They've gone about as far as they can go. Or so I hear. I'm going to Kansas City. Kansas City, here I come, and while I admit that I wasn't originally very excited about Winter Institute's location this year, I've come full circle on that point. I'm now tremenjusly excited, as Diana from Anne of Green Gables once said. I've recently learned that there's an excellent art museum in town, not to mention our country's premier music performance space. Who knew? Well, apparently Rodgers and Hammerstein knew, or at least were prescient about such matters many decades ahead of their time. From what I can tell, Kansas City is kinda the shiz, but apparently a well-kept secret among the more myopic denizens of my country, of which I included myself up until a few weeks ago.I try to guard against that sort bias, hailing as I do from a part of the country that is oft maligned by other people.
So, Winter Institute. It's a pretty amazing time. Five hundred independent booksellers from all over the US get together to drink, gossip, and generally talk about books in an appreciative manner. Have I mentioned recently how much I love my job? (In fact, I did. Just last week.) Well, being able to attend conventions like Winter Institute ranks up there pretty high for reasons why I love my job.
In addition to getting to explore a new and interesting city, I'll get to meet with bookseller friends whom I only see once a year (or so) at these get-togethers. I'll meet tons of authors and gets tons of free books signed. I'll take notes and learn stuff. And I'll make heroic efforts to get up in time for the breakfast sessions each morning, even if it means propping my eyes open with sawed-off toothpicks. Because in all likelihood, I will be behaving like a bookseller. I'm generally tame in comparison to the booksellers I grew up with (Lemurians, I'm looking at y'all), so I've been trying to build up some drinking endurance by drinking a little more each night with dinner this past week. Which essentially means up I'm to three glasses of wine. Yes, I know. Wild child am I.
This year I'm excited to be included for two author/publisher dinners: one on Saturday night with FSG/Bloomsbury and one on Sunday night with Algonquin/Houghton Mifflin. I've never been invited to an FSG/Bloomsbury event, so I'm greatly anticipating that. But last year's Algonquin bash was the talk of the town and I can't wait for this year's. Books, blues brews, & bbq should sum it up.