Sunday, September 27, 2009

New books & new friends at SIBA

This past weekend I ventured to Greenville, SC for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) trade show.  Originally I'd planned on driving up super-early one morning only to return the same day--this would save me from spending hotel money but would also mean having to just pick one of several fun days to attend.  Turns out my fairy godmother (read:  very real biological mother) decided to come with me AND throw in dough for the hotel.  Score!

My mom's love of reading is probably the most predominant factor contributing to my complete and utter bookwormdom.  She has been a voracious reader since she was a young girl, and she holds degrees in English and book club management.  (So I'm inventing a second degree here--but hey, she's deserving of the title if anyone is.)  As I've changed my job plans frequently since graduating from college in 2002, it stands to reason that my parents might not be entirely ready to jump in full-force behind these bookstore plans.  But now that I've been planning Avid for two years and show no signs of slowing, I think they're beginning to understand that this is it.  This is for real.  So having my mom at SIBA with me was pretty great--she got to meet some of my real-life and virtual-life friends and got to pick up lots of ARCs (advanced reading copies), which is a thrill for any reader.

Janet, Mary Carol, & Marsha Wood

Robb Soriano
Among the real-life friends I got to reunite with were Marsha Wood and Robb Soriano from Ingram Book Company; Jef Blocker and Jeff McCord from Bound to Be Read Books; Charley Greiner from Baker & Taylor; and Laura and Anne Devault (sisters from Charlottesville, VA whom I met at the Paz & Associates training). 

There were several people whom I've emailed or tweeted with whose faces I'd never really seen. I'm happy to report that all were just as nice in person as they seem to be online. These folks included writers Laurel Snyder and Donny Seagraves as well as SIBA gurus Nicki Leone, Elton Porter,  and Wanda Jewell.  Of course it was lovely to finally meet online book industry folks in person: Rich Rennicks and Caroline Green of Malaprop's, Michael Hill (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Bob Gray (Shelf Awareness), and more. 

 Robert Jackson Bennett & Rhodi Hawk

 Mary Carol, Janet, & author Batt Humphreys

A few weeks before SIBA, I looked through the day-to-day schedule of the show and recognized very few author names.  Attending two Book Expo America shows taught me a valuable lesson, though:  not having heard of many names on the program is not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it's a thrill to walk into a trade show on a Thursday with a program chock full of strangers' names and leave on Saturday having met (and acquired signed books of) many of those authors.  Now I'm thrilled to have a staggering new collection of books I can't wait to read.  Some books I'm most excited about include those of authors that appeared at two panels I attended:  the "Got Us Shaking in our Boots Author Panel" and the "Writing the South" panel.  I'm not a big thriller/suspense reader, but when I met the gracious and funny Robert Jackson Bennett at a mixer hosted by Fiction Addiction, I decided to support him by attending the panel he'd be taking part in.  And am I glad I did--it turns out I am interested in suspenseful, scary books (at least the ones presented by this collection of authors). 

Jenny and her mom, author Donny Seagraves

chef/author Ted Lee and author Laurel Snyder

Mary Carol with Jeff & Jeff of Bound to Be Read Books

Now if only I could freeze time and spend the next couple of months reading the 40+ books I acquired in the last few weeks.  Sigh.

What new (or new to you) books are you excited about reading?


sbizzle80 said...

Good job, Geddis girls! I am reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Also, I am excited about the arrival of some memoir of a waitress (I think it's called Service Included) that was supposed to come over a week ago, but the used book company I ordered from sent me the wrong book. At least I got the money credited back to me, and I believe, will also be getting the book soon.

Avid Bookshop said...

SB, The Book of Laughter & Forgetting used to be one of my very, very favorites. I hope the waitress memoir doesn't make you miss Chili's too much! (And thanks for trying out a non-Amazon, non-chain even though they made a shipping/packing error!)

Robert Bennett said...

Nice photos! I brought my camera but it went totally unused. Hope to see you again at the next SIBA!

Laurel said...

It was an absolute delight to meet you (and your mama) too. Can't wait for an Athens roadtrip... Yay AVID!

Anonymous said...

Go Janet, go Janet!
I am sentimental when I read of your adventures in Bookdom. It's such a lovely universe, that!
I'm so excited about and proud of you on your Avid journey. Seems like you've met all the big players, and you've got the support of friends and family behind you. In response to your question, just finished reading Three Cups of Tea. Amazing. Inspiring. Makes me ask myself, "what am I doing to make a difference in the world?". I know if I still lived in Athens, I would be looking forward to your bookstore being my new second home! Much energy of abundance sent your way, sister!

Booknutt said...

It was a pleasure meeting you also. And your post sums up SIBA perfectly. Granted I'm on the SIBA staff & get paid to come, but I always joke with Wanda that I would do it for free. It's one of my favorite times of the year. And it helps this "recovering bookseller" to keep a hand in the business & reconnect with old friends & to make new ones.

I can not wait till you get your store up & running. I've been saying for years that Athens needs & deserves a great new indie bookshop. And from just the little I've seen so far, it looks like they're on track to get one.

Now if I could just find some time to read. (My wife & I just bought a new house & all non working, waking hours have been spent working on it.)