Hearing him read the book aloud really magnified the humor of all of the funny little nine-year-old linguistic elements as well as the heartbreakingly sad moments that punctuate the story. The question and answer period, led by Christopher Frizelle, was actually really interesting, too. He talked a little bit about the Everything is Illuminated movie, the novel as airplane, how a draft might change wars, simultaneous contradictory beliefs about novels, how Dolly Parton is good writing prep music, why he doesn't do research to write fiction, and how extremes are often more connecting than dividing. Among other things.
Naturally, Awesome was awesome and Charles D'Ambrosio's essay was pretty good, too. I want to look it up to find out what happened.