Announcement #1 is that I've become one of three contributors (well, four, if you count the site founder, Gabe) on Reading Local: Portland. I'm excited for the opportunity to increase my focus on local authors and events. Whether or not you're local to me, I hope you'll stop by and read my report on Luis Alberto Urrea's reading at Powell's last night. Here are some secrets I didn't share:
- Recommended reading: As soon as I started this book, I thought of 3-4 friends to recommend it to, including my husband. Once I told him the premise, he started reading it as soon as I put my bookmark in it and set it down.
- Swag: When Urrea offered to mail out book-related goodies to people following him on Twitter, I passed. Is it kosher for a reviewer--albeit a lowly amateur one--to accept gifts from an author before reading his book? What if I didn't like the book and gave it a scathing review--what if he TP'd my house while in Portland?
- Swag, part 2: The first thing Urrea did when he arrived at Powell's was to walk up to Bethany and I (she's easy to recognize in her gorgeous dreadlocks) and bestow us with swag. I didn't get a playlist CD, though. And I really want one. He has kindly offered to send me one once he's home. Will the fact that Urrea is the nicest author ever affect my review? Stay tuned and judge for yourself. 150 pages to go.
- Most Dedicated Author Family Award: Sadly, Urrea's mother-in-law died this week, in Seattle. He and his wife had to cut short his east coast book tour, fly home to get their kids, and fly to the west coast to attend the funeral this weekend. The whole family was at Powell's (his cutie-patootie daughter passed out fans to the audience), and then drove the three hours to Seattle after the reading and signing ended. I think they left Portland at 10:00 p.m.
Another thing I'm really excited about participating in this month is the Nerds Heart YA tournament of underdog young adult books from 2008. The judging panel worked together to choose 16 titles that have been well-received but haven't gotten the press, or buzz, that others have. After my great experience participating in the Mock Printz Award workshop, I'm looking forward to delving into YA lit again. Between now and June 21, Lenore and I will be choosing the winner between these two books.
Any predictions about which will come out on top?
The rest of the Nerds Heart YA bracket is available for your viewing pleasure. I have strong opinions about three of the early brackets, even though I've only read one of the two books in each:
- My Most Excellent Year
- Last Exit to Normal
- Cracked Up to Be