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ALA 2007

From June 21 to 25, Sarah and I were at the American Library Association conference in Washington, D.C. We had a lot of fun! It was neat being surrounded by so many other people obsessed with books and information and libraries. One of the coolest things was how all the publishers with exhibit booths were giving away free advance reader copies of many of their upcoming titles, so we ended up taking home many, many books. Some of them we actually paid for, but usually at half-price or less.

Driving down took about eleven hours, but then figuring out how to get to the hotel from the highway ended up taking another hour. We drove through the Pentagon parking lot! The trip took us through nine states and a district: NH, VT, MA, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD, D.C., and VA (the hotel was in Arlington). We stayed in a Marriott, at a discounted rate that was still higher than we usually pay, and it was a very pleasant experience. There was an indoor/outdoor pool and a hot tub that we took advantage of every day (the temperature was in the low 90s the whole time we were there), and a good tapas restaurant that we enjoyed.

The conference took place in the D.C. convention center and surrounding hotels. Every program session I attended ended up being standing-room only, despite usually being held in very large halls. I heard a lot about writing and publishing (mostly YA and children's stuff) and about information and metadata management technologies. I went to one panel on using open-source software to help facilitate metadata extraction, and after an interesting discussion of the challenges involved in building a robust metadata storage framework for digital materials, the guy revealed that the awesome open-source software he recommended was... Perl. So then I left, because I already knew that.

I got a book signed by Avi, and I told him that when I was a kid I really loved City of Light, City of Dark, which was the first graphic novel I ever saw.

Sarah got The Giver signed by Lois Lowry, who used to live in New Hampshire and talked a little about it.

We also heard Perry Moore, the executive producer of the "Narnia" movies, talk about writing his upcoming book Hero, about (as he put it) "the world's first gay teen superhero". Then we got a couple of ARCs signed. If you've seen the movie "Thank You for Smoking," Perry has the rhetorical style and charisma of Nick Naylor, the protagonist. Luckily Perry uses his powers for good, not evil.

A lot of comic book companies were there, and we picked up a bunch of sample comics and convinced the IDW guy to sell us a copy of Ben Templesmith and Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night for half-price, even though at first he didn't really want to sell it at all (oddly). It's being made into a movie now, and will be released for Halloween this year. After reading it, I'm not entirely sure that I want to see the movie. It's pretty gory stuff, but very atmospheric and well-done.

I was happy to get an ARC of Elizabeth Hand's Generation Loss, even though the novel was actually released a couple months ago. Hand will be at Readercon this coming weekend, so it will be nice to have read one of her books before seeing her there.

While the con program included a huge list of all the authors scheduled to be there, apparently it wasn't nearly complete. After coming home, I discovered that Sarah Beth Durst had been there and I missed her (although she'll also be at Readercon), and John Scalzi also showed up. I'm sure there were others that I would have liked to see but didn't know about.

We ate at Ella's Pizza, a few blocks south of the convention center on 9th St., a couple times. It was really good food, and we had great martinis made with coconut rum, lime juice, and basil leaves. Also once we walked down to the sculpture garden on the north side of the national mall, and there just happened to be a jazz band playing there and a couple hundred people milling about having picnics and listening to the music, so we sat and enjoyed ourselves there for a while.

I would like to do the ALA conference again in the future when it's back on the east coast, but probably not for a few years. It's a pretty tiring experience, but lots of fun nonetheless.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a dream come true. ;)
Jul. 3rd, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah! There were some ways it could have been nicer--like maybe if our hotel was close to the convention center, so we could more easily take a break from carrying 50 lbs of books around--but for the most part it was just awesome.
Jul. 3rd, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
yay for books!
Jul. 3rd, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
I know! My "to be read" pile is starting to really get in the way of my daily life. I may need to give up sleep and read instead.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 3rd, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
I should post more often, and then people would know this stuff.

Her journal and userinfo don't provide much information. Is she a librarian, or just an interested party, like me?
Jul. 3rd, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
That would be because i linked to the wrong journal. Oops. Try gement. She's just finishing her MLIS.
Jul. 3rd, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Aha, that makes more sense. Thanks!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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