Last weekend, on a foggy, rainy Sunday morning, I took the two-hour trek to Boston for the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. Not being a librarian myself, I just wanted to visit the exhibit hall and meet a couple of other attendees, notably librarian/blogger Katie from Bookish Illuminations (who was the one who alerted me to this event) and my brother, who is also a bona fide librarian, although one of the digital variety — he does things with computers that I don’t really understand, but I’m sure we should all be grateful for.
It was a perfect day to be indoors looking at books, and I enjoyed doing just that for a couple of hours. The number of exhibitors was very manageable for me, and I picked up just enough review copies to fill the small bag I’d brought along, resisting the offer of additional bags from some of the booths.
I was happy to connect with a couple of publishers that I’d like to feature as part of Reading New England. The impressive display above is from Boston-based Candlewick, which published two of my favorite new releases last year, The Hired Girl and Symphony for the City of the Dead. I picked up an advance copy of Golden Boys, the latest novel from the ever-interesting Sonya Hartnett, and I’m really looking forward to that one.
I also chatted with the publisher from Tilbury House, which is located in Maine. I’m always impressed by the spirit and dedication of independent, regional publishers, and I’d love to know what inspires them and keep them going. Watch for an interview to come in March!
My favorite display, though, was this booth-in-a-bus from Quarto Book Group. I hadn’t heard of them before, and their various imprints are producing some really striking and beautiful books. Inside the bus were some gorgeous editions of classics with quirky and inventive illustrations. They also had many stunning children’s books, and fascinating art, craft, and cooking titles.
One of the latter was Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer. At the What’s Cooking stage I attended a demonstration by Amanda in which she explained the basics of lactic-acid fermentation and showed how to make a radish, turnip and onion pickle. Afterwards she signed complimentary copies of the book, but they ran out long before all the attendees got one. I just missed getting the last one, drat. But the book looks so great that I think I will buy it anyway. I did get to sample some of Amanda’s spicy cabbage, which was delicious.
And I did come away with some wonderful books, some even signed by the authors, and best of all I got to see some of my favorite bookish people. It was a perfect day!