For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may know that this past weekend I went to ALA Midwinter (American Library Association) because it was in my city. I figured I would share a little bit about my experience and let you know what books I brought home with me. There are some really excellent sounding upcoming releases! So let’s do this..
“But you aren’t a librarian…how did you attend?”
You would be correct. I am not a librarian (god, I would love to be) but ALA does allow other people (such as bloggers) to attend. I am so, so thankful to be allowed to go as a guest to this convention and get a taste of another facet of the wonderful book world.
“What did you do?”
Well, after an awesome cappuccino and chocolate croissant I moseyed on over to the convention center. Gotta start your day off right.
On the floor there were booths for different publishers, bookish things and a lot of library resources and technology. It was like the mecca for all things book nerdy. My 2 days involved:
1. Walking around to the various booths (totally sensory overload at first), talking to the various publishing representatives, learning what titles they were really pushing and figuring out which ARCs I wanted to take home with me. I knew of MOST of the titles just because I always creep the catalogs but there was some terrific hand selling going on because some of the publishers sold me on books I had never heard of before. I loved talking to them about their past releases I loved and which new releases they were excited about. It was also fun to put faces to names of people I hadn’t met yet! But seriously..walking around those aisles, with all those books everywhere, just made me want to prance around making up songs about how much I love books.
2. Meeting authors/seeing them again & chatting with them: I got to see Rainbow Rowell again and meet Matthew Quick for the first time. I even snagged E. Lockhart when she was walking in the aisle for a picture and a quick (embarrassing) gush fest about how much I loved We Were Liars. It was also super cool because I randomly ran into Leila Sales (love her + LOOOVED This Song Will Save Your Life), Tiffany Schmidt, and OH YOU KNOW…just got to shoot the shit with DAVID LEVITHAN. As one does.
3. Hanging out with/meeting other bloggers! It’s always nice to see fellow bloggers again and meet others for the first time! That’s honestly my favorite part of these things. Everyone was so lovely and I wish we had even more time to hang out but it was fun to hang out with them and talk books, battle the crowds at Reading Terminal Market, wait in the Rainbow Rowell line etc.
On Sunday night I went to my favorite indie bookstore in the Philly area (Children’s Book World) and saw Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan and Lucy Christopher and it was an AWESOME event and super packed. Few things: 1. Rainbow and David are hilarious together. 2. I teared up listening to David read from Two Boys Kissing 3. David reading and acting out a scene from Fangirl is hilarious. 4. Rainbow read a page from LANDLINE!! I need it. 5. Rainbow started crying while reading that page and I love her even more. 6. Lucy Christopher is the cutest human being ever and after listening to her read from The Killing Woods I can’t wait to pick it up.
I couldn’t go to the things happening on Monday but I listened to the Youth Media Awards live streaming. Can’t wait to pick up some of those books that won! Have you read any of them? Also, was very happy for Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan getting some love for their wonderful novels!
“How is ALAMW different from BEA (Book Expo of America)?”
Edit: I had a great comment that told me that ALAMW is even different from ALA Annual (which I’ve never been) this is her insight, “If you haven’t attended the summer Annual Conference, you should know that there is a big difference between the experience. The Midwinter Meetings is primarily a working conference, mostly meetings rather than programs and PD sessions. The summer Annual Conference is the one that publishers bring authors to for signings and events and there are long lines at the booths for the various signings. The exhibits are larger and the award ceremonies take place so you can register to attend the Printz Awards or the Newbery/Caldecott Award dinner for instance (or you can skip the dinner and sit in the back after dinner and listen to the speeches for free). It is still different from BEA, but much busier and with more opportunities than Midwinter.”
+ Well, obviously it was more so geared towards librarians. Even most of the people working the booths for the publishers were more on the school and library side of marketing so there were less familiar faces. There were less booths for me to check out because over half of it was specifically library type resources and technology (because obviously it’s a librarian convention). I saw a cool library vending machine thing though. This also meant, for me, acting like a guest and only taking what I knew I would have time to read because, while the publishers were HAPPY to give them to bloggers, I wanted to leave the things I wasn’t sure about/knew I might not have time to read for the librarians. That last comment, for the record, has nothing to do with anything anybody else did/does. It’s just a personal thing with how I went into this for myself. Also, I still have BEA guilt from my first BEA where I took too many books and still some sit unread.
+ There were less people & I thought the whole vibe was way more calm. I really felt like I wasn’t crowded at any booth I went to and actually had time to talk to people at the booths. I wasn’t constantly feeling like I was bumping into people. It was just very calm and pleasant. The swarm of people was just not as much especially when books were put out. At BEA you can get trampled & I didn’t feel that way here. When a book drop happens at BEA, those books are gone so quickly. I would see some books still out at ALA when I walked past again.
+ There were definitely more books available at the booths. At BEA there were really stringent drops of books it felt like and not many just freely handed out. ALA was different in that regard I think. Even huge titles that would have been gone in 2 seconds at BEA were there an hour later.
+ I got quality chatting time with publishers. One of my most favorite things is actually TALKING to the people manning the booths and telling them titles I loved from them recently and hearing what they are excited about. At BEA it’s so busy and they don’t get as much time to talk to you but ALA was totally different so it was definitely a huge thing that I LOVED about ALA. Met some really wonderful people!
+ There were less signings. The only two signings I went to were for Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell. At BEA there is a huge area with a ton of signings lines and signings scheduled all day. There isn’t that at ALA. So at BEA you might split your time between the floor and then be sitting in signing lines but there were barely any and there isn’t a designated spot like at BEA. So, I had a lot more wandering time than I do at BEA which was a good and bad thing. I felt less stressed about getting to the signing line and being super structured but I definitely love meeting authors so I missed that here plus there was a little toooo much free time.
+ Obviously at BEA there are way more events going on at the same time so I would just kind of go to the conference and then come home. At BEA I was never in the hotel room because there is always some sort of party or signing or event of some sort going on! But again, this is more of a professional development kind of convention so it made sense.
“What books did you get?”
The Here & Now by Ann Brasheres: NEW ANN BRASHERES! Had to pick this up. She trades in traveling pants for time travel! FUN!
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt: I had never heard of this one but that rep from Random House sold me! You know from my post about the 10 things on my reading wishlist that I want more sister stories so YAY!
The Cracks In The Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty: I liked A Corner of White — it was one of the strangest books I had ever read — and I knew I wanted to read the sequel so I was very happy to see this one there because I’m very interested to see where this story goes.
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher: As I said above I heard Lucy read from this and I’m super intrigued. Sounds dark!
The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt: I really enjoyed Going Vintage by this author. It was really cute and fun but still gave some food for thought. This one sounds cute + love that, like Going Vintage, this has familial relationships as a focus.
Far From You by Tessa Sharpe: This one was another on my most anticipated debuts of 2014 list! I love me a good mystery and this sounds like one! It seems twisty and complicated as the MC, who is sort of blamed for the death of her best friend, comes home from rehab and realizes everyone is looking at the wrong things to solve her friend’s murder.
The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos: This one looks like an excellent coming of age story and is already out actually!
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: Historical fiction! I’ve been waiting for a YA book to be set during the civil rights era and this sounds really good. Doesn’t come out until October however!
The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick: Matthew Quick’s newest adult novel! SIGNED!
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid: Another pick from my most anticipated debuts of 2014 list!! This was high on my priority list and I was so happy to see it there! Road trip! Some sort of intrigue and mystery that is alluded to!
Searching For Sky by Jillian Cantor: This is Jillian’s first YA novel (she wrote Margot which is an adult fiction novel) and it was on my most anticipated releases of 2014 list! The summary says it’s a “reverse dystopia” and so I’m reallyyyy interested!
Half Bad by Sally Green: This one was on my most anticipated debuts for 2014 list so I’m super stoked to have it in my hands. WITCHES. The more I hear about it, the more I can’t wait to read it! I don’t read paranormal often but it seems like my kind of paranormal.
Sekret by Lindsay Smith: History with a dash of fantasy! Russian espionage! HECK YES.
The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner: The lady at the booth sold me on this one as I had never heard of it. It’s about a girl whose little brother drowns and she basically stops living until she meets a little boy who she swears is her brother’s reincarnation. Sounds heartbreaking.
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith: This sounds like the strangest book I have ever heard of and I’m not even clear as to what it is about but it sound irreverent and awesome!
Welcome To The Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz: This is one I have never heard of but the guy at the Disney booth made me want it because he said it was scary! I keep looking for good horror so maybe this will fit the bill!
The Secret Sky by Ati Abawi: I said in my reading wishlist post that I SOOOO wanted books set in different countries and NOT from an American perspective and as soon as the rep from Penguin started telling me about this one and how it is set in Afghanistan I was SOLD. SO SOLD. I think I scared her with my excitement.
The Storied Life of A.J Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin: I was speaking with the lady at the booth about another book and she pulled this one out and coincidentally I’m listening to another book from this author right now. She said this was an adult one but definitely has crossover appeal.
Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson: This one has been on my radar for a bit so I was pleasantly surprised to see it there! Love that it’s a male perspective and there are runaway teens involved because I haven’t really read anything with that.
So that was my ALA experience! Let me know if you learned about any books from what I got + if you are excited about any of the ones I picked up! Let me know if you have any questions about ALA or my experience!