The Last Day of the Book Expo
Many delights on this final day of the Book Expo.
Kaite Stover, my favorite librarian from a city I’ve never been to, and I found each other in the morning, and got to have a fun chat and catch up. She does Reader Services at the Kansas City Public Library, which kind of sounds like (one of) my librarian dream jobs. I need to learn more. She does a lot of reader’s advisory type things. We batted around the idea of me writing some guest blog posts. I like this idea very much.
I got to hear Neil Gaiman give a talk that ranged delightfully from the genesis of his two upcoming books to tales of his childhood, to gentle self-mockery, to meditations on writing. I wish I could have a transcript or a video of it, because it was so rich with lovely turns of phrase and asides that cracked me up. The stories he told about getting into science mischief as a boy, with toffee and beetroot dye, his current children’s book “including a time-traveling stegosaurus ‘and then things got weird”
On his favorite teacher: When he was 10, a teacher gave him ten shillings to read Gone With The Wind and he did, and discussed it with his teacher. Also, as a kid, he alphabetized his bookshelves, to the point of anguish over whether to put Roger Lancelyn Green under L or G. This got cheers from the librarians in the audience, as did his admission that he could see himself as a librarian.
“Fiction is dangerous because it lets you live in other people’s heads. It gives you empathy. It shows you how to change the world, and that can be dangerous.”
On going to China, and being surprised that the Ministry was interested in science fiction writers… A party official told him “We don’t invent things here, so we went to companies in America like Google and asked their innovators what they’d read as children: science fiction.”
Elsewhere at the Book Expo, I found time to chatter and network in the Librarians Lounge, exchanging cards with catalogers, collection development librarians, people from Library Journal and on and on. I’d like to spend some time this summer visiting as many libraries as I can, maybe shadowing different people for a day. Also, I’m going to send emails out, and ask career sorts of questions– less “could you please give me a job?” than “tell me things about your job!”
I might have indulged in some book gluttony- there was a Book Club Speed Dating (piles and piles of interesting books for the taking, including those I’d heard good things about earlier in the week.) And it was the last day, so many exhibitors were offloading galleys. I tried to confine myself to books that were already on my radar. But I succumbed to several others that looked decently interesting. I have quite a stack of books. And I haven’t even touched the e-galleys I know are out there. I tried to limit myself to my tried-and-true genres: historical fiction, quirky fiction and nonfiction, nothing too literary, because then I’ll intend to read it and never follow through. Even though I was trying to be discerning, lots of books happened. I will post a list and maybe a picture of the towering stacks, later, or tomorrow.j
And even with all the books I hauled home… there are still books I heard about, but didn’t grab. Oh dear.
That does it, I need to win the lottery so I can spend a few years reading in a cabana somewhere and catch up. Of course, the publishing industry would need to grind to a halt while I did this…
All in all, a very nice Expo. Good friends, old and new, librarians, familiar and beloved authors, and the potential to discover new authors.