I spent last weekend at the ALA conference in New Orleans. It was an exhausting few days, but it’s really fun to see all of the new stuff that folks have coming out soon and meet authors you love already or new ones you didn’t know you cared about.
A trip to New Orleans seemed like a reason to finally read a Dave Robicheaux novel. They’ve been on my TBR list for years, and this seemed like the opportune moment, so I borrowed The Tin Roof Blowdown (Simon & Schuster 2007) from my parents and dove in. This one takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and to be honest, those scenes are not easy to read. The book also focuses on the seedy side of The Big Easy, and it will make you wary of walking around alone in the city. Or with other people, really. While the subject matter can be tough (natural disaster, looters, murder, gang rape), Dave, his family, and friends are interesting characters, and I really enjoyed reading this one. James Lee Burke is a fantastic writer, too, and I’ll definitely be reading more of Dave’s adventures.
While I was at the conference, I got the opportunity to meet Orson Scott Card, who I’ve loved ever since I read Ender’s Game. (Seriously, if you haven’t read this yet, you need to pick it up. It’s epic. I hear that the movie is finally in the works, and I can’t wait.) I picked up a copy of Laddertop (Tor 2011), which he co-wrote with his daughter. It’s also a manga, which I’ve never read before, but I’m open to new experiences. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I also picked up Under Heaven (Penguin 2010) by Guy Gavriel Kay. I couldn’t make it to his book signing since I was supposed to be working occasionally while I was there instead of just picking up signed books. However, one of the staffers in the Penguin booth got one signed for me and delivered it. Such service! She is my favorite Penguin employee, hands down. I am really looking forward to this one, but it’s such a brick of a book that I may have to finish The Fountainhead before I can start in on it. I should probably limit myself to one long and complicated novel at a time.
I love books about thieves, and I’m pretty excited to have scored two new ones. The first is one that I saw at TLA back in April, but I foolishly did not pick up a copy there. It’s called City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Delacorte 2011), and I just noticed that it is the second book in a trilogy, so it looks like I’ll need to find the first book. The cover copy says it’s about a “trained thief and a skillful liar,” so it has a lot of promise. As soon as I find book 1, we will be in business here. Or I’ll start mid-trilogy and hope for the best.
The other thief book is Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, who I actually ran into every day, including at the airport on my way home where we discussed such important topics as the abundance of avocados in California, disappointment in watching Full House reruns, and why I am entirely too Southern to live in a cold climate. In creating these links, I just noticed that he has his own ALA postgame up if this round-up isn’t enough for you. Anyway, I started Peter Nimble Tuesday (not on the plane as promised. Sorry, Jonathan. I had to find out what was happening with Dave Robicheaux. Crazy guys were trying to murder his daughter), and I am loving it so far. The back of the book promises swashbuckling. Check. There is the aforementioned thieving. Check. Fun phrases like “Adventure-ho!” pop up from time to time. Check. All in all, an excellent start. It makes my gym time go by quickly, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.
Finally, I am going to post some pictures of the program from the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet on Sunday night because I am enamored of it. It looks just like a library book with the Dewey decimal tag on the spine and the little card holders in the back showing previous winners. I will also say that while everyone did a great job, Tomie DePaola’s speech in particular was really wonderful and it made me sad that I didn’t own any of his books as a child. I plan on going out and investing in many of them shortly as I feel that they will enrich my life and library significantly.