I like to look back to get a sense of where I’ve been. This time around, I wanted to focus on the positive! Here are my favorite bookish moments of 2013:
Commitment to Literacy
I’ve continued my volunteering with Multnomah County Library and the Children’s Book Bank. I also started volunteering with Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) where I read one-on-one to students on a weekly basis during the school year. One of the reasons I did this was to challenge myself to get comfortable reading in front of kids. I’m enjoying it so far.
I’m still co-chairing the Membership, Communications and Marketing Committee for the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. It’s definitely been time consuming but rewarding at the same time. I learned valuable new skills having had to write press releases, to promote big events- including our biggest fundraiser, the Fall Book Sale- and outreach programs, and to work on our bimonthly newsletter. The Friends are a great group of people though, very passionate and dedicated book and library lovers!
I’ve also taken a couple of online classes, sort of a way to incorporate professional development into my life. I completed Children’s Development Literacy in October and am in the middle of Writing for Children.
Being a Bookseller
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. I love being a bookseller. I love helping people discover their next great read. I love finding the perfect book for its perfect reader.
And, I love Green Bean Books, a truly wonderful place where kids and adults can explore all the magical creative things there. It’s in the dioramas, the repurposed vending machines, the outdoor mulberry bush, the handmade event signs and shelftalkers, the services we offer, the personalized recommendations, and, of course, the books! My co-workers are great. And, there have been plenty of times I’ve found kindred spirits in some of our customers!
It’s been incredible to be part of so many supportive online communities- whether we’re sharing book recommendations through IMWAYR, writing about celebratory moments in our lives, or encouraging one another with our nerdlutions.
I’ve had 625 comments over 195 posts since I started my blog in January 2012! The Facebook page is up to 40 likes since launching in April 2013! I’m grateful for everyone who has made these things possible.
My Reading Life
I ended up reading 517 books in 2013! Here’s the breakdown:
396 Picture Books
20 Adult Non-Fiction
39 Middle Grade
36 Graphic NovelS
16 Adult Fiction
10 Young Adult
Having just shared my favorite books of 2013, I’ve come to realize how lucky I was to have read so many great titles this year alone!
For my thirtieth birthday, a friend took me library hopping! I added 5 libraries to my list and visited the Sylvia Beach Hotel! I’d been wanting to check out the place since I heard about the rooms each named and decorated for a specific author. I’m smiling just thinking about that day!
During Wordstock, the Pacific Northwest’s largest literary festival, I was able to be part of a special moment between a reader and an author. The reader was a girl who shopped at our store and whom I recommended Kristen Kittscher’s The Wig in the Window to. She loved it and had been giving it as gifts to her friends. She was excited to get to meet the author! Kristen Kittscher was excited as well because, as a newbie novelist, she hardly gets to meet people who have read her books prior to meeting them!
As I was writing that, and thinking of how booksellers are usually the gateways to newer or lesser known writers, I was reminded of my new literary hero, Sherman Alexie. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is one of my most favorite books. I got to see him speak and he did a stand-up job! Plus he initiated the whole Indies First movement during Small Business Saturday, where writers and illustrators became booksellers for a day at their local independent bookstores!
My Halloween was once again spent handing out books to kids- 420 to be exact! My first time participating was last year and that was definitely a highlight for me. I was glad to have done it again.
I almost ended things without mentioning my writing- not that there’s lots to report. I had creative moments here and there. During a short-lived writer’s group, I was able to complete a short story. And, my character Max became a little bit more fleshed out when I came up with his cousin Elroy.
I feel supported by my family and friends to keep pursuing my dream of becoming a writer, however slow it’s taking. I know if I just settle down, I can do it!
That was a great trip down memory lane! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer! Happy New Year!
Updated January 1st: I added some stats in the Blogging and My Reading Life sections!