I am home and in recovery mode.  I got home much earlier than I’d expected thanks to a new friend giving me a ride.  The only train option was at 6:15 which, knowing the delays on Amtrak, would have gotten me home after 10pm.  I was motivated enough to go pick up the Offspring, we watched Astro Boy and then I hit the bed like a ton of bricks and stayed there till 11am.

So what did I do in Portland?  Well, besides seeing Natalie Merchant, going to Powell’s and Stumptown and hanging out with my lovely coworkers, I went to many sessions at PLA.  It all started with a day of pre-conference on Tuesday.  Readers Advisory 2.0 was all about how to give RA over the internets in various forms–electronic submission of reading habits=list of 10 annotated book suggestions, blogs with a steady flow of book reviews.  I enjoyed listening, but realized they were all things my system has done before, and some they are still doing.  Our Fiction department had to drop online RA submissions because it was too popular and we didn’t have the resources to keep up with it.

The second preconference was Opening Doors, Opening Books: Providing Effective Readers’ Advisory Service and was presented by our own talented and well known Nancy Pearl.  Even though I have lived in the Seattle area for most of my life and went to the iSchool, I have never heard her speak before.  She deserves all the credit that she receives from readers and librarians.  I was afraid that any session I took on RA would only tell me about specific books or give tips that I already knew, but didn’t now how to implement.  Instead, Nancy taught me how to judge a book by its cover–or rather by its title.  I read a lot, and everyone wants a personalized recommendation, but I just don’t get to read as many adult books.  Nancy’s talk broke down how to evaluate what the reader really wants out of a book–character, setting, story or language–and helped me see how I could make a suggestion (because she says we should remove our emotions from the experience) based on that and the knowledge of some titles that would fit that need.  She also gave us the hint that a character driven book would often have something about a character in the title, same with a setting driven book.  We all came up with examples of books that fell into the four categories to help us have a better feeling for what goes where and give us some titles to choose from later, when implementing her method.

That’s enough library geekery for now.  I went to many other sessions, and another one that I will talk about here later is Mourning the Loss: the Challenge of Change, which gave me a bit of a chance to grieve over recent changes and realize the next steps of my movement forward.

I didn’t get to go to many of the places I wanted to while I was in Portland, so I hope to go back soon.  I will say that I loved the one night I spent in the Mark Spencer Hotel and hope to stay there again.  It is not terribly expensive and has a lot of room options and amenities.  It is also in the heart of all the places I want to see.

What am I Reading? I am finishing up Steamed, which is turning out to be a total bit of fluff.  I wish I would have read it on the beach rather than in the middle of PLA.  So not to say it isn’t enjoyable, just not terribly substantial and quite a niche book–how many romance readers are going to be interested in steampunk?  A few, but not a lot.

I finished listening to The Curse of the Blue Tattoo last night on the way to get the Offspring and I seriously loved every minute of it.  When I tried to apply Nancy’s method of RA to it, I couldn’t decide on a catagory as it has wonderful characters, is historical fiction, so definitely has a good bit of setting, is full of adventure and happenings so fits into story driven.  I found the language unique and inspiring as well, but I think that it is probably the least of the 4.  I cannot wait for the next book.  Now I just have to decide if I should listen or read it–the voice on the audio is really good as well.  Decisions, decisions.

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