Tonight, I’m packing my bags and packing my books (well, downloading my books to Kobo), because I’m about to head to New York. Am I going for the restaurants, the shopping, the sites? No. (Well, yes — I hope to fit some of that in.) But, really, I’m going for the books.
See, this week marks Book Expo America, a huge gathering of booksellers, librarians, publishers and authors. I’m going partly because I’m a big fan of books, and authors, and everything that goes along with that. (I’m really a huge fan of being a dork in general, and even the idea of sitting in a conference room and taking notes is kind of exciting to me.) And I’m going because it’s important for booksellers from around the country to actually meet with publishers and with authors.
I got my badge!
My job is to find books that my customers — you — will love. That involves reading (a lot) and talking to you about what I read. It involves blogging about books, and sometimes blogging about the book business. And it involves personally talking to publishers and authors about their work, and discovering ways to connect our customers in Birmingham, Alabama, with the perfect story.
Last time I went to BEA, I met some authors who’ve been huge in my world. I talked to Chuck Klosterman, who I’ve had a crush on ever since I randomly picked Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs out of an advance reader bin at a newspaper where I worked in 2002 (my obsession was nothing compared with the girl in front of me, who quoted long paragraphs from his book back to him). I met Tom Wolfe, who was the subject of my college thesis. I saw Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) jump off the stage into a crowd of booksellers, heard Jim Dale, much-loved reader of the Harry Potter audios, talk about how he conned his way into the job, and got a smile out of Chip Kidd (but forgot to ask him the one question I’ve always had about Cheese Monkeys).