Book Expo America: Disneyworld for BookNerds

I once likened ALA as to being summer camp for book nerds (because at camp, you’re sort of supposed to WORK and edumacate yourself and stuff). Now I shall assert that Book Expo America is like Disneyland for book nerds.

I wasn’t able to attend BEA this year * but my most excellent coworker Stephanie did, and here’s her summation of the wonderfulness:

 Though the audience is more diverse, Book Expo is really like any other library conference: it is like going to an amusement park.  The day is mostly standing in lines, but instead of waiting for a ride, it is waiting for an author.  In both cases, the main goal only lasts seconds long, with a thrilling high that is quickly lost once it is realized that another line a waits.  The cycle then repeats itself until you find yourself leaned up against a wall with a heavy bag and aching feet in the late afternoon (not that I speak from experience).  My first time at BEA occurred weeks ago, and here are some interesting things I learned:
1. Food is optional.  This is new for me, since I live to eat.  I found myself not caring for food, at least while I was at the Javits, unless it was to get a whoopee pie from Sarah Dessen.  It was all about waiting in lines and chatting up fellow book lovers.

2.  A strong bag is a must.  Though shuttles to hotels were offered, traffic in New York City is horrible and by foot seemed to be the best (since no subway lines run that close to the Javits Convention Center).  Not only were books received in autograph lines, but also when visiting the publishers’ booths.  Which brings me to my next point . . . .

3.  The power of asking.  I hate asking for things; I don’t know why, I just do.  So, when a kind blogger told me all I had to do was ask for a book, and I might get it, it was nerve wracking.  So, I had to do the thing I hate the most, initiate conversation with the purpose of getting something; this then had to happen over and over again throughout the day.  The worse thing that happened, and it did, was being told that the book was gone or not available.  The best, receiving books that I would never get, like Fateful by Claudia Gray, featuring…wait for it . . . .werewolves on the Titanic (yes, I did just let out a squeal).

4.  Maureen Johnson is awesome.  Granted, if you followed her twitter page, you would know this.  But, she actually takes time to talk to her readers, no matter how long the line is.  Granted, all the authors I met were awesome, but only Maureen discussed the right time to squeak a toy horn with me.

5.  I am addicted.  Granted, on the first day, I was feeling down about the conference.  New York City was hard to navigate, and I did not know how the conference worked.  By Thursday, not only did my friend and I figure out the subway system, we became autograph line pros.  Now, I cannot wait to go back next year.  We met great people, whether they were book fans, book sellers, authors, or bloggers, and could not get over how much New York City had to offer.

So, if you ever get the chance to check out any author event, I would recommend that you do.  Be sure to wear your nerdfighter gear, jump and down, and do not worry about saying something foolish . . . because you will (I did tell once Sara Rees Brennan that my twitter icon was Leslie Knope eating a pancake; I still don’t know why).  Happy reading!

*So even though I wasn’t able attend in 2011, I will definitely be attending in 2012, since I just learned I’ve been chosen as the Official BEA Librarian Blogger for 2012!

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hark! an arc!

I’ve come into possession of several ARCs recently, and normally I don’t give a frak about that kind of thing, and book-bragging fills me with an inexplicable rage, but I really have liked these books so Imma gonna tell you about ’em. However, I don’t do synopses because they bore me, that’s what we have goodreads and amazon.com for.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, due September 2011.

My lovely coworker Miss Stephanie nabbed this at BEA, and Maureen Johnson signed it, along with the poignant inscription of Pizza. Judging by the cover, I thought a red haired girl went back in time and met Jack the Ripper, who ended up being sexy like Chuck Bass, and I was hella excited. While the book was nothing like that, I still enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Torchwood, in the best way. A++ would read again.

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, by Kenneth Oppel, due August 2011.

I got this by filling out a form through a website that I can’t even remember now, but I am glad I went into a fugue state and did so, because this novel is pretty well written, and it allows me to imagine young Victor and Konrad Frankenstein as played by Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve only read the first quarter or so thus far but I am enjoying it immensely because, hello,”it’s my Cumberbatch imagination, running away with me…

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, due August 2011

I was introduced to Jonathan Auxier at the Newbery/Wilder/Caldecott banquet at ALA 2011 while I was traipsing about with James Kennedy. And by introduced I mean that James suddenly froze, sniffed the air, yelled “SCOP!” and bolted in the direction of a tall hairy man in the distance. When I finally caught up to the both of them, Jonathan (I discovered his name by reading his name-tag, because, unlike most librarians, I am thoroughly and utterly LITERATE),  was deftly juggling James’ collection of pocket kittens while James took painstaking and quite intimate measurements of the depth, width, and color of Jonathan’s beard. James dictated these measurements to me and I copied them down, because 1) his handwriting is atrocious and 2) like I mentioned before, I am a literate librarian and must show off at every opportunity. After this auspicious meeting, I sent Mr. Auxier a message on twitter asking for an autographed beard photo and was sent a copy of his book instead, which in the grand scheme of things is a-okay with me.

If you’re a fan of James Kennedy’s writing (which I am) I have a hunch you’ll enjoy Auxier’s book (an excerpt of which you can read here, and a Fuse#8 review of which you can read here). I myself have not yet begun to read, because once I begin I am sure I will quickly read it through until the end, whereupon I am sure I shall be sad, because you can never have the first read of a book again once you’ve done it, and there’s nothing quite like that first breathless romp through a truly wonderful book. Which is what I believe Peter Nimble to be, for a little Betsy Bird has told me that there will be Peter Pan references abound, and the only thing I love more than Peter Pan references are Alice in Wonderland references, and since Auxier’s line drawings are strongly reminiscent of Tenniel’s work (as well as a little Gorey and a little Blake for good measure), I am quite confident I will be satisfied on all counts.

The other reason I haven’t read it yet is because James told me that every tenth copy is infused with fairy dust, and since I will be ever so happy while reading this book, once the fairy dust hits me I will most assuredly begin flying about, and since I am in the middle of summer reading right now and don’t really have the time to go flying about, I must postpone my reading until I am sure I will have flying time to spare, which will be soon, I hope.

book battles

There are quite a few book battles going on right now, for practically every reading taste.

SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ books is going strong, and focuses on children’s books from the past year, including chapter books, nonfiction, and graphic novels. I particularly enjoyed match 3, with judge Barry Lyga. My Two Barrys (Barries?)–I’d watch that sitcom. A replacement for Two and a Half Men, perhaps?

Out of Print Books is hosting 2011 Book Madness, with a focus on classic (out of print) books. Each bracket is also sponsored by a different library, which is an added layer of wonderfulness. Lots of voting discussions going on at their facebook page as well. Out of Print is a very cool organization that creates gorgeous t-shirts with book cover designs, and for each shirt they sell, one book is donated to a community in need through their partner Books For Africa.

The Morning News (presented by Field Notes) is also hosting a book battle, focusing on contemporary literary adult fiction. I’m not overly familiar with The Morning News, but I really love their multi-purpose Frankenreview.

There’s also the ongoing battle over e-books, but that doesn’t really interest me overly much; if you want to investigate that battle, go see Toby over at theanalogdivide.

My library does its own version of the SLJ book battle. We have a huge bulletin board in our department that we post the brackets on, and kids vote during Children’s Book Week. When we get down to two books, we have a party with a book cake that has the two finalists frosted on it. We book talk and celebrate the two finalists and then announce the ultimate winner, and devour the cake-y likenesses. It’s a ton of fun and I highly recommend you try it at your library.

Anything I’m missing?

-Miss Julie

castration celebration.

Fair warning: as you might guess from the title of this post, things get a little explicit.

As someone who assisted with and witnessed many a pig castration as a young child, I must tell you that it is not something to celebrate, so rest assured that Mr. Wizner, in titling his novel Castration Celebration, is out to grab its readers by the balls from the get-go.Read More »

I’d read it.

Pulled this from the comments on my Liar post. I’d read it. In fact, I asked Ian* for a sample chapter. Let’s see if it happens!

Dear Sir or Madam:

I would like to offer for your consideration my book “Kicked in the Head by Love”, a historical romance featuring centaurs, the hot new heirs to werewolves and their oh-so-last-week cousins, vampires.

The epic sweep encompassed by my novel dwarfs that of … well, The Catcher in the Rye, for example. The mood set by the brooding, socially maladjusted, seemingly emotionally vulnerable (but actually detached and unavailable because of several incidents in his childhood involving getting shod) main character is … I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten where this sentence was going.

In conclusion, let me also say that I am quite versatile as a writer, and could easily change the centaurs to aliens or harpies at a moment’s notice, in case the centaur wave has already passed.

Sincerely,
A Real Writer
(No, really)

*On an unrelated note, we’re blog template buddies!