Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

I returned yesterday afternoon after spending three days in Dearborn, Michigan surrounded by publishers, booksellers, authors and book lovers for the twenty-first annual Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLiBA) trade show. To say it is was amazing is an understatement. I have never been surrounded by SO many people who all love books and came together to share that love. It was intoxicating.

The event started on Friday with Jen at Devourer of Books sitting on a panel for booksellers and social media. (It actually started earlier, but Jen and I didn’t get there until right before her panel.) She presented her reasons why booksellers would be amiss to ignore the power of social media. The audience was a surprising mix of those who have already adopted some of available avenues and were looking to expand into other avenues and others who had no idea what Twitter was. The tone of the event quickly turned to trying to explain Twitter and Facebook and convince the non-users to adopt something, with Jen doing an admirable job of expressing her appreciation for social media and how effective it can be for booksellers and authors. She did such an excellent job that people approached her all weekend to discuss social media and compliment her on such a great panel!

The rest of the weekend was spent luxuriating in book recommendations for the fall and spring. We attended an Authors’ Fest, sitting at the table with Bryan Gruley (The Hanging Tree), Kathe Koja (Under the Poppy) and Kristina Riggles (The Life You’ve Imagined). Bryan was gracious enough to share his bottle of wine with us and kept us in stitches the entire night. Kristina is just as adorable in real life as she is on Twitter, and Kathe was so passionate and convincing about her most recent novel that Jen and I wanted to go back to the room to start reading it as soon as possible (two words – Victorian brothel)!

Image: Jim's Stack o'Books
Jim’s books

Saturday was the day that trade show floor was open. We met more authors through author signings and ended up having to go back to the hotel room at least four times throughout the day to drop off our treasures. We both managed to sweet-talk our way into receiving copies of books we most wanted to receive. It is was so much fun to see people surrounded by books all day gush about new or future releases. It is astounding how quickly you overcome any shyness when surrounded by such a love fest!

Image: Connor's and Holly's Stack o' Books
The kids’ books

Dinner Saturday was definitely the highlight, as we heard Masha Hamilton (31 Hours), Kathleen Kent (The Heretic’s Daughter and The Wolves of Andover) and Mary Doria Russell (Doc) speak. Masha was amazing, listening to her discuss her research and the characters that had to speak. Kathleen gave me shivers with her discussion about her family history, and Mary kept us in absolute stitches as she discussed her latest novel about Doc Holliday. Let me just say that Doc made it to the top of my TBR pile after her speech.

Image: My Stack o' Books
My Books

As for the haul, it is rather embarrassing. I did select books for both Connor, Holly and Jim. The total number ended up being 101 books – five solely for Jim, 16 for Connor and Holly, and 80 for both Jim and me. Publishers and authors were SO generous and the books being released this fall and spring are absolutely amazing. I was suffering from a bit of burnout when I got there, but that is absolutely gone right now. In fact, it’s time for me to go do just that!

Thank you to everyone at GLiBA for throwing one hell of a trade show! It was an absolutely delight to be part of such a wonderful event.

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