Nerd Done Well, Simon Pegg in Austin

What do people love about Simon Pegg? I venture to guess it’s his willingness to represent the Nerd with such gusto. Last year, Pegg discussed the virtues of being a nerd on BBC, saying that society is reclaiming “nerd” and “geek”, and you can buy comic books past age 15 nowadays, and go out in the street in a cape unabashed. Pegg is leading the reclamation of “geek-dom”!

I’m an avid reader, including biographies and autobiographies.  And for people of fame, be they political leaders like Barack Obama or famous personalities like Russell Brand, it has almost become commonplace to publish such works. Now, Pegg is no exception with his latest release of autobiography Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid.

Austin is one of only three U.S. cities on Pegg’s book tour. Hundreds of Austin residents were giddy on Wednesday evening when British actor and comedian Simon Pegg graced the beloved BookPeople for a book signing.

Most staff members and patrons were excited by Pegg’s book as well as appearance in the store.  However, I spoke with one BookPeople employee who claimed the staff was looking forward to the event with a “small sense of dread.”  That feeling was not unwarranted as hundreds of people flocked to the second floor in eager anticipation.  The book officially went on sale June 9th, but BookPeople had customers inquiring about it weeks before its official launch date.  BookPeople staff estimated that between 250-300 copies of the book were sold the day of the signing alone, and guessed that at least 500 copies had been sold in total.

I spoke with a woman who had been camped out at the bookstore for well over an hour and half (which reminded me of Star Wars fans before a premier).  She stated that she first learned of the autobiography by following Pegg on Twitter @peggsterdotnet.  She preordered Nerd Do Well three weeks prior to its release and was eagerly anticipating both the signing and reading of it. That’s dedication!

Austin’s Pizza, who has started a book club with BookPeople, gave out free slices of pie to the early arrivals while Pegg was treated to a decent helping of meat from Chief’s BBQ.  Pegg, who was recently on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon promoting his book, spoke of his affection for our city.  I’ve commented in a couple of articles that Austin is without question a film town.  This was confirmed by Pegg; he described the successful screening of several of his film, including Shaun of the Dead, as well as the slow motion gunfight he participated in at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Simon Pegg at BookPeople, Austin

Pegg spoke briefly to the crowd before retreating upstairs to sign books.   Wristbands were given with each book purchase and were necessary in order to have it signed.  Nine groups of fifty people slowly made their way to Pegg himself.  During Late Night, the actor, comedian and now author jokingly hoped that seven or eight people in the United States would be interested in reading Nerd to Well. With the hundreds of fans in attendance, Austin proved his joke unfounded.  Head down to BookPeople to get a copy; they still have one or two left!

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