Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2010 (Book Expo America)

Burgundian scribe (portrait of Jean Miélot, secretary, copyist and translator to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, from a copy of his compilation of the Miracles de Notre Dame, 15th Century

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2010 (Book Expo America)

I took a short break in the morning and finished reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. It is an excellent fantasy novel set in ancient China. I'll probably write a review later this week.

I found out to my amusement that I have been comped as a journalist because I write this blog. This is the second time that I have been comped as a journalist with a byline. The first time was at O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing in 2009. It is a very different experience. Right now, I am sitting in the Press Office writing on this blog. I did not expect this. I have two badges, one as a librarian, and one as a journalist because of this blog. I paid for the librarian badge. Right now, I am carrying both.

The Bookcalender badge will be of use for tomorrow for the Book Bloggers Convention at the Jacob Javits Center in room 1E15. It is the kind of thing which I have to just "go with the flow."

I spent a little time walking the floor of the convention. I did find Fantagraphics at a booth. I didn't think they were at the convention earlier. They had an interesting portion of a galley of a short story prose collection, What Is This All? Uncollected Stories by Peter Dixon. This was surprising because Fantagraphics is known mainly for its graphic novels. However, I have seen other novels being published recently by comic book publishers. DC published Peter and Max, A Fable by Bill Willingham.

Dalkey Archive was right next to Fantagraphics. Dalkey Archive is one of my favorite presses. I am familiar with them because at one time, I used to visit Small Press Distributors in Berkeley, California, . They have a new line of english translations of literature from Catalan, Slovenian, and Hebrew. Dalkey Archive prints very high quality literary works.

I also picked up a practical book for our Job Information Center, Military Education Benefits for College by David A. Renza, M.A. and Edmund J. Lizotte, Lt. Col. Ret. published by Savas Beatie.

While I was walking around, I saw that Housing Works was at the convention. They have a very nice used bookstore in Manhattan which supports providing shelter for homeless people who are HIV positive or have AIDS. They are a social enterprise.

After finishing walking around, I went the Fall Hot Graphic Novels For Libraries in the conference area from 2:00- 3:30 p.m. I especially liked the title Archie Marries... which has two stories, one where he marries Bettie, and one where he marries Veronica. The other graphic novel which intrigued me which they talked about was Ghostopolis by Doug Ten Napel. I plan on giving the list to our young adult librarian to look over. There are also a few childrens graphic novels.

The final librarian session was the 2nd Annual Librarians Shout and Share from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in room 1E16. It was a panel of eight collection development librarians sharing their picks from the show. They basically showed forthcoming books which they had collected. It was interesting hearing which books they liked. Certain books were repeated several times. The titles which I remember that more one collection development librarian mentioned were The Passage by Justin Cronin, Cleopatra: A Biography by Stacy Schiff, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Nora Rawlinson, The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman, and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Bailey.

It was quite interesting hearing the librarians book talk their choices in very short presentations. Barbara Genco announced that they would have a complete list of all the books mentioned published in Library Journal. I look forward to seeing this.

After the collection development book talk, I went to the opening reception for the Book Bloggers convention. They served cookies and coffee and met in a large meeting room. There were over a hundred people in the room. I recognized Natasha of Maw Books who has a very nicely designed book blog. Also, I had a chance to chat with a couple different different people. Christopher Herz told me about his book, Last Block In Harlem. He is an interesting website on the book It is being picked up by Amazon Encore which is the new publishing house attached to Amazon.

I thought one of the attendees was the librarians blog Stacked, but it turned out to be a different blog, Stacked Attractively Well Read run by Christina R. Oppold. It has a different style.

I had a brief conversation with a gentleman named Simon Van Booy from Harper Collins. It was interesting.

The day was a very productive day. I did get a similar question thrown at me to the one about bloggers being journalists. Am I a reviewer? I am really not sure how to answer this in a traditional sense. I do review books regularly and recommend books, however I am not being paid to do it for a magazine like Library Journal or Choice. This would beg the question of are bloggers really reviewers. Do I need to be a reviewer to ask for a review copy. I know that librarians regularly get review copies as selectors of materials. In a way this makes me both a reviewer and a selector of materials.

It adds to another question. Are bloggers writers? Do I get paid for this. Maybe, I don't get paid in dollars, but I get some social capital (look up whuffie if you want to be a bit science fiction oriented) or if you are old fashioned brownie points, as well as free stuff, or comps to events occassionally. I enjoy it anyways. I still haven't figured out quite where it will lead, good or bad. What seems to be the best thing to do is if someone decides I am a reviewer is to go with the flow. Maybe I don't need to decide that I am a journalist, reviewer, or writer, someone else will just say yes. What I do know is that I am a librarian and a blogger.

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