At the end of September, I got to go to the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association annual tradeshow. This makes up a tiny bit for having to miss BEA this past summer, which I was super excited to have won a ticket to. But, kind of tapped out from moving, didn't make it, etc., etc.
So, the PNBA tradeshow as fun, met some (of course!) awesome librarians and some pretty cool authors. The majority of attendees are bookstore owners or employees, not surprisingly, and it was really interesting to listen to them talk among themselves. It was frequently frustrating, because libraries and bookstores should be working together on more things, using each other as a local resource, more than we are. They talk about alot of the same topics library people talk about-- how to get patrons to read signs, how to coach staff to do reader's advisory-- but booksellers would really benefit from attending a library conference, or even talking to their local library staff. One bookseller was totally flabbergasted that, if you make a good book recommendation to a patron, the patron will come back and want more, and how do you cultivate a relationship like that? That led to a much longer conversation than one (of us) might think strictly necessary. I also, much to my surprise, had to grimace behind a smile when booksellers said, either directly to a group of librarians or merely in my hearing, some of the thoughtless things people commonly say about libraries and library staff. We are definitely not all on the same team here.
But, I had a good time, and hey, look, I brought back a ton of books. The registration was pretty pricey (thanks, library!), but I easily got our money's worth just in books. Many are ARCs, but at least half were published and ready to back to TS for processing. Huzzah!
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. This is interesting, and the author had a couple of points that I still mull over occasionally, but I didn't finish. It was so dry that, even on my lunch break, I couldn't read for more than a few pages at a time, half a chapter at most. Also, the longer I read, the more overly-simplified some of the examples seemed. I felt like the author's credibility was wavering, so I set it down. I'd say, don't order.
The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queens by Tosca Lee. The writing gave this a sort of YA feel, although I don't think it was intended as such. Just things like sentence length and a certain lack of depth to the characters lead me to say that. It is a nice historical fiction about an era, country, and historical figure I do t frequently see, so perhaps worth ordering for those reasons.
Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers by Amir D. Aczel. This really wasn't about math at all; it was the autobiography if a man who happened to be a mathematician. The first chapter is about when he first noticed as a boy that he was interested in math. Skipping ahead and skimming, it's stuff about being faculty at a university and that sort of thing. Not recommended.
The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered by Michele Raffin. This wasn't what I was expecting from the title (having not even read the back) but I ended up devouring this: I stayed up waaaay to late to read about 3/4 in one go, and finished up the next day. The author has a great voice, especially since her career path mightn't lead you to expecting writing experience.
A Place of Her Own: The Legacy of Oregon Pioneer Martha Poindexter Maupin by Janet Fisher. I must have gotten this confused with another title I heard about at the trade show, because I was expecting something different. Once I realized where the story was (not) going... I still couldn't get into it. The book us marketed as nonfiction, but it is way too highly fictionalized for me: there is a main character, and her conversations, thoughts, and feelings are shared, even though there was no way those could have been documented. This would have worked, possibly excelled, as a novel rooted in true historical events. As "nonfiction," it doesn't work for me.