This afternoon I joined some friends at the New York Public Library Children’s Literary Salon, a monthly gathering of adults who love children’s fiction of all age groups and genres. I used to frequent this series when it was the Children’s Lit Cafe at the now-defunct Donnell branch of the NYPL, but despite my best intentions, this is the first event I’ve attended since the Children’s Room moved to the Main Branch. (You know, the one with the lions.)
The room was mostly full, which is encouraging when the media keeps trying to convince us that no one reads anymore. It’s also wonderful that so many grownups are interested in children’s literature. (There actually were some kids there too, though this seems to be frowned upon.) Betsy Bird moderated a panel on the topic of “Blood, Bones, and Gore: Horror and the Modern Children’s Book,” which featured authors Kate Milford (The Boneshaker), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark & Grimm), and Michael Teitelbaum (The Scary States of America). The Boneshaker and Dark & Grimm were already on my to-read list, now joined by Teitelbaum’s short story collection of 50 scary “true” stories from across America. The authors preferred to classify their books as scary/creepy rather than horror, which they defined as the uncanny–a twisting of the familiar into the unfamiliar–and an exploration of the things that frighten us in real life.
I was glad that the “ARC cart” is still a feature of the Salon: a library cart full of advance reading copies up for grabs. Have you ever seen a group of avid readers descend on a pile of free books? Watch out! Actually, everyone is polite and orderly–even when someone takes the last copy of a book you really want just before you can get to it. (Not that this has ever happened to me, mind.) I made out pretty well though, which is good since I have three new books to buy.
I love getting early release copies of books, partly because I’m impatient to read an upcoming book I’m excited about, and partly because it makes me feel special to have something before most other people and I’m needy that way. I’m not alone in this, right? Unfortunately, I’m also usually way behind on my reading, so I may not read an ARC until long after the actual book has been published (eg. Fire by Kristin Cashore). I’ve been hearing about Cindy Pon’s Fury of the Phoenix for a while though, so that moves pretty high on my list of next reads, even though it’s on the bottom in this picture for structural integrity. What’s next on your reading pile?
The Salon is generally held on the first Saturday of the month at 2pm at the NYPL Children’s Center at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. Next month they’re going to discuss children’s poetry on February 5.