Sunday, May 29, 2011

My First Book Blogger Convention

Going to BEA 2011 was great.  Exhausting but great.  My focus and main reason for attending though, was Friday's Book Blogger Convention.

Registration/Breakfast/Swag Bag began at 7:15am.  I arrived at 7:45, feeling that was plenty of time for swagging since I was already registered and had eaten breakfast before I left the house.  I brought my rolling suitcase, although it turned out I didn't need it.  (Apparently, most didn't bother.  There were under 10 bags checked at the bag check.  They looked so lonely sitting there in a tightly packed half row.  So different from the proceeding days, when the bag check was overflowing with suitcases.)  The swagging had not yet begun though the continental breakfast was in full swing with many tables filled with laughing, talking, noshing women.  This was more than I could take at that hour.  As I've previously stated elsewhere - Not. A. Morning. Person.  So I went for some fresh air.  When I returned, the swagging had started.  I managed to pick up a couple of books and a book light (Yay!  I really needed one of these.)  But I wasn't there for the swag and after the excesses of BEA, I was ready to hop off the greed train. (Seriously.  I was feeling slightly ill from all the book overindulgence.  Kinda the way I feel after eating a holiday meal at my in-law's.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Link Love

Well, it's been a super busy week at BEA 2011 but I still managed to do a little reading around the web.  Here's some links for ya, posted - as always- with lurv.

Cecelia Tan has a very interesting post up about DRM and ebook piracy.  She makes some great points that have me nodding my head in agreement, like this one on illegal downloading:
Of those 100,000 who downloaded your book, most of them aren’t reading it anyway. 90,000 probably never open the file. Of the 10,000 who do, you just got the equivalent of them opening a copy of the book on the shelf at a bookstore to see if they like it. Most traditional authors would have KILLED to have such great placement in the bookstores as to attract 10,000 browsers to pick up the book and look in it. Out of those 10K, say 3 out of 4 decide the book is not their cup of tea. So now we’re down to 2500 who are genuinely interested. In the brick and mortar world, retail rule of thumb says 500 of them would have a good chance of buying it. Another 500 probably go to the library and borrow it. The other 3/5ths never close the deal and put the book back on the shelf and forget about it.

If you haven't already seen the list, here are the 2011 Nebula Award Winners.

A Few Thoughts on Reading Widely  Reading widely, once practiced, is not a process, but an encouragement, an admonition to explore...  

The Romance of A Fetish  - I'm fascinated by fetishes... intellectually speaking, of course.  *snort* 

Just For Fun:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BEA 2011 - Day Two & Day Three

Day two at BEA and I was kinda grumpy.  It wasn't a bad day, just a long one.
I started my day waiting on line for Melissa Marr's dark fantasy Graveminder, her first adult novel.  The line was crazy long but I expected that (paranormal YA authors are like rock stars at these things), and arrived there about 25 minutes before the signing began. It still ended up taking a 1/2 hour for me to get to the front of the line.  Then I headed over to Harlequin for Victoria Dahl's book, Good Girls Don't.  Would you believe, she ran out of copies two people ahead of me?  Urrgh.  She did give me a magnet as a consolation but I'd rather have had the book.  (I should have gone to the panel on book banning instead.) Oh well.  C'est la vive. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BEA 2011 - Day One

Well my first day at my first BEA has come to a close.  All in all, I enjoyed it.   I expected it to be much crazier than it was and the attendees to be more aggressive (I'll tell ya, it was no Comic Con).  I had read some accounts of pushing and shoving at previous events but for the most part I found people to be friendly-ish and well behaved.  The worst thing that happened was the woman in front of me in one of the book lines allowed her friend to cut.  I let it go.  Life's too short.  Just 'cause she's a douche doesn't mean I have to be a dick.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Dilemma on Reviewing Your Friends

First there was this:
Then Jessica over at RRR posted a link to it and a lively discussion occurred in the comments.
And finally, Vacuous Minx posted A slightly different reviewing dilemma, also with an interesting comment section.

I don't have very much to add to the conversation, however, as a fairly new blogger, there are some interesting and important ethical questions here that I am glad are being asked.  Reading the discussions on each blog, I find my own ideas of the kind of blogger I want to be solidifying.  If you're a book blogger, I think it can be a really helpful group of posts to read.  In fact, if you're a blogger you've probably already asked yourself these questions.  And if you haven't well, it's high time you did.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Link Love

Are people reading less science fiction?  I don't really know, although I do know a lot of people who read science fiction almost exclusively.  But that may just be specific to my small sphere.  Sherwood Smith has a different experience.  Check out Science Fiction and Space Opera.

I have nothing against film adaptations.  Yes, the book is usually better but not always.  I think Children of Men was a much better movie and I know it's heresy, but I actually preferred The Lord of the Rings movies to the books.  Kate Griffin has a post up at the Orbit Website on Fiction to Film.  

Alyssa Rosenburg examines Why Women Love Fantasy Literature

Against Stories from Nick Mamatas. 

If you feel like getting your feminist geek on, Border House has an interesting article on the patriarchy in gaming/science fiction at The Twenty Millennia Decade: Military Women in a Galaxy Far Far Away.

Drawing Inspiration from further afield: fantasy set in non-Western cultures.  A really interesting essay from Aliette de Bodard, guest posting over at A Dribble of Ink.

The Fandom Menace - On the sometimes contentious relationship between creators and fans.

10 Simple Ways to Support Authors You Love.  I've done most of these for my fav authors.

BEA Links of Interest:

For fun:
If Classic Fables Actually Told the Truth over at Cracked.  The Ant and the Grasshopper was my favorite.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BEA - Things to Do/Resources

I can't imagine that after spending all day at BEA, people will be looking to do much gallivanting around town but I thought I'd post a few places of interest and some helpful resources in case folks get a second wind or decide they've had too much book action and need to get away from the conference.  (Is that even possible?  Can there be too much book time?)

The Strand - 8 miles of used books.  'Nuff said.
Forbidden Planet - comic shop across from The Strand.
Bluestockings - Radical bookstore and activist center. Specializing in gender, feminist and queer studies.
St. Mark's Bookshop - independent book store, opened until midnight.
Midtown Comics - on the second and third floors.  Super selection.
Jim Hanley's Universe  - a quite large comic book store near the Empire State building.  Open until 11pm.
Partners & Crime - independent bookstore specializing in mysteries.  Also a neat area to walk around.
Revolution Books - where revolutionaries go when they want a book.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe - all merchandise is donated and 100% of the profits go to Housing Works, Inc.
Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe - The area's largest selection of African-American literature and books.
Kitchen Arts & Letters - The ultimate foodie bookstore.
Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books - self explanatory.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BEA - Places to Eat in NYC

ETA: I've added a few more places to the end of this post.

Places To Eat:
If your looking to check out some culinary neighborhoods after a hard day of BEAing, there are several options.  

 Little India is located on East 6th St, between 1st and 2nd avenue, so called because just about the entire street is filled with affordably priced Indian restaurants.  (Urban legend says that the restaurants all share one giant kitchen in the back.) You can also check out the East Village while you are down there.  Make sure to stroll down St. Marks Place.

Or try Chinatown, also a fun neighborhood.  I can recommend Joe's Shanghai.  They don't take reservations so you may have to wait but turnover is quick so it shouldn't be too long.  Don't expect to have a private table.  Depending on your party size and what's available, your party of four may end up at a table for 8 alongside four strangers.  But that's part of the fun.  The soup dumplings are a must have.  If you are in the mood for dim sum, try Oriental Garden Seafood.

If your staying in midtown, you might want to check out restaurant row.   Located on W46th Street between 8th & 9th Avenues, in the heart of the theatre district, there are numerous options to choose from.  My mother-in-law's favorite is Lidia Bastianich's Becco.  They have a deal where you can choose an appetizer or salad plus unlimited servings of three daily pasta preparations for $22.95.  If you go around 8pm, you shouldn't have a problem getting a table as the majority of their business comes from the pre and post theater crowds.  
I can also recommend Joe Allen's, a theatre institution.  (There's even several scenes set in the restaurant in the musical Applause.)  The walls are covered with show posters - all from shows that have flopped.  They're fun to check out.  
Another good place is Angus MacIndoe, a popular theatre hangout with pretty good food.
If you are with a group, Carmine's is the place to go.  The Italian fare is served family style on large platters for the table to share.
Also in midtown, Koreatown is located on West 32nd St between 5th & 6th Avenue.  I can't recommend any specific places but, Hey, you're in NYC, be adventurous.  See what looks good to you.

I'm Going to BEA and the Book Blogger Convention!

So I am going to the Book Blogger Convention on May 27th.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I am hoping to pick up some helpful tips, maybe learn a few things, meet some interesting folks...  I've pretty much decided my agenda:

  • get there by 7:30.  (lucky me, at that hour it should only take about 20 minutes. )
  • Keynote speech by SBTB Sara  (holy god.  An hour? Really? At that time of the morning?  It could be the greatest speech in the world but I don't think I'll be lucid enough to fully appreciate it.  I am not a morning person.  In fact, I refuse to speak to anyone before 10am - no matter what time I get up - unless I am absolutely forced to.)
  • I'm attending The Practical Challenges of Blogging in the morning.  It's supposed to teach me how to be a better blog manager, something, I think we can all agree, I need.
  • After lunch, I'll be at the Navigating the Grey Areas of Book Blogging session.  Professionalism, ethics, netiquette will all be discussed.  I figure these are things I should learn about now as opposed to waiting until I run into a problem.
  • Then, I get stuck between Blogging for a Niche Market and Technology for Blogging.  I think I'll get something out of the first, my blog is genre specific but I am really tempted by the second.  I'd really like to learn more about the technical aspects because I can't even figure out how to add a gadget.  I'm not really sure what a gadget is, to be honest.  But I have a feeling that TfB may be beyond my ken.  I mean, if I can't figure out the old stuff, how am I going to understand the latest and greatest?  So, undecided but leaning towards Blogging for a Niche market.

The Book Blogger Convention is affiliated with Book Expo America, the largest book trade fair in the country and includes a pass to the BEA exhibition hall.  I am very excited about this.  The way my three year old niece was excited about going to Disney World (aka Dry Pants Castle because her parents told her she couldn't go until she was toilet trained.), My husband says it is because I hope I'll get free books but that's not really it.  Really.  It is because I am hoping to discover some new authors.  Every time I have gone to the New York Comic Con, I have come home with a small pile of free books  and you know what?  I have discovered some terrific books - many of which I wouldn't have found otherwise.  Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, The Native Star by M.K. Hobson, The Spiral Hunt by Margaret Arnold, and  The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes are all books I received for free at the con.  And then I continued reading these authors' next books.  So it's not Yay! I got a free book!, it is Yay! I've discovered a new autoread author!  Now when's their next book coming out!

Anyway, here's a couple of links of interest for those who will also be attending:
The Bean - official source for BEA announcements and news.  Make sure you download the BEA Mobile App. Features include a map, listings, basic show info and more.
BEA 2011: Do's and Don'ts
Going to BEA Check Out Tor/Forge Books Events
Speculating Fiction
New York Book Week
Dark Faerie Tales has been running a series on Look Who's Going to BEA.
Miss Remmer's Review has some helpful vlog posts on what to bring, what to expect, etc.
BEA Facebook Page

And if you aren't able to make BEA, don't despair.  Head over to the Armchair BEA for a virtual convention.

Around The Booths
The Big Books of BEA: Adult Titles
The Big Children's Books of BEA
Books @ BEA

Later in the week I'll post some NYC links of interests and some restaurant suggestions for those who are coming in from out of town.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Link Love

A while back I linked to a post by N. K. Jemison on what should science fiction sound like.  Lavie Tidhar is having a similar issue with The Faces You Don't See.   And over at Racialicous, Arturo Garcia asks When Is Diversity 'Contrived'?

Here's a nifty post on anthropomorphism and sailing vessels from the Clarion blog.  Alive Upon the Sea

Romance novels get a bad rap from the general reading public.  I know plenty of folks who think nothing of going to see the latest craptacular romantic comedy at the local googlaplex but wouldn't dream of actually reading a romance. I'm the opposite.  I rarely watch romcom movies  but I have no problem reading romances.  In fact for a good ten plus years, romance was my genre of choice.  One of the things that appeals to me about romances is the emotionally pay off.  Sherwood Smith has a piece up about intimate space and romance novels that is worth checking out.  Romance Novels and the Dogpoo Filter

File under This Is A Surprise?  girls will read books about boys but boys won't read books about girls.  From the NY Times: New Study Finds Gender Bias in Children's Books

I read quite a few series.  One of the things I enjoy is watching the characters grow, seeing how they change as the series progresses.  So this post by Lane Robins (who writes under the name Lyn Benedict), was of particular interest to me.  The Growth of a Protagonist in a Series

There's been some girl-geek-on-girl-geek hating happening lately over geek-cred.  Girls Read Comics has a great post up about it, Do You and Other Words of Wisdom About Female Geekery.  And then read this one, Dicks and False Dichotomies.

I loved reading fairy tales, folklore, fables, and myths growing up so I dig where Catherynne Valente is coming from in Confessions of a Fairy Tale Addict

Emily St. John Mandel's 5 Questions Never To Ask at a Bookstore Reading.  Ok, I would never ask any of these questions... but I would want to ask the first one.  Because when I read a book I looove, the first thing I do is check to see when the next is coming out. Asking when an author's next book is coming out is my way of saying, Oh My God! I Loved Your Book! I Can't Wait to Read the Next! I Want It I Want It I Want It!

An essay on Edward Gorey...  just because. Habitual Interspecies Gorey

Why Science Fiction Needs Violence and, I'd add, this holds true for other genres as well.  There are some stories, no matter the genre, that need violence and it's repercussions or the story does not ring true.  

Lothaire's Mate Has Been Announced  I just love Kresley Cole's books.  She continually makes me laugh.  

And Just for Fun:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Link Love

The fantastic, unique Joanna Russ passed away last week.  Her influence on science fiction was tremendous and helped paved the way for other women to break into the male dominated genre.  Timmi Duchamp has a lovely post, Remembering Joanna, about Russ that is both moving and fascinating. 
Then head on over to i09 for their retrospective on Russ' work, How to remember and discover Joanna Russ.

Over at the Orbit website, Kate Griffin has a post up about Feminine Fantasy and her tendency to write heroes, not heroines.  Particularly interesting to me was this: As I said, I tend to write mostly heroes, a decision I made fairly early on when, as a kid I attempted to write heroines and discovered, to my dismay, that all my strong female leads were turning out as smarter, wiser, funnier, stronger, more sexy versions of how I wished myself to be, and were consequentially making for utterly uninteresting characters on the page.  Griffin is not the only writer to have this problem but she's one of the few smart enough to recognize it.  There are a lot of wish fulfillment heroines out there.  I don't always mind them, wf heroines can be very entertaining when written well but, - ooh boy - when they're bad, well, they're just silly and even worse... boring.

Looking for some YA books with strong female protagonists?  Check out this list over at Kirkus Reviews.   Tough Teen Heroines  of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  

Hematic themed perfume - for those sexy nights when only smelling like blood will do...

At Persephone Magazine, Ailanthus-Altissima tells us Five Things She's Learned from Romance Novels

I'm looking forward to Devon Monk's new steampunk series, Dead Iron: The Age of Steam.  She's got an excerpt up at her blog.

Boo!  Amazon has been removing yaoi titles from the Kindle store.  Boo Amazon! Although many of these books are still available in print form apparently they are Too hot for Kindle.  Yet another reason why I refuse to get a Kindle.  I don't need Amazon deciding what I can and can't read.  I've read some yaoi, not a lot but some, and most of it's fairly tame compared to mainstream romance.  Maybe I'm taking a wild leap here but I suspect it might be teh gay.

Speaking of teh gay, Katiebabs has an interesting piece up on the Rise of M/M Secondary Romances in Mainstreeam Straight Romances. You know, I don't get folks who refuse to read (or publish), same sex romances.  A lot of the excuses I've seen usually boil down to something like, "same sex romances are not part of my own fantasies and that's why I don't read it" and I wonder, do most people only read books that reflect their own fantasies?  I remember reading a hardcore BDSM novel by Morgan Hawke that was a bit extreme for my tastes and yet, it was so well written that I ended up enjoying it enough that it's now on my keeper shelf.  I love it when an author can write a story that sucks me in even though the theme or tropes used normally don't rev my motor.  Besides hot sex is hot sex.  As long as it's between consenting adults (and even on some occasions when it's not), I'm ok with it.  I'm also a firm believer in YKINMKBYKIOK.  (Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is OK)    

Reminder: Saturday, May 7 is Free Comic Book Day!

And finally, not book related but cool nonetheless, here's a roundup of pictures from the May Day protests that occurred around the world.