Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Bookish Highlights of My Year

Did everyone have a happy holiday? I made the lemon chess pie from Sarah Weeks' Pie for the Christmas gathering at my in-laws'. It was a huge hit! I'd never heard of lemon chess pie before, but it's now a family favorite. Sweet and comforting, it's a sort of custard pie with a satisfyingly crunchy crust. And the recipe is so easy!

Now that Christmas is over and we're approaching the new year, I'm taking inspiration from Jessica Love Writes and doing a rundown of my most memorable book-related moments in 2011.


Went to ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego with my 3-month-old daughter blissfully strapped to me in a baby wrap. Did you know a baby is a fabulous accessory and conversation-starter when walking around the exhibits hall? Everyone wants to see the baby! Baby and I were pleased to meet up with some wonderful Betsy-Tacy enthusiasts.

Betsy-Tacy Society at ALA Midwinter
Photo by flickr member bonnyglen aka fabulous author Melissa Wiley, who is 2nd from left.
Started this blog! Aww, my first post. It's hard to believe I've been blogging for almost a year. I honestly wasn't sure I'd be motivated to keep up with it when I started, but I've found blogging to be quite an addicting hobby.


Started the Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast with Michelle from Never Gonna Grow Up Reviews.

We did our inaugural podcast interview with Holly Black and Cassandra Clare in April, when I hosted an event with them at my library. The crowd loved them-- their fans are so enthusiastic!

Hosted a lovely, cozy library event with fabulous debut author Josie Angelini. Love her! Starcrossed was one of my favorite reads of 2011. Michelle and I also interviewed her for the podcast.

Was honored to be appointed chair of YALSA's Local Arrangements Committee for the ALA Annual Conference in 2012.


In addition to continuing to review books for School Library Journal, started reviewing apps for SLJ's Touch and Go blog

Attended YA in Bloom, an author event presented by Bridge to Books. Got to met Deb Bryan, who I've known online for YEARS-- ever since we figured out that we both taught English in the same remote corner of Japan. Missed her by a few years in Japan, and was thrilled to finally meet in person in Pasadena! (But why didn't we take a picture??)

Went to a book signing for Kiersten White, Andrea Cremer, Stephanie Perkins, and interviewed them for the podcast. That was the first podcast in which we went out into the crowd at an event-- we love meeting other book lovers and capturing their comments.

How cute is Kiersten White, standing on a chair
so the crowd can see her while she speaks??

Did a podcast interview with Suzanne Young, Nova Ren Suma, Cindy Pon, and Holly Goldberg Sloan at SCWBI in LA. These ladies are delightful!

Left to right: Michelle, Suzanne, Cindy, Allison, Holly, Nova
Photo by Vania Stoyanova

Did podcast interviews with both Gretchen McNeil and Marie Lu at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena. Both of these ladies are debut authors this year, and their books are fantastic.


Presented about podcasting with Michelle at KidLitCon in Seattle. I loved that conference so much! And Seattle is such a fantastic city.

Helped host my library's annual Readers' Festival - emcee'd Heather Vogel Frederick's presentation (also interviewed her for the podcast!) and moderated a fabulous panel of teen authors.

Lisa Yee, Gretchen McNeil, me, Cindy Pon, Marlene Perez
(Think an oversized polo shirt and a lanyard is a good look for me?? So chic, I know.)

Introduced Brian Selznick when he came to speak at my library. What an honor! His presentation was riveting.

Along with the other Local Arrangements Committee members, organized the YALSA Happy Hour at the California Library Association conference in Pasadena, and met all sorts of awesome YA librarians and YA lit advocates. This event made me that much more excited for Annual in June.

Went to Laini Taylor's book signing in Huntington Beach and interviewed her for the podcast. The signing was fabulous- the crowd got masks!- and Laini is so brilliant. Plus, I love her pink hair!

Attended Tahereh Mafi's launch party for her debut novel, Shatter Me; interviewed her for the podcast (stay tuned for that interview in January... she's adorable!).

All in all...

It's been an AMAZING year, you guys. I feel like I've been challenged in so many wonderful ways and had so many fantastic opportunities.

Before this year, I never thought I'd be able to keep up a book blog, and a YA lit podcast was just a pipe dream. I knew I wanted to get involved with YALSA to help out with next year's ALA Annual Conference, but I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to serve in a leadership role.

I'm looking forward to what 2012 has in store.


  1. I loved this wrap up by season! hat a great year you had!

  2. Aw, thanks for reading all of that! I am so grateful for the awesome experiences I've had this year. :)


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