Swank It Up (Part One)
I feel bad reporting on this because there were two book release parties I wanted to go to last week and I could only attend just one. The one I didn’t attend was Meghan McCarthy’s release for her magnificent Strong Man. It came on the same day as my husband’s birthday party and we danced n’ shook tail until 3 in the morning. So really, I couldn’t drop by both places as some had suggested. The Blue Rose Girls would be wise to report on the results of the party though, methinks.
The party that I did attend happened in the middle of the week. A Ms. Lesley M.M. Blume was having a book release shebang for The Rising Star of Rusty Nail in her apartment and was kind enough to ask whether or not I might want to attend. Well, I’d never met Ms. Blume before. Then again, she said that there would be atomic fireballs at the party. Who am I to resist the lure of the elusive atomic fireball? So off I went, merry as you please.
I’d like to pause a moment here and make note of something. I’ve been to book release parties before. I’m no book release party virgin. No siree. I know the score. It’s usually nice and small and there are four people milling about in the first hour. And maybe the fact that the party was at The Archive should have tipped me off. Then again, I’d never really heard of The Archive before. I’m a Northern Manhattaner. It’s been a while since I’ve traipsed through Greenwich Village.
Basically I expected something like this:
(if we were all, y’know, Sims) and instead I got something like this:
Are you noticing what I noticed? Yeah. Almost all the women here were in dresses. I’d come directly from work and suddenly I was swimming in a sea of hipsters. Check this dude out in the middle.
The guy in the middle is wearing white loafers with a striped suit. It was THAT kind of party.
So here I am in my khakis, my velcro sandals, and my blue button up shirt surrounded by young hip sorts. I blessed my stars for my profession at this moment in time. People will forgive appearance if they find out that you’re a librarian. It’s true. I could walk down the red carpet at the Oscars and if any entertainment news junkies gave me trouble I could just say, "I’m a librarian," and all would be forgiven. That’s the power of my job. It demands a certain level of confusion. They’re never entirely certain how you cropped up in the first place.
Now you may not know this about me, but I once wanted to be a photographer. There were reasons why this never worked out. One of them was the fact that I don’t like asking people to pose for photographs. Hence, my host. I never got a good shot of her. So take your pick. You can either see the elusive Ms. Blume in this cleavage-o-rific balcony (yes, the apartment had a balcony) shot here:
. . . or here, mid-sentence . . .
That’s a children’s author you’re looking at. And that, dear children, is why you should always do your homework before attending a book release party. Had I but known that Ms. Blume’s author photo looked like
then maybe I would’ve, I dunno, thrown on a skirt or something.
Now I don’t know about you, but it’s actually quite rare for a children’s author to look like this. Ms. Blume has all the physical characteristics of a YA author. Teen authors get all the glamor. Children’s authors are comfortable people who aren’t overburdened with knowledge of how to apply foundation. They tend to be like me. But Ms. Blume is not your typical beastie. As her web’s bio states, she was once a researcher for ABC News Nightline in Washington D.C. This explains so much, you know. A lot of the people present were also from Nightline, so I didn’t feel quite so bad about not knowing them. And Ms. Blume was just sweet as could be to me. She didn’t care that I was crashing her party with a gigantic Cat In the Hat bag slung over my shoulder (though I think I might have gotten points with the Random House folks for it).
Ms. Blume had not lied about the candy either. There were oodles of atomic fireballs, sugar daddies, and candy cigarettes (I didn’t know they still made them!) for one and all.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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