Dude, am I letting my book nerd flag fly at the D.C. Convention center. Max at the Millions and Ed at Return of the Reluctant (find his link through Bookdwarf -- I don't have time to create a new link right now!) have objected to the lack of wireless or other free internet access for press folks, but us lucky American Booksellers Association member get to use the computers in the ABA lounge, so I'm unexpectedly getting a chance to post.
Of course way too much has happened in the last couple of days to fully describe, but highlights include: watching bookseller/actors demonstrate "bad handselling" in a hilarious series of videos (the acting wasn't quite as bad as the sales techniques); hearing John McPhee describe what sounds like a fascinating new book about transportation over Spanish tapas; giving Jonathan Franzen my brilliant opinion on why he doesn't need to worry about offending right wing readers; meeting Bookdwarf, Max from The Millions, and other bloggers and bloggers-to-be in real life; audaciously asking questions in panels of everyone from Wonkette to Kelly Link to Laura Miller; having a rather unpleasant run-in with the notorious Bat Segundo; inventing the famous author "F. Skit Fotzgerald" during a pleasantly drunken chat with two book people who shall remain nameless; meeting brilliant and super-fun bookselling colleagues from places from Moab, Utah to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and finding giveaway copies of all the comic books I missed at Free Comic Book Day! Of course, there was a lot more really productive learning and discovering as well (I have lots of pages of notes), but this is some of the fun stuff.
The worst part of the weekend was getting a call from Robert Gray, the blogger and Fresh Eyes Now founder who was to moderate our Frontline Bookseller Buzz panel, to tell me that he'd had a minor seizure and was in the hospital. He's been released and will be fine, but he's under strict orders not to do any more work this weekend, as the problem seems to have been brought on by stress. So my fellow handsellers and I will be running our 3:30 panel on our own, though we plan to make sure Robert's great bookselling and mentoring presence is felt.
I'm off to spend a few more minutes on the trade show floor before my show time, but I couldn't wait to gush about some of the good stuff. Hope everyone's having a good weekend; more on Monday!
Two absolute gems of novels I bought in London
9 hours ago