Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The ReRead

My family just returned from a vacation in Washington DC. This is one of the few trips I've taken since I left being a librarian that didn't count in some way as a business trip. I ran the family (and myself) ragged, zipping around the city in too cold weather, six months pregnant, and ended every day with cankles and sausage toes. Our final night of the trip began with the beautiful wedding of my cousin and ended with my kiddo barfing on the hotel bed (one of my biggest fears!!!). Last night, the first night home, finally brought on actual sleep. Aaaahhhhh.

Before I left for my trip, I grabbed a small book to read. Every book I have checked out from the library is massive in size and hard-covered, and with all of the stuffed animals and snacks filling my backpack, there was no room for any of them. I opted for an ex-school copy of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, a book I've read multiple times and one that happens to weigh very little. It's been years since I've read it, but it holds a place in my head's bookshelf of reread books. There aren't many, since I am a very slow reader and rarely find enough time to finish a new book, let alone read a book I've already read. But as I'm thoroughly enjoying revisiting Ray, it got me thinking about what other books I have reread (and also had me wondering if I already blogged about this some years back). Here is my list (that my still-recovering, groggy brain can remember) of books that I have reread:

The Phantom Tollbooth - Probably my most reread book. Do I have to explain why I reread all of these books? I've been up an hour, and I think I have already exhausted my brain power. This one I read in school more than once and then read it more because I dug it.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - Who doesn't want to sleep in a museum?

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - So darn funny.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl - I was way into Roald Dahl as a young teenager. I have read all of his books multiple times, particularly this one and Danny the Champion of the World. I think this was before I knew he was an anti-Semite (that's official, right?).

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories - He didn't actually write this one. I lent this to my sister, and she dropped it in the toilet. I think. That's the story that sticks in my head. And has nothing to do with why I have reread the book. Super-duper scary. I may have to make this my next reread. I think I've owned at least three copes of this book.

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden - But I have never found the time to reread the entire series. Someday. So worth it.

My Perfect Life by Lynda Barry - I have many of these comics memorized. Perfect, indeed.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn - When I was in my somewhat disturbing, yet slightly endearing, circus era.

I'm sure I've missed some. Do the books I've written count? I have to read my books over and over again during the revision process. In fact, I am supposed to be doing that RIGHT NOW for my next book, The F-It List. It's not quite as fun when I have to pay attention and fix stuff in the book, though.

What are some of your favorite rereads?

[PS "Reread" is apparently a word, although I think it looks better as "re-read."]

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speak Easy

Last week I had the honor of receiving the South Carolina Association of School Librarians Young Adult Book Award. I had never been to Columbia, SC, so I made it a point for the family to visit every museum and interesting place I could find (if you've read my book, Don't Stop Now, you know of my love of road trips. Not that this was a road trip, but it was a new city to explore. And we explored it!). It's complicated juggling my family, who always travel with me, and the conference. The first morning of my stay, I joined the awesome Heather Burch and Sophie Jordan for a YA panel. Here we are, bright and early:

I think Heather posted this pic. Thanks, Heather!
The thing that struck me about these two women, besides their fabulous hair (seriously, why didn't I get a haircut before this conference?) was how ambitious they were. So many ideas! So many books! It was very interesting to hear how paranormal writers (oooh- that makes it sound like they have powers!) organize their thoughts. Entire worlds of which to keep track.

After that, I joined my family (including mother-in-law and brother-in-law) at two museums: Edventure, a children's museum, and the South Carolina State Museum, which I thought would just be some crusty collection of pressed flowers but ended up being a wonderful amalgam of science, history, nature. Then it was back to the convention center for autographs and out to dinner with Mackin, who helped sponsor me at the conference, and a great group of SC librarians.

The next day I spoke at the buttcrack of dawn to a group who kindly made the effort to wake up. For some reason, I brought up Jeffrey Dahmer not once, but twice. Then it was back to family time, where I dragged the family into the office at this place:

We could see the factory from our hotel, and I was semi-obsessed. I imagined that the actual name of the owner of the company was "Adler," but with thick Southern accents the name somehow became "Adluh." We bought some grits and cornbread mix.

At noon I went to the ballroom for the awards luncheon, and I was blown away by how fancy the room was set up! I wish I took a picture. The only picture I have of me giving my acceptance speech is this one posted by librarian Julie Putnam:
How lovely and hunched I look! What was hilarious was that the award winners and some committee member librarians had to sit at a table on the stage. It was hilarious because we also had to eat lunch up there. I was glad that they didn't expect us to eat lunch while everyone was giving speeches; lunch came first, speeches second. My family was able to watch my speech, which made it extra special. And check out the actual award:

I may have to turn it into a necklace, a la Flava Flav and his clocks.

After the lunch, it was on to the Columbia Museum of Art. By then we were all tired (I'm going to go out on a limb and say especially me), so we didn't stay long. But we did manage to enjoy this sign posted on the door to the museum:
No knives or guns. Yup.

We finished off our day with a stop at Mast General Store, a place I love mainly because they have buckets of candy that I must buy. That night we ate in the hotel room and watched so many episodes of Spongebob that Romy needed to detox when we got home.

Our last day in Columbia was spent at their great zoo, where we actually managed to walk around without jackets for part of the day. Aaaahhhhh.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, and I have to thank the SCASL again for the award and the invite. It's nice to be back home, even with more snow, for some well-deserved rest and Moon Pies

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Thank you. Thank you very much.

This week I'm traveling to Columbia, South Carolina to receive the South Carolina Association of School Librarians Young Adult Book Award. This is an awesome award to receive, as it's one of those state awards where the librarians and students come up with a list of books that they then have to read during the school year. The students vote for their favorite, and, whoomp, there it is! Oh, I failed to mention that Into the Wild Nerd Yonder was the Chosen One (just like Buffy). What a cool choice by the students, I must say. I wrote an acceptance speech and everything, and will be reading it (speaking it?) at the Authors Celebration Luncheon on Friday, along with the Picture Book Award winner, Cynthia Lord, and Junior Book Award winner, Rosanne Parry. The last time I received an award where I had to make a speech, I totally dorked it up. I can elaborate if you're interested in another blog post, but let's just say it involved hideous pants, horrid morning sickness, and every other award recipient being a previous Nobel Prize winner (I shit you not). This time around, I am thoroughly in my element: librarians, authors, and South Carolina (where my hubs is from). And I wrote out the speech. Printed it in 14 size font, just in case my eyes decide to go. My one fear? That my daughter, who is not the most independent of children, will feel the need to join me on stage because, duh, Mom doesn't do anything important that doesn't involve her, right? (Did that sound bitchy? I'm seriously going stir crazy with all of this frakkin' snow we're getting. Thank Mother Nature that it is supposed to be 70 in Columbia on Saturday.) Actually, I just practiced reading the speech to her, both practicing my reading and her listening. Lord. I may just go bury myself in the snow right now. Forever. If you hear about an author who doesn't show up to receive her award in South Carolina, you'll know where to find me.