Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fantastic Fiction 2010

I attended MLA's Fantastic Fiction workshop yesterday. I was on the organizing work group, so I'd like to thank a fantastic committee that put together some great topics and speakers! Here's a summary:

First up was Virginia Stanley, who is the Director of Library Marketing at Harper Collins. She is also the author of the blog Library Love Fest and hosts interviews on Blog Talk Radio. She was a very dynamic speaker, and talked about new and upcoming books from Harper Collins. She had lots of galleys to give out and offered to send more to whoever wanted them if they only email her. She focused on some lesser-known and debut authors, which was really great. I've added "A Pearl in the Storm" by Toni Murden McClure, "Stiltsville" by Susanna Daniel, and "I'd Know You Anywhere" by Laura Lippman (no URL, coming out 8/17/2010) to my reading list! Oh, who am I kidding? I've added a bunch of titles from her list to mine!

I missed the majority of the talk on Men's Fiction, given by Michael Sullivan, because I had to run Virginia Stanley back to the airport. Committee responsibilities and all... His presentation was very well-received, though. He is the author of the site Tales Told Tall, as well as several books about boys and reading (getting boys to read, serving boys via readers advisory, and a few children's books too). When I got back from the airport, I caught the last five minutes or so of his talk. He was discussing the idea that boys and men enjoy graphic novels, but that we should call them "comic books" because boys and men are more drawn to non-fiction and comics than novels.

I facilitated the Lightning Round in the afternoon. The idea was that people have great conversations during lunch about things their libraries do, but those ideas and conversations don't have a chance to be shared with the group as a whole. We opened the microphone to attendees to share their ideas with everyone. Many people shared things like book talks, display ideas, reading programs, reader's advisory tips and techniques, and online book reviews - among other things! Each person who shared an idea wrote it on an index card, which I collected. A complete list of ideas will be created and shared with all attendees very soon. Lightning rounds are always a gamble because you don't know if, or how many, or what will be shared. We ended up running out of people willing to share about ten minutes early, so the session ran a little short. The ideas that were shared were great, though!

Andrea Kempf presented the last session on International Fiction. She is a Professor and Librarian at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS. She has some amazing bibliographies called "LibGuides" on a multitude of topics at There are booklists of fiction titles on everything from international mysteries and China to Muslim authors and "Marriage and Family" multicultural fiction. Students in a variety of disciplines are required to read fiction books related to their subject area and write book reviews on how the novel relates to that subject. Andrea gave all workshop attendees copies of four of her bibliographies, and more can be downloaded at the site listed above.

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