In this month’s recap: I visit the glorious Gladstone Library, get some serious reading done and decide to feed my ebook addiction.
The Gladstone Library
This month, I spent a wonderful weekend at the glorious Gladstone Library in Wales. This is the UK’s only residential library (or so I’m told), so I actually got to sleep with all the books. It was bookworm’s dream come true. You could take books up to your room, visit in the wee hours, have a glass of wine in their honour bar, and dinner in their dining hall. I wanted to move in forever.
The primary Gladstone collection is made up of Prime Minister Gladstone’s books, so they date from the 1800s and cover mainly theology and politics. However, the Library is also living collection, with a special fund established by Gladstone to buy new books. So while I didn’t spend too long perusing the theology section, I was able to find plenty of fiction and non-fiction to satisfy my tastes.
The historic element of the Library did, however, allow me to handle original copies of the Strand magazine that featured the first publication of the Sherlock Holmes stories. It was insanely exciting for me.
Original Strand magazines from the 19th century. These featured the first publications of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.
Feed My Reader
Book blogging has had a serious impact on my shelves. I buy/receive/am gifted more books than I will ever read. Even though I always try to get rid of the copies I don’t need or want, space has become a serious issue.
So, I’ve made the executive decision to expand my e-book collection. Though you will still see “real” book hauls, I’m going to be doing many more e-book hauls on Dead Book Darling: they’ll be entitled “Feed My Reader”. Though still not my preferred method of reading, I do love the convenience and manageability of e-books.
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
I took part, once again, in the glorious Dewey’s 24-hour readathon. It was an absolute blast and really helped break me back into the reading habit! I loved the hourly challenges, my favourite, of course, being my own. Check out the Show it Off! Challenge I hosted for a peek at some bookish treasures that participants shared!
This month was a pretty good one (thank you readathon!). I read:
- Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee (review here)
- The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
- Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2) by Patricia Briggs
- Blue-Blooded Vamp (Sabina Kane, #5) by Jaye Wells
- Rush (The Game, #1) by Eve Silver
My favourite was – surprise surprise – Briggs’ Hunting Ground. That woman can do no wrong (though her publishers can, a fact I covered in #Publisherfail). I was slightly disappointed by Blue-Blooded Vamp, which wasn’t quite as fierce as its predecessors. The Adventures of Superhero Girl wins the title of “most unexpectedly awesome book”. It was unexpectedly awesome – a fierce, feminist, generation 2.0 read. Loved it.
Book Expo America a.k.a. When 90% humidity, sleep deprivation and hours in line can’t stop you from having the time of your life.
So, remember how I said I knew what to expect from BEA going in? Well, when the time came to actually go in, all of that disappeared from my brain. I wandered in 1000% lost and thank god I just stumbled into the right signing line, otherwise I might still be roaming Javits. But it only took me an hour or so to get accustomed to the layout and pretty soon I was darting all over the place.
The poster size competition got rather out of hand.
Richelle Mead signing stacks of her new adult series.
Amy Tan interviewed in front of audience at the Downtown Stage.
This, I would soon discover, would become my life for the next 3 days. I was on my feet 9-5 thanking God that there was a Starbucks on the convention floor. I was powered by adrenaline and caffeine – and the kilos of books on my shoulders meant nothing. It was friggin’ Disneyland.
One of the best things about BEA: the bloggers. I met the lovely Mara (Girls in Capes) that first day, who introduced me to both Susan (Read This, Eat That) and Feliza. It was a lot easier to approach publishers in pairs, so some of the best publisher experiences I had were with them and Tania (Literary Cravings). (Excluding one awesome argument about Sansa Stark over at Source Books – nothing gets the blood boiling better than the Game of Thrones!)
So, yes, you do have to stand in line a lot at BEA – but that is one of the best parts. It gives you an opportunity to talk to fellow book lovers, learn the gossip, find out about books that you might not have otherwise heard of, exchange ARCs and, well, have someone watch your bag while you pop over to grab a coffee and/or publisher. Seriously, people, even if you aren’t British, you’ll quickly love the BEA queuing.
The signing area filled up super quick.
Cutest book poster at BEA – by far!
Amanda Sun with the MLP version of her main character.
I followed the advice online and checked a bag the first afternoon. On days 2 and 3 I made sure to bring along a wheelie bag as I had to walk a lot after the convention to get back to my hotel and on to the theatre. NYC may be walkable, but it was rather like walking in an oven while carrying your own coffin.
… I don’t do well in the heat.
Anyhow, I met so many authors while I was there they’ve actually rather blurred in my mind. Though I know the US often sends dozens of authors out on tour together, we have nothing like that in the UK. To see 2 or 3 at once is highly unusual – but at BEA? Well, Harlequin had Elizabeth Scott, Julie Kagawa, Amanda Sun, Katie McGarry and Dawn Metcalf together not once, but twice. That’s kinda amazing
So, for the record, I met: Victoria Schwab (super lovely), Amanda Sun (super, super lovely), Richelle Mead (!!), Ally Carter, Brandon Sanderson, Maria V. Snyder, Jonathan Maberry, Eve Silver, Teri Brown, Holly Black, Anna Jarzab, Leila Sales, Jennifer Castle, Sarah Dessen (!!), Marie Lu, Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan, Elizabeth Scott (sweetest person ever), Amy Tintera, Ellen Datlow, Alice Hoffman, Kendare Blake, Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young, Romily Bernard, Lauren Myracle, Dan Krokos, Elizabeth Norris, Katie McGarry, Dawn Metcalf, Dot Hutchison, Ted Dekker, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, Julie Kagawa, Sean Williams, Deborah Noyes, Michael Pocalyko, Amy Herrick, Faith Erin Hicks, Sarah Jio, and Tyler Whitesides.
Jonathan Maberry looking shiny in his comic book shirt of awesome.
Elizabeth Norris signing her already-released novel Unravelling.
Marie Lu signing extracts and posters at the Penguin booth.
In case you hadn’t noticed: I had an amazing time. I met so many amazing people and would highly recommend that you all give it a go sometime – whether as a blogger or as a power reader. However, I’m also glad I took the evening off from author events: it gave me much-needed time away from the chaos and the opportunity to bleed money on Broadway (Matthew Broderrik! David Hyde Pearce! I couldn’t possibly keep away.)