The cat went to London and this is what she saw.
After 3-ish days in London and visiting some of the ‘bigger’ book stores (4 Waterstones and 2 Foyles*), it is obvious that what YA is concerned, the ‘world’ will think there are only 4 or so worthwhile books and/or authors (in the “adult” book world it was all about Robert ‘J.K. Rowling’ Gallbraith’s second book, The Silkworm):
- John Green (The Fault in Our Stars had its own stand in most of the stores, but also his other books get a prominent spot)
- Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Fangirl and Fangirl, and some Eleanor & Park which even had its own “very special edition”)
- David Levithan (who has his own underground billboards, people! Yay! See photos below.), whose books for some reason have all gotten a ‘John Green Cover Makeover’ What is that all about? Also, Waterstones Picadilly was selling tickets for a David Levithan event in August.
David Levithan @ Camden Town Tube Station
David Levithan @ London Bridge Tube Station
- Veronica Roth‘s Divergent series, which also has its very own special boxed edition, which included the ‘Four’ vignette-story-thingie.
- We were liars by E. Lockhart
- and there’ s a thing there about a series called Geek Girl by Holly Smale.
All that is great for these authors of course, but… the other authors don’t get the attention they deserve, *at all *. Books by so-called lesser known authors, like A.S. King, that I know were still sold a few months back, were just not available now.
Which is why I shamelessly plugged some of these ‘smaller names’ that *were* in the stores, like putting Andrew Smith ‘s Winger next to a stack of Michael Grant ‘s books (see picture below), or making sure a book like The truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu was now suddenly next to We Were Liars (which I picked up about 5 times but just put back time and again, btw, it starts with a map and a family tree. I don’t like maps in books.), getting Trish Doller‘ s Where the Stars Still Shine some ‘facetime’ (see picture below), and always, always putting Grasshopper Jungle in plain sight!
See what I did there?
This book also deserves some facetime
… and so does this one.
Grasshopper Jungle and Winger side by side!
But all that doesn’t mean that London doesn’t like books. London does like books, even though ‘they’ may not be very adventurous in their preferences (which of course, is not unlike any other place). They like to keep things fairly traditional, I guess. But yes, London likes to honor its traditions and nowhere was that more clear than in the Books about Town benches, which is really a great initiative and something every major city should do once in a while. Here are a few photos capturing some of that.
Clarice Bean – Books about Town
The Librarian (Terry Pratchett)… and who might that be on that bench? Oh, it’s Tim Federle!
Dr Seuss (front)
Dr Seuss (back)
And yes, then there was also this little thingie that happened: lunch with Andrew Smith! What was that you said? LUNCH WITH ANDREW SMITH!*
Remember that Dr Seuss bench?
*Who signed all of my books. So honored he took the time to talk to little old me. What a great and interesting person he is! And he got some fantastic news about Grasshopper Jungle while he was in London: Edgar Wright is to direct the movie!
Andrew Smith signing books
In other news:
Books I bought while in London:
- I want my hat back and This is not my hat (by Jon Klassen): both so incredibly witty! Perfect picture books!
- Lost and found (by Oliver Jeffers): such a sweet picture book about friendship, again I can see why Jeffers’ books are favorites to so many kids and parents alike.
- The journey home by Frann Preston-Gannon who won the Sendak Fellowship and worked on this book while with Maurice Sendak. This one is a picture book with a clear message about our planet and what we do/have done to it.
- Brock by Anthony McGowan, the book he wrote for Barrington Stoke and which is ‘a dyslexia friendly’ book. Knowing McGowan’s wit, I really look forward to reading this one.
- Why we broke up by Daniel Handler.
- The boy in the smoke, which is Maureen Johnson’s book for World Book Day 2014 – and it’s a story that fits in the Shades of London series.
- The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian (by Sherman Alexie), which I didn’t own yet.
- She is not invisible (by Marcus Sedgwick): I am really curious about this one. Midwinterblood obviously won the Printz last year, but I felt it really wasn’t Sedgwick’s strongest book, nor did I think it was ‘the most literary YA book’ of the year or even ‘the best’ book of the year, so I don’t really know what to expect from this one.
great picture books
Books I read while in London:
- Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña: de la Peña is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. This is such a perfect coming-of-age, caught-between-culture story. Excellent stuff.
- Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle: this is how to do showtime Broadway musical fun. I’m usually quite frustrated with books with that very topic, but not this time: I loved every second of this book. So funny! Can’t wait to see what’s next for Nate in Five, Six, Seven, Nate!
* Here is a photo of the new Foyles, by the way:
The new Foyles flagship store at Charing Cross