Hello from Hollywood!

We arrived at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood in the wee hours Thursday morning. I started reading my book group’s latest pick, Loving Frank, on the plane. Carrie finished Anne Lamott’s book, Grace, Eventually. We only brought one book each because we anticipate being loaded down with Advance Reading Copies here at the Book Expo.

When we awoke, a very few hours later, I raised the blinds and was so surprised and pleased to see the iconic Hollywood sign on the hill nearby. We hustled off to the Day of Education sponsored by the American Bookseller’s Association. I learned so much in the sessions I attended about new sidelines and planning and hosting wonderful events for the community. I am so FULL of ideas that were shared by other independent booksellers around the country. I can’t wait to implement some new programs when I get home.
At the evening’s Celebration of Bookselling, we enjoyed watching awards given for Bookseller of the Year sponsored by Publisher’s Weekly. Another highlight of this event is to watch the awards ceremony for Booksense Book of the Year. This is always a very gratifying experience because the author’s inevitably humbly acknowledge the independent bookseller as being integral to the success of their books. Here is a little recap of that event from the American Bookseller’s Association website.
“Accepting his Book Sense Book of the Year Award in the Fiction category for A Thousand Splendid Suns (Riverhead/Penguin), Khaled Hosseini, said, “Thank you so much for this show of faith in my writing … support that came long before the publication of [The Kite Runner], and then for handselling…my books.” Sharing his memories of biking to his neighborhood bookstore in Kabul as a boy, he described a growing love of literature fostered by the reading suggestions and encouragement from the store’s owner. “I fell in love with books in that store,” Hosseini said, “and you can’t become a writer of books if you’re not a lover of books.” Saluting the assembled independent booksellers at the Celebration, he said, “Those of you who chose to make a living in this craft [of bookselling] are cultural ambassadors in the communities you have chosen to serve…. Without that very unique brand of word-of-mouth … [many writers’] careers would not have taken off.”
Also present to receive his award was Children’s Literature winner Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scholastic Press), and accepting via videos were Barbara Kingsolver and family for Book Sense Book of the Year Nonfiction winner Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (HarperCollins) and Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Hyperion Books for Children) in the Children’s Literature category.’
A major announcement was made at the end of the Celebration. The American Bookseller’s Association rolled out the highly anticipated new program called IndieBound. I am so excited about this new program, or “revolution” as they are calling it. It is basically an initiative that will help booksellers and other local independent retailers educate their customers about the benefits of buying local and develop an even greater trust in putting the best books available into their hands. Stay tuned. You will hear a lot more about this soon.
Today was spent orienting ourselves to the layout of the immense trade floor at the Los Angeles Exhibition Center. It is HUGE. Carrie shook hands with Henry Winkler (remember Fonzie?) who is now writing children’s books, Sherman Alexie, author of many books, the latest of which is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Garth Stein. Garth has visited our store before and will come again in October. His new book, told from the perspective of a dog is called The Art of Racing in the Rain. We ate lunch with Jennifer Haigh, author of Mrs. Kimble, Baker Towers and her new book, The Condition.
What an amazing opportunity it is for us to be here. To meet authors whose work we are excited about and to bring home our excitement to our dear customers is so exciting! There is simply not enough time to get to all the autograph sessions that I want to attend, but I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for Barbara Walters, Robert Kennedy, Jr, Ernest Borgnine, Leonard Nimoy, Jan Brett, Robert Sabuda, Gary Chapman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ray Bradbury, Louis Sacher, Dionne Warwick, Brian McClaren and Garrison Keillor.
My eyes are drooping, my feet hurt and morning comes early. See you tomorrow.

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Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Heading to Book Expo in Los Angeles

Carrie and are heading to Book Expo America in Los Angeles this week. We know from past experience that we need very comfortable shoes for this 4-day book extravaganza. Over 600 authors will be in attendance and we will have an opportunity to meet many of them and receive signed copies of their books. We will also be taking advantage of many educational seminars that will keep us up to date as booksellers, introduce us to new products and procedures. We take our continuing education very seriously at our store and we are grateful for this opportunity. I will also be contributing to the Bookseller’s Advisory Council, giving feedback to industry professionals from the perspective of a Northwest bookseller.

Our days will be full but thoroughly enjoyable. Seeing, touching and talking about books just can’t be beat. We hope to see some sights and we look forward to the evenings in the hotel where we plan to READ! We will be shipping the books we receive back to the store to share with our staff. We love reading and reviewing the latest in great literature so that we can introduce it to our customers.

I plan to write a short blog report each day of Book Expo. I’ll tell you what I saw, who I met and what I’m excited about. Stay tuned. Will there be chocolates on our pillows? Will I recognize Mariel Hemingway? Does George Hamilton still have that eerie tan? Will we find our way back to LAX? How much coffee does it take to keep on walking? What will we see people reading on the plane? Check back on Thursday to see what we are up to.
Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 4:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Masterpiece Theater Review – Cranford

Cranford

is a three-part PBS series based on the book of the same name. The setting is a small English village in the mid-1800’s with a seemingly disproportionate number of spirited spinsters and widows. Dame Judi Dench has the lead role in this funny, yet touching program. Beautifully filmed and acted, this is one of those programs that I was sad to have end. My daughter and I both enjoyed it immensely. I’ve not watched anything as entertaining and substantive on television in years. Click on the words “Masterpiece Theater” above to go to the webpage. Highly recommended. Five out of five stars!
Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  

cards and flowers

It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago when my four children were bringing me dandelion bouquets. I have saved all the creative, loving cards they made for me on Mother’s Day, labored over with crayons, markers, glitter and the ones that always, always made me cry. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones with tracings of their little hands. I heard from each of them today and two of them gave me flowers that are a bit more sophisticated than weeds. Beautiful flowering plants in cute pots! No hand tracings today, but I did get a pretty card from my granddaughter, a card that nicely rounded out an already special day. It has mermaid stickers and a crayon and marker signature. It’s perfect.

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 3:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Movie Review

ONCE

I’ve been a bit under the weather this week, so I’ve watched a couple of videos. Today I enjoyed “Once”. A sweet story of a street performer and a young mother. I watched it with the sub-titles turned on. It is an Irish film and I sometimes had trouble understanding dialogue. I didn’t, however, need sub-titles to understand the great music. Other than some language that is perhaps typical of the UK, but makes me cringe at times, this movie is just full of wonderful moments. As they enjoy each other’s company, spending time together, helping each other and forming a small band, they both pine for lost relationships of the past. The harmonies are marvelous, the tone of the movie is kindness and friendship and I found myself rewinding so I could hear their duets just one more time. This is a feel-good movie and I loved it. To see a preview just click on the words “Movie Review” above.
Published in: on May 8, 2008 at 3:35 am  Comments (1)  

Book Review

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell

This young adult novel kept this old adult captivated. Vassar Spore is an overachieving sophomore who has her summer planned with AP classes to keep her on her fast-track and assure that her future holds valedictorian honors as well as a spot in a prestigious women’s college. Her parents named her Vassar for that very reason. However, a phone call from a mysterious, eccentric relative with an invitation to travel to Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos sets an entirely different kind of summer adventure in motion. Learning to LIM (Live In the Moment), Vassar finds adventure, danger and a handsome young cowboy (?). Well written by a former missionary kid from New Papua, this book is full of bugs, climate challenges and food adventures that only a resident of southeast Asia would know.

Published in: on May 8, 2008 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment