Events

Reportage: ALA Midwinter Meeting 2013

Reportage: ALA Midwinter Meeting 2013

Laura, Sandra and I headed up to Seattle on Saturday to check out the exhibits at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting. 

This is a large conference and trade event for the library profession. I also saw a number of people with identification indicating that they were teachers or educators, authors, agents and, of course, bloggers (I didn't see as many as I expected, however--I suspect the smaller midwinter meeting doesn't attract as many people who travel just for exhibits). The Big Six publishers all have a presence, as do many of the smaller ones, such as Algonquin, Soho and a number of independents I wasn't familiar with. Notably missing was the Harlequin empire, which I understand only exhibits at the major ALA conference in the summer. 

Here's a roundup of some observations from ALA--this is by no means exhaustive, as I was only able to spend a day and didn't attend any of the social activities. (Though we did get to hang out with Mindi for half a day, which is more awesome than any of the organized meet-ups.)

The vast majority of the books showcased were young adult and younger titles. We intentionally went on the "spotlight on adult fiction" day so we could see a diversity, but with the exception of some literary and women's fiction and a few key imprints or publishers, most were targeted at younger readers. I heard a number of librarians complain about this to exhibitors, which I though was interesting gossip. I was pretty disappointed that several publishers didn't even have their adult fiction catalogs available. I was also their wearing my educator hat, and was seeking non-fiction I could use in my communications classes, but only Wiley had much in the way of academic titles featured. 

I was pretty shocked at how little romance was being promoted, since I know that it's the most popular genre and that libraries carry romance pretty heavily. I assume more of this is showcased to librarians at their larger annual meeting. Even in the YA exhibits, it definitely skewed toward the fantasy/science fiction/historical fantasy realm (fans of YA fantasy should be very, very happy this spring and summer) or Issue Books (eating disorders, cutting, incest). 

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Photo Essay: A.S. King at Vancouver Community Library

Photo Essay: A.S. King at Vancouver Community Library

Laura and I braved the pouring rain and hellacious traffic on the bridge spanning the Oregon-Washington border to see one of our favorite authors, A.S. King, speak at the Fort Vancouver Public Library’s Teen Writing Awards. 

It was an extremely cool event, and we learned a ton about the author, her writing process and the very interesting life she’s led. Here are some photos from the event.

Laura looking pretty adorable with her sassy hat, football-themed handbag and copy of Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

“Everybody Sees the Ants”-themed cupcakes. Aren’t they adorable?

Uhhhhhh… wait a second! These ants are plastic! (Apparently, a library employee was warning people that the ants were inedible.)

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Photo Essay: Mindi Scott's Live Through This Launch Party

Photo Essay: Mindi Scott's Live Through This Launch Party

On Saturday, Laura, Sandra, Linsey (who’s in our subversive book club and super-cool) and I headed up to Seattle for Mindi Scott’s launch party for her second novel, Live Through This, at Elliot Bay Books

If you haven’t read the book yet, you really should—it’s a unique, sensitive take on a very difficult subject and I cannot recommend it enough. Rather than writing a normal recap (which I’m terrible at anyway), I thought I’d share our little adventures in photos. We braved rain, half of the streets in Seattle being closed and detoured (what is with that city and its traffic?) and drunken football fans all in the name of books—uh, and acquiring a stash of Top Pot Doughnuts.  

Seattle Skyline - It’s getting dark so, so early here in the Pacific Northwest. (I forgot to take a photo of the bookstore, so this is my stand-in.)

Laura had a “significant” haul of Australian books thanks to a Fishpond order and the lovely Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds. We divided them up and this is my stack to read first.

And Laura’s stack… It’s amusing how often we end up dividing up books on the street, looking somewhat like we’re conducting some sort of illegal activity. Have I mentioned that we usually exchange books in a rumpled paper bag?

Piles of Live Through This

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