Phew! Guys, I just got back from a Las Vegas that was hot as Hades (our car’s thermometer read 120 degrees at one point, but it was usually around 108-111). I kid you not. This past Monday I was sitting in my room at the Bellagio watching The Bachelorette with my mom and my sister when, lo and behold, an extreme heat advisory scrolls across the bottom of the TV. Holy heat! I totally ditched my palazzo pants and bought some shorts at the outlets. Anyway. I was in Vegas for ALA Annual, which is the annual conference of the American Library Association. You may remember last time I went in June of 2012. It’s always a fun time, and this year I was an actual librarian in training (my grad school even gave me a grant to pay for my entrance fee!) so I felt even more at home! Ok, so enough babbling. Let me tell you about my trip!
The exhibit hall opened on Friday evening, so my mom and sister and I all left home Friday morning and drove the 6ish hours to Vegas. We stayed in the Best Western closeish to the convention center because we knew that staying in a casino would mean getting up even earlier and having to deal with a lot of people and traffic. No, no. So we stayed at the Best Western.
Hehe. Doesn’t it look so Vegasy? Anyway, we checked in and it was off to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the opening of the exhibit hall, aka the mad dash to all the books because no librarians are in meetings. Checking in at the registration counters was insane! I hear they checked in 30,000 people that night, and I believe it. I stood in the longest line for the longest time. Last time I get there about an hour late due to an accident on the freeway and walked right up to the person to get my badge. I was so not expecting a 45-minute line. Word of advice: get there really early!
There were seriously millions (read thousands) of people there. I did see Ksenia again, though, which was so much fun! This first evening of the exhibits is always buzzing with excitement, and I had a lot of fun getting back into the swing of things. It takes a certain kind of mindset to conquer a book conference, so you need a little time to acclimate and get in the groove. OH. And I met Laini Taylor and got the final book in her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series!
Day one was a success! Look at my amazing haul!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Audiobook)
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
The Young World by Chris Weitz
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (so excited about this one!)
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (signed!) (I bought this one)
Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw
The Alliance by Shannon Stoker
Ballroom by Alice Simpson
Storm Siren by Mary Weber (signed!) – This author is so sweet and nice!
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot
Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch (Entangled was giving away hardbacks for the signing! I was beyond excited, and delighted to meet Kate, a fellow Utahn!)
Two and a half hours later the conference closed, and I was exhausted. I’ve been having a hard time getting over a nasty lung virus thing that had me on steroids and antibiotics and in bed for 10 days. I had no idea how I would make it for 8 hours the following two days! But when books are involved, I’ll do a LOT. lol. After the conference my mom, sister, and I ate at Fuddrucker’s. Best. Burgers. Ever. We had a super comfortable room once we learned that setting the air conditioner below 70 degrees freezes the air conditioner. Like, literally freezes. So it quit working in the middle of our first night and it was seriously barely worth showering because I was a hot mess as soon as I was done doing my hair and makeup Saturday morning. See the AC? It’s COVERED in ice. It took the maintenance guy hours to thaw it out. Haha. Whoops!
I woke up bright and early the next morning to head back to the convention center. Like I said, I was worn out so I got there an hour after the hall opened. It was much emptier than the night before since so many of the librarians were in meetings and lectures. I met Kevin Henkes, children’s book author of the Penny books, Lilly books, and my favorite, Chrysanthemum. I read a lot of books by him for my children’s lit class this last semester, so it was fun to meet him and have him sign Lilly’s Big Day. Other highlights of the day include meeting Victoria Schwab (and getting a free copy of The Unbound from Disney Hyperion, which she signed!), meeting the cutest little dog named Lola who had a book series written about her, eating lunch at Olive Garden with my mom and sister, and standing in a HUGE line for Markus Zusak. Random House was SO nice to give us beautiful free hardbacks of The Book Thief, which he personalized. I’ve been terrified of this book, but after hearing people rave about and get emotional about this book in line, I know I must read it. Markus is SO nice! He was nearing the end of his signing time and there were still 50 or so people in line. He stayed and signed every single person’s book. I also got the highly coveted Little Elliot and Throne of Glass tote bags. SO exciting!
And then it was time to back to the hotel again! I swear, the Las Vegas Convention Center needs to figure out a better way to air condition that place. It was SO hot. If the huge casinos can freeze you out, the LVCC should be able to as well! Take a look at my day 2 haul. :) I was VERY excited about so many of these books! It was such a great day. :)
Lilly’s Big Day by Kevin Henkes (signed!) (I bought this one)
Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (signed!)
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
An Italian Wife by Ann Hood (signed!)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Atlantia by Ally Condie (I AM SO EXCITED!!!)
The Captive by Grace Burrowes
The Fairytale Matchmaker by E.D. Baker
Scintillate by Tracy Clark (signed!)
Lux Beginnings (Lux 1 & 2 bind-up) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (it is SO sparkly)
Conversion by Katherine Howe
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (signed!)
Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown
The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist
The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney
Catnapped!: A Dead-End Job Mystery by Elaine Viets
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (signed!)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (AHHHHHH! YES!!!!)
The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson
Phew! What a day! The next day, Sunday, was my last day at ALA. I just was not in the mood to go hang out at the exhibit hall on the last day because people start getting grabby and pushy when publishers decide to give away their display copies and everything they have left. It’s a short, crazy day and we were moved to the Bellagio that day to spend a couple days relaxing before heading home. Sunday, though, was SO fun! It was the crazy of all crazy signing days. I spent almost every second in a signing line, and still did not get to every one I wanted! I did see Marc Brown (He wrote the Arthur books!!!! I loved those as a child.) Caragh O’Brien, Josephine Angelini, Melissa Landers, Maggie Stiefvater, Marie Lu, and Mary E. Pearson. I think I did a really good job! Haha. I missed Ally Condie, which was sad. She lives around here, though, so I’ll catch her at another time! I met some fun new friends, Andi and Michelle (teachers from Las Vegas)… and I hung out with Ashley of Ashley Loves Books for a little while. And then there were two other fun girls, and I can’t remember their names for the life of me! I’m sorry! I spent $13 on a gross sandwich, chips, and a bottle of water… and I sat on the floor to eat it because there were no free tables. But that’s ok! I did not go to ALA to eat!
The highlight of my day was when I walked up to Mary Pearson and she saw my badge, squealed, “Jana!!”, and jumped up to hug me! Everyone around kind of wondered who I was. Haha. We’d never met before, but I’m on her blog tour so she was happy to see me! I kind of felt like a celebrity, considering she was so excited to see me and I LOVED her book, Kiss of Deception SO MUCH. So yeah. :) Anyway, check out my third and final haul!
Tiny Rabbit’s Big Wish by Margarita Engle (signed!) (I bought this one)
In New York by Marc Brown (signed!)
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien (signed!)
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (signed!)
On the Edge by Allison Van Diepen
Invaded by Melissa Landers (signed!)
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (signed!)
Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman
Sway by Kat Spears
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (YAY!!!)
Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (signed!) (YEEEEEESSSSSSS!)
The Young Elites by Marie Lu (signed!) (YAYYY!)
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (YES)
On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (signed!) (I bought this one)
All in all, it was a wonderful conference! I met some very fun people including publishers, authors, bloggers, and librarians. I walked with heavy bags of books until my ankles swelled all the way up to my knees (yes, I could make lasting fingerprints in my legs. Creepy.), conquered the extreme heat advisory, and got my hands on some books I have been dying to read! After the conference, my mom, sister, and I moved to the Bellagio where we had a lakefront room and watched the fountains all night. We swam, ate, and relaxed before driving home. It was such a fun girls weekend!
So, have you ever been to a book conference like ALA? Tell me about it! Were you at ALA this year and I missed you? DRAT! And finally, which of these books are you excited to read?