And so we reach the end of my recaps for ALA 2022 and this day was heavily tilted in favor of RA with some hopeful IF at the end.
Let's get to it.
The morning began with the Adult Library Marketing Association [ALMA] and LibraryReads presenting "Your Morning Is Booked," a Fiction Author Panel. To say I was excited about this one would be an understatement because out of six authors, FOUR wrote Horror!
In this report I will present each author, title, and a quick summary as well as share a few comments each of them made. The key here though is that these are all books you should add to your collections, no questions asked. Rebecca Vnuk from LibraryReads was offered any and all authors who would be attending ALA and these are the 6 fiction authors she handpicked.Shutter out August 2 with Soho Crime:
This riveting debut novel with shades of Jessica Jones is equal parts gripping crime thriller and supernatural horror in its atmospheric portrayal of life in the Navajo Nation.
Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. Her excellent photography skills have cracked many cases—she is almost supernaturally good at capturing details. In fact, Rita has been hiding a secret: she sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook.
As a lone portal back to the living for traumatized spirits, Rita is terrorized by nagging ghosts who won’t let her sleep and who sabotage her personal life. Her taboo and psychologically harrowing ability was what drove her away from the Navajo town of Tohatchi, where she was raised by her grandmother. It has isolated her from friends and gotten her in trouble with the law.
And now it might be what gets her killed.
When Rita is sent to photograph the scene of a supposed suicide on a highway overpass, the furious, discombobulated ghost of the victim—who insists she was murdered—latches onto Rita, forcing her on a quest for revenge against her killers, and Rita finds herself in the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels. Written in sparkling, gruesome prose, Shutter is a blood-chilling debut from one of crime fiction's most powerful new voices.
Some of you may remember that back in April I moderated a panel of PRH Horror authors. Emerson was on that panel, so I was already familiar with her book. Here are a few of the comments she made to us in the audience that I wanted to share:
- Emerson talked about how as a newly graduated film student the best ajob she could get that used her skills and helped her to hone them was as a forensic videographer. She did this job for a while and even went to police bootcamp for civilians.
- At the same time she was also writing screenplays with a mentor. Mostly crime based because she knew everything about investigations from her work and the bootcamp.
- When she went to apply for her MFA, her mentor told her to stop with screenplays and take her ideas and turn them into a novel. She did get in to that program but the way
- In terms of fleshing out the story into a novel, she realized the interest and the part she had to most figure out was Rita's, her protagonist, childhood.
- As a Navajo [both herselfand Rita] she knows that death is extremely taboo. They fear it and won't talk about it. Rita's gift therefore, would have been very threatening in her community growing up. This drove the story as Emerson was writing it.
- She also shared that before she wrote this book, she wasn't sure if ghosts existed, but since finishing it she has proof that they do and is a believer.
- She also told us she hopes that the novel gives us the "freakies" at night.
A woman has been kidnapped.Now Jonathan Stride must decide if her husband wants her back ... dead or alive.
After nearly dying of a gunshot wound, Jonathan Stride has been on leave from the Duluth Police for more than a year. When his partner, Maggie Bei, gets called about a suspicious abduction involving a local lawyer, she tells Stride it's time for him to come back.
Attorney Gavin Webster says he paid $100,000 in ransom money to the men who kidnapped his wife. Now they've disappeared with the cash, and she's still missing. Gavin claims to be desperate to find her--but Stride discovers that the lawyer had plenty of motive to be the mastermind behind the crime.
Even as Stride digs for the truth about Gavin Webster and his wife, he must also deal with a crisis in his own marriage.
His wife, Serena, is struggling after the death of her mother, the abusive woman she hadn't seen in twenty-five years. When she loses control at a crime scene and draws her gun on a fellow cop, Serena finds herself kicked off the Webster case. Alone at her desk, she begins hunting through old police files and starts to ask questions about a mother's death that was written off as suicide. That death haunts Serena like an echo of her own childhood--but her obsession with it takes a terrible toll.
As Serena shuts him out of her despair, and his own investigation grows increasingly tangled, Stride wonders whether going back to his detective work was the right decision. But all he can do is keep moving forward. Because Stride fears the Webster kidnapping may be only one part of a horrific murder conspiracy.
And it's not over yet.
From Freeman's presentation:
- This is his 25th published novel and the 11th in the Stride series. He also writes standalones and the continuation of the Bourne series.
- All of his books, no matter the series, feature immersive settings and great characters. This he prides himself on.
- Also with any series, he strives to write them so that you can dive in anywhere and understand the story but also does not make long time readers deal with long parts of the book that are old news to them. While you can dive in anywhere, he also thinks he writes in a way that makes readers want to go back and read more about the characters.
- His goal with this series is to write a twisty mystery, a page turner, but also the mystery goes though the lives of the characters.
- This new one focuses on Stride's wife quite a bit.
- He calls what he writes, "emotional thrillers."
A young woman in need of a transformation finds herself in touch with the animal inside in this gripping, incisive novel from the author of Cackle and The Return.
Rory Morris isn't thrilled to be moving back to her hometown, even if it is temporary. There are bad memories there. But her twin sister, Scarlett, is pregnant, estranged from the baby's father, and needs support, so Rory returns to the place she thought she'd put in her rearview. After a night out at a bar where she runs into an old almost-flame, she hits a large animal with her car. And when she gets out to investigate, she's attacked.
Rory survives, miraculously, but life begins to look and feel different. She's unnaturally strong, with an aversion to silver--and suddenly the moon has her in its thrall. She's changing into someone else--something else, maybe even a monster. But does that mean she's putting those close to her in danger? Or is embracing the wildness inside of her the key to acceptance?
This darkly comedic love story is a brilliantly layered portrait of trauma, rage, and vulnerability.
- She loves Horror because she loves escapism and the supernatural because she uses it to deal with things in her own life.
- For example, The Return is about how she was upset at how hard adult friendships are. She was mourning the loss of a friend and turning a friend into a literal monster made the whole thing a little easier to deal with.
- She got the idea for this one in the shower as she was annoyed about having a body and having to care for it.
- Then she thought about women and being a werewolf and why were weren't more examples of that. It seems like such a direct correlation-- being a woman and not having control over your body.
- I like to be in control, she said. The two things I hate the most-- anger and vulnerability because both involve a loss of control. And this book is about both.
- At the end of the event I told Harrison-- whose first 2 books each made the LibraryReads list-- that if Such Sharp Teeth makes it she gets into the Hall of Fame. She was speechless at the idea, and told me not to get her hopes up and that would be a dream come true.
A Mirror Mended is the next installment in USA Todaybestselling author Alix E. Harrow's Fractured Fables series.
Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.
Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can't handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White's Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she's desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen's poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?
- In between anxiety spiraling of the last few years, Harrow returned to stories from her childhood because it felt good, it felt like going home.
- For this second one she knew she was going to tell a villain's story. She noted that "witches come in more flavors than princesses."
- But she also noted that they never get a happy ending for themselves. Even in retellings like Wicked they don't. Their HEA is always taken away. She wanted to give the Evil Queen her HEA.
- She also struggled with how to retell something that has been retold so many times that is is not a story anymore, but rather just a series of symbols.
- Se was inspired by Into the Spiderverse and the idea that multiple stories, multiple versions of the same story that we all know, can exists at the same time.
- She looks at these books as a way to break fairy tales but in order to make something new. She keeps the good and breaks the bad.
From Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Locus award-nominated author, Gabino Iglesias, comes a genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what’s left of his family, even if it means a descent into violence--both supernatural and of our own terrifying world.
Buried in debt due to his young daughter’s illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won’t return the same.
The Devil Takes You Home is a panoramic odyssey for fans of S.A. Cosby’s southern noir, Blacktop Wasteland, by way of the boundary-defying storytelling of Stephen Graham Jones and Sylvia Moreno-Garcia.
- With my fiction I realized that I could talk about identity politics, racism, etc... and still have my ghosts and demons and haunted houses.
- I had done it before with two novels, but 2020 gave me time [he got fired] and he had anger. But anger alone is not enough. You also need empathy and grief.
- He put it all together into this novel.
- He looks at his genre writing as a cake. The supernatural elements are on top, the icing and sprinkles. It looks great. And you bite into it and you have to digest the anger and political commentary inside.
- He wrote this book instead of punching a politician.
- You can also go to my Goodreads review to find a link to an interview I did with Iglesias for the June 2022 issue of LJ for more from him.
Wrath is the story of a lab rat instilled with human genes whose supersized intelligence helps him to engineer his escape into the world outside the lab: a world vastly ill-equipped to deal with the menace he represents. Modified through advances that have boosted his awareness of humankind’s cruelty in the name of science, and endowed with a rat’s natural proclivity to procreate regularly, Sammy has the potential to sire a rodent army capable of viciously overwhelming the human race.
- Sammy is a lab rat with human genes made by a pet company who wants to have a hit product again. He is genetically engineered to be super cute.
- All of the science here is REAL. His co-author is an award winning scientist.
- Just so it is clear, Kraus told us that according to Moalem, in the scenario they describe, the intelligent Rats would overwhelm and take over the humans in NYC in 5 years.
- Sammy gets out and knows he will die so he figures, well at least I will procreate.
- The book is Jurassic Park meets Flowers for Algernon meets Frankenstein.
- We create a monster but don't create a world for it.
- Escoto: Being on Notables has allows her to explore and enjoy more nonfiction.
- Galloway: It has led to more leadership opportunities.
- Carlson: I love getting other people's perspectives
Over the last year, the Working Group on Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice has been exploring alternatives to neutrality rhetoric. In this session, you will have the opportunity to learn about three frameworks that can be used to inform how we work with our communities: radical empathy, trauma-informed response, and cultural humility. This will also be another chance for dialogue about these topics before the Working Group submits its report to the ALA Executive Board. Please join us as we consider these ways to help us build and strengthen trust with our users.
- Calls for moving beyond an understanding of others' lives and pain to understand the origin of our biases.
- It is a framework for addressing inequities in 6 steps:
- Willingness to be vulnerable
- Becoming grounded in who you are
- Opening yourself to the experiences of others
- Practicing Empathy
- Taking Action [moving from rhetoric to action]
- Creating change and building trust
- The point here is avoiding retraumatizing.
- Implementing this approach require change at all levels of the organization and active training. This will be expensive and time consuming in order to be done correctly.
- This framework has 4 Rs:
- Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands the potential paths for recovery
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in patrons, families, staff, and others involved with the system
- Responds by fully integrating knowdedge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
- Seeks to actively Resist re-traimatization
- The key principles are:
- Safety-- the place is safe as defined by users and staff
- Trustworthiness and Transparency- Trust means you don't let TERFSS of Nazis in-- said Garnar.
- Peer Support
- Collaboration and mutuality
- Empowerment, voices, and choice
- Cultural, historical, and gender issues
- It is a concept developed in healthcare and defined as "the ability to recognize our own beliefs and assumptions and to break through commonly held assumptions and stereotypes that get in the way of being "competent" or " sensitive" to another's "culture."
- It recognizes and challenges power imbalances. They exist and to build authentic and trusting relationships, we need to be aware of the power dynamic and understand the possible impact it has on our relationships with others.
- To move toward more genuine interactions we have to address the power imbalances in all of our interactions and work towards dismantling those systems at play.
- This framework is a life long journey
- I want everyone to come to the library and find what they want and be served. BUT if you do not think that everyone is a human and deserves to exists and deserves dignity, then I do not want you there. [This is a strong statement and one I agree with. It also means you can keep out any hate group.]
- I will not be complicit in helping you to spread hate.
- For any of these approaches to work you have to believe in nuance
- Someone asked Garnar how to get this message out to "difficult" library boards who don't want to protect everyone. He said they know that is needed and they are working on it. She wanted a soundbite. He understands.
- Get rid of neutrality and focus on trust, Trust is your soundbite. We need to build trust.
- Someone from DCPL asked about books that spread hate or misinformation and how with the idea of neutrality, many libraries are forced to include these books. And here Garnar had THE BEST advice:
- Add a statement to your Collection Development policy that explicitly says that you will NOT add items that contain disinformation to your collections.