There’s an important decision that you’ve either made or will make soon. You probably don’t realize it, probably haven’t even given it much thought, but its a decision that has the potential to have long reaching consequences. I’m talking about the first book you read (and finish!) after a book conference*.
All of us walk away with plenty of new reads to lavish attention upon. Whether its a new book in a favorite series or the hotly anticipate debut, they’re all so PRETTY and make you want to read them now now now. But what do you choose? How can you say yes to one without making the others feel less important? Is it better to stay with a known favorite author or strike out into new territory? Read something coming out now or something due out in 9 months?
Hey I get you, don’t worry I feel that way too. Its a thrilling and terrifying moment of truth that few consciously understand or can even explain adequately. The rush and anticipation, the thrill of cracking open that new ARC and knowing you’re one of only a few hundred (at most) who have it in their hands. Its the best feeling for a book nerd. That’s why its interesting to chart a person’s reading habits. I’ve done it to myself the last several book conferences and well the data is a bit eye opening when I consider what I THINK I do and what I actually do.
For the sake of this I’m using these lists (BEA 2013, BEA 2014, ALAMW 14, & ALAMW 15), you can see all the books I’ve gotten from them by clicking the goodreads links. (*) this is based purely on the print copies of books you get at these conferences, not digital approvals and naturally doesn’t include any re-reads
- First book read post-conference: THIS IS W.A.R. by Lisa Roecker, 7/3
- Books I was Excited About Pre-Show: VICIOUS by VE Schwab, THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT by Amy Tan, PARASITE by Mira Grant
- Books that Surprised Me Post-Show: The Dollhouse Asylum, I couldn’t even finish this I was so mad at it.
- First book read post-conference: The Jane Austen Rules
- Books I was Excited About Pre-Show: Toss up between ALL MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton and LOCK IN by John Scalzi or HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J Maas
- Books that Surprised Me Post-Show: THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, I really enjoyed this and its not my normal genre
ALA Midwinter 2014
- First book read post-conference: DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige
- Books I was Excited About Pre-Show: THE LOST SISTERHOOD by Anne Fortier, THE GLASS CASKET by McCormick Templeman
- Books that Surprised Me Post-Show: Honestly? I was really let down by DOROTHY MUST DIE. After reading the prequel novella (“No Place Like Oz”) I was expecting something a little…different.
ALA Midwinter 2015
- First book read post-conference: THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows & THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary E. Pearson (I read both the same day, I was that desperate to read them)
- Books I was Excited About Pre-Show: COURT OF FIVES by Kate Elliott, THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent, REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran
- Books that Surprised Me Post-Show: PERSONA by Genevieve Valentine, I didn’t realize she was the author of a number of novellas my roommate and I both really enjoy, so this was a true treat to grab!
Of the books above you’ll note none of them thrilled me beyond compare, except for THE ORPHAN QUEEN and THE HEART OF BETRAYAL, but those hardly count as I had read previews of both.
Post show I knew about none of the books I found myself enjoying before randomly picking them up (usually on someone else’s recommendation). Of the 11 books I was excited about Pre-show, I’ve read only half of them, my excitement either waning as we moved further from the show itself or not “being in the mood”. Some I grew excited about pre-show because of the hype, some they were authors I knew already, some the summaries beckoned to me.
And while I was clearly very excited for some books pre-show, I read none of them first. In truth I often don’t want to because I want to drag it out and wait.
So what does this all mean? It means that surprises happen. I’m about as structured as you can get during conferences (many have seen my color coded schedules), but even I can find myself flummoxed by new authors or genres that catch my eye. Sometimes the cover catches my eye (PERSONA), sometimes its the author (DOROTHY MUST DIE) and sometimes its friends’ recs. What you choose in that moment has a thousand different factors.
Do you remember your first post conference reads? Anything stand out to you particularly?