This year’s annual American Library Association conference was held in Chicago, so I took myself down to McCormick Place for three days to wander the exhibit halls, scope out all the new books, meet some authors and get some books signed. I don’t know how anybody can find time to actually attend meetings and workshops because the exhibit hall itself is a full-time undertaking with over 800 exhibitors and over 300 authors on hand to sign their books. Sourcebooks gave away a T-shirt that I sadly didn’t get that said “Authors are My Rock Stars.” And this really sums up how all the librarians, teachers and other book lovers who crowded the exhibit hall and stood in long lines for photos and autographs felt. It was so much fun going from booth to booth, talking to people who feel the same excitement you do about books. As Anne Shirley of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series might have said, they were all “kindred spirits.”
The biggest highlight for me was getting to meet the authors and get my books signed. I met Katherine Patterson, Kirby Larson, Brian Selznick, Blue Balliett, Jerry Pinkney, Brandon Mull (for my son) and Ally Carter (for my niece) and more.
Some of the authors I met at ALA 2013
Another exciting perk is the abundance of free books; some people seemed to indiscriminately take anything that was offered, but I tried to control myself and only take what I knew I or others in my family would read. There seemed to be quite a few YA books on offer compared with books for other age levels. And what do you do with all these free books once you have them? You put them in the free tote bags offered by the publishers and other vendors. The most coveted bags seemed to be the Ingram bags (because of its size) and the bags from Baker & Taylor, National Geographic, Kids Can Press and Capstone because of the cool designs. If you didn’t make it to the booth first thing in the morning when the exhibits opened, you were out of luck.
Other highlights: the Cooking Stage where authors prepared recipes from their cookbooks–and then gave away signed copies of the books. I got Indian Cooking Unfolded and Put ’em Up: A Preserving Guide & Cookbook. Another session at the Cooking Stage had Amy Alessio, a local librarian (and vintage cookbook collector) talking about food fiction–exactly the kind of book I like to read. She mentioned many of the the series I have read and introduced me to several more. Luckily, she works at the public library one town over from me so when I run out of things to read I can go pick her brain.
Finally, I came home with three books that fit the parameters of this blog that I will be talking about in a future post.
I leave you with a vintage recipe shared by Amy Alessio:
Maple Apple Doughnuts
1 Gala apple cut in small pieces
2 C flour
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 beaten eggs
3/4 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Bake at 325F in baked doughnut pan for 10 minutes or until tops spring back to touch.
Happy reading and happy eating!