Monday, May 22, 2006

Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you toss and turn and twist in your sheets? Spend eight hours schlepping tote bags full of books, posters, toys, catalogs, bookmarks ad nauseam around the DC Convention center. You'll sleep all right. The unit we shared (sidekick, sidekick's hubby and I) was RIGHT NEXT to the Metro tracks. I did NOT hear a single train all night long.Did I have fun?? WHOA!! Yes indeed. Here are the highlights.
Wednesday: arrive at time share around 10 p.m. I am so grateful to SK and SKH for driving. Sort out sleeping arrangements. Out for the night.
Thursday: I PLANNED to go to the education sessions but it was a beautiful day in Alexandria so we headed out to explore on foot. Had we known how our feet would feel a mere 24 hours later, we might have reconsidered our mode of transportation. Never mind. Just when I was thinking I needed a low blood sugar pick-me-up, SK and Hubbie decided to investigate a bank's Free ATM Worldwide offer. The bank had a free cafe!!!!! We ate Thai for lunch YUM! We found an artist's co-op and a fabric artist who makes beautiful mother of the groom dresses- something I will need. We visited a store that let us sit in a massage chair - aaahhh!
Then we went into DC to the opening ceremonies and heard Tim Russert of NBC talk about his books, Big Russ and Me and the new one, Wisdom of our Fathers. So very cool. Ate at a tapas restaurant - never did that before- split a pitcher of sangria and found an author signing in the lower room of the restaurant! Got home around 9 and crashed.
Friday and Saturday : BEA -ohmigolly!! Acres and acres of books and displays of every kind. I managed to get a bunch of signed Advance Reader's Copies of books. These two days sort of flow together.
Highlights: Eoin Colfer's autograph! Avi, Candice Ransom, M.T. Anderson, Celia Rees, Annette Curtis Klause, Stephanie Meyer, Duke from Bush's Baked Beans (I love dogs), but the best was Lynn Johnston who does the For Better or Worse comic strip. I was so excited. I got Andrew Clement's and Jan Brett (twice) and e. lockhart/Emily Jenkins -cutie-pie author that was here in April.
BIG Coup: A copy of the NPR guide to Classical music. Huge beautiful book with links to the music online.
Disappointments: I did not get Steven Caney's Ultimate Building Book . I loved his Play Book and Toy Book when my son was small and I wanted to meet him sooo much. I did not get Tim Russert's book, although we got a picture taken with him. I didn't get to see Tammie Pierce - the line was TOO LONG. You needed tickets to see Daniel Handler and Dave Barry and Michael Sabuda - big bummer.
Cool toys: SK and SKH are true freebie hounds and they found so many cool toys (especially SKH). Spiderwicke Sprite magnifying boxes - stuffed animals - rubber duckies - squooshy stars. I found fold up binoculars, calculators, tarot cards, playing cards, aprons. Saturday I got a couple of stuffed animals and squooshy toys myself.
Friday night we got to hear Dave Barry speak at the ABA Book Sense Book Awards reception. Pat Conroy also spoke. They were both excellent - although Dave was better. Pat read his speech and couldn't read his own writing at times.
Cornelia Funke won the award for best Children's Book for Inkspell but she was unable to come since her husband just died and she needed to stay home with her two children. She sent a lovely letter.
Jon Muth won the Best Illustrated Book award for Zen Shorts . His speech was very Zen like.Anway, I have one huge tote bag filled with books I want to keep and six - count them 6 - tote bags of books, toys and miscellanea that we will give out for summer reading club. I don't know how many totes SK has to bring in.
My feet hurt - my back aches. We planned to go into BEA on Sunday but we were so beat from lugging totes and racing from one hall to the other that we decided to come home. We stayed with SK's brother Saturday night and I got to go to a Trader Joe's - I've never been to one and then SK drove home. Just wait til I bring all this stuff in. I can't wait til next BEA which is in New York City, the weekend of June1, 2 and 3. More later.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm Ba-a-a-ack. You know what? I have never even seen the movie that phrase comes from and yet I use it all the time. It's interesting how stuff like that become part of our everyday language -our lexicon, as George Wills might say.
I went to a hugely interesting workshop on the six skills that kids need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. It was about literacy skills - not scissors and glue stuff. One of the skills is called "Phonological Awareness". Guess what that means. I'm not telling.
So what have I been reading? Well, because at the end of April we had the four authors from the "Random House Teen Voices Book Tour-East" here, I had to read all of their books. I have already reported on Tanya Lee Stone's book A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl in an earlier post so I will tell you about the others -
Jen Bryant wrote Pieces of Georgia about a 13-year-old girl who has been dealing with the death of her mother and her father's grief for a long time. When she receives an anonymous membership to the Brandywine River Museum, she begins to appreciate her own artistic talents and her world opens up. This is a lovely well-written book. Read it. Interesting subplot about an extremely overscheduled teen.
e. lockhart wrote Fly on the wall : how one girl saw everything. Another artistic girl whose name begins with G. Gretchen's art emulates super-hero comics and that's just not cutting it with the teachers and students at her "artsy" public high school. Add to this the drama of her parents impending and totally baffling divorce and you have one unhappy teen. And BOYS! BOYS?? Don't even go into it. Gretchen does not have a clue about boys, especially Titus, her major crush. So one fateful day, Gretchen wishes she could be a fly on the wall in the boys' locker room and............ be careful what you wish for, little Gretchen, it just might come true.
Lots of locker room humor here - some raw language - and lots and lots of fun.
Simon Cheshire wrote Plastic Fantastic about Dominic, a fan in looooove with the punk rock group Plastic. The poor lad is so obsessed with the group's music AND female lead singer that he ignores or misunderstands real life as it surrounds him. And then one fateful day, he just happens to get stuck in a glass elevator with - OHMYGOD - it's Lisa Voyd in the flesh - the awesome lead singer of Dominic's most favorite band. Be still, my beating heart! Two plus hours in a glass elevator with a complete stranger - makes for a very funny, and surprisingly insightful, read.
All four authors talked about their other books and Simon had us all twisted up in laughter as he read from Kissing Vanessa. I have it on order BUT I get to read it first. And I get to read e. lockhart's The boyfriend list first and her upcoming novel and sequel, The Boy Guide as well. It's not out yet.
I also read Trudi Canavan's Black Magicians Trilogy and there better be a spin-off because she leaves us all hanging and I can't tell you too much but this a wonderful fantasy Trilogy about a young lower class girl and her entrance into the vaulted world of the Magicians. Mucho, mucho magic here, and lots of action and some battles and explosions and serious bad guys and misunderstood manly older magic users and some alternative lifestyles so younger teens beware - but no explicit behavior is described for any parents who might stumble across this post.
I will catalog the Trilogy before Summer Reading Club begins. Promise!

AND on Wednesday after work, I and my sidekick and her lovely husband are all heading off for BOOK EXPO AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! in D.C. Eat your hearts out. While some of you are suffering through final exams or making up lists of graduation presents or, worse luck, WORKING - I will be shmoozing with authors and publishers and editors and (drat) salespeople - very nice salespeople, though - and picking up every free book I can get my greedy hands on.
Tammy Pierce will be signing books there. So will Jen Bryant (see above) and Dave Barry and all kinds of other great authors and I just hope I get to meet some of them.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

My name is bookkm and (deep breath, let out very slo-o-o-wly)I am a bookaholic and a stationery geek. Which is why when I got the "Summer Reading Club Preparedness" package from my very good friend, Okuni, I could not WAIT to bring it to work and show all my other book-loving and stationery geek friends. I LO-O-O-OVE the lavendar scented file folders. I am now very serene. The "I am NOT fooling" staple remover looks formidable. And everyone needs some brass balls to get through the day.
Back to my bookaholism. Here are the warning signs!
Cannot sleep until a good book is finished. If you ATTEMPT to put the book down, you twist and turn and re-arrange pillows for ages before you can sleep.
Housework, homework, work work are neglected while in the grip of a good book. (I leave books at home when I am in this stage and that leads to the next sympton.)
Find oneself unable to focus on anything else - such as work - even when NOT reading the book - until the book is done.
When you read the first book of a series that you enjoy, you cannot rest until you have read every other book in the series.
Even chocolate holds no interest until the book is done. If you do eat chocolate while reading, you have no memory of eating later. So don't waste chocolate like this.
People talk to you and you don't hear them. You may give sane answers to questions but you don't remember the questions or answers later. Sort of like a blackout.
Large airplanes can land in your backyard while you are reading in the hammock and you don't notice.
While reading you feel powerful, energetic and strong. Once the book is done, you mope until you find another good book to read.
Reading a good book refreshes you like nothing else.

What should YOU do if you think you might be a bookaholic? Make sure your library fines are paid up because the library is a bookaholic's best friend.
Hire a house keeper. Then you don't have to worry about the housework.
Hold on. There's a good book published somewhere in the world everyday.
Find the book on CD or audiotape so you can listen while you walk, or clean or set off on an adventure. (Lavendar scented file folder finding is a true adventure.)
Go book-less every now and then and experience REAL life so you can judge whether the authors do good work.
Write your own good book about adventures, real or imagined.