Friday, June 29, 2007

Poetry Friday--an ode to school librarians

Hey, look--two posts in two days! The other day, the lovely J. Patrick Lewis left a comment and poem on my blog, and I thought I'd re-post it as my first-ever Poetry Friday post:

Apropos of nothing at all, Alvina, I wanted to share with you my admiration for school librarians. I meet so many of them on author visits. Anyway, here's a
new sonnet:

xo, Pat

School Librarian Day
April 4

The School Librarian

A sign hangs on her door,
When you walk in, the whole library knows—
A welcome bell hums like a tuning fork.
She’ll tell you what to read and what to skip.
You name a book; she heads right to the shelf.
The rumor is she’s read them all herself.
No one has ever run a tighter ship.
These days, a job like hers is electronic
Because computers answer every need.
Librarians belong to a new breed.
But here at Booklyn, isn’t it ironic?
She still treats books like they are dreams come true.
And you had better treat them that way, too.

Thanks, Pat! Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Work, Spring list, stuff

I think I'm recovered from ALA now. I hope to do a whole wrap-up on Monday over at the Blue Rose Girls. But in the meantime, I'll just say that it was busy, exhausting, thrilling, and fun. I attended the Caldecott/Newbery dinner for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I seemed to have barely a minute free from Saturday through Monday, was booked most days from 8:30 am till 11 at night. It was the busiest conference I've ever attended. But more on that later. I got home late Monday night, only to go to work early on Tuesday to prepare for our Focus meeting for our Spring 2008 list. For those of you who don't know what Focus is, it's sometimes called Launch, sometimes called Presales. Basically, it's the first formal meeting that we have to introduce our books on a certain list to the sales force. Generally, we have a Focus meeting, then a Presales meeting, and finally the formal Sales meeting. At my company, the editors usually only get to present their titles at Focus, and then only the editorial directors present at Presales and Sales (although this policy keeps changing). Just to give you a sneak peek, my four hardcover titles for the Spring 08 list are:

Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez: this is the first picture book both written and illustrated by Edel, and he's using a completely different art style--very simple, graphic, bright. Sergio is a penguin from Argentina who loves water but doesn't know how to swim.

The Blue Stone by Jimmy Liao: our follow up to The Sound of Colors, this is another 80-page breathtakingly illustrated book. This one follows the journey of a blue stone as it is transformed from one thing to another. It's carved into an elephant statue for a museum, then becomes a bird statue in an elderly woman's garden. It becomes a stone cat in an orphanage to keep the children company, and a heart-shaped necklace for a teenager's first love. This is a story of the different possibilities of life, and finding home again.

Crocs! by David Greenberg, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger: another installment in the "gross animal" series, alongside Slugs!, Bugs!, Snakes!, and Skunks! When a boy and his dog need a break from the busy, dirty city, they go to a tropical island for vacation, not realizing they're about to encounter an islandful of crocodiles.

The Postcard by Tony Abbott: his follow-up to Firegirl (now out in paperback), this one is quite different. I like to call it Holes meets Chasing Vermeer meets Carl Hiaasen. When Jason's grandmother dies, he's sent down to Florida to help his father deal with the funeral and selling of her house. A mysterious phone call leads Jason to discover an old postcard that launches him on a journey to uncover family secrets.

So, keep an eye out for these books come Spring! In terms of my workload, I'm almost done dealing with this list, and am about to start concentrating on my Fall 2008 list. I have a lot of novels on that list, so I'm anticipating more craziness. I had a moment of despair today thinking about it. There are times when work is hectic, but I can see an end in sight, I can see it getting better. But today, I realized that for the next three months its only going to get worse. My cube has been a disaster zone for the past month, and it's past the perfect mess state, and has now reached the unproductive, I-can't-find-anything state. But I stayed at the office till 9:30 tonight, put together my new shelves that I ordered from OfficeMax, and managed to create a semblance of order once again. I went through old emails from a month ago and responded and sorted emails dated up to June 7th. I'm hoping to get through another few weeks worth tomorrow. I'm feeling better. I'll have two days next week to catch up, and then I'm off for vacation to Southern CA for a family reunion on the Fourth of July. I have no more trips planned for the rest of the summer, so I should have plenty of time to get work back on track.

I think I can, I think I can.

On a brighter note, last night I went to see Manu Chao at the Prospect Park bandshell. It was a miserably hot, sticky night. The subway down there was slow and crowded. I was sweating sweating sweating. But after I finally met up with my friends, drank down a cold beer, made a work call, and finally the music started, all was wonderful again in the world. The rain held off until the middle of the encore, and by then it was welcome and exhilarating. We danced in the rain. Later that night, my phone stopped working. It said "Car Kit" on the face of it, for some reason. I googled it and discovered this was probably due to water damage. I thought I'd have to buy a new phone. But today, I went to Verizon, and instead of asking me if the phone got wet, the technician said, "Well, this is usually a sign of water damage, but as there is no physical evidence of this, we'll replace the phone." Woo-hoo!

Sometimes things work out.

Okay, I pounded out this post because T.S. complained that I don't post a lot anymore. Happy now?

Oh, one more thing. I FINALLY finished reading Carter Beats the Devil which some of you have noticed has been in my "What I'm Reading Now" queue for probably the last 6 months or so. You probably thought I just wasn't updating it, but you were wrong. I've really been reading it for that long. I kept putting it down and starting other things and losing it and then finding it again and reading more. It was a really really great book, and I wish I had read it without all those breaks, but regardless, it was still a fascinating, compelling read.

I'm hoping to finish New Moon tonight, which I've also been reading for a while.

And with that, I say good night.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crazy busy, company outing and Corporate Challenge, and off to ALA

It's been another crazy busy week (Connie and I cranked out four acquisition proposals in a day and a half, including one last-minute auction project), but capped off with our very first company outing in Central Park, complete with hula-hooping, three-legged races, egg carry, bake-off, basketball, volleyball, softball and kickball, and more. I was roped into helping organize a softball game, and as I mentioned here, I also suggested kickball. The main game was softball, though, and I'm glad it was. I played on our company softball team back when we were based in Boston, and even though I've never been very good, it just brought back good memories. I played catcher, the position I used to always play back in the day. It's just a plain ton of fun. And I was captain of the winning team, woo-hoo! We won 4-0 after 7 innings. During the game I kept feeling like I was pulling something (what's the muscle on the back of the thigh?), and also got hit by the softball on my right knee while running to third (actually, I was already standing on third when the ball hit me), but I'm not really complaining, it was a great time. What I always loved about our softball team in Boston is that it united people from different departments. I have very little contact with coworkers outside of the young readers division, so it was good to meet some new people and get to know some familiar faces better.

The kickball game was a little scrappier and shorter, just three innings, and I think we lost 4-2 or 3-2. But it's just so fun seeing grown adults playing kickball. It's fantastic.

And THEN, later tonight, I ran in the Chase Corporate Challenge. My team introduced ourselves to each other by saying our name, department, and our running experience. It was weird realizing that I was actually one of the more experienced runners there. I'm used to being the amateur runner, the one just starting out, the one who never quite considered herself a runner, but now, 15 years later, multiple races, half marathons, and a marathon under my belt, including 3 or 4 Corporate Challenges, I guess I'm an old pro. There were so many people running their first organized race, and I must make a special shout-out to Jill, who only started jogging a month ago. She finished, and ran the whole way. Congratulations, Jill! You'll be running marathons before you know it. I remember my first Corporate Challenge in Boston my first or second year working at my company--it was my first official race, too.

Just as the race started, I heard someone call my name, and who would it be but Cheryl! Scholastic had the coolest T-shirts. Ours was plan navy blue with our logo on the back. And I didn't even wear mine because there were only larges left. I'm determined to make sure our company has a cool T-shirt next year.

I've been running regularly, but haven't been working on my speed. I made my goal to finish with an average of just under 10-minute miles, but after a quick start, weaving through the crowds, I ran an 8-minute first mile. I decided to try to keep up the pace. It was hard, I tell ya. But after raining for about a half hour before the race, the sky opened up, rainbow and flowing clouds and blue sky, and it was absolutely gorgeous, a little muggy, but overall perfect running weather. I crossed the finish line at 31:22, which if you subtract the 2 minutes it took to get to the starting line, means a net time of 29:22. Which means I ran about 8 and a half minute miles!!! (right? I'm horrible at math, as I mentioned in #6) I've never, ever, run a race that fast. Maybe being sore from softball and kickball actually helped, because it felt good to stretch out my muscles by running.

Phew. Then got caught in the rain on the way home. I'm absolutely exhausted.

Now I have to pack for ALA. My basic schedule is here, so if you're going, please stop by the booth and say hi!

I hope I'm not too sore tomorrow...

Monday, June 18, 2007

I <3 Lily Allen

Lily Allen is awesome. Went to her concert last night at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. Even though she complained at the start about being sick and having the runs (I forget how she said it, but in her cockney accent, it was adorable), she put on a kick-ass show. I was pretty close to the stage, but also right next to the speakers. I'm a little deaf this morning.

Here's her Smile video.

(If this doesn't work, you can view it here.)

I've decided I want to see more live music. I love it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've resolved to post at least once a week, even if it's just a stupid short little thing. This was actually one of my New Year's Resolutions, and as it seems it has fallen to the wayside like a few others (including my limit on sweet baked goods a week--damn those cupcakes!), I've decided to strengthen my resolve again.

Both Elaine and 7 Imp tagged me for this meme a while ago, and I'm finally getting around to it. Here are the rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

This feels similar to the 6 Weird Things Meme, but I'll try to think of different things. Let's see. Habits?

1. The first thing I do when I wake up is turn on my computer

2. I often narrate my life in my head as if I were a character in a book (I suspect that a lot of book people do this--am I right?).

3. For the last month or so, for no explicable reason, I've gotten the song "Red River Valley" stuck in my head as soon as I enter the bathroom in the morning, and often find myself singing it in the shower.

4. I always keep my fridge/freezer stocked with Hot Pockets, Tater Tots, tofu, and spinach.

5. Unless I'm carrying something heavy or wearing very uncomfortable shoes, I'll take the stairs up and down from my 6th floor apartment, even though I have an elevator.

6. I'm horrible with simple math (additions, multiplication, percentages). I still use my fingers to count sometimes, and never fully learned my times table. But I still got As in math, even AP Calculus in high school.

7. I take Pepsid AC when I drink alcohol to ward off the "Asian flush" (I think I have this on both my friendster and myspace profile, so I feel like I'm cheating...)

8. I'm really bad with faces and names, so don't feel bad if I don't remember you. It's me, not you. For some reason, it's hard for me to remember what people look like until I've taken a physical picture of them--even after meeting them several times. Even when I try to recall a loved one's face, I need to conjure up a photograph of them in my head.

Okay. Shoot, now I have to tag people...I'll go tag Libby, Linda, Amy, Tanya, Sara, Phoebe, Steve, and Jenny.

Oh, and if you're an author and you haven't weighed in yet, check out my poll over on the Blue Rose Girls (and don't forget that I post there every Monday--if I can post there once a week, why can't I do that here?). It's also a post about all the panels I've been on lately, and thus why I've been too busy to post.

And on a personal note, I just played in my first kickball game last night! (Yes, I joined a kickball league. Apparently two little kids who were walking by thought it was hilarious to see adults playing kickball and laughed at us). I didn't strike out as I was afraid I'd do (that would have been supremely embarrassing), but I did pop up once, and did drop a pop up. But I caught another, and got several "hits" (are they called "kicks" in kickball?), and even an RBI. Not bad for not playing since junior high! Which, when I actually thought about how long ago that would be, turns out to be 20+ years ago. And it was a TON of fun, even though the team we played was ultra-serious and competitive and didn't belong in the "just for fun" league. And beat us something like 17 to 4.

I was asked to help organize a softball game at our company picnic next week, and although I love softball and miss playing, I may suggest that we play kickball instead.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dad ran a marathon!!!

Yesterday, in San Diego, CA, my 69-year-old father ran the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. He finished in a little over 6 hours. He was inspired by my roommate and me running last year, and I'm so proud of him. (And part of me is a bit relieved, too--I couldn't help but feel a little responsible for his decision to run, and my mother wouldn't have been very happy with me if he had hurt himself training.) We talked about running one together next year (My mom didn't seem too happy when I told her our plan). We'll see!

I'm sorry I couldn't be there with him, but I saw the pictures on my brother's flickr page. Here are a few:

at mile 10

mom and dad at the finish line

happy to be finished

Congratulations, Dad! You're incredible!!!!