Okay, folks, you'll have to wait until Wednesday for the big, long, rundown of the ABA Winter Institute in Portland (note: I vote that we start referring to the event as "we," like the new video game platform Wii, and because it's all about us - er, we. That started out clever and got silly.) Today it's all about catching up on the stuff that's happened in the meantime. I may still be suffering from some remnants of jetlag, so forgive the irreverant (or incoherent) tone.
* In the "uber-indieness of the one counterbalances the corporateness of the other, all for the benefit of literature" category: the Litblog Co-Op's Fall Read This! pick, Sam Savage's FIRMIN, has made the finals of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Awards! We like to think that we, the rat-obsessed bloggers, had a teensy bit to do with this. Either way, go Firmin!
* Also in LBC news, there's a pretty sweet roundtable discussion going on there now about Ngugi wa Thiongo's WIZARD OF THE CROW, the Winter Read This! winner. If you have any interest in Africa, fantasy, education, the benefits of reading introductions, or confessions from famous bloggers, check it out and chime in (my bit will be up there later this week).
* Have you seen the blog of Lance Fensterman? He's the new director of Book Expo America, a former indie bookseller, and a heck of a guy -- had the pleasure of tossing a few back with him in various locations in Portland, and he is fun times. (And despite his assertions to the contrary, Lance Fensterman is a kick-ass name.)
* In the "It's about time!" category: Rebel Bookseller and entepreneur extraordinaire Andy Laties is running with the brilliant idea of Bookstore Tourism founder Larry Portzline to create BiblioExpeditions! It's an expansion of the Bookstore Tourism project, and if anyone's going to pull it off it's Andy and Larry. Check out their progress on the new BiblioExpeditions blog.
* Ooh, this is fun: New York listings magazine (and source of much cheeky fun) L Magazine is starting up their Literary Upstart contest: basically an open-mike fiction writing showdown tournament, with publication as the prize. Much drinking is involved, apparently. Any takers?
* Okay, just one report from WI, but an extracurricular one: I MET BOOKSELLER CHICK! (Reports of her retirement from blogging, by the way, have been greatly exaggerated, by me; I meant to say, "The bookselling world is about to lose..." etc., as she will continue to blog despite her store's closing). We had a totally awesome five-hour gab session on Friday night (and if you know how much I like my sleep, you know what it means that I went to bed at 2 when I knew I had to get up at 4). More on the substance of the talkin' later, if I can remember it, but it was a great time and a great tour of Portland after dark. You won't hear her real name or corporate former home from me -- I'll leave that to her to reveal in good time -- but you will hear that it was every bit as cool as talking to my fellow indies in the WI sessions. Thanks, BSC -- hope you're getting some sleep too!
Okay, that'll do for today. Do check back, dear readers -- much reporting ahead.
Author Michael Herr Has Died
2 hours ago