Last weekend was ALA Annual, and what a whirlwind it was!
This was my first experience with ALA, so I had no idea what to expect. My blogger friends who have been to BEA, ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual told me that ALA Annual is somewhere in between the other two: unlike Midwinter, there are lots of author signings, which makes for lines and a bit of craziness—but it’s still not nearly as hectic or crowded as BEA.
I found myself feeling relatively laid-back about the conference because there were only a handful of books that I felt like I absolutely had to have (and I got them). My mom was with me too (as she always is at pretty much every book event I go to), which meant that I could occasionally be in two places at once. (Thanks, Mom—you’re the best!) I still wasn’t good about going to the panels and such that they had set up on the stages, though—I kept forgetting to look at that schedule and then I’d realize after the fact that I’d missed something I really wanted to see. Sigh. One of these days, I’ll get it figured out.
Dinner with Awesome Bloggers
The best part of ALA was that I got to hang out with some of my blogger friends a bit. My mom and I went out to dinner with several (I’m listing them from the pic from left to right, back to front): Katie @ Katie’s Book Blog, Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight, Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books, Holly @ The Fox’s Hideaway, My mom! (AKA Gay—she does have a name, so I suppose I should use it), Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally, Me! (I have a name too, but I think you know it), Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag (and Lauren’s sister Kari, who took the picture for us!). Lauren is the wonderful one who coordinated the whole thing, so thank you, Lauren!!
Also, Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey and Sabrina @ The Forest of Words and Pages weren’t at the dinner, but they were at ALA with Shannon and Holly and I got to meet them and chat with them, so they definitely deserve mentioning. And I also spent some time with Brittany @ The Book Addicts Guide and got to say quick hellos to Whitley @ Reading with a Vengeance and Heidi @ YA Bibliophile. (Plus, authors Liza Wiemer and Clara Kensie, who I met back in December).
Meeting up with other bloggers and book-loving people is the highlight of these types of events for me!
I tried to be careful about not picking up books that I wasn’t truly interested in (preferably books I was already interested in before I even went to ALA), and for the most part I was pretty darn successful. Sure, a few books slipped in there (especially when there were times that they were doing two signings at once—you don’t really want to say, “No, I’d just like your book, I’m not interested in yours“), and I did pick up a few for the kids that I hadn’t been planning on, but I didn’t come back with tons of “extra” books.
Here’s what I did end up with:
MG/and most of the Graphic Novels
Adult (including one Graphic Novel)
One thing that I was surprised (and delighted) to find out was that the publishers had lots of ARCs that weren’t mentioned for signings or whatnot, and usually all you had to do was ask in order to get one. This is one way that ALA is a lot different from BEA. Because of that, I came away with some gems I wasn’t expecting, like Otherworld, Ringer, This Darkness Mine, If There’s No Tomorrow, The Magic Misfits and One Dark Throne! (I was especially excited about that last one because they didn’t even have a display copy of it, but I figured it didn’t hurt to ask, and it paid off!!!)
The one I already read:
Lots of these books called to me, but for some reason I felt compelled to instantly start reading Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed as soon as I got it. It’s the only book I actually started reading while still at the conference. Loved it, by the way!
There were many author signings. Here are just a few that I was most excited about:
- Carrie DiRisio for Brooding YA Hero — I’m on the street team. If you didn’t see my post about my love for the concept of this book, you should read it!
- Mary Weber for the Evaporation of Sofi Snow
- Emery Lord for The Names They Gave Us — I may have cried when I talked to her (this book was very personal for me and I read it at a time I really needed it)
- Sharon Cameron for The Knowing
- Neal Shusterman for Scythe — Is anyone surprised to see his name on this list?
(In the picture at the top of the page you’ll find—from top to bottom, left to right: Carrie DiRisio, Courtney Stevens and Eric Smith, Emery Lord, E. Lockhart, Neal Shusterman, Chelsea Sedoti, Maureen Goo, my mom and me 🙂 , Kristin Cashore, Maggie Stievfater, and my dinner from Umami—hey, it was really yummy!)
All in all, I feel like my first foray into ALA was a smashing success! I can’t wait to go again, and I think I’d like to check out a Midwinter at some point because I hear that the environment is even more laid-back, and you can really talk to the publishers about what’s coming down the pipeline.
Watch my monthly wrap-up round-up giveaway because I’ll be adding ALA books to my giveaway/trade list as I read them!
But for now, you can enter to win a signed copy of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart! This is open in the US only (sorry!). Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter to enter!
Did you go to ALA? If you have a wrap-up post about it, be sure to link me up in the comments so I can come visit! If you weren’t there, does this sound like the type of conference you’d be interested in?
I’ll be doing some giveaways too! I wish I had seen you there!
I wanted to meet Schusterman but my group went back. Ugh. And they were a nightmare, too.
But I’m glad you had a good time and now I need to make a post!
Yes, I’m sorry I missed you! And sorry you didn’t get to meet Shusterman!
Me too!! I would have LOVED TO meet you! And him!
Maybe someday… 🙂
Hi Nicole, what a great time, love all the books. Thank you
It was such a fun event!
Someday I’m going to attend an event like this. It sounds so much fun, especially meeting the authors. I see many books in your photos that I can’t wait to read.
I hope you make it to an event like this someday!
That’s an interesting assemblage of books! And the Lockhart book sounds like a twisty thriller!
It is very twisty! Good luck in the giveaway!
Now that I’m a librarian I want to go to ALA so bad! Next year maybe. Of course I’ll want to go to the panels for librarians, so that means I might miss out on books and authors I guess. But I still really want to go. What was the difference between this and midwinter ALA? I’ve been to BEA twice, and want to go again, just need money of course. Great post! So jealous of One Dark Crown!
You definitely have to go. It’s such a fantastic opportunity!
I had such a blast and of course, it was so great hanging with you and your mom and all the other blogging ladies! I’d love to do ALA again. I need to get a picture of all my books so I can finally do a recap post. It was crowded, but definitely not as crazy as BEA, and it was cool that you could ask about books even if there wasn’t a signing or galley drop. A bit more laid back that way for sure!
Yes, thanks so much for organizing the dinner!!!
I have no idea what this ALA that you speak of is. Ha. In seriousness, it was SO nice to see you again, especially since I feel like we got to see a lot more of each other- another thing I like about ALA. Also, I LOVE that you posted a picture of your dinner too hahahah. Great minds and all that 😉 I missed Neal Shusterman and I may never recover from the sadness. Eh, guess it just means I need to go to another book event, yes?
And just out of curiosity… which did you like more, ALA or BEA? I enjoy hearing the different perspectives on this!
I think I liked ALA more, but it may have partially been just because of my mindset—I was a lot more laid back for this event and I wasn’t really stressed about “missing out” on anything. It was also just a bit less crazy, but you still had the opportunity to meet with authors.
Looks like you had a great time! And look at that haul! Jealous!
It was so much fun!! I’ll admit that we’re spoiled with bookish events here in the US.
You got so many books that I want to read! I’m glad you had fun and met lots of cool people. I really want to go to a book conference someday.
I hope you make it to one! And it has to be one I go to so I can meet you. 🙂
I think I’d have wanted to grab Hunting Prince Dracula…I’m interested in that series and I love my vampires! Now if there was a zombie and apocalypse convention I’d be all over it!
Actually, I saw a sign for a Survival Expo a couple of months back—I had visions of people prepping for zombies or the apocalypse, and I totally wanted to go!
Sounds like the ALA trip was a great success! And so awesome that you were able to get some ARCs that weren’t even mentioned/displayed. Bonus! I would have been flailing over the Armentrout ARC. She’s one of my favorites and I got denied at Edelweiss (sob!) so that would have been a major coup!
I actually got denied on Edelweiss too, and I was so sad! That ARC was like a treasure!
Lots of intriguing titles to explore here! I didn’t know Kristin Cashore had something new coming out – that’s a must-read.
I have to confess that I haven’t read Cashore’s others, but I’ve heard so many amazing things about her that I had to pick this one up.
I’m glad you got to go to this event and meet up with blogger friends and get some books or excited for! I’m excited for some of those books too and there are others that I haven’t seen But sound interesting.
Yeah, these events can be dangerous because you learn about SO many new books—it’s hard not to want them all!!
It looks like you had an amazing time! I went to ALA two years ago and I think it’s the BEST bookish event I’ve been too, I met SO many authors and picked up so many incredible titles. I hope you get a chance to go to midwinter- I’m considering going myself next year!
I’d definitely love to do Midwinter sometime too. I still think RT might be my favorite bookish event, but it’s definitely pricey.
Looks like you had a blast! I’ve got another post about Phoenix ComiCon coming up next week. I haven’t had a chance to attend ALA, but I have learned that bookish-themed conventions are a blast!
Can’t wait to hear about ComiCon. One day I’d like to attend one of those.
OH, what a fabulous event! And how fun that you got to meet up with other bloggers and hang out together. That just makes me want to spin around in happiness, that sounds beyond amazing!
Oh. My. Gosh. You got If There’s No Tomorrow!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see what you think about that book since JLA is one of my top faves! The premise sounds amazing! If I was you I’d totally go lock myself in my room and read it right this instant haha! Enjoy and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!!!!!!????????
I’m planning to read that one ASAP—it’s one of the books that I’m most excited about!
Whooo, Neal Shusterman!! Haha, I’d love to go to an ALA event someday (especially since I will be starting an MLIS soon). Blogging is such a solitary event for me; it would be fun to meet other people (whether bloggers or publishers or authors) in person.
Yes, you’ll definitely have to go if you’re starting your MLIS—there’s lots to learn there!
I would love to go to ALA one of these days. It looks like a lot of fun and you got a lot of good books. I just read Want by Cindy Pon and really liked it.
I’m really looking forward to that one!
I really want to go to a book conference sometime! Ironically, the main reason I want to go is because I teach language arts — but probably will never go until I retire from teaching.
You should definitely go! It’s a great event for teachers.
oh how fun! Look at all those happy bookworm/book blogger faces. Everyone smiling so wide 🙂 You look great! So it didn’t matter that you did not plan it well. You had fun anyways 🙂
Exactly! Sometimes I think TOO much planning sucks all the fun out of everything.
Your haul is spectacular! I can’t wait for so many of these books – enjoy! 🙂
Now I just need to find the time to read them all!!