Saturday, January 22, 2011

Firsts: The Monkees and The Emerald Atlas

Sunrise today was at 7:44, sunset will be at 4:59. There's still light in the sky at 5:30 pm!

KUOW's Steve Sher is doing a story about the first record album bought with your own money. Many memories popped into my head about my first record: The Monkees were the first band I fell in love with, as well as the first album bought for me (we had little spending money so Mom included our music in her selections-thank you, Mom).

To this day I recognize the opening notes of every song on this record. I took it with me from Eugene to Eureka the summer it came out, afraid that the t.v. show wouldn't be on and I'd need the relief of Davy's face on the record cover while I waited to go back home to a television where The Monkees were always on at a specifically designated time and day. Never mind that Grandma and Grandpa didn't have a record player.

I'd lie in the attic bed, dreaming that, because we were, after all, in California, we'd just happen across Davy Jones and he'd drop that blond bikini-ed bimbo hovering over him on the back of the record, opting instead for a girl of 10 with long straight brown hair and glasses, seeing something in me he would wait for. Maybe I'd eventually fill a bikini and walk on the sand with him, holding hands in the sunset. Oh, my god, the yearning in my soul for him, his starry eyes and his accent.

I am back from Washington, DC, Arlington, actually, where we spent a few extremely cold days and nights at The Winter Institute, an educational and fun event all about books, bookselling, business, and friends. We (Robert Sindelar, Michael Coy, and I) learned a lot and ate a lot, met many new people and reconnected with old friends and collected lots of new books. I pretty much concentrated on the children's book side of things, can't help it, I like kids' books, and have sent boxes of new authors' books home to review and then to share with customers and you, dear reader.

One of the best parts of the Institute is the Speed Dating part: Many publishers present as many books as they can in 15 minutes, moving on and presenting again. It gives booksellers a broad swathe of genres and favorites to investigate afterward. The next best part is meeting those books' authors at the receptions that separate the educational parts of the day and the following dinners with other booksellers and authors. Wine, books, dessert, mmmmm... nothing better.

One of the authors I was really excited to meet was John Stephens. He was a writer for The Gilmore Girls, produced Gossip Girls, but has written his first kids' book called The Emerald Atlas. I was in the middle of this book when I left for DC and then finished it last night.

This is going to be huge, kids! Put it on your list of books to buy, get a first edition, as soon as you can. It is the story of three children, they might be orphans, who are sure their parents will be back for them. In the final orphanage, the last and worst orphanage that will take them, they embark on a journey and quest that will take them back and forth in time, in and out of people's lives, searching always for home and family. It is a great story, filled with adventure and danger, a good deal of humor, smart and brave children, horrible, evil adults, and magic, magic everywhere. It feels a little like Narnia, has good language and pacing, great story for both genders...I LOVED it! I can't wait for the next one!

Age 9 and up. The Emerald Atlas will be available April 5, 2011, published by Knopf. $17.99.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I have an ARC waiting at home and I'm thinking about what I'm going to read next. This could be it. Especially considering your review and the fact that I LOVED Gilmore Girls!!