I’m back from the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco! Well, I’ve been back for almost a week, but was so wiped out (and still nursing minor injuries), so this post is just now going live.
But here I am with tidbits and goodies to share. I was bad at taking photos this year, but it was for good reason–I was having such a good time that I often forgot! Last year’s trip was great, but ALA 2015 surpassed my expectations, in ways I didn’t even imagine.
Stick around, since we’re also giving away TWO prizes–a box of 10 coveted ARCS to a U.S. reader, and an awesome tote “Reading is my Everything, Everything” bag filled with swag to an international reader.
There were so many great authors at ALA this year, and I trotted around like an obedient pony trying to find them all.
Marie Lu was her usual sweet self as she signed The Rose Society (wearing hot air balloons!); Patrick Ness said “Excellent choices” approvingly when I told him my favorite books of his were A Monster Calls and More Than This; Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman bantered as they talked about Edison’s Alley; and Rae Carson signed her book Walk on Earth a Stranger with a gold sharpie whilst sporting sparkly gold nails–which is utterly delightful since the book is set during the Gold Rush. I also finally, finally got to meet the lovely Nova Ren Suma, whom I’ve been talking to online for years. I’m such a huge fan of her writing and her books (and also guested on her blog once), so it was wonderful to finally see her face to face.
In addition to the authors pictured above, I also had memorable encounters with Jodi Lynn Anderson–I held my hand to my heart when I told her how much I loved Tiger Lily (View Spoiler » though it was hard not to pick a bone with her over Wendy Darling’s treatment–can you see the headline now? BLOGGER NOT SO DARLING AFTER ALL.) « Hide Spoiler); the huggable Julie Murphy, who is as funny and personable as she is online; April Genevieve Tucholke, whom I think deserves big kudos for getting a stellar line-up of authors for the Slasher Boys and Monster Girls anthology, especially the ones who haven’t published horror before; and Daniel Kraus, whom I gleefully told, “Scowler scared the shit out of me.” Oh, and it was fun to surprise Leigh Bardugo with a hug as we waited for a copy of Six of Crows for Mr. Darling’s mother!
I also loved meeting Elizabeth Fama, who graciously opened up her home near Stanford and cooked a delicious meal (salmon! chicken! veggies! brownies! champagne!) for a group of bloggers and authors. Monstrous Beauty is still one of my favorite YA books, and it was lovely to hear about the two YA projects she’s working on (I’ve been sworn to silence, but they sound SO COOL) and to spend time with her.
I’m still kicking myself that I was having such a good time that I forgot to take photos at that dinner, especially of the amazing artwork by her daughter Sally Fama Cochrane. I did very much enjoy meeting Katie Posey from Bookish Illuminations, and later Angie from Disquietus Reads as well. There were excitable librarians and bloggers everywhere I looked, it was great.
It was also fun to catch up with Faye from Simon & Schuster. Here she is holding up a copy of The Scorpion Rules, the title she’s most excited for you to read this season! Keep an eye on the blog, because I’ll be telling you more about it soon.
You didn’t think you were going to escape without hearing about what I ate, did you? Some of my favorite foods this time included meals at Samovar Tea Lounge, on the rooftop of the convention center; a strawberry + brown sugar ice cream sandwich from CREAM (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me, heeeeee. I did not get the ice cream taco, but maybe next time); homemade jams and scones at the cozy bed and breakfast where we stayed; and crazily addictive macarons from Miette.
We also had a wonderful dinner at Zuni Cafe with my friend Renee from Alice Marvels and her husband. We had the one-hour roast chicken with bread salad, which was as amazing as I’d heard it would be, and it was so great to catch up with her on books and life in general.
San Francisco / Pride Weekend
I loved that ALA was in San Francisco this year. I’ve always enjoyed this city, but I’ve always been there on business or coming in and out very quickly, so this was the first time I was able to really zip around like a local. With Mr. Darling as my good-humored tote-carrier, and spending time with so many bookish friends, old and new, this was such a fun trip.
I’ll admit that when I found out ALA was taking place during Pride weekend, I was a little nervous about the crowds. But just before we left Los Angeles, we heard the monumental Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, and everything changed. It was suddenly a joyous, crazily celebratory occasion, and echoing Scott Westerfeld’s sentiments, I was so happy and profoundly grateful we were able to be there in that historic city, where so many important events in the struggle to recognize LGBTQI rights have taken place. Being in the middle of the parade route and hearing the sound of cheers and celebration all over the city was an indescribable experience.
The change in this law is singularly the most overwhelmingly positive historical event I have ever witnessed and may ever witness in my lifetime, in terms of the amount of good it will do. Life has changed forever, for all of us.
I rarely talk about politics or current events online with strangers, but this was such a landmark in our human history that it felt right to acknowledge it. We asked one of our best friends to read the above sonnet out loud in its entirety at our wedding 10 years ago, and I cannot adequately express how overjoyed I am that my friends who are gay and lesbian (and “none of the above?”) now have the basic legal rights that have been denied to them for so long. As I told Becky Albertalli on Twitter, I’m filled with overwhelming love and gratitude knowing that Simon, and other young teenagers like him, now have so many more options ahead of them.
All in all, this conference was a lot of fun–but beyond all that, it also became a weekend I’ll always remember.
You know I never come back empty-handed from these things. We know many of our readers don’t have the opportunity to attend conferences and signings, so we’re always happy to share when we can. I have a box of ten–count ’em, ten!–amazing ARCS to give away to one of our U.S. readers. The titles are pictured in the first photo (I’ll try to post another later), and include:
The Rose Society by Marie Lu (autographed)
Soundless by Richelle Mead
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr
The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Autumn’s Kiss by Bella Thorne
Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
I also have a fantastic surprise bag of swag for one of our international readers! Most are from ALA, though one is a tee-shirt I squirreled away from one of this year’s best-selling books. I will tell you that I’m including:
— A Six of Crows zip pouch, like the ones sent to bloggers recently
— Special samplers for Heartless, Six of Crows, and The Rose Society
— Two Throne of Glass pins + a coveted Heir of Fire bookmark I had made last year
— An Everything, Everything tote bag
…and more surprises inside! I figured our friends overseas can usually get ahold of most books at some point, but these special items are much harder to come by.
All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re excited to win the giveaway! (Be sure to tell us whether you’re entering the US or international giveaway, too. It’s the same Rafflecopter form, we’ll pick two winners, one for each category.) Remember, you can also earn extra points by tweeting, reblogging, etc.
Photos by Wendy Darling. Giveaway copies and swag were provided by the publishers.
How did you spent June 26th weekend? Have you ever been to a conference like this? I’ll bet after our event recaps, you wish you had. ;)