Tag Archives: Author Signing

Laurie Halse Anderson in January!

Please allow me to fangirl for a second. I about died back in November when Laurie Halse Anderson announced her book tour for her latest release, The Impossible Knife of Memory. Her first two stops will be in Washington State! I was fortunate to receive the e-ARC from Edelweiss several months ago and will start it any day now.

Anderson was in WA a couple of years ago and I missed the tour, but it’s something I’ve never totally gotten over in terms of my book world experiences. That sounds like hyperbole. But, Speak is one of my all-time favorite books, adult or young adult. Anderson’s books are painstakingly researched and therefore are authentic and raw. She handles delicate topics with care and even humor in some cases, calling her books Resiliency Literature (as opposed to Young Adult Literature). In my experience, her books are unisex and about topics that others are afraid to tackle or that others just aren’t able to write about with such honesty and finesse.

As part of my teacher preparation program at WSU, I took a course called Young Adult Literature, and we got to read books that would be popular for young adults–our future students. I wasn’t reading much outside of my school requirements and the books for this course were all books that were accessible and engaging for me, even as someone flirting with the outlying years of being a “young adult,” myself. My favorite book that we read in the course was Speak. The voice of the main character, Melinda, was realistic for a teen. It was the first book where I’d seen capitalization used for monikers that Melinda used, and lists (this is a me thing, and I loved seeing an author use it). I didn’t realize there were books being written like that, for this age group, that weren’t about girls struggling with wearing make-up and getting a boyfriend. The message is clear and important, yet the reader isn’t hit over the head with that message. My good friend (and now department leader!), Sarah, and I would talk about how important Speak is for young people to read–males and females–and hoped it could become part of our future curriculums, where ever we might end up.

Anderson’s books create readers. When Sarah and I did get to incorporate Speak into our Literature Circles unit in 2008/2009, boys and girls listed it as a top choice to read. After completing the book, students wanted to read other books by Anderson. It was a teacher’s dream, because students were excited about books and reading, and were talking about what they’d learned.

I can’t say enough about why I admire Anderson as a writer. I look forward to diving into The Impossible Knife of Memory and listening to her speak on Tuesday, January 7th at South Kitsap HS in Port Orchard, WA. Thanks to Eagle Harbor Book Company for making that visit happen, and for communicating with me about the change in location!

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Wordstock 2012

I am hooked, people! Wordstock is a week-long festival in Portland and it is wonderful. I tweeted right after arriving that I’d found my people. Wordstock is for book lovers, writers, readers, teachers, even students.
http://novelnovice.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wordstock-chair1.jpgI looked into volunteering at Wordstock during the summer but didn’t sign up because there was a home football game for WSU and I thought I would be heading to Pullman. When those dreams were dashed a couple of weeks out from the festival, I started to think about Wordstock again. I found out Entangled author Lisa Burstein was doing a reading and would be part of a separate panel. I thought I would love to go support Lisa, and really had no idea what the festival was about, otherwise. I bought a ten-dollar (!), two-day book fair pass; author panels and readings are free with the purchase of that book fair/exhibition pass.

Lisa was reading was Katie Kacvinsky at 2:00 on the YA stage. Both are local Oregon authors and both have great books to talk about! Lisa read from Pretty Amy and the audience laughed in all the right places and seemed to enjoy the excerpt. Katie and Lisa both write contemporary YA that can be gritty at times and they spoke to, during the Q & A, ways they’ve been censored and edited.
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I was waiting for the 5 PM panel that Lisa and Katie were part of again, so I stayed in the YA room to catch another Entangled author, Inara Scott, and Steve Brezenoff. The next hour I was able to see Tonya Hurley and Lish McBride.

The panel was just awesome: Lisa, Katie, and David Levithan spoke to “Keeping it Real” in YA Literature. They talked about the amount of romance in YA, the paranormal/vampire trend, etc. Levithan commented about how the “Team Peeta/Team Gale thing” in The Hunger Games surprised him, and said “I’m pretty sure they had bigger problems.” 🙂 Also, he talked about how good books are about relationships not romance. The Hunger Games books are at the top of my all-time favorite books ever list and hearing him talk about editing (as an aspiring editor) was intriguing. Oh, also, he dabbles in writing and read from Every Day and it was lovely! Lisa and Katie read again, as well, with great feedback from the crowd!

Sunday we stuck around until 1:00 because I wanted to see Tamara Ireland Stone. I read Time Between Us back in July but when Tamara presented at Wordstock the book had only been out for a week. I adored TBU and Stone didn’t disappoint as she explained some of her inspiration for the story and (YAY!) mentioned that there would be a second book about Bennett and Anna. There was a potential to stay late for a panel that Tamara was part of, and to hear Levithan at 5:00, but my husband and I decided to head home.

Hearing authors read from their books and talk about their writing is a beautiful thing. I came home with First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky, Every Day by David Levithan, Blessed by Tonya Hurley, Fathomless by Jackson Pearce, and Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (I loved the book so much I bought a copy for my home book shelf). Those books were purchased at the YA book store, prepared by Green Bean Books. I plan to visit their store next time we go to Portland as they specialize in Children’s and YA books, and who doesn’t love to support an indie? I bought Jellicoe Road and The Raven Boys at Powells books because any time my husband and I are in Portland we HAVE to go to Powells. Patrick came home with 7 books, so I know we’re a good match. 😉
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In addition to meeting authors and getting books signed, I met Sara Gundell, who, in addition to being the Wordstock YA/MG Author Coordinator, also runs Novel Novice (I really don’t think she has enough on her plate–she’s also planning a wedding!). Of course my phone was dying Saturday so I don’t have any pictures of these great meetings! It’s a fun thing meet other bookish minded people who love literature as much as you.

Sincere thanks from me to all who were involved with Wordstock and were responsible for the planning! I’ve been spreading the word about it and hope to volunteer next year. 🙂
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