Monday, January 22, 2007

ALA Midwinter is like crack for book lovers.

Now, Seattle is actually nowhere near where I live, but it is a conveniently mind-numbing car trip away. Since Melissa, whom I've not seen since July (and who may have abandoned her work-sanctioned blog), would be there, I decided to stock up on audio books and head out a mere two and a half days after returning from the Florida vacation.

My library system isn't big on sending peons like myself to big national conferences, but I did manage to score a free exhibits pass. Which turns out to be far easier than I would have imagined, making me feel less special, but whatever. So, while I wasn't able to attend any of the educational or networking sessions, I was able to, well, get lots and lots (and lots) of free books and posters. I was under instructions to bring back books that others would be interested in. Not just teen books. I think it might have been a condition of leaving work early. Anyway, it was like carte blanche. I'm most excited about Maureen Johnson's Girl at Sea, Cecil Castellucci's GN The Plain Janes, and Laurie Halse Anderson's Twisted, the latter of which I scored the last ARC of by asking for it with wide beseeching eyes. She dug under the table for me. That was awesome. Thank you random woman at the Viking booth!

I've been to two different states' library conferences, but this was my first national. They really don't exist in the same stratosphere. Just the exhibit hall at Midwinter was so...full and bustling that it was like a fantasy funhouse of awesomeness. There were books EVERYWHERE. And they were FREE. The people were like - take this book. Oh, and this poster. And don't forget the pin! And they gave bags in which to carry the books. There were movie passes to see movies based on books. And there were Authors. Authors who were signing their free books. Some of these books were even in Hardcover! They were real books!

I met Sherman Alexie, who I had heard of, but have not yet read. He was really funny, though, so I'm planning on reading the book they gave me and he signed. Which I'd give you the title to, but I seem to have left it in my car, and nothing's ringing a bell.

I met Jess Walter, National Book Award Finalist, and got a copy of The Zero signed. Which I will read because a) he seems to have a sense of humor and b) we live in the same city so if I were to run into him, I want to behave better than I did with

Justina Chen Headley. In the melee that was the exhibits, I first saw Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) and turned, pointing, back to Melissa and Rachel saying,
"Oh! I SO loved this book! It was one of my Favorites this year!" I got closer in order to pet the book, as I am wont to do with things I love, when I realized that there was some unexpected order to the masses around this booth. I blurted out, "Oh My God, is that the author? That's the author!" At this point I got overly excited. The important people at the booth kinda laughed at me and said that they were giving away free hardcover copies of the book and I could get it signed if I waited in line. Which I SO TOTALLY did. I'm jumping about a bit and smiling like a crazy person, but all I can manage to say when I get to her is "Totally fantastic! Really, really great. Loved it." When what I really wanted to do was hang out and talk about why I thought it was great. That it is by far the best Asian-American experience novel I've read. That regardless of ethnic issues the intergenerational relationships were touchingly done - that each character's backstory TRULY informed their present. I wanted to say **SPOILER** that I was really glad that Patty didn't end up with the boy because really, that was the better choice. Who says we need to always end up with the guy to have a happy ending? LW says I should just email her and tell her this, but despite evidence otherwise in this blog, I'm a total introvert who is SO not cool enough to actually email a rockin' author. I'm working on that. (Heck, I haven't even responded to Penni Russon, and I feel totally bad about it.) Maybe Justina Chen Headley will see this post and I'll have passive-aggressively accomplished the goal anyway. I'm a terrible person. Anyway, meeting her was a pleasant surprise that made my day.

I was more subdued when I got my copy of Bridge to Terabithia signed by Katherine Paterson. I've not read nearly enough of her books, but those that I have, I love. Mom gave me Bridge to read when I was a kid. I don't know how old I was, but I remember liking it a lot. It lead me to Park's Quest, and eventually to Jacob I Have Loved, which I think might be my favorite. It rekindles a desire to read Bread and Roses, Too. Rachel and I were first in line for the signing, so we chatted with the man from (I presume) Walden Media for awhile. He gave us free passes to the first public screening of the movie Bridge to Terabithia for Sunday night. I thought for a moment, and decided that seeing the movie was absolutely worth delaying my departure time. It meant not getting home until midnight at least, risking mountain pass conditions and a tired Monday workday, but I don't regret it. Great movie. The trailer is very misleading - it misrepresents the amount of CGI in the movie. I'd only cried once in a movie theater, and that wasn't out of sadness. This was my second. And it's not like I didn't know what would happen! So, if you go see it, bring tissue.

The funny thing is that I had just been boasting about not crying in movies the night before when Kristy G & Melissa were sobbing the way through our free screening of The Namesake based on the book of the same title by Jhumpa Lahiri. Kal Penn has come a long way since his day as Kumar (which, don't get me wrong, was hilarious, but you know what I mean). Go see it if you get a chance, all 4 of us really liked it. I actually want to see it again.

That's pretty much it. At some point I'll go through the books I got and share them with you.


Little Willow said...

I am SO HAPPY to hear that the trailer for Bridge to Terabithia is misleading. I have been freaking out about it because that book is amazing and should not be changed. I know that they are trying to make it "sell" and want to attract kids by showing shiny, fantastic creatures in the trailer, but every time I see the commercial, I think, "WRONG! DOUBLE WRONG!" Thus, I am quite pleased to hear that the movie DOES stick to the book.

I haven't seen the '80s film version of the book - have you?

If all else fails, I'll be more than happy to email Justina for you. La la la.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say how jealous I am of your weekend with books and our mutual friends? Yup, jealous....

Erin said...

Ah! So cool! I'm jealous! Sounds like a blast! Loved reading that post!


Anonymous said...

You've sure convinced me to go next time. Thanks for the great review!!

Sara said...

I am SOOO jealous -- of the review copies and meeting Justina Chen Headley. I'm sure I'd be even more tongue-tied than you were;)

Anonymous said...

OK, so I've never heard of most of the authors you posted about, but thoroughly enjoyed your take on your experience - I was so totally hearing you talk your quick excited talk. Anyways...I'm just getting ready to finish OSC's new book Empire - nothing like any of his other books, but incredibly attention-grabbing and scary. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out if you ever have time. to soccer...

Jackie Parker said...

Josh: I'll definitely read Empire. Eventually. Good to know that it's good.

LW: I've not seen the old film version. It would be an interesting comparison, I'm sure. lol

Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

Oh, gosh, I'm blushing, because truly, the honor was all mine. I was so thrilled to meet YOU, someone who knew my book. Now, *that* was cool! But I turned around and you were gone. So at the next conference, we'll have to have a proper chat.

All the best,