May has flown by and now that summer is upon us – or at least summer weather – I’m back to my audiobook listening while gardening ways (really helps pass the time and makes weeding less tedious). But before I venture out to the backyard today, I thought I’d highlight some of the great events I went to this past month (and one sneaking over from late April).
I was lucky enough to make it out of work early (thanks cool library job!) one day in late April to make it down to Oblong Books & Music for a reading with the fabulous Nnedi Okorafor. The event was part of the Chinua Achebe Center’s Africa Week program at nearby Bard College. I had recently read Okorafor’s book Zahrah The Windseeker, which is one of my absolute favorite YA fantasy novels, and so was thrilled to get the chance to hear her read from some of her other novels (Akata Witch and Who Fears Death). I left with a pile of books, so large that at the moment of book signing it inspired Okorafor to say “Wow! I really did that!” In my big pile of books was a hardcover copy of Zahrah The Windseeker, which I already own in paperback. Now to decide who to gift a copy too (I already bought copies for both my libraries and for a friend in Haiti)….
So then May came along and first up in my month of bookish events was the Hudson Children’s Book Festival which is always a fun time. I was there as a representative for the libraries that I work for and Love YA Lit, as well as recording interviews with my ten year-old buddy Quinn for our radio show on WGXC. We interviewed several authors including YA authors Laura Wiess, Jo Knowles, Terry Trueman, and Amanda Marrone. Sarah Darer Littman was the final interview of the day and was kind enough to both put up with my severe lack of energy (forgot to eat lunch, not enough coffee) and to help me rejuvenate by chatting with me for a long while about her books, her life, and her Hunger Games essay. Earlier in the day I interviewed Michael Northrop and Quinn bought his latest book Trapped. Two days later when I saw her at the radio station, she was already half way through the book. She’s confused that I haven’t read it yet. I set myself a deadline so that we can have a Michael Northrop’s Trapped focused radio show in June before she forgets what she wants to say about it! All I know so far is that she wants there to be a sequel.
Mid-way through the month I ventured down to New York City to Books of Wonder for the final stop on the Diversity in YA Spring Tour. The panel included Jacqueline Woodson, Kekla Magoon, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Malinda Lo, Neesha Meminger, Cindy Pon, and Matt de la Peña. I was excited to hear from and meet everyone, but I found myself most excited to see Jacqueline Woodson. This past year I listened to audio recordings of After Tupac and D Foster and Peace, Locomotion and both of these titles found a permanent place in my heart. I have love feelings for these books. So it was wonderful to meet her, as well as the other fabulous panelists who were all incredibly funny and smart and inspiring. Another highlight of this event is that I finally met the fabulous Steph of Steph Su Reads whose blog was one of the first book blogs that really grabbed me back when Nora and I first started talking about creating this blog and seeing who else was out there.
And finally, I didn’t make it to BEA (you know those three amazing jobs I have? sometimes it’s hard to take time off), but I did make it to the Book Blogger Convention this past Friday (thanks other cool library job!). While I didn’t have BEA as an excuse for my tiredness, I did have only 5 hours of sleep and so joined the sleepy crowd of book bloggers for a day of socializing and panel discussions. The best part of the day was meeting so many wonderful bloggers whose blogs I love (Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner and The Broke and the Bookish, Anna of Anna Reads, Meredith of The Librarian Next Door, and so many others*). The toughest part of the day was choosing between panels and not letting my sleepiness stop me from being social. This was my first time attending BBC and it was great to spend a day connecting with and hearing from others involved in the book blogosphere. By the end of the day, I was sort of paneled out, and so was thrilled when our break out session during Blogging for a Niche Market turned into a casual conversation about books we love and our hopes and fears re: the Hunger Games movie. This was just what I needed at the end of the day and I was finally able to meet Sarah, Erin, and Jenny from Forever Young Adult and Lenore from Presenting Lenore. So all in all a great day! Special thanks to Michelle, Trish, and Rebecca for all the hard work they put into organizing the event and to all the panelists for sharing their wisdom!
*It was also nice to see April from Good Books & Good Wine again – we cross paths at author readings frequently and it was nice to see a friendly face first thing in the morning!