I’m home! And bailing on my 10-year college reunion because I now have a weird flu or something. (I blame the Javits Center; it’s like a Vegas casino without the neon and free drinks.) So I’m fairly woozy and exhausted, as I’m sure this recap will reflect.
Most of all, this conference was about putting faces to names. Charlotte’s Library, MotherReader, Book Smugglers, Betsy of Fuse #8, Barry Lyga, Linda Sue Park, Lenore, I know who you are now, even if we didn’t get to talk for long (or at all). (…That sounded creepy, and I didn’t at all mean it to. Not a stalker, promise!) The bloggy world got a little smaller, and as I told Ana of Book Smugglers, now my Reader feed list will feel like friends’ blogs, which is a thing I am much more likely to make time for.
The conference was also about making new friends, with people who love stories as much as I do. Thumbs way up to Smart Pop‘s editor-in-chief Leah Wilson and Daniel Nayeri for getting into it with me about father figures in Friday Night Lights and why we’ll never see Tim Riggins in prison. And thank you for taking me to the Kidlit Drink Night, Alison, and introducing me to everyone. We really need to get one of those started up in Boston.
(Sorry for all the name-dropping, people who weren’t there. If nothing else, it’s helpful to remind me who I met when.)
And it was about an outstanding stack of ARCs and promotions for books I can’t wait to read:
- All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Shut Out (signed!) by Kody Keplinger
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- Unison Spark by Andy Marino
- Boy21 by Matthew Quick
- Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
- The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer
- Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri
(Plus one I’ve already finished, The Shattering by Karen Healey, which I loved but will wait to post my review of until it comes out in September. There are spoilery things I want to talk about.)
All told, it reminded me of nothing so much as attending Web ’98 in Boston. I wore my Fray t-shirt and hung out with all the cool kids: Peter and Adam and Molly and Derek. I was 19 and kind of star-struck; I learned to drink wine that weekend so they wouldn’t think of me as a kid. (Ha, I’m sure that totally worked.) Now they’ve all got “since 1996” on their blogs and I have “since 1999” on mine, and we’re all still fumbling around with the possibilities for connection and expression in this medium that’s not so new anymore. (And I’m still trying to hang with the cool kids, although I hope I’m a little smoother about it than I was then.)
I think one of the most valuable things I got from this trip was the assurance that I enjoy what I do here, I’m proud of what it adds to the conversation, and that’s enough. I’ve yearned for some sort of blog fame for twelve years, but I’m ready to set that down. I love puzzling out my thoughts, and I do that best in writing, and in a conversation. So I’ll just keep doing that over here in one way or another until they turn out the lights.
(Infinite thanks to Lexi for the best guest room in New York City, and to my colleagues and students for covering things while I was gone. You get to share the ARCs, don’t worry.)