So here's why I'm still gone. Between April 24th and June 22nd I am running school, library and in-store events with:
Sharon M. Draper
I know. I KNOW. I! KNOW!
However, coming soon:
--Reviews of their books
--Full event details
--Information about how you can order signed books through me, if you like, even if you don't live anywhere near St. Louis
--Notification if I ever sleep
--A rundown of all the caffeine I'm consuming
--An update on my sanity
--Squee from my inner fangirl
And, maybe, someday, reviews of all the other awesome books I'm reading and selling (HEIST SOCIETY, GREEN, DRIZZLE, THIRTEEN DAYS TO MIDNIGHT, LIVING HELL, THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, just to name a few).
(If only there were OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE ALSO SUPPOSED TO OCCASIONALLY POST HERE!)
I hope to post an actual review later today, but first I wanted to ask:
HOW IN HECK do those of you who blog, have jobs, and have families actually get all of this done?
I'm just going to talk at random about what's going on right now, mostly to make myself feel better about being unable to write any reviews for a couple of weeks, and partially to take a good hard look at it all.
WORK: I am the children's and young adult book buyer (and, actually, the entire department) at Pudd'nHead Books (celebrating our one year anniversary on Saturday!). I work in the store about fifteen hours a week, although that is about to double because of the holidays. I work at home probably another 2-5 hours depending on what's going on. I work out of the store if there's an ongoing event.
Between now and Christmas I will be selling books at five performances each of three children's theatre performances at a local performing arts center. After each of these shows have ended, I need to immediately return any unsold books that were ordered specifically for that show.
I have Heather Vogel Frederick coming for two school visits and an in-store signing. We are having an evening with Hank Steuver and Curtis Sittenfeld, and a rescheduled signing with Ron Currie. I have at least three, possibly more book club meetings to facilitate. We are having two in-store book fairs. For one I need to make short video book talks for the librarian to show the students; for the other, I need to pick some special targeted books. For each I will need to rearrange the department to accommodate special shelves for each school (and then dismantle them immediately following). I am having two educator evenings, a picture book night and a chapter book night, to reach out to area educators and talk to them about what we do. I am having a Fancy Nancy party and a Polar Express storytime.
I need to place backlist orders with Simon and Schuster, Candlewick, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Random House, HarperCollins, Disney/Hyperion, Little Brown and Scholastic. Some of those I need to do immediately either because the trade show special is about to expire or because I need the books for an event. I can only do that at work, and if it's a backlist order of a book we've never had before, an inventory card needs to be created for it.
I need to place Spring 2010 frontlist orders with everyone except Scholastic. In order to do that, I need to read a mountain of novels. I'm pretty well set with Penguin, but not remotely ready for the others. I've read Random House's and Penguin's picture books but no one else's. (AND SPECIAL TO SCHOLASTIC: SENDING A BOX OF SUMMER 2010 GALLEYS WAS NOT REMOTELY AMUSING.)
I need to decide on sidelines for stocking stuffers and special holiday purchases, place the orders, and figure out where in heck I'm going to put more stuff.
Oh, and I need to read all the new books that have come in that I ordered on the strength of recommendations and other reviews but haven't actually read yet. Because I haven't read them, I can't handsell them or write shelftalkers for them.
HOME: Greg (my husband) is in Shanghai for two weeks. My mother lives with us and is currently not working, so that is an enormous help, but I have a three year old who both misses and is mad at her father, and has a completely unpredictable nap schedule. Over the coming weeks we have Halloween, several days in Milwaukee for Thanksgiving, and a quick overnight to Chicago. Greg is a law professor and is on a semester-long teaching sabbatical, and when he comes back from China he needs to try to finish up a law review article. And did I mention the holidays are coming? And the three year old? And that I owe about a thousand emails and phone calls, and I don't know how much more understanding my friends have?
BLOG: Suffers. One of the biggest issues is that I can no longer just read what looks interesting to me - I have to read EVERYTHING. I can't buy the books if I haven't read the books. So I'm reading a lot of stuff in genres I don't really enjoy, and a lot of bad books, and a lot of nonfiction, and it would be really, really nice if publishers could just consider publishing fewer books. I have read at least fifteen terrific books I haven't had a chance to review, as well as piles of picture books. I haven't even had time to format and post any more of the video reviews Sarah and I made together.
So since *AHEM* my other contributors seem to *AHEM* be busy as well, posting here may well continue to be sporadic until the New Year. I have no idea. Perhaps a burst of energy will produce a small stockpile of reviews I can stagger; perhaps not.
Clearly I am taking one! It turns out I am too busy
1. selling books
2. setting up author visits
3. selling books at a children's theatre
4. buying backlist books on special
5. reading books
6. buying spring (!!!) books for the shop
7. planning three store parties
and oh yeah
8. spending time with my family, including my husband who is going to China for two weeks and my daughter who is about to turn three and is torn between being delightful and being a hellbeast to
9. review books.
So unfortunately, I think 9 has to wait just a weeeeeee bit longer.
(However: thumbs up on LEVIATHAN; books I love like THE COMPOUND and THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX being out in paper; and HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT being out, period.)
The comment policy here consists of two rules:
1. Don't be a jerk to me or anyone else. Disagreement is fine; insults are not.
2. No anonymous comments. No exceptions. If you're going to write a comment and get it posted here, you're going to have to use an actual email address and at least some pretense at a real name. So unfortunately, anonymous who used "firstname.lastname@example.org," I can't approve your comment. Try again when you're ready to use real info.
(And that anonymous comment wasn't even inflammatory, so I don't get why it was anonymous in the first place!)
Please welcome, at last, my dear friend and former coworker Sarah to the Kidliterate staff. I am thrilled to have her here. You'll probably have read her first review before you read this, since I'm posting this first and the review will be on top. Her bio, which is also up on our staff page, is as follows:
Sarah grew up in a house filled with books, and at the age of 14 started working at the library checking books out and putting books away. She went on to get a BA in English (but not before spending a semester at Oxford, where she bought enough books to fill a suitcase) and then started her career in—drum roll please—bookselling. For the past seven years, she has spent her days at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA, where she and Melissa first met. They became fast friends over a mutual love of Aaron Sorkin, Tazo chai, Harry Potter, pop culture, and of course, children’s books, among other things. Sarah has an uncanny ability to remember the plots of things she reads, which comes in very handy in her profession. Unfortunately she can’t remember half the things she says, which occasionally gets her into trouble. Though she tries to show love to all the genres, fantasy and science fiction tend to be her favorites. She loves reading books by first time authors, because one day she hopes to become one herself.
If you're in bookselling, or are an author, chances are you've met Sarah. Her enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of kidlit are unforgettable, as is her ready laugh and beaming smile. When I recently visited CBW on a trip back East, we were able to tag-team handsell books to a few tween and teen girls, just like we used to, and it was just the re-energizing I needed. I miss her every day, and having her here makes it the teeniest tiniest bit easier. Please join me in welcoming her to Kidliterate.
I am going away for 12 days, to take my daughter to Sesame Place among other things. After having a bit of a panicky feeling while looking at my ARC stacks last night, I have decided: no kids' books on this trip except the ones I read to my child. Somehow I have made myself a mountain of self-created pressure that I must get out from under. So if you are waiting for me to review a book you've sent me - it's going to be a little while longer. I have to try to remember that the only piece of this for which I am paid is the one where I stand on my feet in a store for 15 hours a week and sell books to people.
Perhaps, while I am gone, one of my lovely friends will post something here (and I will have my computer, ladies, so I can put up posts or images as needed), and perhaps not. Some people seem to have been energized by BEA and I, frankly, was worn down to a tiny tiny stump.
Have a great almost two weeks!
My friend Kymm, who I have known online since we used to write online journals on our slates in chalk (while walking uphill both ways to the internet cafe), has joined us here at Kidliterate. She's the author of the lovely review of THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT that appears below. I am thrilled to have her here. Welcome, Kymm!
I'm in New Jersey for a few days helping my mom pack to move out here with us, so no postings from me until the weekend. (Perhaps someone else might post, though!) I have so many backlogged books to review I'm afraid I may never finish them! And yesterday I spent a couple hours at Children's Book World, and they're mailing me a box of galleys, and did I mention the books I got last week? And that BEA is coming up? An embarrassment of riches that I...er...NEED TO GET MOVING ON.
What was particularly great about being at CBW (besides, of course, being with my former-coworkers-and-friends-who-are-really-family-to-me) was getting to read some of the picture books I've missed over the last four months and deciding which ones I might order for Pudd'nHead. And spotting some more board books to order for Pudd'nHead as well. I wish I'd had some more time to read F&Gs, but I'm hoping to get a couple more sales kits mailed to me in time for BEA.
It's a bit of a crazy month around here, and an exciting one, and a nervewracking one! I hope you're all well, and I'll be back this weekend.