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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Patrick Ness is a Charmer; or, Things I Learned at ALA

If you follow me on youtube, you'll have already seen my ALA haul and to some extent, heard me babble about the goings on there. But do not underestimate my ability to babble - I may have already talked about it on video for mumblemumble minutes, but there's still plenty more to be said. So here it is, my play-by-play of ALA 2013, complete with instant replay (not really) and really bad calls by the ref (what do they know, anyway?); enjoy!

(This is a picture-heavy post, so I'm putting in a jump break - click it to read more and get book-geeky with me!)


Sam, my friend who allows herself to be dragged to endless book events, and I decide on Thursday to go to ALA, and arrived in Chicago on Friday morning. Yes.
On the way I made this P&P necklace with a charm Sam got me, because she knows me well.

We didn't go to any of the opening ceremony-type things on Friday, though apparently that's when everyone got The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, so I'm a little =( about that.  BUT INSTEAD, we saw as much of Chicago as we could, which basically consisted of Chinatown (where we stayed) and Navy Pier (because, obvs). Unfortunately, a little itty bitty massive raincloud followed us from Michigan, and everywhere we went, the skies opened.
Also, it was Sam's first time on a bus. Other than a schoolbus, that is. SHE WAS VERY HAPPY. (Find me one other person who was happier to be on public transport. ONE PERSON. Can't do it.)

From there, we did our one bookish thing of Friday, which was to go to this awesome little cocktail party at EPIC Restaurant, held by Walden Pond Press in honor of Anne Ursu and Chris Rylander! You know I love me some Anne Ursu, and it gave me the chance to finally meet Kellie from Walden in person!
Bonus: Book-themed cocktails! I will be trying to recreate the "The Real Boy" cocktail I had, which was made of avocado and cucumber vodka and magical rainbows of deliciousness, apparently.

chinatown, dragon, chicago, ALAUnfortunately, we had to duck out early because hours of being alternately drenched and beaten with sunbeams left Sam feeling crappy. We went back to our hotel, where I promptly realized I'd left my phone charger in the car. Since Sam was feeling icky, I decided it'd be a GREAT idea to wander around Chinatown in the dark, by myself, in a quest to find the car and get my charger.
And you know what? It was.* I found I have a pretty good sense of place and direction, AND I got to see Chinatown at night!

*I am not advocating walking around after dark by oneself in unknown places, kids. Stranger Danger.


After what I'll call a "good night's sleep" because, why not? [Coulda been, I don't know what those are like], we headed to McCormick Place to register and begin the book nerdery.
First goal of the day was to stop by Macmillan and see Ksenia, which we promptly did while the booth was empty, since everyone was lining up like good fangirls-and-boys to get their hands on Cress.
As Steph said, Ksenia gives the best hugs, so we did a bit of that, had a good chat before she was swarmed with the masses, and then headed off into the belly of the beast.
Or tried to, because I basically turned down an aisle, saw Lois Lowry out of the corner of my eye, and stopped dead in my tracks. I would have loved to get in line to get a copy of The Giver (or anything else) signed, but the line was too long and there was no way.
I did, however, look for Kristen in the Cress line, which is where I thought I'd find her, but nope. Instead, we backtracked a bit and went through the Tor Teen booth, where I got to meet Alexis and thank her for being awesome and working with me on Kenare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood series.
Which brings us to the first score of the day, as Alexis promptly pressed a copy of Antigoddess into my hands! [And I have since read it. And it was awesome.]
The Chaos of Stars should be in this pic, too,
but it was promptly stolen by my bestie.
Then we began what was to be the first of many hours of aimless wandering. During our walkabout, we passed Scholastic, where a publicist was giving out he very last box of The Dream Thieves, so we lucked into that. After that little score, we stopped though HarperCollins so I could see if Kellie from Walden was hanging around anywhere (she wasn't, and we played phone tag much of the day, trying to find each other); but while we were there, I asked if they'd be doing anything related to The Chaos of Stars or Across a Star-Swept Sea, and though they weren't, one of their awesome publicists snagged me copies!
Me and Faith Erin Hicks!
Oh, and I met Brad, and we chatted about books and the awesomeness that is ALA!

While this was going on, we were keeping an eye out for Kristen but kept missing her, so we mostly just wandered aimlessly. During this time, I'd passed two signings I'd wanted to get in line for (Holly Black and Marie Lu), but both lines had been cut off. Instead, we headed down towards the Graphic Novel Stage - because there was a graphic novel stage! and I could hear Gene Luen Yang talking on it! - and I stumbled upon Faith Erin Hicks, who had got her own booth just because she liked getting to meet everybody!
Holly Black, y'all!
Super sweet & blue hair to boot!

After that, we circled back looking for Kristen, and what do you know, there was Holly Black, finishing up a signing, and they hadn't cut it off, so I got to walk right up! (I bought copies of Dollbones and Black Heart to get signed, too!)

And immediately after that, I turn to go down another aisle, and BAM, Marie Lu signing, also finishing up and also not cut off, and I got to walk right up to that one, too! CRAZINESS. I think the world was trying to make it up to me for raining on me all day the day before...
And after we left there, we finally found Kristen, and we hung out with her for a bit, going to a signing for Susan Beth Pfeffer's The Shade of the Moon, and picking up a few other books along the way. We then headed out to the parking area to find Sara (where we also ran into Katie), and have a little noon-time break to drop off our heavy bags. On the way back in, we got sucked into a couple of signings, thanks to some enthusiastic publicists or fun pub gimmicks; among them was Diana L. Sharples Running Lean, Molly McAdams' Forgiving Lies, and Heather Terrell's Relic. I have to say, Heather was a sweetie and was very enthusiastic in talking about her book and the world, which always gets you pumped about it yourself. (So was Soho's publicist, Meredith, who I finally got to meet in person, and who was standing at the end of the aisle wrangling people in like a carnival barker. It was awesome.) (At various points during all of this, we picked up Risked, Extremities and a cute kids book and matching tote for The Snatchabook.)

After this, I had planned to go wait in line for the Alexandra Bracken signing, but Kellie and I finally tracked each other down, so I skipped that signing to chat with Kellie for awhile, and then Sam and I went to grab a REALLY overpriced lunch that was fortunately pretty tasty. (And on the way to lunch, Sam stumbled upon a booth where we chatted for a bit with the authors? publicists? both? for a book of short stories based on stand-up comics' routines, with the immensely awesome title of Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck - and found out that they'd done some of these routines in our neck of the woods! Sam also spied awesome Hobbit bags, so I totally got one of those, and it has been getting heavy use since. ^_^)

We had planned to leave right after lunch and go to the Shedd Aquarium before heading home, but we decided against it so I could try to make it into one of the signings for Tamora FREAKING Pierce. Alas, that was never meant to be, as I missed the lines every time (though I did totally ambush her a bit as one of her lines ended, so that I could tell her that she changed the way I read and what I expected from a good book, essentially shaping me as a reader. I may have teared up just a tiny bit because I'm a big girl and I don't have to cry when I meet my idols, dammit, and she may have looked a little afraid of me. Not enough for a restraining order, but close. But that's okay, because I MET TAMORA PIERCE.)

Though we missed her signings, we were in good time for another - with the longest line I saw at the convention the entire day (fortunately I was close to the front of it, but still - super long wait!), and that was for: PATRICK NESS.

And yes, he is a charmer.

And why the hell didn't I get a picture with him?

Seriously, though - what a class act. He was making conversation - not just saying Hi, how are you? but making real conversation - with every person that came through his line. You could tell he wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable, even those who were really nervous and awkward, and he chatted with them in such an inviting, down to earth way that I swear to you, 1/2 the women in that place (and probably some of the men) fell in love with him that day...
Anyway, I picked up copies of The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask & the Answer (but not Monsters of Men, because I love my UK copy and didn't want to have a third copy (yes) of that book, which I haven't even read yet because FEELS), as well as an ARC of his next book, More Than This, which will probably make me cry, and I think Patrick was a little gleeful about that, frankly. He mocks my pain. (And yet I love him...)

After we left Patrick Ness (reluctantly), we turned a corner, and there was sitting a lady who looked awfully familiar - and that's because I have worked with her before for Fairy Tale Fortnight - author of Impossible and Extraordinary, Nancy Werlin. She was signing copies of her upcoming sequel to Impossible (which I didn't know was a thing), Unthinkable! She said characters from Extraordinary pop up in there, too, so I'm intrigued to see how it all comes together.
Also - she remembered me, which is always makes you feel a bit warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

And that was pretty much it for ALA. As always, it was fun and loud and exhausting and overwhelming and an absolute best.
I wish I would have committed to going a little sooner so I could have actually planned things (for the whole following week, I kept thinking, 'Oh, I forgot to find ________!' or  'I should have stopped by the __________ booth and thanked them for being awesome!' etc.), but for a completely unplanned, random bookish trip, I really couldn't have asked for anything more.

And I'll tell you now, I do plan on going to ALA Vegas next year as a birthday present to myself, so if you're planning on going, let me know or find me! I promise to only be moderately drunk and/or cash-strapped...

And if you made it all the way to the end of this long-assed post,


PS - And if you're a visual person and want to see the haul vlog, here's part one:


  1. Goodness! Sounds like a great time! I give you props for giving such a detailed summary...typically I get weary of writing summaries and get really vague towards the end. :)

  2. lol! That's why it took so long to get up! I was just going to try to be brief, but since I had the ALA vlog in both a full and quick version, I figured I might as well really give the play by play here. =D

  3. Looks like you got some things that I didn't and too funny we were in the same lines but took so long to find each other. SO sad we didn't get a pic together! We will have to go to Michigan sometime for a signing. I didn't get to see half the authors I wanted to but then ran into more that I forgot were even coming. Also super sad I missed meeting Katherine Kellgren. Curses on that end!

  4. Ah, you make me actually wish I had gone! If only there was an ALA Seattle...
    Patrick Ness as a charmer, how fun! He made me cry so many times with each of the Chaos Walking books (yes, the feels, but seriously....you should read Book 3. So worth the gut-wrenching, heart-squeezing, openly-weeping-on-the-bus-while-you-read moments).
    Now I must read this new novel of his...thanks!

  5. It is absolutely silly of us that we didn't get a picture together, Kristen. Or a group picture! Did we ever get one when you guys came for Maria? And yes, when I got home, I kept thinking of more people who said they were going to be there that I forgot to look for, or more publicists and authors that I should have kept an eye out for.

    And Beth - I'M SCARED OF THE FEELS! I know (I know) it's going to be good, and I really do want to read it, but every time I go to pick it up, I just can't! It's pathetic. lol


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