below that Athena looks a little different from what she looked like in the movie. That was because they recreated the interior of the Parthenon for the film while all of the exterior shots were actually taken in Nashville.

The area around Athena's hall has replicas of what is left of the actual statues that make up the pediments of the Parthenon in Greece. I didn't take pictures of those but I did take photos of the fully restored pediments in the back area of the upper floor, where the treasury would have been in the original structure. These pediments are what adorn the outside of the Parthenon and it is always fun figuring out which god is which. There are also two sets of huge doors on each end of the Parthenon and I had never noticed before how cool the ornamentation on them was, so I took pictures of that too. Also, I loved the gryphon. I'm sure it's always been there but I'd never really noticed it before.

After we finished up at the Parthenon, we had lunch at a Panera close by, reveling in the air conditioning and caffeine. Then we made our way to Parnassus Books in the Green Hills area of Nashville. If you didn't already know, Parnassus is an independent bookstore co-owned by best-selling author Ann Patchett (see Ann go head to head with Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report in the video below).

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I had already purchased the first two books of the Hex Hall series, so I bought the final installment, Spell Bound, when we arrived. There were chairs set up for the event and Meg and I quickly found some other bloggers from our area, Heather of SupaGurl Books, and Marla of Starting the Next Chapter. We hit it off and gabbed until the event began.

When Rachel Hawkins came out, she was as hilarious as expected. She told of her adventures touring for her book, which mainly involved the part of her tour she called AllyHawk, which was when she was with author Ally Carter. She shared several funny stories about them getting lost and being treated like wandering kittens. As for SoloHawk, her solo tour, things had been less eventful. Hawkins then began signing books and taking photos. I was so glad I was able to meet her, hear her speak, and get my Hex Hall series books signed.

All in all, Meg and I had a great trip. We came away with lots of pictures, an armload of books, and many fun memories! I hope you enjoyed hearing about our little adventure. Look out for the next installment of From Where I'm Standing in which I'll be sharing what happens when this Tennessee girl attends the Southern Kentucky Book Fest. Thanks for reading! ^_^

Sunday, April 1, 2012

From Where I'm Standing [6] - Evolution of a Feature

If you've been following my blog any length of time, you may have noticed that I don't do FWIS posts very often. Originally FWIS was meant to highlight photos taken in and around my hometown. But honestly, this purpose does not serve my blog or my readers very well.

Lately I've used FWIS in a new way and I've decided to continue evolving of this feature. From now on, FWIS will be focusing any trips or events that relate to reading, writing, and YA. I've had a great increase in planned trips/events, so I think this is a better use of this feature. A more personal or non-trip/event related FWIS post may crop up from time to time, but those will most likely be similar to my year end post from 2011 which chronicled some important events in my life.

I hope that the evolution of this feature is one that you, my lovely quirksters, will enjoy and I look forward to sharing my adventures with you! ^_^