How beautiful it is to go to a convention to be surrounded by bunches of nutty folks who love books and the people who write them! How much more beautiful is it to go to said convention and meet a ton of one's favorite authors, some fab editors and even an agent or two--PLUS get free books and ARCs?
There is just no way to go wrong at the ALA convention.
Miss Judy (pictured above with her oh-so-chic Chicken Dance hat and author Tammi Sauer) and I zoomed off in her silver van very early on Saturday morning, had the usual difficulty finding the correct entrance to the event's parking, and eventually paid our 25 buckaroos and entered the ALA exhibit floor. I'm telling those who did not make it: You are missing a gigantic treat to yourself. Next time it's anywhere near you--GO!
We spent an awful lot of time standing in line to have books signed by lovely author-types (and illustrator-types, too). Somehow, this didn't bother me (care to weigh in, Judy?), even though waiting in line is not my favorite thing to do. Even waiting 2 hours for Neil Gaiman's autograph was no big whoop. Everyone in line was so great!
Did I mention how lovely these author-types are? Just take a look at my ALA gallery to see all the kind folks who let us snap their photos, both with and without us in them. Among these so-approachable writers: Libba Bray (you crazy redhead, you!), Holly Black, Mo Willems (who mentioned hanging around Madison with "Kevin," ie, Kevin Henkes), Ingrid Law, Melina Marchetta (she loves my first name & named her new character "Georgie," short for "Georgia"), Mo Willems, Tammi Sauer (who is really, really crazy--good crazy, not scary crazy), Patricia Wrede, David Levithan and John Green. Even Mr. Gaiman, who had a HUGELY long line, took time to talk while scrawling a lovely headstone with "Georgia" written on it inside my copy of "The Graveyard Book." I hear other people got a hand protruding from a grave.
Ah. Life is good. So good. Even from the POV of a headstone.
Lest you all be torn asunder by heated jealousy, I will not mention the fabulous, longed-for ARCs scored by yours truly. Suffice it to say I feel very, very sorry for you who did not attend.
I was particularly pleased to see my dear friend Kashmira Sheth receive the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature honor for her lyrical picture book, "Monsoon Afternoon." The illustrator, Yoshiko Jaeggi, was also there to be honored.
The laudable and equally dear Ann Bausum, author of "Denied, Detained, Deported," had a nice long line of fans waiting for her to sign their books. That girl writes with such an eye for the truth and humanity--she is amazing.
Congrats to you both!! I look forward to reading your next works in crit group.
Undoubtedly, seeing Neil Gaiman receive the Newbery Medal was thrilling. He's so funny and yet tender--loved his story about his son and how Neil finally impressed him by holding his own with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert report (to see him in action, go here: www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/221843/march-16-2009/neil-gaiman
). Keep your eye on youtube for his Newbery speech.
Okay, despite the risk of jealousy, I just have to list a few of my top scores: Geektastic pocket protector, "Pieces of Georgia" postcard (author: Jen Bryant), Going Bovine, Geektastic, Sucks to be Me, Liar and Forest Born. And many, many more. Here's a photo of some of the stuff -- squee!
This post has gone on much too long, but I hope you enjoyed it. And remember to check out my ALA gallery of stars! I've uploaded some photos; more to come!